Responding to Reader Questions

Mar 14, 2024

I got locked out of the bathroom when I started my first faculty job. The bathroom had an electronic keypad, and I didn’t know the code. I roamed the halls, hoping to bump into someone who could help me.

Today’s newsletter is about making sure you don’t have to roam the halls to find answers to your questions. I’m answering frequently asked reader questions. Let’s dive in!

Q: If I’m an international student, how do I find out about grant opportunities? Johns Hopkins keeps a repository of graduate funding opportunities and lists eligibility criteria. Check out this spreadsheet from Dr. Carmen Falcone and Marilyn Phan. This thread from Rashmi Singh also has some ideas, including the AAUW International Fellowships. See this post for more on graduate student grant opportunities generally.

Q: How do you build relationships with program officers?

Building these relationships is critical for your grant writing success. Not every program officer will meet with you, but try to meet with program officers whenever you can. The optimal time to do so is after you’ve drafted your one pager (the pitch for your grant). The reason why this is an optimal time is because you’ve spent time developing your ideas. You have material you can discuss with a program officer. But you’re also not so far down the line in terms of development that you can’t benefit from input and guidance. A program officer can help guide you in terms of how your ideas might fit with the funder. Once you have a one pager, send an email to your program officer (if mentors tell you this is OK to do), ask them if they’d be willing to meet with you to talk about the fit of your work with the funder, and attach your one pager.

Q: Can I get funding for time to work on my book manuscript?

Dr. Sara Smith initiated a thread on X about this exact topic! Here are the resources that scholars recommended:

That’s all for today! I’ve written a lot about community, but I truly believe we all need people in this line of work. People you can reach out to for the bathroom code, to check if your email to your dean sounds OK, or to figure out if an “opportunity” is a good idea. So if you have people in your life who might benefit from the answers to these questions, would you mind forwarding this email to them?

As always, thanks for reading and believing that scholars deserve support for incredible ideas.


Stay in touch: The Newsletter, Bluesky, TikTok, and The Grant Writing Guide book.

P.S. Would you mind rating or leaving a review for The Grant Writing Guide on Amazon or Goodreads? It helps readers find the book. I am grateful to you for your help!

P.P.S. Notice anything unusual about this elevator bank? Hint: I took this picture in Taiwan.

Answer: It’s missing the number 4. Four is an unlucky number in Taiwan, because “four” rhymes with the word “death.”