The world finds Nitze Scholars in a wide range of walks of life. Cookie cutters have their place...in the kitchen.
The Nitze Experience
The Paul H. Nitze Program offers:
- three special seminars for each student
- cultural outings to DC/Baltimore paid for by the program
- special meetings with high-profile campus visitors
- an international study tour paid for by the program
- a stipend of $3000 per year for participants
Nitze Leadership/Service Portfolio
The Paul H. Nitze Scholars Program promotes academic excellence both for the development of the individual student and for the good of others. Students in the program are expected to embrace the responsibility of excellence and share with others their time, talent, and advantages. This sharing can be done in many ways. It may be in the context of a course, of an on-campus activity or organization, or of an off-campus experience during the academic year or summer. Regardless of the particulars of each student's leadership and service experiences, it is essential that the student reflect upon them, so as to integrate them into the student's college education. The Leadership/Service Portfolio is intended, among other aims, to serve as one expression of this reflection, by containing a description and self-assessment of those experiences. Moreover, the portfolio should help make the student's experiences accessible to others, showcasing what the student has made of the opportunities of the college years.
Contents of Portfolio
Each portfolio should include the following:
1. Table of Contents. This might require you to re-number pages of previously composed material, even if you must do it manually with a pen.
2. Introductory Essay. An essay of no more than three pages that serves as a personal introduction to the concepts of leadership, service, and the liberal arts.
3. Academic Journey Essay. This essay discusses your academic journey at St. Mary's College of Maryland, and how your academic choices have made you who you are or reflect who you are. Include classes you have taken or activities you have engaged in to enrich your education. Perhaps discuss how you came to your major, if that was an interesting journey for you. Of primary importance is to make this essay your own and not to feel as though there are certain requirements you have to meet. Just get across to the readers who you are and how your time enrolled in St. Mary's has gotten you there.
Each year you will have submitted to the Director a self-report, in which you reflect on your educational objectives and achievements for the past academic year, as reflected in your choice of courses and activities, and on your plans for the next year and remaining years, as reflected in your curricular and co-curricular planning. You should consult your past self-reports in writing your academic journey essay.
Subsequent to this essay, you should include at least four papers, exams, lab reports, or images of art projects of which you are proud or which you find to be especially meaningful. They need not represent your best work, but they should represent best how you got to where you are. On a separate page prior to each paper, you should discuss why you are including it (as well as when and what course you wrote it for, unless this information is included in the paper). You should include at least one paper written for a Nitze class, and even apart from that, do not include only papers from your major. You may include technical papers or papers in a foreign language, but do not include too many of these. (Consider your audience.) You may include papers written for internships or other activities you were involved in.
The essay is usually about four pages in length, and people usually include about four or five previously written pieces.
4. Leadership and Service Essay. In this essay of three-to-five pages about your leadership and service philosophy and how your activities have exemplified (or not exemplified) this philosophy, it is important not to be too abstract. Flowery words about grand leaders of the past do not impress here. But do not be so concrete that it is no longer clear what inspires you to do the things you do. If your service is narrowly focused or is of an atypical nature (e.g., serving others through your music), explain why what you have done constitutes service and/or leadership. DO NOT exhaustively list everything you have done; this should not be a résumé. Just pick the few things that best reflect your outlook on, and engagement in, service and leadership. This essay may be a good place to discuss summer experiences that dealt with leadership or service.
5. Concluding Essay. A concluding essay about your plans and vision for your future. If your plans are not yet concrete, that is okay; focus on the vision part. Here you can reflect on what you have gotten out of St. Mary's and/or the program.
6. Additional Comments. There have been excellent portfolios that did not include pictures, graphics, ticket stubs, music programs, or the like; so if including such items is not your style, fret not. If you do include any material and you want them returned, make a photocopy of the relevant pages, so that once the Nitze Scholars Program Committee has completed reading the portfolio, we can exchange your photocopied pages for the originals; then the photocopied version can remain in the Nitze archives.
Remember to discuss somewhere in your portfolio your experience(s) with international education, as this is an aspect of the program. This could be the Nitze 280 study tour and/or any other international educational experience. If a discussion of the international experience does not fit well with any of the above essays, you may want to write a separate, short reflection about it and include that.
7. Format of the Portfolio
Double-sided printing is encouraged, as is 1.5-spacing, where it can be managed. (The above estimates of page numbers assume 1.5-spacing.) Your name and the years of your time in the NSP (what year you entered, what year you're leaving) should be clearly marked on the front cover, and (if using a three-ring binder) on the spine. Indiscriminate use of three-ring binders is discouraged, however, for (a) they are usually thicker than the contents, thus complicating the transport of several of them at a time around campus, and (b) for small three-ring binders, the holes are often punched too far into the paper, thereby making difficult the turning of the pages. There are plenty of other types of binders available at our Campus Stoe or at a local office supply store, but do use one that is secured to the contents. (So a mere folder will not do.) And the use of a three-ring binder is fine if the two requirements just mentioned are followed.
Maintenance and Assessment of the Portfolio
The DEADLINE for portfolio submission is 4:00 p.m. ET on the Friday before the Spring Break immediately prior to the commencement in which the student's graduation will be noted, whether or not the student plans to attend the commencement. You are responsible for handing in to the Director or Assistant Director by this deadline the materials described above, as you were earlier for keeping copies of the papers you will later need to refer to in order to compose your portfolio, and for maintaining the documentation, records, and notes that will enable you to write about your leadership and service activities. The faculty members of the Nitze Scholars Committee will consider the completed portfolio, along with the other materials on which honors are based, when considering the level of commencement honors to be awarded at graduation. Portfolios are assessed as Distinguishing, Excellent, Good, and Satisfactory. An unsatisfactory portfolio counts as not having completed all the requirements of the Nitze Scholars Program. Past portfolios are kept on file for students to consult.