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Student Wins $21,000 Grant Before Completing Grant-Writing Class Cari Stevenson got profs' help when she saw great opportunity

Cari Stevenson, psychology professor

Cari Stevenson, psychology professor

National Louis University graduate student Cari Stevenson, who is pursuing a Ph.D. in Community Psychology, learned this month that she was awarded a $21,000 planning grant from the Prevention Institute and Movember Foundation.

Stevenson, who has a master’s degree in industrial/organizational psychology, teaches psychology at Kankakee Community College.

“As the saying goes, ‘timing is everything.’ Just before our NLU Grant Writing course (LAS 655) began, one of my cohort colleagues forwarded a newsletter which happened to include a link to grant opportunities,” Stevenson said.

“One of the opportunities, a planning grant from the Prevention Institute and Movember Foundation, was seeking proposals for mental health and wellness programs focusing on men, and it seemed like it might be a good fit for the student veterans’ initiatives I had been working on at Kankakee Community College where I am employed. As I researched more information about the Prevention Institute and their emphasis on social justice, prevention, and building a sense of community, I realized this was a perfect fit.”

Stevenson had never written a grant proposal and, with the submission deadline scheduled prior to that of her Grant Writing course, the prospects of writing a competitive proposal seemed daunting. “Thankfully, Dr. Ray Legler, my Grant Writing professor, offered to meet outside of class to assist me through the process. With his insight and support, along with support from my dissertation advisor, Dr. Brad Olson, I was one of 10 grant recipients out of 225 applicants.”

With this funding, Stevenson and her colleagues will be able to enhance their student veterans support program at KCC by employing student veteran workers, sending delegates from their SVA chapter to a national leadership conference, and developing wellness workshops for veterans within the Kankakee community. Additionally, the grant will also allow Stevenson to attend two conferences, where she will present research evaluating the relationship between sense of community, empowerment, and academic persistence for student veterans. In addition to monetary support, inclusion in this grant program also affords administrative support and learning opportunities through a collaboration with Prevention Institute and the other grantees.

Stevenson said, “I am grateful to have received desperately needed financial support to enhance educational experiences for my students. I know I would not have accomplished this without the assistance of the NLU community, so on behalf of the KCC community, I extend my deepest gratitude!”