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The McCormack-Reboussin Scholarship

for Rising Seniors in French & Francophone Studies

McCormackReboussinHistory of the Scholarship

This merit-based scholarship was established in 1995 by Mark McCormack, a distinguished alumnus and generous benefactor. The purpose of this scholarship is to support an outstanding French major during their final year at William & Mary.

The scholarship was originally named in honor of Marcel Reboussin. Professor Reboussin was Mr. McCormack's favorite professor from his days as a French major. The scholarship now also bears the name of McCormack as well. This change is in honor of his professional accomplishments, his devotion to W&M, and his support for student research in the field of French & Francophone Studies.

Mr. McCormack's daughter, Mrs. Leslie McCormack-Gathy, has continued his generosity. The scholarship is now awarded on an annual basis to a rising French & Francophone Studies senior at the university and is worth $12,000:

Pr. Reboussin and Mark McCormack in front of the McCormack-Nagelsen Tennis Center
  • Up to $4,000 is to support research on a topic of linguistic or cultural interest in a French-speaking country or region during the summer before the senior year
  • The remainder of the award goes toward tuition and fees for the senior year

The scholarship recipient must remain in very good academic standing to remain eligible for the grants.

The recipient will provide detailed plans for the summer research grant. These plans will be prepared under the supervision of a faculty research advisor in French & Francophone Studies. The French & Francophone Studies faculty must approve the plans before the end of the spring semester of the recipient's junior year.

The plan will detail the project's topic, the methods of research used, the projected itinerary, and the projected budget. The research funded by this scholarship will serve as the foundation for further study during the recipient's senior year. The final result of the research has normally been an Honors Thesis, with accompanying defense.

How to apply

To apply, you must be a declared French & Francophone Studies major in your junior year, with plans to graduate the following year.

A complete application consists of:

  1. an application cover form [pdf];
  2. an updated William & Mary academic transcript;
  3. a preliminary description IN FRENCH (2 pages in length) of the summer research project you want to conduct;
  4. a bibliography for the project; and
  5. a sample of your analytical writing IN ENGLISH (8-12 pages in length) on a topic of your choice.

The writing sample need not necessarily be related to French, but should be on a topic in the humanities. It may be a research or term paper completed for another course at W&M. The scholarship selection committee will use this writing sample to assess your analytical capacity, research skills, and ability to structure a sustained and balanced argument.

The project description must be your own original work. You may find it helpful to discuss potential research topics with a member of the French & Francophone Studies faculty. However, faculty members are not allowed to assist you in drafting your project description.

What to include in the project proposal

A research project is an intellectual process of critical inquiry and discovery. Your project could be a library research project or/and a field research project in any relevant French-speaking country or region. Your project description must identify a challenging and intellectually broadening experience. Please address the following points:

  1. What is your general topic or field of inquiry? Why have you chosen it?
  2. What do you hope to gain both academically and personally from the research you plan to conduct?
  3. What is the specific question (or set of questions) that you would like to answer?
  4. How do you intend to answer this question? What is your working hypothesis?
  5. Why is a research project of the type proposed the best way to answer this question and/or test this hypothesis?
  6. What preparation do you have to research this topic and to analyze these materials? Please discuss relevant course work, readings, discussions with professors, and personal experiences. You may list relevant sources in a brief bibliography.
  7. What methods of analysis and critical approaches do you intend to use?
  8. How could you further prepare for this research trip?
  9. What resources will you use while traveling abroad? Where are they located? What difficulties do you foresee in gaining access to these resources?
  10. How will you organize your time while traveling abroad? Is your project feasible in this time frame?

Should you be a finalist, you will be invited to a follow-up interview with the selection committee. During the interview, you will explain the main points of your proposal in further detail (especially those related to points 6-10 above).

Here are a couple sample proposals of previous recipients of the McCormack-Reboussin scholarship. As the applications are the work of students alone, these documents have not been edited by faculty. You can read Eve Grice's proposal [pdf], and Laura Wagstaff's proposal [pdf].

Selection Process

Once applicants have been certified as bona fide French majors, French & Francophone Studies faculty will  set up a committee to review the applications and select finalists before the end of November. The committee will then conduct final oral interviews during the first week of December. The name of the new McCormack-Reboussin scholar is usually announced before the end of the Fall semester.

The committee uses the following criteria in the selection process:

  • general academic achievement,
  • excellence in French studies,
  • the quality of the research project description submitted,
  • the quality of the submitted analytical writing sample,
  • faculty assessment of the applicant's performance in French courses,
  • the oral interviews of the finalists.

Please contact the Program Director [[mxcomp@wm.edu]], or another member of the French faculty, if you have any general questions about the McCormack-Reboussin Scholarship in French.