Graduate opportunities: Strike while the iron is hot!

Hello Grad Life,

I have been terribly negligent on here lately! Despite my best intentions, I’ve been too busy lately to sit down and type something out. The craziness surrounding the end of my M.Sc. has been augmented by a few things which all ultimately stem from trying to get the most possible out of the grad school experience.

One of the great things about being a grad student is the wealth of opportunities you can access that are exclusive to post-bachelor students. This week I’ll be heading up to Quebec city to take advantage of this province’s unique language opportunities to present at a conference in French. I’m a bilingual Anglophone, so being able to give an oral presentation at ACFAS is an exciting and welcome challenge.

I’ve also been accepted to present some of my research in Copenhagen this June, which will mark my first international academic travel, so that’s pretty cool too. Now just to figure out a way to pay for it…

Finally, I managed to survive the application and interview process and am thrilled to say I have been awarded the PFF community fellowship. This provides added incentive to get my thesis written, as I’ll be departing in August for West Africa, where I’ll be spending a year implementing an agroforestry project I designed (more on my project to come in a following post).

For those of you who haven’t heard about the program the PFF fellowships provide financial support to graduating masters students to run community-benefiting projects anywhere in the world. Applicants design an 8 or 12 month project, provide a budget and activity plan, and gather support letters from professors and community partners. The reward for passing this stage is to move on to a super intimidating group interview with about 15 profs, NGO staff, PFF representatives and external experts. Somehow I managed to convince them that I wasn’t a complete screw-up, and luckily ended up being selected this year.

For those of you eyeing graduation in the next few years, I highly encourage you to write yourselves a reminder and keep an eye out for the next call for proposals. This is an amazing chance to run the project you’ve always wanted to do, and to do it wherever you feel the need truly lies.

The call for proposals usually takes place in January, so start preparing early! Fleshing out your idea is the first step; then you can start searching for letters of support and figuring out a budget way ahead of time. Gathering all the info you need takes time, so don’t put it off!

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