Tag Archives: funding

Barriers to, and Benefits of, Grant Writing

Written by Michael Williams, PhD and Renee Cloutier, MS

grant writingGrant writing may be daunting at first, but it is always rewarding!

There are many reasons students are ambivalent about writing grant and fellowship applications. I’ll identify a few and maybe some will resonate with you or someone close to you.

A couple of popular barriers:

It is EXTRA work! As a graduate student, time is a distant luxury we often crave. Many graduate students are entrenched in heavy coursework, teaching or other work (gotta pay the bills!), and our beloved research with whom there is often a love/hate relationship. Some students have additional clinical training and responsibilities, specialized educational experiences, community service activities, or leadership roles in service to their professional identity. Isn’t this enough?!

NO! Grants actually compliment and support your goals. A grant can help pay for a research project, provide the support to increase the reach of your program, and more, which is only to your benefit. Some people use grants to hire consultants with expertise to help train them and assist with completing an aspect of their project/program (for example, a statistics consultant).

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It’s Time to Tell Congress We Need Fairer Graduate Student Loans

Once the thrill of being accepted into a graduate program wears off, the reality of how to finance graduate school sets in. Right now we have an opportunity to make our voices heard and cut unnecessary costs quite a bit.

postgrad-image

What’s the issue? For nearly 50 years, both undergraduate and graduate students were eligible for the Federal Direct Subsidized Loan Program with the goal of making all levels of post-secondary education accessible to students with financial need. In 2012, however, changes in the Budget Control Act eliminated eligibility for graduate students. In other words, graduate student borrowers could no longer get subsidized loans, like Stafford loans. As a student taking out these loans, your interest is now accruing from day 1.

This change has increased the cost of borrowing significantly and may be putting graduate study out of reach for many students with financial need, especially underrepresented groups. We’ve reported elsewhere on our latest data about psychology graduate student debt. As a result of increased costs, 75% of graduates delay saving for the future, 67% delay saving for retirement, and 57% delay purchasing a home (Stamm et al, 2015). Similarly, graduates may delay starting small businesses like independent practices as a result of their debt burdens. (Additional background is here.)

At the same time, the United States faces numerous health shortages and research voids, and so our choice is often to meet these national needs is to attend graduate school, despite the costs.

What’s our opportunity to act?  In December 2015, Representative Judy Chu, Democrat from the 27th District of California, introduced legislation that would restore the eligibility of graduate students for the Federal Direct Subsidized Loan Program.

Representative Chu’s legislation would amend the Higher Education Act to restore the eligibility of graduate students to the Subsidized Loan Program, and lessen the significant debt burden that many students incur while pursuing advanced degrees.

APA is calling upon graduate students, educators, psychologists, and supporters to take immediate action.

What can I do? 

  1. Click here to tell Congress to support graduate students by asking your representative to cosponsor H.R. 4223.
  2. Fill out your contact information and our system will generate an email to your Representative today, asking them to cosponsor H.R. 4223, “the Protecting Our Students by Terminating Graduate Rates that Add to Debt Act,” (POST GRAD Act).
  3. Add a personal note or story to the letter. If you need to overcome writer’s block, read this veteran’s story about his advocacy for bringing back the subsidy.
  4. When you’re done, post about your advocacy efforts on social media and share the link to this blog post with at least five people.

This legislation is an important step toward ensuring students have access to graduate level study, so take action now! Send a message to your Representative and ask them to cosponsor H.R. 4223.  

Editor’s note: APAGS is extremely grateful to the Education Advocacy Team at APA for their efforts in getting this bill on Congress’s radar, drafting our support language, and mobilizing people in person and electronically.  Now it’s your turn!

Many groups are offering students awards and grants to travel to APA Convention Aug. 4-7, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Image source: MattHurst on Flicker. Some rights reserved.)

A Comprehensive List of Student Travel Awards to Attend APA’s 2016 Convention

Many groups are offering students awards and grants to travel to APA Convention Aug. 4-7, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Image source: MattHurst on Flicker. Some rights reserved.)

Many groups are offering students awards and grants to travel to APA Convention Aug. 4-7, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Image source: MattHurst on Flicker. Some rights reserved.)

