Hello, Ph.D. students.
I am writing this email to let you know about some funds available to you and the proper means of obtaining them. There is a modest amount of money available to graduate students at Mason, but you need to meet deadlines, follow procedures, and be patient in order to get it. Please note that in seeking funding, as in other matters related to your graduate studies, it is essential TO CONDUCT ALL CORRESPONDENCE VIA YOUR GMU EMAIL ACCOUNT (whether you have your GMU email forwarded to another address or use your GMU address directly).
First, if you are presenting a paper at a professional conference, you should request funding from the Graduate and Professional Students Association (GAPSA): http://gstf.gmu.edu/. There are posted deadlines, several times per year. Although the department sometimes gives students modest funding to help defray the expenses of conference presentations, GAPSA should be your first stop to request funding.
Second, it's never too early to start thinking about summer research travel. The department currently has two pots of money--one internal and one from the Provost's Office--to fund travel for dissertation research. The call for proposals is typically in April and awards are announced shortly thereafter.
That said, the process for obtaining reimbursement for travel expenses at Mason is legendary--and not in a good way. Be forewarned that the rules for getting reimbursed are rigid and arcane--see http://fiscal.gmu.edu/Departments/Travel%20Office/ -- and the process takes much longer than you would think (often 2-3 months). All of these problems originate either in Richmond (i.e., with state regulations) or in Mason's own Travel Office. Experience has shown that there is nothing that you, I, or anyone else can do about either the delays or the complexity of the process--except maybe to form a support group, which I believe has actually happened.
In our department, Laura McCloskey is the person who processes reimbursements for our department (though not for GAPSA). Laura is an expert at dealing with a frustrating system that she did not create. Please treat her kindly.
If you have any questions, let me know.
Cynthia A. Kierner
Professor of History
Director, Ph.D. Program in History
Department of History & Art History
George Mason University
Robinson Hall B, 343
4400 University Drive, MSN 3G1
Fairfax, VA 22030
New for spring: http://uncpress.unc.edu/browse/book_detail?title_id=2792