- The program offers unique opportunities for interdisciplinary exploration, international experiences, and career development.
Researching new antibiotics in Puerto Rico, visiting a hospital in Greece, creating a sustainability database encompassing nearly every nation on the planet—it’s all work being completed by undergraduate students at York College of Pennsylvania through the Graham Collaborative Innovation Fellows program.
Noah Eberly, Branden Goromaru, and Jacob Wingard, three Graham Collaborative Innovation Fellows who will graduate in 2025, have been profoundly impacted by the program. It has shaped their college journey, taken them around the globe, and affected their career aspirations.
Discovering the Graham program
The Graham Collaborative Innovation Fellows program is designed to nurture the talents and ambitions of undergraduate students. It allows them to propose projects for themselves and receive financial support if those projects align with their career paths.
Noah, Branden, and Jacob saw in the Graham Fellows program as an opportunity to work outside their disciplines toward fulfilling careers while pursuing cross-cultural experiences.
Through the program, Noah, a Nursing major, and Branden, a Mechanical Engineering major, soon will travel to the Netherlands. The journey will enable them to delve deeper into their majors, foster connections with professionals, and immerse themselves in a new culture.
Noah aims to explore healthcare systems abroad, seeking valuable insights to bring back to the U.S., while Branden will study sustainability and renewable-energy infrastructure.
“I hope to definitely experience more global travel, because I think it makes me a more well-rounded person and it gives me the ability to empathize with patients from all sorts of different backgrounds. That will allow me to treat them better,” says Noah.
Personalized global learning experiences
Jacob, a Biology major, found that the Graham Fellows program aligns with his aspirations to explore research opportunities and contribute to the scientific community.
Beginning early in his undergraduate studies, Jacob engaged in paid research to discover novel antibiotics through soil bacteria, funded through the Graham Fellows program. His work earned him an opportunity to present his findings at a conference in Puerto Rico in fall 2022 and showcase the impact of his research on the scientific community.
The three Fellows traveled to Greece in summer 2022 through the Graham program. Branden was exposed to various perspectives on sustainability and politics, enhancing his understanding of diverse worldviews. Jacob visited a Greek hospital and a simple, four-bed intensive-care unit.
“Going to Greece and talking to other people from other cultures and different ways of living and looking at things, it was really neat to see just how they thought about the world,” Jacob says.
More than one way to view a problem
The program encourages Fellows to be open to new ideas and proposals, to pursue their interests and see where it leads. Each of the three Fellows looks forward to additional opportunities to explore and expand on what he has learned.
Branden hopes to plan a trip to Japan or another Asian destination to research sustainability from a broader perspective. With an interdisciplinary focus, he is collaborating with a Sociology professor and aims to continue researching topics beyond traditional engineering.
Jacob wants to participate in a study-abroad program focused on aquaculture in Croatia, diving into subjects related to marine agriculture and new medical research.
Through his experiences, Noah has discovered a love of archaeology and history that he hopes to tie into his nursing career.
“This program introduced me to people with different ideas and majors who come from different backgrounds,” Noah says. “I think it’s kind of allowed me to see the importance of not just thinking with your own head, but empathizing with others before you decide on something or come to a final solution.
“It’s definitely helped me realize that there’s more than just one way to view and solve a problem.”
From global travel to interdisciplinary research and cultural exploration, the Graham Collaborative Innovation Fellows program at York College offers a wealth of possibilities for personal and academic growth. It encourages students to ask questions, collaborate, and seize a multitude of opportunities. And it helps students design their own “extraordinary lives.”
Learn more: If you’re someone who doesn’t want to settle, who likes thinking outside the box when it comes to learning, and who wants to add a deeper level to their college education, you need to apply for Graham Collaborative Innovation Fellows. Visit ycp.edu for more details.