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Students Encouraged to Apply for a Johnson Opportunity Grant in 2023 The grant provides funds to support W&L student projects worldwide.

The Johnson Opportunity Grant program at Washington and Lee University provides funds to support W&L student projects all around the world. The grants, which are awarded on a competitive basis, are open to any W&L student that will be a sophomore, junior or senior during the 2022-23 academic year.

The grant covers travel, living expenses and any additional costs associated with the proposed project or summer activity. Funding is typically not granted for taking courses abroad unless the course is not offered at W&L or exceeds the depth of study of a W&L course.

Grant funding has been awarded for a vast array of projects and is intended to lower barriers to access opportunities, support during unpaid internships, travel to conferences and funding for project materials on and off campus.

“With the Johnson Opportunity Grant, no student must deny an opportunity they’ve been given due to financial reasons,” said Haley Culbertson ’22, Johnson program coordinator. “Because the grant is not specific to one course of study, students have been able to travel across the world to see artwork previously only viewed in books, make lasting connections with new mentors and publish and present graduate-level research at national conferences.”

During the 2021-22 school year, 39 students received grants. Culbertson herself was the recipient of a Johnson Opportunity Grant, which she used to investigate manganese contamination in groundwater and springs across the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia. Manganese can be very harmful, causing development and cognitive issues in children and adults if chronically consumed.

“I continued this project throughout last year in the form of an undergraduate thesis, which I hope to publish in the coming years. I had previously been apprehensive about committing to the project before receiving the grant,” said Culbertson. “All travel and living expenses for my project were funded by the Johnson Opportunity Grant, without which my research would not have been possible.”

Sadie Charles Calame ’23 used her recent Johnson Opportunity Grant to fund her EMT certification this past summer, allowing her to also serve as a volunteer with the Lexington Fire Department for 12 hours per week.

“Working in emergency medicine has helped improve my technical and patient interaction skills,” said Calame, who plans to attend medical school following a gap year after her graduation this spring. “Both will be crucial for any future medical profession.”

Johnson Opportunity Grants vary in amount depending on proposed budgets and the reasonably predicted costs associated with travel, living expenses, and other necessary costs. Grants range from $1,000-$3,000, though additional money may be requested for students with financial aid packages who may experience lost summer wages.

The deadlines to apply for 2023 Johnson Opportunity Grants are Jan. 20, 2023 and March 17, 2023.