Fellowship builds skills, leadership, community among female student veterans and military-connected women


Earlier this week, The Military Family Research Institute (MFRI) at Purdue University announced a new initiative, called the Focus Forward Fellowship, to engage military-connected female students beyond the classroom. We interviewed Lauren Runco, director of MFRI’s education and employment efforts.


Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 4.57.11 PMWhy is a program like this important?

Lauren Runco (LR): We know that 82 percent of post-9/11 female veterans joined the military to receive education benefits. At MFRI, we're committed to helping these leaders transition to the next phase of their lives by connecting them with resources that strengthen and guide them. We are confident the Focus Forward Fellowship program can do just that.


What is the program about?

LR: The Focus Forward Fellowship program is brand new and designed to build skills, leadership, and a sense of community among female student veterans and military-connected women.


Who can attend?

LR: Candidates for the program will hold an honorable discharge from the U.S. military or be a dependent of a veteran who does, be entering their sophomore or junior year at a four-year institution and maintain a grade point average of 2.9 or better.


How much does it cost to participate?

LR: The Focus Forward Fellowship is free for participants. All cost of travel, food, lodging, activities, and materials will be covered by MFRI.


What will the students learn from the program?

LR: We want to build a community of support. So that means developing relationship with peers, mentors, and faculty who will be leading session and will be contributing online. Students will learn to recognize and overcome barriers to personal effectiveness. They will also identify strategies and resources that will help them increase their connections and success on campus. Through it all, we want these students to gain confidence in their ability to problem solve while they develop skills that help them reach their academic career goals.


When will the program take place?

LR: The weekend residency will be held Aug. 11-14 in Indianapolis, Indiana. After that, additional activities will take place within the context of an online community. All these will be scheduled throughout the 2016-2017 academic year.


What does the application process look like?

LR: The online application process will open June 1 and close June 19. Interested candidates can sign up for application updates through this link: https://www.mfri.purdue.edu/programs/focus-forward-fellowship.aspx



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