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Morika Hensley (`16C, `17G) Shepard Scholarship, Fulbright-Nehru Student Research Grant


Charles Elias Shepard Scholarship; Fulbright-Nehru Student Research Grant (India R/S)

Award supported

Funding toward graduate school tuition at Laney Graduate School; fully funded research project in collaboration with the Snow Leopard Conservancy-India Trust. 

Undergraduate major(s)

Environmental Science


Program Coordinator for the Santa Fe Watershed Association where she facilitates education, restoration, stewardship, and advocacy initiatives in the Santa Fe River and its watershed.

Q: What experiences at Emory prepared you for the Fulbright award? 


A: It was the combination of classes, professors, friendships, and extracurricular opportunities that prepared me for these awards. Emory emphasizes synthesis, and I think that my ability to integrate my different "identities" into a presentation of my complete identity was vital. Also, the ongoing support of the Office of National Scholarships and Fellowships was essential for me.

Q: What memorable or interesting things happened during your scholarship experience? 

A: Ultimately, the "mundane" experiences I had in both scholarship opportunities taught me more than the final research products: not speaking a full sentence to another person for several weeks, being unbearably cold, being unbearably hot, dealing with bureaucracy, observing the many kinds of knowledge people hold in their minds and bodies. The connections I was able to have with colleagues at Emory and in India, and with wildlife and the natural world, were utterly transformative. The thing that surprised me the most was ultimately how similar even the most "foreign" places were to my definitions of home.

Q: What advice would you give current applicants, or to students considering applying for a nationally competitive award?

morika-hensley-alumni-excavation.jpgA: Don’t give up or sell yourself short. Imposter syndrome never fully goes away. Perhaps your first few applications will be denied, but if you have a passion I encourage you to keep trying. For me, it seems like my greatest external recognitions have come when I have followed my own path and interests, and had a lot of luck. This has allowed me to work passionately and sustainably, and helped me stand out while being true to myself. Rather than trying to follow other peoples' successful footsteps in their actual activities, etc., discover what it means for you to dive deeply and fully into your own passions. There will be people to support you!

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