Let’s face it. You’re eager to travel to APA Convention in Denver, Colorado this August — and we’re eager to meet you! To make the journey less burdensome on your wallet, I compiled a list of travel offerings from across APA’s many departments, committees, divisions, and caucuses, as well as groups outside APA. In some cases, you’ll need to be a presenter, and in other cases, you won’t. This list is meant to complement our other strategies to save.  If you hear of any further opportunities, send details my way, and I’ll update this blog posting. [Last updated: 5/10/16] 

From APA

APAGS: Offers two grants/awards:

  • We’re offering 5-7 students the opportunity to participate in a yearlong leadership institute, which includes $500 in reimbursement to attend APA Convention. Applications due April 1. While this is not a convention travel award — and does come with significant commitment on your part — it is one way we’re hoping to expose students to all the important career leadership and networking opportunities that exist in Denver.
  • A second — albeit indirect — way to obtain up to $500 reimbursement for Convention is to be the one lucky nominator of a faculty member who is selected as the Raymond D. Fowler Awardee for Outstanding Contribution to the Professional Development of Graduate Students.  Applications due April 1.

American Psychological FoundationOffers two grants/awards:

Science DirectorateOffers around 100 Student Travel Awards of $300 each for graduate student travel to present research at APA Convention.  Applications due April 1. In addition, approximately seven students who applied for a travel award will receive an Ungerleider/Zimbardo Travel Scholarship of $300 from the American Psychological Foundation, helping a total of 107 students attend the convention.

Children, Adolescents and Families (CAF) Caucus: Offers two 2016 student travel awards in the amount of $300. Applications due March 31, 2016. Requirements are that: 1) the presentation is relevant to children, adolescents and/or families; and 2) the student is first (or solo) author on the presentation. Applicants are to provide: 1) a copy of their accepted APA presentation; 2) a brief (approximately 250 words) statement regarding their career aspirations; and 3) a letter of recommendation from their advisor or research mentor to the Elections/Communications Chair. Please forward information to Mary A. Fristad, PhD, ABPP at mary.fristad@osumc.edu or 1670 Upham Drive Suite 460G, Columbus, OH 43210-1250 (if mailed, must be received by March 31, 2016).

Commission on Ethnic Minority Recruitment, Retention and Training in Psychology II Task Force: Offers five Travel Grants for Students of Color in Psychology up to $1000 each. Applications due May 15.  The award is to assist students to participate at professional conferences, including APA Convention. If the student is presenting at APA and commits to submitting their presentation for publication, they are eligible. Again, the award is not specifically for convention.

Committee on Socioeconomic Status: Offers one CSES Leadership Award (Student Category), which includes a $500 honorarium.  Applications have been extended to June 1 (and the change will soon appear online — Editor, 4/4/16). There is no requirement that it be used to attend Convention; however, awardees are recognized at Convention.

Office of International Affairs: Offers several awards of up to $500 to psychologists and psychology students based outside the U.S. and Canada, to be applied toward costs related to the APA Convention (e.g., travel expenses or registration fees). Applications due May 1.

From APA Divisions

Division 1, General PsychologyOffers 2 awards valued at $250 each, to Division 1 members. Applications due June 3. The student travel awards are to defray the cost of attending the 2016 Convention. You must be presenting at Convention under Division 1 (note: student does not need to be first author). Must be a student as of Spring 2016. Apply now! Contact Kasey Powers for questions.

Division 2, Society for the Teaching of Psychology: Offers the SAGE Teaching Innovations & Professional Development Award, one student travel grant worth $1,250. Priority application deadline is April 1. The Award is designed to defray costs for a graduate student who wishes to attend the STP (Division 2) programming at Convention. Apply now! Contact Scott Brandhorst for questions.

Division 19, Military PsychologyOffers up to 12 travel awards at $750 each. Applications are due March 31. Apply now! Contact Kevin or Div19studentrep@gmail.com  (all three student reps have access to this email account and can answer questions).

Division 35, Society for the Psychology of Women:  The Division’s Section IV (Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Concerns) Graduate Student Committee offers one travel award of $250. Applications due May 1. Priority will be given to applicants with accepted proposals to present at Convention and those demonstrating a commitment to work with LGBTQ populations from a feminist perspective through research, practice, teaching, and/or community involvement. Apply with a 2-3 page abbreviated CV; a one-page letter of recommendation from an advisor or someone otherwise in a position to speak on the applicant’s commitment to working with LGBTQ populations from a feminist perspective; if presenting, documentation of proposal acceptance; and a two-page personal statement addressing how attending convention will benefit your professional development and goals in relation to LGBTQ feminist psychology (Please include in your statement a brief discussion of your need for funding in order to attend APA Convention, and the lack of alternative funding sources to support conference travel). Submit application as one document via email to Mary T. Guerrant, Chair of the Section IV Graduate Student Committee.

Division 44, Society for the Psychological Study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues: Offers a number of awards.

