Learning opportunity. Resume builder. Way to explore a topic in more depth than classes offer. These were the things Audrey Anhalt was looking for when she decided to take on an Honors Undergraduate Fellowship. And, according to Audrey, she received these, and then some. Anhalt is an undergraduate senior studying Apparel Design who decided to take on a fellowship acquiring data on people with disabilities and other accessibility issues from surveys and subject interviews, as well as other scholarly research, to then be compiled into a research paper and presentation. For the first of the Fellowship Files of the semester, Anhalt decided to share her experience with those who may be interested in such a great opportunity. 


But what is an Undergraduate Fellowship? Ball State Honors College offers research opportunities that are paid (yes, paid!) and allows students to assist a professor, also called a faculty mentor, on any upcoming research opportunities. These amazing opportunities are great not only to boost resumes or to add to student portfolios, but they are also great opportunities to connect with faculty, learn more about the research process, and produce a paper or project that fills you with pride. 


When speaking about her interest in undergraduate fellowships, Anhalt says she “decided to do the fellowship I am a part of this semester because after my first fellowship with Dr. Saiki and Professor Birk had ended, Dr. Saiki asked me to be a part of her and Dr. Kandiah’s team.” Dr. Saiki had spoken with Anhalt’s fashion class about the opportunity for fellowships, and Anhalt was hooked, communicating with Dr. Saiki about this opportunity via email. Before signing on to this opportunity, Anhalt also reviewed other fellowship experiences in the Honor College blog’s Fellowship Files. 


As previously mentioned, Anhalt is studying Apparel Design, and this fellowship was on people with disabilities. How did these correlate and help further her learning? Anhalt says, “This current fellowship was especially interesting to me because it was something very different from what I am currently studying [as an apparel design major]. This has prepared me for my future career because if I decide to own my own fashion brand I am more aware of the need for clothing designed to accommodate people with disabilities and the need to foster an inclusive work environment.” 


But what does that mean for all of our Honors College undergraduates? That there is an opportunity for you specifically. An opportunity that interests and excites you, that teaches you many lessons that help propel your academic and professional journey, just as it did for Anhalt. 


“This experience has taught me about what people with disabilities face in their everyday lives. As someone without a disability, this perspective is something I’ve never had to experience. This fellowship has further emphasized the need for everyone to learn about and respect other people’s experiences and perspectives.”


Anhalt says that she would, “absolutely recommend this experience to other students! I’m an apparel design student so just about anyone from any major can find something related to their field or interest, you don’t have to be in a stem field to do a fellowship.” 


Her biggest piece of advice for students? Time management. Juggling classes, work, extracurriculars, and a fellowship is tough, she says, but never impossible. Anhalt recommends setting blocks of time each week to do fellowship work and meet with a faculty mentor to stay on track.


But overall, Anhalt says that her biggest takeaway is having the opportunity to hear the perspective of people with disabilities. This biggest takeaway is also what fills her with pride in her work. “One thing that one of the participants said in an interview that stuck with me is that we need to start promoting diversity in the classroom by teaching about disabilities, race, ethnicity, and religion. Raising awareness about this topic so that people know how to act in the workplace and in everyday situations is incredibly important,” Anhalt says. 


Interested in seeing yourself as an undergraduate fellow? Check out our Fellowship Files category to read about more Undergraduates and their Fellowship File Feature! After that, email Kristy Crouch or visit the Honors Website under “Current Students” to learn more about Honors Undergraduate Fellowships! See yourself find a learning opportunity, a resume builder, a way to explore topics more in-depth than classes offer, and more, all in one unique experience.