Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs
Thursday, February 2, 2017

La Follette students gain grant-writing skills

Chris Stassel Chris Stassel

With funding from UW-Madison’s Graduate School, more than 20 La Follette School students participated in a four-hour grant-writing seminar Thursday, Jan. 26. The La Follette School Student Association (LSSA) applied for the professional development grant and organized the seminar in response to requests from fellow master’s degree students.

“A recent LSSA survey indicated that this was a top programming priority,” said LSSA President Chris Stassel, who is pursuing a master’s degree in international public affairs (MIPA). “Grant-writing skills not only allow students to obtain funding for personal research goals, but many career sectors value this technical skill.”

Tom Linfield, the Madison Community Foundation’s vice president-community impact, conducted the interactive program – walking students through the grants process and providing a hands-on opportunity to apply their newly learned skills by creating their own proposal. The training had three goals:

• develop specialized writing skills that will help students effectively communicate
• enhance disciplinary expertise by empowering students to seek and obtain funding
• assist in long-term career development by facilitating the growth of highly transferable skills

Historically, LSSA has played an important role in creating a warm and inclusive social culture for approximately 100 students seeking master’s degrees in public affairs and international public affairs.

“We are eager to expand our influence and resources to provide professional development activities for our members, and we hope this jumpstarts a broader array of opportunities that supplement the skills students gain through their graduate coursework at the La Follette School,” said Stassel.

To evaluate how well the program achieved its goals, organizers are conducting a survey that measures students’ perceptions about the training provided and the skills they acquired.

Participants included Moira Lenox, a second-year La Follette School student. “Based on my experience with grant writing, this workshop provided useful information about how to maximize your or your organization’s likelihood of receiving funding,” said Lenox, who is pursuing a master of public affairs (MPA) degree.