  • There will be 2 Dr. Richard A. Rodriguez Division 44 Student Travel Awards valued at $500 each. The award supports engagement with LGBT people of color by defraying travel cost.  Applications due May 25. Download the 2016 application form.
  • There will be 2 Mentoring Student Travel Awards at $500 each to support graduate student engagement with LGBTQ psychology. Applications due May 1.
  • There will be 13 “APA Division 44 Student and Early Career Psychologist Engagement Awards” of $250 each. Applications due May 2016 (exact date TBD). Recipients will be required to attend Convention and volunteer in the Division 44 suite for several hours. Applicants must be either (1) a student who is enrolled for the 2016-2017 academic year; or (2) an early career psychologist who completed a psychology training program within the last three years. All applicants must also be members of Division 44. Applicants will be notified of the status of their application via email by the end of June. Submit a cover letter, application form, and CV. Application form will collect contact information, presentation information (if applicable), past attendance to APA (if applicable), past experience with Div. 44 (if applicable), and, for students, their 2016-17 school, program, degree, and year. Your cover letter should provide a description of professional goals and how attending the conference will further these goals, especially as it relates to the research and practice of LGBT concerns in psychology. Application materials must be completed and submitted electronically to Skyler Jackson and Dawn Brown by the May deadline (TBD) in order to be considered.

Division 45, Society for the Psychological Study of Culture, Ethnicity, and RaceOffers 5 Student Travel Awards at $500 each to help assist with the cost of attending APA Convention. Applications due May 31, including a recommendation letter from your advisor or mentor Accepting the travel award commits the students to attending the entire Convention. You must be a current member of the Division. Consideration will be given to those students who demonstrate the following: Leadership Experience; Conference, Presentations, and Symposiums; Publications; Public Service and Community Activities; and Awards and Scholarships. Contact Division 45 with questions.

Division 49, Society for Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy: Offers 6 student travel awards at $500 each to members. Applications due April 15. View this info sheet (PDF) for details.

Division 54, Society of Pediatric Psychology: Offers 5 student travel awards of $750 each. Applications due May 31.  The student travel award is available exclusively for travel to APA Convention.  Awards are available for graduate students, pre-doctoral interns, and post-doctoral fellows who are members of the Society of Pediatric Psychology and who are the first author of a poster or paper to be presented during Division 54 programming at the APA Convention this year. To apply, please submit the following as one complete PDF document to Dr. Eleanor Mackey at emackey@childrensnational.org: (1) a one- page cover letter including your name and e-mail address, your current training institution, your primary mentor on this submitted project, a statement confirming your Division 54 membership status, and information on any other sources of travel funding for your convention participation; (2) copy of your original proposal submitted for the APA conference; and, (3) your current curriculum vitae. Contact Dr. Eleanor Mackey with questions.

Division 56, Trauma Psychology:  Offers a $500 “International Student Travel Assistance Stipend.” Applications due May 1. The travel assistance stipend consists of $500 plus registration fee for the 2016 APA Convention, and is for international students enrolled in a graduate program in psychology, who are citizens of and live and study in developing countries or are citizens from developing countries studying in the U. S. and who will be presenting a trauma related poster, paper, symposium participant at the 2016 APA convention. Also included is a one year free membership in the Division of Trauma Psychology (Div. 56). This stipend is intended as partial support and matching grants or additional support from other institutions and organizations are also encouraged. Send a copy of your CV and proposal abstract that was accepted for the APA convention to: Elizabeth Carll, PhD, President-Elect of APA Trauma Psychology Division, and Chair of Div 56 International Committee, ecarll@optonline.net.

From Elsewhere

Psi Chi: Offers two awards.

  • The Edwin B. Newman Graduate Research Award provides one student with $1,200 in cash from Psi Chi and $1,500 in travel reimbursement from APA to Attend APA Convention. Applications were due February 1; keep this in mind for next year!
  • Unrestricted Travel Grants of up $1500 for up to 17 graduate students who are Psi Chi members. Apply for the funds before or after presenting at a conference such as APA Convention. Applications are due in early May.

 

What rights can psychology graduate students expect no matter where or what they study? (Image source: Julia Manzerova on Flickr. Some rights reserved.)

Graduate Students Have Rights. APAGS Just Spelled Them Out.

What rights should psychology graduate students expect no matter where or what they study? (Image source: Julia Manzerova on Flickr. Some rights reserved.)

What rights should psychology graduate students expect no matter where or what they study? (Image source: Julia Manzerova on Flickr. Some rights reserved.)

If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard a graduate student in psychology discuss aspects of their training or education that seemed inequitable, I could pay back all my loans.

Too often in graduate school, students come across situations in which they believe their rights have been infringed upon in some way. When this occurs, many students feel at a loss for how to advocate for themselves and what they can or should be able to reasonably advocate for. The result for many students is dissatisfaction, frustration, and occasionally leaving a training program or experience.

