Two win Critical Language Scholarships from U.S. State Department
Jazmyn Gillespie ’24 earned herself a rare honor this spring when she became one of just 20 students from top institutions across the United States to win a $35,000 Beinecke Scholarship for graduate school. It places her in the company of just 719 to receive the distinction since The Sperry and Hutchinson Company first began awarding the scholarships in 1975.
Gillespie, Conn’s second Beinecke winner since 2022, admits the scholarship wasn’t on her radar until her psychology adviser, Professor Jefferson Singer, told her he thought she’d be a great candidate for the program, which seeks to encourage and enable highly motivated students to pursue opportunities available to them and to be courageous in the selection of a graduate course of study in the arts, humanities and social sciences.
“I’ve always taken a combination of courses in psychology, history, critical study of race and ethnicity, art, classics,” recalled Gillespie, a psychology major and Hispanic studies and history double minor from Chicago, Illinois. “I talked to a few of my other mentors here. They all said the Beinecke would be a good fit as I’m a very interdisciplinary student.”
Gillespie is interested how the intersection of racism, colonialism and colorism affects a person’s identity and development. Next year, she plans to complete an honors thesis in the Psychology Department in which she’ll conduct qualitative interviews with Filipino and Latin American students in the New London area and compare their oral responses to existing identity development models for Filipino Americans and Latin Americans.
“My goal is to see what the intersection is, especially because both the Philippines and many Latin American countries were colonized by Spain,” she said.
While Gillespie has always been interested in issues of identity, including race and colonialism, it wasn’t until she got to Conn that she started to see a path of cohesive study.
“Every year here, my research interests get more solidified because of the classes I take, and because of what I do with that information outside of class,” she said.
“The thing about a liberal arts school is that you can have a conversation with anyone about what you’re studying, and the conversation will always be fruitful. You’ll learn something. I love having conversations about race and colonialism and all these other systemic issues. It makes me feel more empowered.”
As she completes her junior year, Gillespie is exploring doctoral programs in New York and California.
“I’m hoping to get a Ph.D. in clinical or social psychology to really explore the systemic issues in psychology with racism that aren’t necessarily talked about, as the discipline itself is very Eurocentric,” she says. “I’m extremely grateful for the Beinecke scholarship; it will allow me to do something amazing and revolutionary.”
Connecticut College offers a wide range of fellowship opportunities for students and recent graduates. For more information, visit The Walter Commons or email firstname.lastname@example.org.