A student writes,
I was wondering if you could tell me a little more about the Grantathon. I’ve been thinking about going for years, but I’m always concerned about voluntarily missing class so early in the semester. Is this day worth an absence? What career doors will this open up for me?
Is this day worth an absence? The Grantathon will take place on Friday, February 14, from 10am to 3pm, and you do need to commit to the entire event. In an ideal universe, there would be magical blocks of time available where we could schedule events like the Grantathon (and career fairs and information sessions and interviews and the like…) without conflicting with anyone’s classes. In the universe we live in, people have Friday classes, and those take priority. This is a case where it might be worth looking carefully at the syllabus for your Friday classes to review the attendance policy and think about the course content you would miss. Are you allowed a a certain number of no-penalty absences? Is there a quiz, midterm, or other crucial experience scheduled for that day? Is it a small discussion class where your absence would change the class dynamic and you would miss out on important conversations or a large lecture where you could possibly get notes from a classmate? It’s going to be a judgment call that only you can make.
What career doors will this open up for me? Grant-writing is a key skill for a lot of nonprofit organizations. Some larger organizations hire full-time grant-writers who do little else, others include “grantwriting” in the job descriptions of people who have other primary responsibilities. A lot of people learn it on the job by doing it – or on the fly by deciding they want to create a new program or organization and going out and finding the grant-funding to make it happen. Understanding the role of grant-writing in nonprofit organizations and having some idea of the vocabulary and structure of the grant-finding and grant-writing process would definitely give you a leg up in talking to potential employers (particularly nonprofit organizations) about your skills. The event will also give you the opportunity to network with various local nonprofit agencies, to learn more about the range of roles and functions they entail and connect one-on-one with people doing that kind of work. Will it lead directly to a job? Probably not – but it may equip you with knowledge and insight that will help you in not only finding a job but finding a job that has meaning for you.
Here’s a account of the Grantathon from one of the student participants a couple of years ago: https://blogs.illinois.edu/view/6661/499241
Here is the link to register: https://forms.illinois.edu/sec/9037908
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