Sarra Tekola, a PhD student in the School of Sustainability who is a first-generation college student, is a recent awardee of the distinguished Ford Foundation Fellowship. The Ford Foundation awards research-funding fellowships to both predoctoral and postdoctoral researchers. Tekola took advantage of ASU’s support of Ford Fellowship applicants via the Graduate College's Distinguished Graduate Fellowships Initiative, developed in partnership with the Office of National Scholarship Advisement at Barrett. She attended information sessions and writing workshops, in addition to other rigorous pursuits in the process of strategically writing, reviewing and revising — and then redoing the whole process over again and again, until her Ford application was perfect. ASU Now interviewed Tekola for advice on what it takes to produce a winning application for a highly competitive fellowship that hovers around a 5 percent applicant success rate.