During the School of Education’s Fall 2016 semester faculty retreat, co-directors Gene Gloeckner and Louise Jennings asked faculty and staff to share ideas for supporting the school’s students in their academic and professional development. From this discussion, faculty members Daniel Birmingham, Jessica Gonzalez, Leann Kaiser, and Jill Zarestky developed a mini-grant program designed to award travel funds to doctoral and master’s students in any major within the school who are financially unable to attend conferences otherwise.
The school opened the application period during the fall semester, resulting in five students receiving mini-grants, and again during the spring semester, when nine students were awarded funds. Grant amounts up to $1,000 were made available to support travel to national and/or regional scholar-practitioner conferences. In the future, the committee hopes to award more funds in larger amounts to students, allowing further reach for the students and the school itself.
“Being awarded funding made it possible for me to attend the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators annual conference. This is my fourth time attending the conference and my first time presenting at it,” says Marina Martin, a student in the school’s Student Affairs in Higher Education master’s degree program. “Since the cost is so high to attend the conference, receiving the funding made it truly possible to be able to attend and to enjoy myself without worry of how I was going to pay for things.”
With these grants, students have the opportunity to present their research to a group of their peers and see the research of others in their field, as well as network for later research and job opportunities.
“As graduate students, we need to be in touch with colleagues from other universities, to share our knowledge and improve our research as well,” says Liz Parra-Perez, a doctoral student in the school’s Education Sciences specialization. “This grant means a great opportunity to be in contact with people in my field. I am confident that this experience will have a positive effect on my current research.”
“I think that going to these conferences is not only really important for [graduate students’] learning but I also think it’s really important for us as a school,” says Daniel Birmingham, assistant professor and a member of the travel funds committee. “It shows that we have doctoral and master’s students doing really amazing work. Going out there and having the opportunities to talk about that work increases the reach that the School of Education has, and I think it can only positively impact the school.”
The application will re-open for submissions in August 2017. Master’s and doctoral students in any program within the School of Education are encouraged to apply for the grant if they are in need of financial assistance to attend a conference.
The School of Education is part of CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.
Pictured: Marina Martin, at NASPA in March 2017