Professor Jennifer Cognard-Black Appointed as Inaugural Director of Student Fellowships and Awards

Submitted by Katherine Gantz on January 29, 2024 - 5:56 pm
January 29, 2024
By Katherine Gantz

Following a rigorous application process led by a search committee comprised of faculty and staff, Professor Jennifer Cognard-Black has been appointed as the College's inaugural director of student fellowships and awards.

As outlined in Pillar I of The Rising Tide Strategic Plan, this will be a key leadership position in our efforts to “[c]reate an innovative, distinctive and competitive academic identity that attracts and retains talented students, faculty and staff.” The director will serve as a recruiter, mentor, and adviser to those students interested in pursuing nationally competitive awards and fellowships, such as Fulbright Awards, Goldwater Scholarships and Critical Language Scholarships.

The director has two central responsibilities: first, to foster student interest in and excitement for the process of preparing, applying and competing for prestigious awards. Second, the director will advise students in their application preparations, review the required application materials, coordinate and conduct practice interviews, and facilitate institutional nominations.

"I'm delighted that this new position has been realized," notes Vice President for Academic Affairs Katherine Gantz. "As we all can attest, SMCM has extremely bright, ambitious students who are well-positioned to compete for these national fellowships. The support of an experienced director who can help our students prepare the best possible application materials is a welcome addition to the National Public Honors College. Jennifer brings a wealth of personal experience with fellowships and awards, and she's the right person to bring this new opportunity to SMCM." 

"As the National Public Honors College, St. Mary's College of Maryland is uniquely situated to recruit and support our students and recent alumni in pursuing the potentially life-changing experience of applying for national fellowships and awards. I am thrilled to be able to help students and alums work towards submitting successful applications, while also striving to reduce any barriers to participation," said Cognard-Black. "I also plan to collaborate with staff and fellow faculty in identifying and mentoring students for these exciting opportunities and in building equitable application processes. More than anything else, I wish to foster a campus culture that furthers applicants' social, intellectual, professional and personal development, thereby helping them gain confidence in their abilities."

Cognard-Black is a two-time Fulbright Scholar to both Slovenia and the Netherlands as well as the 2020 recipient of the Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching, considered the "Nobel Prize for Teachers." Her latest book, "Good Eats: 32 Writers on Eating Ethically," co-edited with Melissa A. Goldthwaite, was published with NYU Press in January 2024. A prolific writer, she is the author of five other books and numerous articles and short stories and is the recipient of the gold prize from the Independent Publisher Book Awards. Cognard-Black has also produced two lecture series with The Great Courses on essay writing and American short stories, as well as an Audible Original called “Books that Cook: Food and Fiction.” With courses covering the literatures of food, Victorian literature and culture, women writers and feminist literary theory, fiction writing, Victorian monsters and modern monstrosity, and the essay, her teaching interests are as diverse as her publications and lecture series. Cognard-Black earned her bachelor's degree in English and music from Nebraska Wesleyan University, her Master of Arts in fiction and creative nonfiction from Iowa State University, and her PhD in nineteenth-century women writers from The Ohio State University.


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