Number 44, November 3, 2015
Lexi Holloway '16 will actually complete the requirements for her B.S. in Public Management by December 2015. The recipient of two College Foundation scholarships – a Bishop Scholarship as well as the Rose Endowment – will be launching a career in a high demand and highly competitive field as a professional grant writer.
She already has experience, having written grants as part of her course work with Dr. Mary Eleanor Wickersham, Assistant Professor of Public Affairs. "My first grant was written for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources last spring to secure funding for bagging oyster shells for shoreline restoration. My second was in conjunction with my internship with the Georgia Sea Turtle Center on Jekyll Island."
She finds the work both interesting and challenging. "Grant writing is more difficult than you might expect. It's not just about the writing. You have to learn how to advocate, how to communicate using their language and expressing their passion. The grant content includes history, research, budgets, project timetables, expected results, action plan to accomplish the objectives – more than just asking for money for something an organization wants to do. Organizations are as strapped for time as they are for funds. Grant writing is really time consuming. So when I can say, 'Hey, I'll do it for you,' they are really excited."
Holloway likes the flexibility of grant writing, noting it requires self-discipline. "You make your own schedule, but you still have to get your grant reviewed and then submitted by the specified deadline. It's rewarding when the grant is fulfilled and you know you helped to make it happen."
One reason grant writing appealed to her was her interest in fine arts and her dream of someday establishing a non-profit studio for inner-city kids to experience the arts. Another was the schedule flexibility. Holloway is a professional dancer as well as a college student.
"When I was 8 years old, my best friend was in a dance recital. I followed her around and connected to it. I find the movement therapeutic and I don't want to stop dancing," she explained. She has been a dance teacher for 6 years, working at three different dance studios in Brunswick. "I can teach anything, but I favor ballet and contemporary dance. The toddlers, 3 to 5 years old, are my babies. I love my babies! For them, I teach ballet and tap. I teach contemporary dance for high school students. It's good therapy, requiring honesty and expression in body movement."
She danced professionally for one semester with companies in Orlando, Atlanta and Jacksonville. She still performs with the Braided Light Dance Company in Jacksonville. "But I realized I am more into the choreography and the teaching rather than the stage."
She also takes a full class schedule – 18 hours for fall term 2015. "I'm doing what I love. Someday I know I'll have a body injury and I'll need to be prepared to change careers."
According to Holloway, Coastal Georgia is more than just a college experience and an education. "My dad died my senior year at McIntosh County Academy. I was looking for a way to get back on my feet as fast as I could and still have a life. Coastal was safe and affordable – a small environment offering big opportunities. I could continue to dance and be there for my mother who has been undergoing chemotherapy without giving up college. My professors work with me, support me in what I'm trying to do. Dr. Wickersham is my mentor – she's awesome. My dad's dream was that I would graduate from college. That's what I'm going to do."
Describing herself as introverted, she said, "Quiet people are still very much alive. I need to be present where I am and to accomplish what I need. I can do that here. There's all this deep stuff," she concluded, laughing, "and then there's my German shepherd, Buck. When all else fails, I walk the dog!"