Sarah Coogan

Sarah Coogan

Program
English: PhD

When it comes to winning grants and funding, Sarah Coogan is a "frequent flier" — literally!

The English doctoral candidate, who specializes in British and Irish Modernism (1895-1939), has won several travel grants from the Nanovic Institute, the Keough-Naughton Institute, the Notebaert Professional Development Fund, and the Graduate Student Union. She's also received travel funding from the Midwest Modern Language Association and the T. S. Eliot International Summer School .

But even for a veteran grant writer, the application process can be daunting.

Most recently, Sarah was named a Dolores Zohrab Liebmann Fellow. This prestigious honor awards up to three years of research support to qualified students with outstanding academic records. The funding will allow Sarah to take her time crafting a compelling dissertation and pursuing archival research. It will also elevate her prestige as she competes for future opportunities.

Before winning the Liebmann fellowship, Sarah experienced, like any grant applicant, rejection from other external funding sources. "Thanks especially to workshops and appointments through the ND Office of Grants and Fellowships, I've been able to look back on those experiences constructively and understand how to improve applications in the future," she said. "Applying for fellowships, successfully or not, has made it easier for me to plan and prepare for future applications."

Sarah's work with the Office of Grants and Fellowships spanned from the planning stage to final revisions. As she perfected her Liebmann application, she met with fellowship consultants on three occasions, in addition to remote draft review sessions. "I can unequivocally say that the success of that application was due to the support of the Office of Grants and Fellowships," Sarah said.

But before receiving her acceptance, Sarah wasn't quite sure what outcome to expect. 

"I grew in my ability to benefit from constructive criticism through interacting with Grants and Fellowships consultants. I also gained new confidence in the strength of my scholarly qualifications and the significance of my research by applying for a fellowship which, quite honestly, I didn't think I could win," Sarah said. "To those who feel unqualified to apply for opportunities in your field: know that you are probably a stronger candidate than you think, there are opportunities out there for you, and Grants and Fellowships provides incredible support to help you do that."

The skills and confidence gained from the grant-writing process, Sarah said, are applicable to students at any stage of their scholarship, whether they're conceptualizing a dissertation proposal, learning to appeal to non-academic audiences, or applying for jobs.