How to Find Additional Funding

Environmental Education Graduate Student
Luke Smith
B.A. Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI
Luke had worked at a number of outdoor science schools before deciding to revisit college and work towards a Master’s degree. He explored a few different options for graduate school, and for several reasons (cost and funding opportunities being among them) decided to attend MOSS. In addition to the stipend provided by MOSS, Luke accepted a position as a Marketing Assistant while in residence at the McCall campus. He presented at conferences, updated social media, coordinated webinars, produced promotional vides, and fielded calls and interviews with potential MOSS graduate students. While in Moscow, Luke landed a Research Assistantship working with the Science Communication division of Yellowstone National Park. Professor Patrick Wilson oversees the position, but it is a largely autonomous position. Additionally, Luke was able to keep his RA position for one semester after graduation. Overall, the RA position paid about $5,000 each semester for two semesters and also waived the out of state tuition costs. In total, Luke was able to secure roughly $17,000 in additional funding throughout his experience with MOSS. Advice: Be curious. Ask around and let people know that you are interested in TA or RA positions.
Environmental Education Graduate Student
Joanna Hoffman
B.S. Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, B.A. Environmental Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz
Joanna was fortunate enough to land a teaching assistant (TA position) for CSS/FOR 235 Society and Natural Resources. Not only was this an incredible experience where she got to work with an amazing teaching team, she was challenged to turn her MOSS K12 training into relatable topics for undergraduates. Undergraduates are a lot more intimidating than 6th graders, and force you to think and grow in very different ways than their shorter counterparts. Through the TA position, this Californian received in-state tuition plus an hourly wage for 20 hours of work a week. Another avenue where Joanna attained additional funding was through her marketing work-study position while at MOSS. She worked with Gary and a fellow MOSS grad student to make promotional videos, blogs, audit the MOSS website, create and distribute marketing materials, and more. Here, she learned behind the scenes footage of how MOSS, as an organization, functions. This was invaluable as she seeks to enter into the administrative world. From these two avenues, Joanna saved about $13,000. Advice: look for and then ask for opportunities, and then be persistent in attaining them!
Environmental Education Graduate Student
Ben Seipel
B.S. Conservation Biology, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
When Ben decided to apply at MOSS he had a love for the outdoors and a strong interest in wildlife and environmental studies and wanted to continue pursuing work in that field. In Ben’s search for graduate funding, he sought help from various faculty members including Dr. Karla Eitel and Dr. Lee Vierling who were able to connect him with Dr. Janet Rachlow, the instructor of the Wildlife ecology class. Janet offered him a position as a TA for WLF 315 (Wildlife Ecology Lab) and because of his work with Janet, Ben was recommended for another position as a TA for the WLF 492 class (Wildlife management). As a TA he earned a total of $4,815 per semester along with the added bonus of having his out of state tuition waved for a total savings of $23,160. Being a TA also provides many learning opportunities and great experience teaching and working with lots of different people. Ben’s advice for prospective students? “ Get to know your professors and the other faculty well. They are a great resource to help you find opportunities for funding and for finding jobs after graduation. It is important to find something that you enjoy doing but don’t be afraid to go outside your comfort zone, that is where you learn the most.”
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Carrie Anderson
B.S. Ecology and Conservation Biology, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID.
Carrie’s journey to a funded Master’s project started in Dr. Karla Eitel’s Place-based Education course. Carrie was working on her action research project when Karla suggested she meet Dr. Brant Miller from the College of Education. Brant instantly became intrigued with Carrie’s project and began working with her to develop a manuscript for publication. During this process, Brant offered Carrie a research assistantship to continue work on their publication, do additional research and assist with writing a grant proposal. The grant proposal was eventually funded in the amount fof $17,000 to purchase technology learning tools for MOSS. They plan to submit their manuscript to the Journal of Applied Environmental Education. Carrie’s stipend and out-of-state tuition waiver is worth nearly $25,000 and completely funded the third and last semester of her Master’s degree. Carrie’s advice to prospective students? “Be proactive and reach out to professors. It is helpful to reach out in relation to common interests so professors take an interest in your future. Take advantage of broadening your horizons. I discovered my current passion while at MOSS and it will take me beyond what I had imagined for myself.” As Carrie enters the job market, she plans to look for jobs at science schools that are similar to MOSS.
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James Casey
B.S. Environmental Studies, Landscape Ecology and Conservation Concentration, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT.
When Jim started at MOSS he knew he wanted to take on an ecological research project. Knowing about Jim’s interests, MOSS Executive Director Dr. Lee Vierling put Jim in touch with Dr. Randy Brooks - forestry extension faculty for the UI College of Natural Resources. Dr. Brooks was able to fund Jim’s assistantship through the USDA Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance (NARA) project. His stipend and out-of-state tuition waiver is worth nearly $50,000. James’s advice for prospective students? “Keep an ear out for different opportunities. MOSS was great at introducing us to many different faculty who had funded projects that might need help. Be patient, something will come along that suit your interests well.”
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Jennifer Chaffin
B.S. Ecology and Conservation Biology, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH
Jenny has been able to secure both teaching and research assistantship funding to support her graduate education. She is a Teaching Assistant (TA) for CSS 235 Society and Natural Resources and CSS 383 Natural Resources Economics. The TA provides an hourly wage for 20 hours per week during the semester as well as a non-resident tuition waiver. The total annual value of the TA alone is $24,720! In addition, Jenny was able to secure additional research funding during the summer including analysis of park fees at Timpanogos Cave National Monument in Utah, determining the cost-effectiveness of endangered species management on San Clemente Island for the U.S. Navy, and studying the economic impact of recreation on the natural resources in Idaho for the National Science Foundation. The total value of Jenny’s research work was $12,500. Jenny’s advice to prospective students? “The biggest thing is to keep asking because even if one person doesn't have funding they will refer you to someone that might. There are a lot of networks you can tap into so don't give up.” Indeed - Jenny’s perseverance landed her $37,220 in funding beyond her baseline MOSS Project Assistantship.
