Your Guide to Creating a Competitive Diversity Fellows Application

So you want to be a 2019 Diversity and Leadership Development Fellow? You’ve talked with your supervisor, considered your professional goals, built a passion for making change in the science center field, and you are now ready to apply to the 2019 ASTC Diversity and Leadership Development Fellows Program. Below are some tips and advice to help you through the process of developing your strongest application and completing it online.

These suggestions come from members of the selection committee, advisers to the program, and ASTC staff members—and grow from years of program involvement as mentors, reviewers of applications, and Fellows.

Plan your answers before you write—Talk out loud with a colleague about your answers. Co-workers who work closely with you, or your supervisor, can also help you through your strengths, weaknesses, and/or things you need to work on.

Utilize the Scratch Pad—Use the available scratch pad to preview the questions and outline your answers before accessing the online application.

Write vividly—Design your answers thoughtfully, concisely, and with detail so that the selection committee gets a chance to know you. They want to clearly understand your passion around diversity and your desire for professional growth. Use the essay questions and supplemental materials to explain the aspects of you that they may not see in basic demographic information.

Start getting the signatures necessary for the application—Talk with your supervisor now about your intentions to apply and begin collecting the signatures for the Applicant and Institution Statement of Understanding.

Ask for letters of reference—Make use of the people who know you and your work well. Ask your colleagues to write you letters of reference and submit them as supplemental material. Make sure they talk about your potential as a leader, your dedication to the field, your initiatives relating to equity/diversity/inclusion, or your need for tools, training, and networking in these areas.

Have someone else review your application—Ask a colleague, an Alumni Fellow, or your mom to review the application before submitting your final documents. Do they feel like your answers to the essay questions tell your full story? Do they want to know more? That’s how the selection committee will feel, too.

Don’t wait until the very last minute—Technology issues can happen, and you don’t want to forego your chance due to a missed deadline.

Check your email—After submitting your online application be sure to keep an eye on your email inbox for automated messages from the application site. Check your spam folder, too.

When in doubt, just ask!—Are you unsure of how you fit into the criteria for the award? Do you have questions about the process? You can write to ASTC’s Ann Hernandez to ask your question and get any individual advice you may need.

The ASTC Diversity and Leadership Development Fellows Program is a frame-shifting, life-changing experience that is worth the time you will put into your application

“The Diversity Fellowship is helping me to become a fundamentally better museum professional. Because of this program, I am capable and confident to promote diversity as an organizational necessity, to empower myself and my colleagues from underrepresented communities, to be an equitable and conscientious leader, and to generate change in our field.”
—Dustin Perry, 2018 Fellow

“The Diversity and Leadership Fellows program cultivates young leaders in our field through ongoing, invaluable professional development. I left the conference with a greater appreciation for both my skills as a young professional and the world of the informal learning institution. This program has handed me the light to utilize the competence and confidence that I have within myself and promote equitable change at our institution and across the entire science and technology center field. I am forever grateful for this program and the people who work tirelessly to make is successful.”
—Emily Lozen, 2018 Fellow


Good luck with your application!

Even if you are not eligible this year to be a 2019 Diversity and Leadership Development Fellow, you can still be involved in diversity and inclusion initiatives by supporting the ASTC Diversity Challenge Fund and joining the ASTC Advocates for Diversity Community of Practice.

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