Juniors: $1,000 to pursue your dreams and passions this summer

Any current junior returning to Stetson next year is eligible to apply for The Mike Raymond Beyond the Classroom Grant, which provides $1,000 to fund a summer passion project.

The grant is awarded annually to students who have achieved junior standing and actively pursue their passions for learning outside of the domain of assignments, credits and compulsory education.

Grant money is to be used this summer to actively pursue a passion or a dream. Whatever you do is up to you; the project does not have to be connected to any particular field of study.

Ideally, the recipient will be working on an independent project: creative writing, journalism, film, acting, political activism, scientific research or a business plan. Possible uses for the grant money may include travel for research; books; equipment; or just supplemental income to cover fundamental living expenses in order to take financial pressure off of the grant winner during the pursuit of independent learning and exploration.

Why this grant exists

Michael W. Raymond, Ph.D., a professor of English at Stetson University until his death in 2007, believed that higher education was an opportunity for students to discover their passions.

His message to undergraduates at Stetson University was clear: The university exists as a sanctuary and a crucible, a place to learn to love the process of learning, and to catch fire with an intellectual passion that will sustain you for the rest of your life.

He was speaking from his own experience as an undergraduate at Stetson University, and this grant in his honor is designed to help current and future undergraduates to pursue their own dreams and passions.

Dr. Raymond railed against students using four years at a college or university as vocational training. The idea that college represented a transactional experience in which one “put in” four years of time and a pile of cash, and expected a degree in return, which represented little more than a ticket to the rat race, was anathema to him.

This grant is named and funded in his honor, and to continue his work of pushing students to learn outside of the classroom.

How to apply

To apply, fill out this form no later than midnight on Wednesday, Feb. 21.

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