The APAGS Committee has honed in on this student concern over the past year and opted to move forward with creating a student “bill of rights.” This was a very detailed process that included a literature review of various student right documents from across the world, drafting lists of rights based on this literature and our own experiences, and completing many revisions with input from APAGS leaders and many outside resources.

At long last, the APAGS Committee voted in December to approve a document titled, “Position Statement on the Rights of Psychology Graduate Students.” The Committee is planning to distribute these rights across various platforms and to a variety of constituents. The Committee is even considering bringing the document to APA’s Council of Representatives for consideration as an official policy document! That’s a huge step, and we will keep you posted.

In the meantime, we hope that students, programs, and other interested parties can use this document to their benefit. Use it to advocate for your own rights and thereby create a program or training experience of the highest caliber. If you have other ideas and reactions, we would love to hear from you. Leave a comment below!

Here now is the text of our position statement, which is also available on our website.


Position Statement on the Rights of Psychology Graduate Students

Preamble

The American Psychological Association of Graduate Students (APAGS) deems the rights described in this document to be indispensable to the fair, equitable and respectful treatment of every psychology graduate student throughout their education and training. The protection of these rights fosters the highest quality graduate training experience. APAGS considers these rights essential, not aspirational, and we urge graduate programs to implement these rights in their unique settings and training environments. We encourage current and prospective students to utilize these rights in making informed graduate program selections and in advocating for themselves as issues arise.

1. Institutional Environment

1.1 Right to respectful treatment by faculty members, colleagues, staff, and peers.

1.2 Right to have professional and personal information handled in a sensitive and respectful manner such that personal information is only disclosed when it is deemed necessary for educational or training purposes, and that students are informed prior to any such disclosure (See Ethical Standard 7.04).

1.3 Right to affordable insurance inclusive of health, vision, dental, and mental health care coverage.

2. Program Policies

2.1 Right to publicly available, accurate, and up-to-date descriptions of costs, the availability of financial support, and the likelihood of ongoing support throughout training (e.g., percent of students with full and partial financial support during year one, year two, etc.; available funding options), to be provided prior to or immediately following the program’s interviews for prospective students (See Ethical Standard 7.02).

2.2 Right to accurate and up-to-date information from research advisors and thesis/dissertation committee members on professional factors that could impact student training, career development, and timely program completion.

2.3 Right to access and exercise formal written policies regarding leave and accommodations as they pertain to pregnancy, parenting/caregiving, bereavement, medical or mental illness, and disability.

2.4 Right to access and exercise formal written policies and procedures regarding academic and placement/internship requirements, administrative procedures, evaluation, advisement, retention, average “time to degree,” and termination (See Ethical Standard 7.02).

2.5 Right to express opinions and have representation on campus committees relevant to professional development, with voting privileges where appropriate.

2.6 Right to exemption from new graduation or program requirements, developed after admission, that might result in a delay of graduation.

3. Professional and Educational Training Opportunities

3.1 Right to appropriate professional training (e.g., teaching, research, clinical practice) in the current standards and practices of the discipline and specialty area (See Ethical Standard 7.01).

3.2 Right to be evaluated by faculty consistent with current ethical practices in employment, progression through the program, and grading, solely on the basis of academic performance, professional qualifications, and/or conduct (See Ethical Standard 7.06).

3.3 Right to quality mentorship.

3.4 Right to change advisors and committee members for professional and personal needs.

3.5 Right to receive timely, ongoing feedback on all areas of trainee competency and the opportunity to address growth areas with support from faculty.

3.6 Right to co-authorship in publications when the student has made significant contributions of ideas or research work (See Ethical Standards 8.11 and 8.12 a-c).

3.7 Right to freely communicate and collaborate with other academic colleagues.

3.8 Right to lead, assemble, and participate in organizations and activities outside the academic program.

3.9 Right to engage in self care as a routine practice throughout training (See Ethical Standards 3.05 and 3.06).

4. Work Environment

4.1 Right to fair compensation for services provided during training (e.g., graduate, teaching, and research assistantships).

4.2 Right for students providing services during training (e.g., teaching, research, clinical, and administrative graduate assistantships) to enjoy the recognitions, rights, privileges, and protections afforded to employees under state, provincial, territorial, and national labor laws.

4.3 Right to study and work in an environment free of exploitation, intimidation, harassment, or discrimination based on one’s student status, race, ethnicity, skin color, national origin, religion, political beliefs, economic status, age, sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, marital status, pregnancy or parental status, disability, medical or mental health conditions, ancestry, citizenship, military veteran status, or any other identity salient to the individual in admissions and throughout education, employment, and placement (See Principle E and Ethical Standards 3.01, 3.02, 3.03, 3.08).

