The benefits of workshopping graduate fellowships: a how-to guide for graduate students and early career scientists

Meryl C. Mims, Emma E. Hodgson, Lauren M. Kuehne, Margaret C. Siple


Grant and fellowship proposal writing are key skills for professionals in scientific and research-driven fields, and early exposure and training in proposal writing substantially benefit early career scientists. Here, we present a framework for a student-led workshop for graduate fellowships that is built upon four years of implementation at the University of Washington’s School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences (Seattle, USA). This framework was designed for applicants to the United States National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (NSF GRFP), but the workshop format is flexible and easily tailored to other fellowships. We describe the primary components of the workshop, the implementation of the workshop, and the major benefits as reported by participants at the University of Washington. The core of the workshop framework is a small group structure that facilitates valuable in-depth interactions among mentors and applicants.  The primary outcomes of the workshop include improved writing and communication skills for graduate students and experience with peer review and critical feedback for both applicants and mentors. These outcomes are achieved while maintaining a reasonable time commitment for mentors. The workshop format is sustainable, promotes community-building within and across departments, and facilitates equal access to mentorship and resources for all students.


proposal writing; graduate research fellowship; workshop; student leadership; mentoring; peer review

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