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Frequently Asked Questions

About Roberts Fellows

Q: What is the purpose of the Roberts Fellows Program?

To encourage a select group of especially capable SVSU undergraduate students to aspire to positions of responsibility and leadership, and to encourage them to achieve the very highest levels of accomplishment and distinction in their subsequent careers. 

Q: How does the Roberts Fellows Program accomplish these goals?

  • Through academic study of leadership issues in an international, historical and contemporary context
  • Through frequent interaction with recognized leaders in business, politics, education, health care, and many other fields
  • Through service projects that build group solidarity and practice leadership skills while giving back to the University, the community, and the region
  • Through co-curricular events that broaden and deepen Fellows’ understanding and appreciation of the full range of academic and civic culture
  • Through international travel and study to enhance global perspectives while providing direct experiences leading to the adoption of more ambitious personal goals for achievement and action
  • Through ongoing engagement with previous and future classes of Roberts Fellows, and with SVSU

Q: Who are the Roberts Fellows?
Roberts Fellows are present and former SVSU undergraduate students who have demonstrated exceptional academic achievement, outstanding potential for distinguished careers, demonstrated a commitment to service, diverse backgrounds and life experiences, and capacity for personal and collective growth.

Q: What are you looking for in a candidate for a Roberts Fellowship?

  • Academic distinction
  • Commitment to service
  • An aspiration to succeed, and to lead others to success
  • Willingness to work independently
  • Willingness to work collaboratively
  • Interestingly diverse perspectives and life experiences
  • Openness to new experiences
  • Commitment to excellence
  • Character
  • Enthusiasm

Q: What are Roberts Fellows doing now?

Roberts Fellows are studying and excelling in

  • Prestigious graduate programs in medicine, public health research, dentistry, law, philosophy, political science, English and many other fields
  • Teaching in public schools; leading arts, social science, and science and mathematics departments; conducting education assessment research; and taking their students on field trips to China
  • Teaching and researching in universities; advancing scholarship in their fields
  • Managing the central and south American service regions of an international NGO
  • Working as CPAs and entrepreneurs; working for international corporations
  • Monitoring elections in the developing world through the Carter Center
  • Protecting Presidential candidates through the Secret Service and the FBI
  • Pastoring churches
  • Running for political office; staffing for senators, former Presidents and Supreme Court Justices

Q: Why “Roberts Fellows?”
Mrs. Donna Roberts, formerly head of Dow Chemical Co.’s legal department and secretary to the Dow CEO, is the principal donor and personal inspiration of the Roberts Fellowship. 

Q: Why do the Roberts Fellows travel to Asia?

  • Asia offers experiences of cultural differences so profound as to provide life-changing alterations in perspectives
  • SVSU enjoys especially cordial institutional and personal relationships with sister universities and colleagues in Asia
  • Travel in Asia creates situations that require leadership, flexibility, and grace under stressful circumstances that help develop the character of Roberts Fellows in uniquely valuable ways

Q: How are Roberts Fellows assessed during and after the program?

  • Engagement and participation in seminars, co-curricular events, and service projects
  • Initiative in leading and following through on Fellowship events
  • Thoughtful journals
  • Fellows are encouraged to become and remain active in their areas of study as well as service to their respective communities.

Q: Are there other expectations of Roberts Fellows?
Roberts Fellows are often called upon on short or no notice to be the “face” of the University for visiting dignitaries and other guests.  While no one can be expected to be available all the time, Roberts Fellows need to keep themselves presentable and make themselves available for at least some of these impromptu events.  Roberts Fellows also need to keep us posted as you change addresses, emails and telephones; we need and want to stay in touch.

Faculty Administrators

Julie Foss
(989) 964-4303

David Nichols
(989) 964-4643