CLBR talks fall funding, from both nationally-competitive sources and Reed College itself
Awards season is nearly upon us. On March 4, the Center for Life Beyond Reed (CLBR) held its Fall Fellowships and Funding workshop to inform students about awards and funding sources with fall deadlines and to encourage them to begin preparing their applications.
CLBR’s Career and Fellowship Advisor Shania Siron noted that she wanted to prompt students to begin looking into, planning, and crafting their applications now, as many nationally and internationally competitive awards have a two-tier application process. Applicants must meet an internal deadline for submissions to Reed’s Fellowships and Awards Committee, composed of six annually rotating faculty and staff, which then reviews applications and nominates selected students to the respective awarding institutions. Many of these internal deadlines come rapid-fire in the first few weeks of the fall semester, and to avoid a time crunch towards the end of the summer Siron strongly recommended identifying any awards of interest and reaching out to CLBR staff or a Peer Career Adviser to guide the process. In lieu of the former listserv, CLBR has created a more user-friendly online search tool on the Reed website to identify grants and fellowships according to purpose, deadline, and other logistical constraints. Students can also begin by booking an appointment with a CLBR staff member to discuss which grants and programs to apply to.
A variety of external funding opportunities are offered through CLBR, including the fourteen main awards — which include the Fulbright, Rhodes, Mitchell, and Marshall. Several fellowships, such as the Watson, require proactive outreach and networking, and Siron encouraged interested students to begin scoping and building those necessary connections now. In determining which opportunities to submit applications for, Siron advised students to work from an idea forward, asking “If I had a magic wand, what would I do?” and allowing that to guide the search. She also urged prospective applicants to consider the time demands of different application processes, and noted that previous seniors had described the workload over the summer as equivalent to that of a full class per application. CLBR remains open and available throughout the summer, and Siron also noted that she and other CLBR staff are particularly useful in clarifying some of the subtler or more implicit elements of applications that many awards’ review committees seek but may not state outright. Faculty liaisons for each award can be found on the CLBR website, as well as winners from previous years. Both can be excellent resources for students in learning about different fellowships and programs and in honing their applications.
Some existing Reed-specific awards are designed to mirror those of partner foundations, such as the President’s Summer Fellowship and the former Winter International Travel Fellowship which are designed to effectively be miniature Watson Fellowships. Smaller-scale funding opportunities like the Summer Internship and Career Advancement Funds available through CLBR also provide further practice with the process, and, as always, CLBR is available to provide support for any component of the application process — large, small, and everything in between.