Fellowship FAQs

SOM Prize 

What does binder format mean?

In the past, jurors believed that candidates put more work into the portfolio casings than into the portfolio contents. Students often do not take into account that more than one or two people will be reviewing the work, often multiple times, and that jurors do not wish to fight the binding to see the work inside. Therefore, the Foundation strongly recommends a commonly used binder. The Itoya Portfolio Binder (8 ½ x 11 or 11 x 17 in black) can be found in most college and university bookstores, local art supply stores, or online at Amazon.com or DickBlick.com. Candidates are not required to use the Itoya portfolio; however, they should match its specifications as closely as possible.

How important is the research abstract?

The research abstract is very important, but it should be succinct. The jurors review many portfolios at once, so the candidates' intentions should be clear and straightforward. The research abstract should not exceed 500 words. It should illustrate what the students hope to learn, with whom they plan to meet or work, how they believe they might benefit, how they plan to document findings and how the profession might benefit from their efforts. 

What should be included in the travel proposal?

Naturally, the travel proposal should support the candidate's research abstract. Typically the jurors like to see where students would like to go, what sites they would like to study, and how these destinations support or impact the research. 

Is a travel expense breakdown required with my travel proposal?

No. There are too many variables for this to be a logical requirement. 

Is group work acceptable in my portfolio?

We cannot tell a student what to include or eliminate. Students know their best work. However, if the jury views an image listed as "group effort" without a percentage of how much of the work is attributed to a candidate, it is difficult for them to ascertain what portions of the work can be attributed to the student's own thoughts and ideas. The candidate's role in the project must be clearly explained in the portfolio.