UW Graduate School

November 25, 2020

‘Be stubborn…keep trying,’ advises Mindy Cohoon on applying for fellowships

“I applied and applied and applied, and the third time I applied, I got it.”

Graduate student Mindy Cohoon, speaking of her process applying for the Simpson Center’s Digital Humanities Fellowship

Between her undergraduate and graduate years, Near and Middle Eastern Studies Ph.D. student Mindy Cohoon has received 23 fellowships, grants and scholarships.  She credits her success to three factors: careful attention to the mission of the fellowship, getting feedback on her essays and applying to at least 10 fellowships per year.

Cohoon’s experience demonstrates an important truth about applying for fellowships: being rejected is a necessary component of success.  Accept that you will sometimes be rejected and that it might be due to factors beyond your control.  If you apply broadly and consistently for fellowships, then you will be rejected by some funders. Rejection does not mean that you are a weak applicant or that your research is unimportant. Funders are usually trying to select awardees from a pool of excellent applicants, so being rejected could mean that you missed being awarded by a hair’s breadth.  

Among the awards Mindy has recently received are:

The Maurice and Lois Schwartz Fellowship (due Jan 15) and the Roshan Institute Fellowship for Excellence in Persian Studies (due April 04) from the UW Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations

The Social Science Research Council (SSRC) Social Data Research and Dissertation Fellowship

Foreign Language & Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships (due Jan 31)

Cohoon described her strategies for applying for fellowships and her research on Iranian and Iranian American women gamers to the Graduate School. Read the story here.