Federal Grant to Help Biology Grad Students

Eastern Washington University’s Department of Biology landed a huge win this fall when they earned a Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN) grant.  

The U.S. Department of Education is awarding the EWU Department of Biology a total of $646,737 over the next three years. The grant will allow the university to provide financial support to students who otherwise wouldn’t be going to graduate school. Eastern will match this grant by up to 25 percent in the form of tuition waivers.  

The GAANN grant will provide financial support to students who are on a path to earning a doctorate degree for a career in research or instruction in science.

EWU’s ultimate goal is to prepare Eastern students to succeed in their careers after they graduate, says project manager Paul Spruell, PhD, associate chair of biology.  “At Eastern, we (our students) don’t just talk the talk, we also walk the walk.”

Paul Spruell, PhD.

Students must have excellent academic records and demonstrated financial need to receive this assistance. Next fall, four students will receive graduate service appointment positions. Three more graduate students will be selected for awards in the fall of 2023. 

“We are also hoping to use this funding to recruit students from a broader geographic area and, in so doing, expand the visibility of EWU,” says Spruell . 

The biology faculty worked tirelessly on the “rigorous and competitive” grant proposal process, says Spruell, giving a shout out to his team: Bo Idsardi, Camille McNeely, Javier Ochoa-Reparaz and Robin O’Quinn.  

He also praised EWU for interdepartmental teamwork, thanking the CSTEM Dean and Provost offices and Kristyl Riddle. 

Not only was it difficult, but they also had a limited timeframe and the proposal was 40 pages long. Each member of the team contributed ideas and expertise and they all spent a substantial amount of time writing.  

“The joy and sense of satisfaction we felt upon learning we were successful made it all worthwhile,” Spruell says.  

More information can be found here, www.ewu.edu/cstem/biology/gaann/, including instructions on how to apply for GSA positions. In the meantime, questions can be directed toPaul Spruell at pspruell@ewu.edu.  

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