4.4 Right to work under clearly expressed and mutually agreed-upon job descriptions and work or training conditions.

4.5 Right to perform only those tasks that relate to academic program requirements, professional development, and/or job duties.

4.6 Right to provide constructive and professional feedback to supervisors, directors, administrators, and staff concerning the quality and content of supervision

5. Appeals and Grievances

5.1 Right to clearly defined official grievance procedures and informal complaint procedures.

5.2 Right to whistleblower protection for exposing professional, ethical, or legal violations (See Ethical Standard 1.08).

5.3 Right to due process for any accusation of violation or infraction.

5.4 Right to be free of reprisals for exercising the rights contained in this document (See Ethical Standard 1.08).

APAGS Ambassadors play a warm up game during orientation in Toronto, August 2015 .

What’s It Like For a First-Timer to Attend APA Convention?

Denver

This Denver, Colorado skyline awaits 2016 Conventioneers.

APA Convention is a great way to connect with your peers and with established psychologists. There are so many opportunities for networking, learning, and growth . Convention will be in Denver, Colorado from August 4 through 7, 2016.

We want to help you get there by providing funding through five APAGS Convention Travel Awards, each worth $500 in reimbursement. Additionally, we offer registration fee waivers for all APAGS member first-authors at Convention (learn more in our FAQ). Other directorates in APA (such as Science), along with several divisions, also offer special funding opportunities.

The deadline to submit a poster or program proposal is Tuesday, December 1 at 5pm EasternDon’t miss your opportunity to present at Convention and get connected!

One of last year’s travel grant winners — a doctoral student at Auburn University — shared her experiences with me about the process of applying for funds to attend the APA Convention in Toronto.

Heather Dade: Why did you decide to apply for our Convention Travel Award? 

Anne Conroy: I was excited at the opportunity to attend sessions, devote time to my professional development, and explore new surroundings.  I was going to get the opportunity to assist with my first symposium, and I was going to view the posters of my colleagues and friends.

Heather: We’re happy you applied. Tell me what you first thought about Convention when you got to Toronto. 

Anne: My excitement was somewhat replaced by a feeling of anxiety. I was overwhelmed by the size of, well, everything: The Convention guide resembled a phone book, and there was a sea of psychologists spread in every direction who seemed to know what they were doing.  How was I going to get the most out of this experience?

Heather: What did help you get a handle on this Convention? 

Anne: Attending the APAGS orientation and connecting with other APAGS ambassadors helped me feel less overwhelmed and made the convention seem more manageable.  As the conference progressed, I started to see familiar faces in the vast sea of psychologists and psychologists-in-training, which gave me reassurance that I would not be forever lost in my attempts to navigate from session to session.  I enjoyed conversing with my fellow APAGS ambassadors, many of whom were also attending their first APA conference.  We bonded over our mutual bewilderment at the sheer magnitude of the conference, along with our desire to make the most of the experience.

APAGS Ambassadors play a warm up game during orientation in Toronto, August 2015 .

APAGS Ambassadors play a warm-up game during orientation in Toronto, August 2015 .

Heather: Anne, how did you figure out how to fill your time at Convention?

Anne: In determining my schedule, I decided to attend several of the APAGS sessions, with the hope that attending programs geared toward graduate students would give me useful pieces of information to apply upon returning home.  I attended a session entitled, “Set Goals, Say No, and Still Graduate,” where I was able to create a timeline for completing my dissertation proposal, broken down into small, digestible pieces.  I was thoroughly pleased when I left the session, as I had a workable, reasonable time frame to present to my adviser!  I plan on applying the strategies learned in that session to other academic pursuits, including data collection and dissertation defense.

Heather: Did you go to anything else at Convention that you liked? 

Anne: Another APAGS session that provided me with incredibly beneficial information was the Internship Workshop.  While I am still at least one year away from applying for internship, I found the information to be useful in dispelling my fears around internship essays, selection of sites, and the like.  I took copious amounts of notes regarding how to communicate my personal and professional identity to site directors, along with tips regarding scheduling interviews and how to avoid being overwhelmed by the process.  I was so impressed with the APAGS programming at the convention that I encouraged other members from my program to attend APAGS sessions.

Heather: What would you say to another student who was considering applying?

Anne: I received numerous benefits beyond the monetary prize, including gaining valuable pieces of information that will serve me well as I continue my education and gaining contacts to whom I can reach out with questions.   I encourage all who are interested in applying to do so for next year’s convention.  You won’t regret it!