Funding and Career Resources

Graduate Student Research Grants Program

The Graduate Student Research Grants Program was created to encourage and provide support for the development of graduate student research and creative work. The program is being launched in part with a donation by Professors Patrice Buzzanell and Steve Wilson. The aim is to support feasible projects that would be tougher to complete without funding, and to further assist students in their professional development. Grants will be awarded once every academic year (contingent on available funding).

The requested funding may range between $50-$250. A call for applications is sent out during the spring semester. Applications typically are due late in the spring semester, with grant announcements being made in late spring/early summer. No late submissions will be reviewed.


Applicants must:

  • be a Masters or Doctoral student in the Department of Communication
  • have completed the CITI training in conjunction with the University of South Florida’s Institutional Review Board (submit copy of the certificate of completion with application)
  • be making good progress in their degree program (as confirmed by advisor recommendation)
  • be enrolled as a graduate student during the fall semester after the grant is received

Students from all academic areas and methodological orientations and approaches are encouraged to apply. Also, applicants who have not yet been awarded a Graduate Student Research Grant will be given priority consideration for funding.

All grant recipients will be required to participate in a panel session during a colloquium during the fall semester or Grad Research Day in the spring. During the session panelists will describe the ways in which they used their funding and the relevance of the grant to their degree program.

Funded Activities 

Suitable activities include, but are not limited to (listed alphabetically):

  • Archival research
  • Community-based participatory research or creative performance events  (e.g., refreshments for focus groups)
  • Data gathering
  • Documentary
  • General research supplies  
  • Database research
  • Event advertising
  • Paying participants
  • Performance instillation
  • Pilot work for dissertation
  • Transcription services
  • Rental of space or equipment
  • Research travel
  • Research software (after check for free or USF software)
  • Workshopping

Activities on this list (e.g., event advertising, equipment rental, workshopping) must relate to directly to research and/or creative endeavor.

Although grants may be awarded to assist with travel to complete a project (e.g., to a research or performance site), grants will not be awarded for travel to academic conferences as such funds can be requested from other sources.  

Application Packet and Submission

  • Complete the grant application form. Applications must be written with an attention to specificity, detail, and clarity. Write in ways that laypersons, or non-academics, will be able to readily understand. The form includes the following:
    • Detail the research problem/question to be addressed, background, overview of research method/plan, and benefits/contributions.
    • Include a budget that indicates how the funds will be used and a timeline for the completion of the grant-support part of the project.  
    • Include a brief statement (1 or 2 paragraph total in length) of support from major advisor.
    • Indicate willingness to present at departmental colloquium or Grad Research Day.
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Certificate of completion of CITI training

Applicants must submit all materials for review to the chair of the department's research committee via email attachment by the specified deadline.

Criteria for Evaluation

  • Writing (specific, detailed, and clear)
  • Purpose (project will advance applicant’s progress in degree program)
  • Budget (funding is necessary to complete the project and will be put to good use)
  • Recommendation (support by advisor)
  • Complete (all grant instructions are met by application)
  • Goals (project is focused on student’s unique career goals)

Underlying these criteria is the Department’s commitment to award grants which show a diverse and inclusive range of project topics, focuses, and methodologies.

The department Research Committee (2 persons in total) will review applications.  

Please contact the chair of the department's research committee with questions.

Previous Grant Recipients

David Dooling (2024)

“Who Threw This Party?”: Examining the Tumultuous Organization of Pride Parades

This dissertation explores the organizational features of Pride—the celebration of gender, sexuality, and identity in the public sphere. Stemming from the Stonewall Riots in the 1960s, Pride responds to institutional forms of heteronormativity and homo/transphobia. In the past decade, various stakeholders have invested in Pride, turning the space into a complex terrain where multiple identities, communities, and material structures intersect. This project takes place within the boundaries of a Pride organization— “Southern Pride”—and expands on ¬ethnographic interviews of organizers (e.g., board members, parade volunteers, community stakeholders) along with experiences of myself as an observer of Pride events (e.g., board meetings, planning committees, parade days). I focus on my organizational involvement with Southern Pride to underscore the “day-to-day work of social movements” (Bruce, 2016, p. 14) and critique dominant interests that constrain emancipatory politics under the guise of diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

