[Parentsgroup-list] Applying for Summer Monies -- a story of a small victory

Kara Swanson kswanson at fas.harvard.edu
Mon May 9 09:12:55 EDT 2005

Dear all,

One insight I took away from the meeting some of us attended with the Bright
Horizons staff was that we are all struggling as individuals to cope with what
are often common problems, and that Harvard treats us differently, depending on
who, how, and whether we ask for help.  To combat this issue, I thought I would
share a small victory I just had, when by asking, I was able to get Harvard to
bend to accomodate my family issues, in the hopes that someone on this list
might be able to use the precedent. (I also hope I can spark others to tell us
of little victories, so we can all work together to widen those cracks in the
Harvard facade!)

I applied for a summer travel grant from GSAS (not the GSC grants), and the
application was due in December.  At that time, my husband and I thought we
could pull off moving the family to Europe for the summer, so I could study
German.  By about March, his summer funding situation had changed, and with the
weakness of the dollar, it was looking pretty impossible for us all to go
abroad, even if I got the grant, and I'm not interested in leaving my kids for
the summer.  The grant decision process was still on-going, so I consulted with
Ellen Fox of Student Services about whether I could convert my application into
an application for a Harvard Summer School tuition waiver (a separate
application process)  Ellen checked in with Dean McCavana, and helped me
compose a letter to Cynthia Verba, who runs the grant process.  It worked!

What I want to stress is that Ellen Fox conveyed to me very strongly that Dean
McCavana was interested in helping student parents, and that my request --
while completely out of time -- would be considered.  As we all know, having
families can make it extra difficult to plan months ahead, and this time, I was
able to get Harvard to accomodate that problem.

Now, if I can just figure out how one *can* do research/study abroad with kids .
. .



Kara W. Swanson, B.S., M.A., J.D.
Ph.D. Candidate
History of Science
Harvard University
Science Center 371
Cambridge, MA 02138
kswanson at fas.harvard.edu

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