The Journey to Innovation is Dr. Stephen D. Fantone’s story on what being a Hertz Fellow has meant to him. Read the excerpt below and see the full article on the Hertz Foundation Website:
A PhD program is an intellectual environment that is unmatched in its intensity and focus. When you start graduate research, you know that you are embarking on a journey that will take years. There is always a question of your ability to stick with it, and you always have some self-doubt about whether you will make it. The PhD process itself changes you. It instills discipline, toughness and an analytical, problem-solving view of the world
To complete your PhD, you are challenged to find a problem that’s worth solving, muster the resources to address that problem, and then communicate the solution to your peers for review. You go through this process at an age when you are still maturing intellectually and it’s an invaluable rite of passage. You must master the topic and become the expert if you want to solve the problem—it is in your hands only. That’s a lot of responsibility for a young person, but it drives innovation and outside-the-box thinking.
I first heard about the Hertz Fellowship in my second year of graduate school when a professor told me I should consider applying for it. I went through the interview process and really didn’t know what to expect afterward. My first reaction when I received the Fellowship was surprise. The second was that I felt I had received a huge vote of confidence, which was really needed at that early stage of my career. And the third was a sense of freedom. Part of this freedom was financial—it came from the generous financial support of the Fellowship that allowed me to dedicate 120 percent of myself to my research. The other part of this freedom was the ability to choose the subject matter most interesting to me, which is not the case with the majority of Fellowships.
See the full article on the Hertz Foundation website here: http://hertzfoundation.org/dx/newsevents/pressrelease.aspx?d=295