illustration by VSA Partners

Fifty International Students Get Support from HHMI

Elisa Araldi is studying in the United States to advance science in Italy. “The reason I came to the U.S. for my graduate education was to train in the best scientific environment in the world and bring my knowledge and expertise back to Italy,” she says. Thanks to an HHMI fellowship, she’s one step closer to her goal.

Araldi is one of 50 graduate students from 19 countries who were awarded HHMI International Student Research Fellowships. The program provides $43,000 a year to international science students studying in the United States. The fellowships fund the students during their third, fourth, and fifth years of graduate school—a pivotal point in their studies when they must delve into intense laboratory research for their doctoral dissertations.

“Now in its second year, HHMI’s International Student Research Fellowships Program is supporting nearly 100 outstanding future scientists from 28 different countries,” says William R. Galey, director of HHMI’s graduate and medical education programs. “We anticipate that the program will eventually support 150 outstanding biomedical science graduate students in the crucial years of their Ph.D. work.” Funding for the program this year is $2.15 million, up from $2 million last year.

Sixty-three Ph.D.-granting institutions were eligible to nominate their graduate students for the fellowships. Of the 19 countries represented in this year’s slate of awardees, six—Australia, Bulgaria, Chile, Italy, Latvia, and Switzerland—are new to the program.

HHMI started the program because it recognized that international students in the U.S. often have difficulty securing funding to support their graduate studies. “Being an international student, it is virtually impossible to find fellowships that fully support my stipend,” says Araldi, who is studying macrophage biology at New York University’s Sackler Institute. “Part of my project involves very sophisticated and expensive experiments, and this fellowship will allow me to perform more experiments.”

And more experiments for Araldi means more scientific expertise for Italy.