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Dawn Harfmann
B.A., Environmental Studies, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY
Dawn landed a TA for CSS 235 Society and Natural Resources to support her academic work while back on the UI Moscow main campus. The TA salary and non-resident tuition waiver has a total value of of $12,111 for one semester. She plans to graduate with a MS in Natural Resources in just three semesters and one summer! Dawn's advice for prospective students? “Contact professors to see if there are any opportunities for TAs or RAs, take the initiative. Working on research projects could turn into a funded project. Being a TA is like having a job and we have a great responsibility to our students. This is a great opportunity to apply what I learned at MOSS to a different audience (college students). It's been really fun.”
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Jyoti Jennewein
B.S. Health and Exercise Science/Sports Medicine, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO.
When Jyoti first got into MOSS she wanted to do collegiate recreation programming. Through MOSS, Jyoti found that she loved Dr. Jan Eitel’s ecology class, and decided that she wanted to get back into research. The first step she took was to research faculty interests at the University of Idaho. She ended up contacting 15 different professors that do research. Once she had some feedback from interested professors, Jyoti came to Moscow and visited all of them. Of those professors, Jyoti picked Dr. Kelly Wendland who was interested in water quality in an international setting. Kelly did not have direct funding for this research, however. With the strong teaching skills she obtained at MOSS, Jyoti was able to land a coveted National Science Foundation GK12 position. Jyoti has a salary of $30,000/year plus health insurance and a tuition waiver of $10,331 through GK12. Jyoti’s advice to prospective students? “Don't be afraid to start early, contact people directly, contact as many people as possible that have similar interests as yours. Be specific when explaining your interests. MOSS has a really good reputation at UI so that really helps when talking with faculty.”
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Troy Magney
B.A. Geography, B.A. International Studies – Global Political Economics, University of Denver, Denver, Colo.
When Troy applied to MOSS, his interests included outdoor leadership, natural sciences and teaching. MOSS peaked his interest in science and teaching which is why he decided to pursue a PhD. His undergraduate liberal arts background was very broad. The great thing about MOSS is that the program gave him a more in-depth exposure to the things that really interested him. Plus, the teaching allowed him to discover if he really liked teaching. During his time at MOSS, Dr. Jan Eitel got a grant from the USDA to study site-specific climate friendly farming and offered Troy a research assistantship. Troy’s role in this project is to develop remote sensing tools to better understand crop physiology and nitrogen cycling. After two years of assistantship funding, Troy wrote a grant to NASA for fellowship funding to expand research work in Alaska. This funding will support his studies for the next two years. Troy’s Salary is $20,000/year for five years for a total assistantship of $100,000. He also received a non-resident tuition waiver for five years worth an additional $80,000. Troy’s advice to prospective students? “Don't be afraid to ask around. There are a lot of pools of funding that faculty have for research that aren't that well advertised so you have to look beyond what is posted on a website. Get creative with the way you bring in money. There are a lot of grants and fellowship beyond research assistantships and teaching assistantships.” Seems like good advice from someone who parlayed his baseline MOSS funding into an additional $180,000 of PhD funding.
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Brett Alan Miller
B.S. Business Administration, Accounting Concentration, History Minor, Bryant University, Smithfield, RI
When Brett visited the Moscow campus from MOSS a year ago, he met Dr. Kelly Wendland. He followed up their meeting with an email expressing strong interest in Dr. Wendlands’s research area - ecosystem services. Brett’s follow-up landed him a full time TA position for CSS 235 Society and Natural Resources in the fall semester and CSS 383 Natural Resource Economics in the spring semester. With the salary and tuition waiver, Brett’s TA is worth $24,720. Most recently, Brett was selected for the prestigious College of Natural Resources Berklund Graduate Assistantship worth an additional $20,724 plus an out-of-state fee waiver. Brett’s advice to prospective students? “It was really fortuitous that I sent that email - go and contact people if you have an interest in their research. Take that initiative and reach out to people. Graduate school is about deciding what you want your graduate experience to be. People aren't going to drop funding in your lap. The TA position is really great because it gives me an extra connection to the College of Natural Resources and I feel a lot more connected to it because I understand the whole college a lot better. I came from a small school on the East coast so I might have been intimidated to send that email at a much larger school. People will try to help you if you reach out.”
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Becky Rittenburg
B.A. Environmental Science, Colorado College, Colorado Springs, Colo.
In the fall of 2011 while a graduate student at MOSS, Becky started thinking about a Master’s thesis in water resources. So she contacted Dr. Jan Boll from the UI Waters of the West program who she had met after he had served as a MOSS chaperone for his daughter’s 6th grade class. Dr. Boll had funding for a research assistantship through the USDA to look at nonpoint source pollutants in agricultural watersheds and how to work with farmers and communities to implement best practices for conservation. This project supported Becky’s education for one year of her MS program. In her second year, she joined the National Science Foundation funded GK-12 program, which places science graduate students in K12 classrooms to teach students and provide science expertise to the classroom teacher. All told, Becky was able to leverage her MOSS funding and experience into an additional $90,000 in graduate assistantships. Becky’s advice to prospective students? “Don't be afraid to contact faculty. It can be intimidating, trying to sell yourself while figuring out your interests. This is a normal feeling. Faculty like to fund students they've already met and had contact with rather than just a cold application. Also, networking with previous MOSS grad students is really helpful.”