I’ll never forget one of the lessons of “Working Girl.” Tess McGill, played by Melanie Griffith in this 1988 film, weaves a brilliant Wall Street deal because of her reading habits, and *spoiler alert*, she crafts a winning merger based on information she learned from a gossipy entertainment column. I spend most of my time reading in the grants office. Not so much People or Entertainment Weekly … but a wide variety of sources that span industries and disciplines with the hopes that I will make similar creative connections. I might not use all of these ideas immediately … but it plants seeds that could sprout into something later. To help with my daily reading habits, I’ve created a bookmark bar across the top of my Chrome browser. Along with my color-coded Google calendar, I open about 50 tabs all at once every morning, and I’m always adding/subtracting to this dashboard as necessary. So as we start a new academic year, here are at least five sources that you might add to your daily list: 1. Virginia Western’s websites Let’s start at the microscopic level. I want to know what’s happening on this campus — what the students are doing,… Continue Reading 5 reading habits of a creative grant champion
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I dutifully scribbled down all of the tips from this workshop for Roanoke grant writers, which I attended shortly after starting my “Grant Specialist” job at Virginia Western last year. I was confident about my writing skills — I had been practicing for 15 years at the local newspaper — but I was new to higher education and still learning the grant development process. Marilyn Herbert-Ashton, grant Jedi and founder of Virginia Western’s grants office, had taught me so much already — and she encouraged me to attend this workshop to learn more about what NOT to do with grant proposals. A panel of representatives from local foundations — the folks who decide which proposals get funded — talked about some common mistakes they see on applications. This list included: Vague, unfocused writing … or writing that is too academic.Requests that don’t address a demonstrated need.Too much data.Simply not following the application’s directions. All seemed pretty straightforward. But then, almost as an aside once we got into a meatier discussion, one panelist from a local healthcare foundation bemoaned the lack of innovation. She was tired of seeing the same ideas proposed year after year. That’s when my joy bulb lit up, as I’m alllllllllll… Continue Reading Let’s grow ideas (and grants) together in the Green House
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About Stephanie

Stephanie SeagleStephanie Ogilvie Seagle has served as Grant Specialist at Virginia Western since 2016, but she prefers her honorary title: “Chief Joy Officer.” Stephanie spent most of her career at The Roanoke Times, a daily newspaper, where she served in various news and features roles including “Shoptimist” shopping columnist. She earned a bachelor’s degree in integrative studies at George Mason University and a master’s of arts in liberal studies at Hollins University. Stephanie is a mom to one human daughter and multiple chihuahuas … and is obsessed with reading nonfiction, Halloween, and crafting glow necklaces inspired by the Mill Mountain Star. Glow Roanoke!

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