Josie Boumis (2023)

Probands’ Primary and Secondary Goals during Breast Cancer Genetic Risk Disclosure with Family Members

Clinicians recommend that families with an individual who has a known genetic mutation should be informed of their personal genetic risk. The disclosure of genetic risk to family members can have a significant impact on the risk management decisions the members make concerning their own health (Daly et al., 2016; Fehniger et al., 2013; Katapdoi et al., 2017). Thus, better understanding whether and how individuals are likely to discuss genetic risk with their families is important for lowering cancer risk through prevention and management decisions. 

Evgeniya Pyatovskaya (2023)

Disruption, Resilience, and Change: Non-Profit Organizing During COVID-19 Pandemic

This project aimed to uncover resilience mechanisms that enabled a New York-based NPO to survive the COVID-19 pandemic and emerge stronger after the crisis was over. The project also considered how resilience happens at the intersection of race, ethnicity, gender, age, and language and is impacted by (and impacts) such intersections.

Jonathan Baker (2022)

Assessing Transgender Individuals’ Perceptions of Nonaccommodation: The Influence of Inferred Motives on the Patient-Provider Relationship

Clinicians receive little training on transgender health in medical school and often feel uncomfortable and uncertain about treating transgender patients (Harbin et al., 2012). This apprehension can lead clinicians to not accommodate these patients’ communication needs (i.e., over emphasizing or ignoring their gender identity; Ross & Castle Bell, 2017). Although researchers have studied nonaccommodative behaviors that clinicians should avoid, little work has explored transgender patients’ assumptions about different forms of nonaccommodation. Using communication accommodation theory (CAT) this project explores how assumptions regarding clinician nonaccommodation influence transgender patients’ health decision-making (e.g., seeking out other clinicians) (Dragojevic et al, 2016). 

Dennis DeBeck (2022)


Erjona Gashi (2022)

Title of Proposed Project: Navigating Silence, Trauma, and Memory: Breaking Kosovar Women’s Unwillingness to Talk About the War

This research project aims to begin a conversation in Kosova to break the silence surrounding the Kosovo War and the unwillingness among Kosovars, especially women, to revisit memories of the war. It explores the lived experiences of thirty-five Kosovar women who survived the Serbian genocidal violence and oppression and examines how they story their traumatic experiences of wartime. I hope that talking about these experiences by engaging in life review can lead to sensemaking and healing from the now normalized suffering and trauma.

Bianca Siegenthaler (2022)

Outside the Boundaries of Biomedicine: A Culture-Centered Approach to Female Patients Living Undiagnosed and Chronically Ill

As a community who voices feeling misunderstood, unheard, and uncared for by the U.S medical system, female patients who live undiagnosed and chronically ill and their health narratives lie beyond biomedical boundaries. To examine how this community narrates their experiences in and with the biomedical system, I employed the culture-centered approach to health communication as a theoretical framework as well as methods of semi-structured interviewing with 20 participants and critical autoethnography to recount my own health experiences living as a part of this population. Utilizing an abductive thematic analysis, participants communicated the following themes: (a) being pushed and seen as existing outside the biomedical box, (b) biomedical failures and their unmet community health needs, and lastly, (c) how the interview fostered a space of much-needed community. These narratives not only begin to fill the discursive gaps biomedicine creates, teaches, and reinforces, but also practically help to imagine a new era of communicative medicine, one that that prioritizes support over diagnosis and care over cure. 

Alternative Academic Career Resources

Some graduates of our MA program choose to pursue a Ph.D. degree, whereas others pursue careers with corporate, non-profit, and governmental organizations.  The majority of our Ph.D. students pursue academic careers, but an increasing number are interested in careers outside of the academe as well. This page offers resources for communication graduate students who are considering "alt-academic" careers.

Career Resources Handout

Above is a list of resources from our most recent "alt-academic" careers panel. Featured are a list of alternative career areas, job boards, key skills and resources. This serves as a useful starting point for anyone seeking a career outside academia.