Misha Rai

Coffee and Conversation with Dr. Misha Rai & Miquelle de la Ossa | English | Digital Narratives | October 13, 2021

Accomplishment during graduate career

The Woodrow Wilson Dissertation Fellowship in Women’s Studies supports the final year of dissertation writing for PhD candidates in the humanities and social sciences whose work addresses women’s and gender issues in interdisciplinary and original ways. Each Fellow is granted $5,000 for expenses such as research-related travel, data work/collection, and supplies connected with completing their dissertations. In addition, their dissertation titles are publicized with leading publishers at the conclusion of the dissertation year.

Not only is this a prestigious award, but I am also the first ever PhD in fiction (writer, novelist) to receive this honor in the forty-two years that the Woodrow Wilson Foundation has been awarding fellowships.

Apart from immediately providing validation for my dissertation project, my novel Blood We Did Not Spill, the Woodrow Wilson Dissertation Fellowship in Women’s Studies has given me the monetary support I need to finish doing final field research in India and archival research in the United Kingdom. Additionally, the fellowship has helped create a very necessary platform for my work to be submitted, and hopefully, accepted for publication at publishing houses, which is really what the aim of any writer is. And a book will make me competitive on the job market and help me get an academic job.

Advice for prospective fellowship applicants

Three words: apply, apply, apply. Anything your work may be remotely suited for is worth applying to. Pay attention to all the emails the good people of the Office of Graduate Fellowships and Awards (OGFA) send out diligently, and if you aren’t on the mailing list, go introduce yourself to them and get on it. As long as you have been working consistently, writing your papers, working on your dissertation chapters, just doing what you are supposed to do and have materials ready, you should apply to fellowships and external funding. That is what I did. I had a very short amount of time to get the application for the Woodrow Wilson Dissertation Fellowship in Women’s Studies completed, but because I had materials ready to go I was able to get everything in on time. Also, consider the kind of national prestige these awards bring not only to FSU or your department but also to you, apart from how they help the work you are doing. This is the kind of prestige that puts a scholar, researcher, or writer on the radar of publishers and honestly helps land tenure track jobs.

Testimonial about experience working with the Office of Graduate Fellowships and Awards

The open-mindedness, encouragement, and support of OGFA helped me tremendously during the application process. I found out about the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship two weeks before the application was due, but because of personal reasons I couldn’t begin work on it for another week. When I explained to the staff at OGFA my situation, although they were at first cautious due to the short time frame for submission, they encouraged and helped me with every aspect of my application material whether it was discussing how best to approach application questions or reading my project proposal and personal statement. Just having OGFA in my corner made all the difference in what could have otherwise been a daunting and rather lonely process.

GradImpact Profile