Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Fellowship It Up

I don't think I've really talked about my journalism fellowship on here as of yet. I figured before I post pictures from it (which is what I was just about to do) I should probably explain why the heck Luke and I were hanging out with "Don" Rumfeld.

Back in 2007 I was a major overachiever. This is probably not a surprise to anyone. I knew a multitude of people who had entered for and won substantial sized journalism fellowships with the Phillips Foundation for the purpose of reporting out a single story for a year while simultaneously getting mad hook-ups with the publishing industry and other newspapers that could significantly advance their careers. I wanted in on that action.

But I just didn't have time.

When the drama with my father rolled around last year I felt like I really, really needed to do something to give the family a hand financially -- something more than we could do with Luke's salary. As much as I was enjoying being a full-time mommy/kept woman, I could hear a job calling my name.

But I didn't want to put Dave in full time childcare. I'm not against not seeing him every second of every day, but day care? No thank you.

The fellowship seemed like the perfect solution. If I could land a part time one I could either work with Dave at home or with him in care very part time.

And so I entered. I knew enough people who had won in the past (5 total) and enough about their projects to not only know in what sort of thing the foundation would be interested, but how to write a proposal that wouldn't be ignored. These fabulous people also helped edit my work and prepare it for submission. (Thanks!)

And yes, I won. I'm told about 50 applications were seriously considered, 15 people were flown out for interviews, and 10 people won (two won full time fellowships, seven won part time like me, and one won a smaller prize). Competitive, yes. Impossible odds, no.

My project is titled "Deployed: The Silent Sacrifice for Freedom and the Destruction of the Military Family." Through it I will examine both the reasons behind an ever increasing divorce rate in the military and the effectiveness of military funded programs aimed at stemming the tide.

But I need help. First and foremost, I need people to talk to you. If you or anyone you know has struggled with marriage problems during their military career, no matter why, please consider talking to me or passing on my name. You can remain anonymous. The goal of this project is not to pass judgement on divorce, but to instead explore prevention and ways to keep others in the military from experiencing that pain. I am interested in talking to both current and former military families who have struggled and patched things up and those who have ended their marriages.

Now, back to the fun stuff -- pictures from the dinner.

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