As Fielding’s Director of Advising Lindsay Cahn leads the unit that helps students navigate their programs. But recently, Lindsay was a student herself, and just received an EdD in Organizational Change and Leadership from the University of Southern California.
For her dissertation research, Lindsay needed to collect data from Fielding faculty. To inspire cooperation, she agreed to make a gift to the Ethnic Minorities Dissertation Scholarship for every survey and interview completed. She got the data she needed, the faculty could feel good about their participation, and Fielding students benefited.
Q: What inspired you to make a gift to Fielding in exchange for their participation?
A: My dissertation research looked at the problem of long times-to-degree for doctoral students. One of the themes that came up again and again in research studies is that the lack of funding and financial stress is one of the significant barriers that doctoral students experience.
I focused my research study on surveying and interviewing Fielding faculty about their advising practices. It was recommended to me to offer small gift cards for participation. A $5 or $10 gift card didn’t seem like enough, considering how busy our faculty are and how valuable their time is.
I thought that they would appreciate supporting our students financially, particularly given how devoted they are to their student advisees. So, I offered a $10 donation for each survey completed and a $20 gift for each interview.
Q: In your opinion, what impact do student scholarships have at Fielding?
A: The variety of scholarships at Fielding is inspiring, and the fact that students have an opportunity to apply EVERY term is fantastic. I’ve seen first-hand how much our students appreciate the scholarships they receive, and how essential that support is for them.
It wasn’t until becoming a doctoral student myself that I realized how many unexpected costs come up during the dissertation research phase. For instance, I had to buy a digital recorder to record face-to-face interviews and then pay to have those recordings transcribed. Providing incentives to research participants also wasn’t part of my plan. My university didn’t have internal scholarships for doctoral students. Luckily, my family stepped in with a gift to help.
Q: Anything you’d like to add?
A: I love that Fielding doesn’t assume that its students have that kind of family financial support. Instead, our generous donors and alumni, in a real sense acting as a Fielding family, provide this support for our students.
Congratulations, Lindsay, on becoming Dr. Lindsay Cahn!
Ethnic Minorities Dissertation Scholarship
The Ethnic Minorities Dissertation Scholarship is an annual award to a Fielding student who has completed an approved draft of their dissertation on topics related to historically underrepresented groups. Research topics may include understanding ethnic minorities better, both psychologically and socially; developing new theories and/or concepts related to ethnic minorities; and developing new and creative methodologies that enhance the research on ethnic minorities. Many Fielding staff have supported this scholarship throughout the years.