Ashlyn's search for funding sources and the Rotary Global Grant scholar experience at LSHTM

Ashlyn from the United States has received a scholarship from the Rotary Global Grant and is now an MSc Nutrition for Global Health student. She guides you through the funding jungle, sharing how to unearth hidden scholarships and tap into student ambassador intel. She also shares her exciting plans to give back and pave the way for future scholars.
Ashlyn Anderson

Planting the seeds: funding & scholarship opportunities for students

“Have you thought about the Rotary Global Grant?” I was 17 and participating at the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) when I first heard of the opportunity to study for a Master's internationally. Long before I had entered university, this simple conversation planted seeds for continued education and international engagement, made possible through a funding opportunity I am keen to share with others.

The Rotary Global Grant Scholarship is funded by Rotary International which is a global service organization with a mission to provide service and advance world understanding and peace through fellowship of community members and global leaders. While some may only know Rotary by local level club meetings, the breadth and depth of Rotary includes a diverse array of actions such as humanitarian aid, grants for service projects, and most notably the Global Polio Eradication Initiative which has reduced polio cases by 99.9 percent around the world.

A group photo of RYLA team staff
Participating on RYLA team staff where I first heard about the Rotary Global Grant.

While my Rotary story has deep and personal roots, I recognize that researching funding opportunities for graduate programs internationally is quite arduous. It is well acknowledged that financial barriers are often students’ greatest inhibitors to global education, but I strongly encourage students to continue to seek out opportunities and go beyond the websites, as many come about through conversations and connections. While perhaps lesser known than other postgraduate programs like the Marshall, Rhodes, and Chevening, The Rotary Global Grant is an invaluable scholarship available to students across the world. The specifications for eligibility vary by country of origin, but the mission, vision, and competitive selection of scholars are largely the same. The commonality is that all Global Grant Scholars are supported by their home country Rotary District and connected with a host District in the country of study.

Nurturing growth: Rotary Global Grant experience since joining LSHTM

After finishing my time as a Fulbright Scholar in Mexico, I circled back to my 17 year old self and desire to pursue postgraduate education. I distinctly remember when I found out about the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). I had just spoken to my friend at Johns Hopkins studying for her MPH. She immediately urged me to consider LSHTM. It was a perfect fit as the Global Grant scholarship considers not only academic passions, but alignment with one of Rotary’s 7 Areas of Focus.

LSHTM marked all the requirements on my list as it was in the network-oriented London, offered a Master's that combined my passions for nutrition and public health, and has a worldwide prestige with a ranking of #3 school of public health in the world. I seek to fulfill Rotary’s area of focus of disease prevention and treatment to develop comprehensive knowledge in global public health nutrition and become a change-maker through careers in food policy NGOs and equitable nutrition advocacy.

To solidify my decision to attend LSHTM, I needed one final insight: student experience. I contacted Chris Wong, a former Student Ambassador on the MSc Nutrition for Global Health program to find out more about his lived experience and future trajectory as an LSHTM alumnus. In my final question, I asked him how he funded the program and any scholarships he utilized.“Have you thought about the Rotary Global Grant?” His question took me by pleasant surprise and was exactly the confirmation I needed to make a decision and apply to LSHTM.

A group of Rotary Global Grant Scholars at orientation in London, October 2023
Rotary Global Grant Scholars at orientation in London, October 2023.

Reaping a harvest: Growing in community through my time in London

My favorite part of being a Rotary Global Grant Scholar in London is that the community does not end when you arrive. The sense of family and camaraderie only flourishes once in-country as the Rotary community, conferences, and connections are abundant. The statistics are convincing for postgraduate students from around the world to want to study in London: 11 Scholars at LSHTM, 38 Scholars in London, and around 140 Scholars in the UK. The strong presence of Global Grant Scholars at LSHTM speaks to its high caliber which allows us to pursue our dreams in global health, all while being supported by our host clubs at home and in London. Not only have I met some of my dearest friends through this means of Rotary gatherings, but I have also been involved with other aspects of Rotary including Rotaract which is an action-oriented, international group of young professionals who do service and cultivate community in London. 

A group of students outside LSHTM Keppel Street entrance
Students from MSc Nutrition for Global Health this year.

Just as much as I am privileged to have financial support from the Rotary Global Grant, I am committed to giving back to student scholarships to make this a reality for others. I was selected to run on behalf of LSHTM in the London Landmarks Half Marathon in April 2024! This is not only a way to build physical stamina and endurance, but an opportunity to invest in funding sources that will pave the way for the next generation of scholars at LSHTM.

My story with Rotary and LSHTM is long from over, and I continue to share it with the hope that others will take advantage of scholarship opportunities that could make the vision of international education at a world-class institution a reality for you. I advise doing research into the current Rotary and other NGO landscapes of your city, region, and country. Make sure to check out the Rotary website, be in touch with your Rotary District on their status for sponsoring Global Grant Scholars, and be in touch with me for any further questions!