Grant writing is something that I had no experience with until I applied for the summer internship notation program at Dickinson College last spring. I found out that I could write a proposal and ask for money to help me pay for my internship expenses while I was living in Atlanta. This was an excellent option considering that most internships are unpaid these days. For the last three summers I have worked to help pay for my living expenses while also taking summer classes, so I knew that working a summer internship without getting paid would be extremely difficult. Last summer I took a music class in the morning, worked as a research assistant at Siskin Children’s Institute without pay in the afternoons and then worked 6 p.m. -2:30 a.m. at Victoria’s Secret to make some cash. Needless to say it was a very very busy summer. Once I knew that I had been accepted as a research assistant at Shepherd Center this summer, I got into the mode of trying to figure out how to make it happen financially. Interestingly, my mom follows Dickinson College on her Facebook and saw a notice about this grant opportunity. She immediately called me to tell me the news and to suggest I get the specifics about the program. It was not a simple ask for money and then I would get it. I had to write a grant proposal, create a budget of all of my expenses, get a letter from Dr. Seel agreeing to allow me to complete my internship there, agree to let people know about my internship experience (HELLO BLOG!), as well as complete regular assignments and turn them in on time.
Little did I know that this skill was also a real world skill that researchers use on a regular basis. Right now my supervisor, Dr. Seel is in the process of submitting a grant for a new study that they will be conducting at Shepherd Center. I have watched him this week prepare the grant proposal, stress over the budget as well as watch him check and double check everything before it is submitted. My grant experience is obviously on a much smaller scale, but I have learned that the details matter and are often the deciding factor of whether or not your grant is funded. Researchers live by grants! I am proud of the fact that I was able to get total funding for my proposal request. Thank you Dickinson, Shepherd Center and Dr. Seel for your support in helping me learn a lot this summer.