Interview with Christopher Tremblay, Grant Writing Program Participant
Christopher Tremblay recently participated in a UMaine Hutchinson Center Grant Writing program. This program has helped numerous people write and receive grants for meaningful work in their communities. Learn about Tremblay’s experience in this program and the grant he subsequently received to build a prototype for an underwater acoustic recorder that can be affixed to fishing gear and monitor large whale activity.
Where do you work and what do you do?
I work as a marine mammal research biologist at the University of Maine School of Marine Sciences (SMS) and am also the science program coordinator and lab manager at the University of Maine Hutchinson Center. My work with SMS is primarily focused on the survey and study of large whales using passive acoustic monitoring, which is the capture and analysis of these animal’s vocalizations. Much of my work is centered in the Gulf of Maine and the northwest Atlantic Ocean and is often focused on endangered species, including the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale. I am currently involved with several efforts, in collaboration with both state and federal government, to increase the monitoring of this species in the Gulf of Maine. My work at the Hutchinson Center is focused on managing the research and academic programs that take place at the center’s two lab spaces (biology and chemistry), including curriculum and program development.
(As the science program coordinator and lab manager at the UMaine Hutchinson Center in Belfast, Christopher is organizing an awesome, hands-on summer course for rising 10th–12th graders, Integrated Science Research and Career Exploration – INT 188. Learn more about this awesome course here.)
What program did you participate in?
UMaine Hutchinson Center Grant Writing Certificate Program
Of all the things you learned during the program, what stuck with you the most?
It was astounding to learn how much material can be produced in a short period of time with the correct motivation, with a team of people, when there is a clear understanding of everyone’s strengths and weaknesses. By the end of this short five-day course we had legitimate content for our own grants, and also worked as a team to build a mock nonprofit with a board, budget and scope. This was an excellent, productive course.
How did taking the course impact you?
Shortly after taking this course, I applied for a small grant, with the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund, to build a prototype economical underwater acoustic recorder that can be affixed to fishing gear and monitor large whale activity. Most of the content for that grant application was produced during the course, and ultimately I was successfully awarded the funds I applied for.
The Hutchinson Center will be the base of operations for this new project, and I am hopeful that it will grow in the future with continued grant funding. I believe this particular grant was successful for three reasons, which I did take away from the course as being important – a relevant, hot-button topic; a subject I am expertly familiar with; and the grant being reviewed and edited by numerous people with varying backgrounds and expertise.
Do you have any advice for people who are thinking about taking this course or a professional development program at the Hutchinson Center?
I would highly recommend the grant writing course after my experience and success with the course. Those considering the course should expect to do a lot of work in a short period of time and to work with a team toward common goals. Students will probably find it most beneficial if they arrive with a grant concept in mind, however, the course structure also benefits from having students from a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences, as there are many different roles to fill when developing grant proposals. Overall the Hutchinson Center provides excellent professional development courses, with relevant, contemporary instruction at a top-notch facility.
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