If you’re like me, you’ve heard of grants before and maybe had an inkling of what they were. Assistant Professor of Digital Rhetoric, Dr. Amanda Licastro is teaching ENG 337 Advanced Topics: Grant Writing this semester. She thoroughly defined a grant as “a monetary award offered to an organization for a specific project. [They] . . . can be public, such as federally funded awards; private . . . or even sponsored by individuals. . . grants require . . . proof that the work was completed as specified. . . [They] exist in all fields, from the humanities and arts to the social sciences and medical fields.”
The section details of this course specify that grant writing “is an essential skill in all industries” and is a great resume builder for all majors. As a service-learning course, students were required to volunteer at community organizations and are writing grants to help them secure funding for their projects and events. This year’s community partners are Mentoring Mentors, The 6th Branch, and Encore.
So, what’s a grant writing class like? In the first half of the semester, students learned about grant writing requirements including style sheets to ensure cohesion, explored grant services on-campus, and learned from Stevenson faculty and community partners’ experiences writing, applying, and winning grants. In the second half of the semester, students broke into groups and are writing grants for those nonprofit organizations.
Some students picked this class because they were interested in grant writing, it fulfilled a requirement, or both! While fulfilling an upper level writing requirement, Senior Film and Moving Image major Mark Perry wants to make documentaries and work with nonprofits, so he felt grant writing is a necessary skill to learn. The students really enjoyed the speakers as well. Besides grant writing, students improved their collaboration and communication skills between each other and their community partners. Junior English major Cari Rusk also learned how to plant trees as she volunteered at one of the organizations. Junior Biology major and Service Scholar Jada Arca felt the course enhanced her professionalism and time management.
Dr. Licastro liked the class as well as she “enjoy[s] teaching courses where students get both practical knowledge that they can easily translate to their careers, but are also engaged in social justice work.”