It's a chance I almost missed.
After I was awarded my degree at the end of August, the University of Minnesota cut off my access to my U email account. This was fine, and expected. What wasn't fine was that they kept trying to use that account to communicate with me. So when the English Department was trying to get in touch with me to find out if I would be willing to be nominated for this fellowship, I didn't find out until someone sent a panicked email to my advisor. And then even though I explained what was going on, when I was nominated, the old, bad address was used. I didn't hear anything, and so I assumed the University had passed on my project.
A week before the application deadline, I got a phone call from my friend Jen, who had also been nominated, telling me she had seen the old email on a message that had gone out to the nominees that morning. Because of her, I was able to contact the ACLS, and get the confusion straightened out. I was able to contact my advisor, and two other members of my dissertation committee, who were willing, even under the time crunch, to write recommendation letters for me. I literally would not have this chance without Jen's help. I cannot even articulate how grateful I am to her, other than to say I am so blessed and lucky to have her in my life.