Tag Archives: The University of Iowa

Opportunities for Women’s Studies Scholars

Spring has sprung, and despite the low temps in Iowa City ( 21°!), we are ready to think about spring funding opportunities!

Today, I want to focus attention on a handful of opportunities for those folks who focus on women’s issues, education, and health. Here are a couple of opportunities with rapidly approaching deadlines:


1) Awards for The National Women’s Studies Association (various)

2) Sociologists for Women in Society (SWS) (studies of women and cancer)

*** Here is a list with many more!

As always, drop me a line if you need help! dsp-gradgrants@uiowa.edu


Funding International Travel

6441760-flags-globe-with-world-map-original-vector-illustrationFunding international travel, research, and conference experiences has been on everyone’s mind lately. Between a big NSF announcement and a university wide effort to increase Fulbright visibility (join the Iowa Fulbright group!), everyone seems to be thinking of going abroad.

In addition, Anna Hoffman, from UI College of Education recently contacted me for an interview about international travel funding. I was featured alongside my buddy from International Programs, Karen Wachsmuth. Karen handles Fulbright, DAAD, Boren, and Stanley awards here at Iowa. I handle a mish-mash of other international opportunities including Chateaubriand, IDRF, AAUW, and pretty much anything else you find in your SPIN and Grants 4 Hawks Searches.

During my interview, I offered Anna the following three pieces of advice about funding international travel.

1)       Be flexible. At age 24, I wanted to teach in Australia, and ended up getting an offer to teach in Germany. I went from knowing almost nothing about Bavaria to having it become one of my favorite places! This is not an unusual story; part of the magic of international study is growing from the experiences you don’t expect.

2)       Start early. Big opportunities (such as those offered by Fulbright) not only require well-developed proposals, but also language study, testing, and sometimes in-country experiences. It also helps to have an early record of success with smaller opportunities such as travel grants, conferences, and/or trips to archives.

3)       Find a Mentor (and other readers!). Nobody can replace a strong faculty mentor when you are developing your research project. Work closely with them to develop your project, gently remind them of deadlines, and make they have the information they need to support you. You will also want to find “educated generalists” that can read your proposal and help keep it clear and jargon-free. This is the kind of reading I do for students, but you can also work with [Anna and Liz J maybe? ] through the COE Grant and Research Services Center, Karen Wachsmuth at International Programs, or another reader.

Are you a University of Iowa graduate student who wants to find funding for international research? Contact dsp-gradgrants@uiowa.edu and I will connect you with the best resources for your needs. Undergrad? Contact the Kelly Thornburg from the UI Honors Program for the best resources.

Opportunities for Medievalists

medievalistAre you a medievalist with a dissertation project that will be approved by February 15, 2013? Are you a member (or considering membership) with the Medieval Academy of America? If so, the MAA Dissertation Grant  could be the oppportunity for you!

Your application is due February 15, and will be judged on the following criteria:

  • the originality of the dissertation project, the clarity of its methodology, and its likelihood to contribute to medieval  studies
  • the cogency of the writing and organization of the dissertation project description
  • the dissertation director’s statement regarding the excellence of the project and the applicant’s preparation to complete the project
  • the applicant’s demonstrated need for the grant to complete the dissertation successfully

Are you not ready for your dissertation just yet? Perhaps some Latin classes would be a better fit? Maybe you just want to see what else is available (scroll down for a good list!). As always, let me know if I can help!

Climate Change Research Grant

The George Melendez Wright Climate Change Fellowship Program is awarding $5,000 to $20,000  for research to be undertaken in calendar years 2012-13.

Deadline: January 18, 2013

Projects may consist of exploratory research that could lead to a larger project funded by other sources but must result in tangible outcomes that are aimed at informing resource decisions. Applications are encouraged for research in any area relevant to the natural and cultural resources of units of the National Park System. Examples include projects addressing vulnerability and risk assessment; adaptation strategies; public perceptions and values; and impacts to natural resources and cultural resources (e.g., cultural landscapes, archeological, traditional cultural/ethnographic, and historic structures).

Both U.S. citizens and non-citizens are eligible to apply.

Lewis and Clark Fund for Field Research

Do you need funding in order to conduct field study in 2013? The The Lewis and Clark Fund for Exploration and Field Research may be your solution. This opportunity provides up to $5000 for your research costs.

The Lewis and Clark Fund encourages exploratory field studies for the collection of specimens and data. They support students in archeology, anthropology, biology, ecology, geography, geology, linguistics, paleontology, population genetics, and some other fields as well.

Deadlines: Application: February 1, with notification in May, for work in June and beyond. Letters of support: January 28

Want to know what they are looking for? Check in with Jen at dsp-gradgrants@uiowa.edu to see a sample of a winning proposal Lewis and Clark proposal from a former UI student.

Thinking About a Fulbright? START TODAY

Do you know when you should be planning for your awesome Fulbright adventure ? Not next month, not next spring, and CERTAINLY not next summer… No, you should start planning today.

But the deadline is in September, so what’s the rush?

Experts agree (and by experts, I mean winners) that a good Fulbright application takes more than a few months to prepare. It’s not that the writing is all that much work (although you will need to go through several drafts to be competitive), it’s the affiliations, the planning, and sometimes even the preliminary research to show that your project is worthwhile.

But don’t take my word for it, here’s a Fulbright blogger with his advice:

So how do you get involved in this exciting opportunity? It all starts with the application. Find someone you trust to edit your essays. Tell them you want the most honest and rigorous feedback they can give. It’s important that the proposal retains the quality of your own voice, but an editor can identify where your ideas are too vague, the language too flowery and information repeated.

