Career Services

Vocational Discernment Grants

Download the Informational Packet!

Here is a pdf with with application requirements and need to know information.

Here are sample sections to model your proposal after.

Please e-mail Xengie Doan <xdoan> or Jeani Bragg <jbragg> with any questions!

Student Vocational Discernment Grants

Sponsored by Willamette University’s Career Center, funded by the Lilly Project.

Students are eligible for one Lilly-funded Vocational Discernment Grant of up to $200 during their four years at Willamette.

A Vocational Discernment Grant funds educational opportunity for vocational exploration that allows you to explore vocational questions you might have about that subject. Examples may include attending a conference, workshop, meeting, or training session. The experience should contribute to your personal development and relate to service (how can you bring back and use what you are gaining/learning for the betterment of our campus/local/larger community).

2014-2015 Project Profiles:

Anna Walling and Miles Sari

Anna Walling (right), Class of 2015 with Miles Sari (left)

Rhetoric and Media Studies Major

"My thesis was competitively selected for presentation at the Western States Communication Association research conference in February of 2015. I gained a lot of confidence in my ability to create and share meaningful scholarship on an individual level. I learned how to prepare for a professional presentation and how to receive formal feedback on a research project.

This experience really inspired me to continue on my path towards pursuing higher education in this field. With some recent experiences, I had doubts on my ability to succeed, but attending this conference has motivated me to continue to work towards more opportunities in the communication discipline.  Thank you so much for the funding that allowed me to not only learn about formal academic presentations – but to participate in an experience that has inspired me to continue to research communication ethics, that can be positive and influential to scholars and more importantly, members of our community."

Manny Rodriguez

Manny Rodriguez, Class of 2015

Exercise Science and Sociology Major

"On the weekend of Sept. 19-21st I attended the Women & Power: Men and Women The Next Conversation Conference held in Rhinebeck, NY at the Omega Institute. I attended with the hope that I would learn more about allyship for women, tools for how to engage in the discourse around ending gender based violence and to sharpen my analysis of healthy masculinity. 

As I begin to think of my vocation and where I feel called to serve in life both professionally and personally, I think of my experience at this conference. I want both men and women to feel liberated from bondage. As a future public health professional, it is not enough to enforce quotas because there is actually no correlation between numbers and advancement. This made me think of the different institutions in which women and people of color, especially, have been tokenized.

Thank you SO MUCH for funding this opportunity, it has been and will continue to be instrumental in my growth as a social justice person."

Kayla Cothrun

Kayla Cothrun, Class of 2014

"I had the opportunity to attend the American College Personnel Association’s Next Gen conference in Indianapolis, Indiana. This conference was geared toward undergraduate students seeking careers as student affairs professionals. The theme of this year’s ACPA conference was Reinventing Student Affairs for Social Justice, so many of the sessions I attended revolved around both learning about and preparing students for graduate programs in the field of student affairs as well as unpacking issues of identity and inclusion. Networking and engaging with my future colleagues was also an important facet of my experience. 

I am so grateful for the Vocational Discernment Grant that made this opportunity possible. Not only did I learn some invaluable lessons about the field of student affairs and have the opportunity to network, it could not have come at a better time, as I prepare for graduate school, and my career ahead. "

Questions? Contact Jeani Bragg at or Xengie Doan at, call x6296, or visit the Career Center (UC3).

Funding for grants provided by: