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Dear Graduate Students,

This month, Fatima, one of your fellow students, shares her disappointments and successes with grant writing and gives advice for a perspective shift on the process. We think you’ll appreciate her reflections.

Shelley and Bethany


Hello fellow Graduate Students!

Hello Graduate Students,


My name is Alison Elder and I am starting the first year of my PhD in Geography.  My research to date focuses on water resource issues in arid lands. My MA project examined the effects of large-scale irrigated agriculture development processes on rural livelihoods and water supply in southeastern Morocco. I have also been a part of a project at the University of Arizona for the last three years looking at green infrastructure adoption and implementation in Tucson and in other cities across Arizona.

My name is Andrew Kunihiro and I am a 5th year PhD student in the Department of Nutritional Sciences. My dissertation research focuses on the metabolism and bioactivity of curcumin, a dietary polyphenol from the turmeric rhizome. Specifically, I look at how curcumin can prevent bone destruction caused by bone-metastatic breast cancer.


My name is Sarah Renkert and I am a Ph.D. student in Applied Sociocultural Anthropology. I have applied to multiple fellowships and I would like to share five key takeaways to success.


Hello fellow funding seekers!

My name is Brandon Hellman, and I am a third year PhD student in Optical Sciences. I am developing new LIDAR (3D mapping, input) and 3D display (output) systems. LIDAR is very important for autonomous vehicles: a traditional camera does not offer clear enough depth-perception information for a car to drive itself. 3D display . . . and who doesn’t want to see a floating Princess Leia hologram?

Dear Graduate Students,

Katherine Guns’ last NSF GRFP application was as close to perfect as I’ve seen an application. So I was surprised when she did not receive the fellowship. However, I was delighted to learn that, as she explains below, she did end up being very successful in receiving funding. Read her wonderful story below.

My name is Elise Bell, and I’m a fourth year PhD candidate in the Department of Linguistics. My research focuses on the variety of Welsh that is spoken in the Patagonia region of Argentina. My dissertation work is an examination of the ways that bilingualism with Spanish affects the way Argentinean Welsh speakers perceive and produce Welsh vowels. Because my research requires fieldwork to collect data, I’ve applied to quite a few fellowships and grants to fund my research related travel.

Because many funding opportunities require US citizenship or residency, finding funding can be particularly difficult for international students. However, opportunities do exist for international students. As I have worked with Saleh Ahmed, an international student in Arid Lands Resource Sciences, I have been impressed with his persistence in looking for and applying for funding. I have also been impressed with the way in which his work and ideas have developed over the past year. I asked him to share his experience applying for funding with all of you.

Dear Graduate Students,

In the coming few months, the GradFunding Advice will come from your fellow graduate students across campus. When considering whom to invite to write an article, I’ve asked students who I believe will have something valuable to say to other graduate students across campus. Meg Mills-Novoa has been persistent in looking for and applying for funding; her efforts have paid off.