Teamwork Pays Off: Exciting New Funding Opportunity for Graduate Students

October 19, 2021


Students may wonder why they are often required to work in a group to complete an assignment or project. The answer is simple, in the Biology Department our ultimate goal is to prepare our students to succeed in their careers after they graduate, and employers consistently identify the ability to collaborate as one of the most desirable qualities for their employees. At Eastern, we don’t just talk the talk, we also walk the walk.

A group of five EWU Biology faculty recently received the exciting news that the Department of Education is awarding our department $646,737 over the next three years to allow us to provide a graduate education to students who might not be able to attend graduate school without substantial financial assistance. These competitive fellowships will be available to students working in any discipline in Biology, provided they meet the eligibility criteria outlined in the grant, which includes financial need.

It would have been incredibly challenging for any single faculty member to complete the 40-page proposal required for this grant. The proposal process is rigorous, competitive, and must be completed in a limited timeframe. Sections of the grant included a description of our general objectives, our specific problems, and a plan to address those problems. In addition, we were asked to describe how we would measure our successes and identify those areas in which we need to improve. – Yes, you do have to collect empirical data in all aspects of science! Each member of the team contributed ideas and expertise, and we all spent a substantial amount of time writing. However, the joy and sense of satisfaction we felt upon learning we were successful made it all worthwhile.

Teamwork at EWU also goes beyond any single department. The GAANN Leadership Team received an incredible amount of help from the EWU Grants Office. Kristyl Riddle in particular deserves a huge shout out for helping us stay organized, on task, and fixing those infuriating formatting issues in Google Docs. We also received substantial support from the CSTEM Dean’s Office, and the Provost’s office, without which we would have been unable to even submit our proposal.

More information will come soon, including instructions for those interested in applying for a Fellowship. In the meantime, anyone with questions may contact Dr. Paul Spruell (pspruell@ewu.edu).

GAANN Leadership Team: Dr. Bo Idsardi, Dr. Camille McNeely, Dr. Javier Ochoa-Reparaz, Dr. Robin. O’Quinn, and Dr. Paul Spruell (Project Director).

Click here to download: GAANN EWU Full Details and Application