CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Real work for the real world. Students in the spring 2016 Seminar in Public Administration Grant Writing Class were not only successful in earning grants for organizations they have personal connections with, but earned those grants in record time.
“I have taught this class for more than 10 years,” said Dr. Chuck Etheridge, Associate Professor of English. “It’s not uncommon for students to get the grants they apply for on behalf of the organizations of their choice. What is rare is that three students – about half of the class – received notice of their successful grants even before the semester wrapped up.”
The class, which involved students in the Master of Public Administration program, is an intense writing seminar involving two main projects. The first is a large grant application, written as one group, on behalf of one organization. The second is a smaller grant application, written by each student, on behalf of an agency of their choice.
The students who received grants before the semester’s end were Odera Nwosu, Daiya Lemon and Dr. Lucinda Juarez.
Nwosu chose to write his grant on behalf World Health Advocate, a 501(C) (3) organization that provides healthcare services to rural areas in foreign countries, especially Africa. Nwosu, a lawyer representing World Health Advocate, sent his grant request to five different funding sources and received approvals from all five to directly fund medication and medical supplies valued at more than $30,000. He also received $1,500 cash to fund medications at private pharmacies.
“Earning these grants has been one of my greatest academic achievements so far. I honestly feel like a superstar,” said Nwosu. “Dr. Etheridge made the process very smooth for us, especially as first-time grant writers. I give him a lot of credit for the manner of approach, understanding and patience throughout this process.”
Juarez, a Research Associate for the College of Liberal Arts at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and recent recipient of a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from A&M-Corpus Christi, received a $15,000 grant to fund the Coastal Bend Writing Project Summer Institute during summer 2017. She co-wrote the grant with Dr. Catherine Quick, Assistant Professor of English and Director of the Coastal Bend Writing Project.
“The Coastal Bend Writing Project is a four-week professional development program for teachers who value excellence in the classroom and have potential for leadership,” said Juarez. “It’s one of the most outstanding organizations at the Island University because it helps improve teachers of all grade levels to improve their own writing skills and enhance their abilities as teachers of writing. The grant removes barriers of entry fees for those attending.”
Daiya Lemon, an English as a second language tutor at Roy Miller High School and TAMU-CC Research Assistant, wrote a grant to the Herren Project. The Herren Project awarded $2,000 towards a “Purple and Proud” substance-free party, to be held after Miller’s prom.
“The students at Miller High school are so deserving of this money,” said Lemon. “More than 70 percent of the student body is low income, and a great many of them work to support themselves and their families. This carnival-themed event, free of drugs and alcohol, is a fun and informative way for students to celebrate their successes in high school.”
Etheridge says the ability to write grants is a highly-marketable skill, especially in today's political climate, which finds governments withdrawing support from non-profit organizations.
“When one of my students wins a grant, I’m proud as a papa,” said Etheridge. “This class really excites me because not only am I able to learn more about my student’s passions and interests through their individual grant applications, but I can also share in their real-world success.”