Second, be willing to write and rewrite the application materials until they are clear, succinct, detailed and convey your passion. For reference, I rewrote my project proposal eight times. The degree of organization and professionalism of your application materials will speak to your ability to undertake the responsibility of teaching or researching in a foreign country.

In terms of the application itself, it’s important to approach the process strategically. At the outset it may seem that you don’t have enough space to convey everything you’d like the review committee to know. Be creative in how you include information. For example, there were a few accomplishments that I couldn’t fit into my project proposal or personal narrative, so I asked my references to discuss those achievements in the letters they were writing.

Smart advice, and there’s more on the Fulbright blog. But you will also want to start working with a fellowships advisor. My Fulbright Fellowship buddies, Kelly (for undergraduates), and Karen (for graduate students) can offer you great advice and help you make contacts with even more helpful people.

You will also want to make contact with your advisor/mentor/faculty that will support your application. These people will not only serve as references, they are essential to helping you plan a project that is feasible within the Fulbright time frame. If you don’t know a person with your area of interest, contact a Fulbright advisor and ask. Interested in teaching English abroad on a Fulbright ETA? Contact a faculty member with expereince in that country (or a Fulbright advisor to find one) and get some starting advice!


ProFellow is Your New Bicycle

Are you looking for a fellowship for the 2013 school year? Perhaps you have an itch to travel abroad and enhance your language skills or collect preliminary data for your dissertation? Try  ProFellow to get you where you want to go!

ProFellow is the brainchild of Vicki Johnson, a doctoral student in disaster management, and her partner, Ryan. Vicki is the beneficiary of several graduate and professional fellowships, and created the site based on her own experiences. Beyond just searching, the site offers a terrific ProFellow blog, where successful fellows tell their stories and give hints about the application process.

Great ideas!

Summer Preparations for GRFP Applicants

Are you thinking of applying for a Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) award this fall? If you are eligible, there is no reason not to! But, like all other funding  applications, the key to your success is advance preparation. But what does that mean for this summer? Both GRFP awardees and reviewers offer GRFP tips, but you will also definitely want to think about the following summer homework:

  •  Learn about Broader Impacts (BI) activities, what this term means, and your activities meet this vital criteria. Try this handy BI guide sheet from NSF. According to this article written by GRFP reviewers “For a large number of applicants, the broader impact criterion was the decisive factor.”
  • Select your letter writers and prepare materials to make their job easy. Give them directions for Fastlane (Mizzou has a nice example) and some examples (Vanderbilt offers a useful guide). Choose your writers carefully, select people who know your work well and can speak to different strengths…and then help them do that!

Finally, you should begin to read some winning GRFP proposals! Immerse yourself in the genre of GRFP essay. You can do this by reviewing online examples, like these on Alex Lang’s Blog, or drop me an email at dsp-gradgrants@uiowa.edu to see examples from recent Iowa winners (Hawk ID required).

As always, let me know what I can do to help!

Congratulations to IIE Graduate Fellowship/Fulbright-Hays Winner, Brian Miller

Brian and Angela

A big congratulations to  IIE Graduate Fellowship/Fulbright-Hays winner Brian Miller, and his wife (and my wonderful colleague!) Angela Keysor, as they prepare to fly out for a year in Ankara, Turkey. Brian and Angela are both students here at The University of Iowa’s History department: He studies Turkish identity during the late 20th century, while she focuses on healthcare in Colonial America. Combined, they are two of the kindest and most helpful people that you could ever meet on your path through academia.

But despite their academic success and combined grants(wo)manship smarts, the road to securing funding for Brian’s international research has been challenging. Brian applied and became a finalist for the 2010 Fulbright-Hays competition, missing the cut by a slim margin. He read the reviewer comments, learned from them, and tried again in 2011. Success! Sort of. Despite having his proposal deemed successful by Fulbright-Hays reviewers in 2011, Brian was met with the news that “no new awards will be made under the [Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad] Program in FY 2011.”


Brian wasn’t the only one disappointed. Graduate students let out a collective moan of frustration. The Hays was special. Unlike other Fulbright awards, this Fellowship allowed for more in-depth research from those who know their research topics, languages, and areas of study exceedingly well. It was a tremendous loss. Enter, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s decision to make a one-time donation in order

to provide support for PhD dissertation research to approximately 80 doctoral students in the humanities whose funding has been lost due to recent significant reductions in federal spending. A special one-time only grant of $3.16 million from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has enabled IIE to create these fellowships so that talented emerging scholars can conduct research overseas for six to 12 months, with the goal of advancing knowledge, research and teaching in non-western languages and area studies.

Congratulations! Thanks, Mellon Foundation! Thus, while the support wasn’t quite as much as the original Fulbright-Hays, Brian is still able to conduct his research in Turkey for the necessary period of time. A good story, no? Maybe not as good as finding love in a feminist historical methods seminar…but not too shabby.

Love you guys! Güle güle!

Petridish is Kickstarter for Scientists!

Have you heard of Kickstarter? If not, and you are an artist, writer, or musician, than you should check it out. It’s a great site where you can present your creative projects to the public and solicit donations. If you reach your required project budget, Voila! You’re funded! But until recently, if you were a scientist you were out of luck…but no longer. Check out Petridish.org! Do you need to fund a project? Do you have spare cash that you want to donate to a worthy scientist? Maybe you just want to flip through other people’s projects to learn. Whatever your interest, if you are a scientist, you should check out this new site.

Is Petridish useful for graduate students? Let us know what you think!