Started in 2002, the Graduate Student Life Grants program has been a cornerstone of the development and funding of graduate student co-curricular activities that promote community-building. This past year, we transformed the program, now called the Graduate Student Experience Grants, and expanded to cover more facets of the graduate student experience.
The application process also now occurs four times during the year — October, January, April, and July. Graduate students are encouraged to visit the grant webpage for information on submitting proposals and upcoming grant cycles.
In 2020-21, funding was granted a wide array of activities:
Department-, lab-, or center-based student events and activities, such as virtual ice cream socials. One department deepened their sense of community by collectively making a quilt using different fabrication techniques and individual square contributions!
Student-organized conferences or workshops, including career workshops that connected graduate students with professionals and a keynote conversation with Dr. Malika Grayson, author of Black Girl’s Guide to the PhD.
Grants for students with children included virtual music education and movement/music/storytelling classes for children of graduate students, and virtual martial arts for kids.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion grants supported the Black Art Collective, a forum and an opportunity for students of color to create community and share common experience through art, as well as an opportunity to share their talents with the broader MIT community through the finale showcase event.
Professional and leadership development funds supported Writing Together Online – a program that hired, trained, and mentored graduate students to facilitate Writing Groups for MIT graduate students to build a community of academic writers. Additional funds supported a professional development speaker series for womxn scientists, and a “Find Your Next Adventure” chat series that featured weekly hour-long “fireside” conversations between graduate students and successful female professionals from all career trajectories.
Healthy living grants supported students’ physical and mental health through virtual plant-based home cooking events and outdoor yoga and meditation sessions.
Arts and civic engagement funds encouraged students’ creativity, providing an artistic outlet during the school year. Graduate students came together for virtual paint nights, drawing classes, and a hand-thrown ceramics workshop, as well as a program that united MIT-WHOI doctoral students with the Art League of Rhode Island to communicate oceanographic life through artistic expression.
An outreach grant sponsored a creative initiative to develop and publish raps on Youtube to introduce and explain topics in Earth Science.
To see all funded grants, visit the Graduate Student Experience Grant page.