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  • Gift Planning

Helping the next generation of researchers

Studying at Queen’s launched a career for Dawn. Now she’s helping young scholars do the same.

When Dawn Bowen was studying for her PhD at Queen’s in the 1990s, there were a number of ways to pay for her schooling. Bowen, PhD’98, was fortunate to earn a prestigious Fulbright Scholarship, which paid for her tuition. For other graduate students, becoming a teaching assistant is a common way to earn money.

But funding for your research? That was a challenge.

“Graduate students pay their way through school by being teaching assistants. It covers your costs. But then when you have to do the research for your degree, where do you get your money from?” says Bowen, whose geography PhD thesis explored Saskatchewan’s back-to-the-land movement in the 1930s that encouraged farmers to settle in the northern parts of the province. “Going to Saskatchewan for a summer and Ottawa (for research) was a big deal.(My fellow grad students and I) had funding while we were students, but when it came to research, it was hard.”

Funding opportunities for research are limited. There are funds, but it is not unusual for grad students to ask family for financial support. Bowen was fortunate that her husband was a full-time professor, so they had money to cover costs.

To help the next generation of Queen’s graduate students, Bowen – now a full-time geography professor at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Va. – established the Bowen Graduate Fellowship in Human Geography, which provides $2,500 annually to help offset research expenses for humanities and social science graduate students.

Bowen wanted to give back to the university that helped launch her academic career. 

“I loved being at Queen’s,” Bowen says. “I loved the people, and I loved the city. It was an incredible opportunity for me to grow and develop into the person I became.”

She credits her academic adviser, Peter Goheen, for pushing her and giving her great advice.  In her second year, she was ready to start her PhD thesis proposal. She had already written papers and presented at conferences, and it was Goheen who encouraged her to get those papers published in academic journals.

“By the time I finished my PhD, I think I had three publications, which – in the late 1990s – was pretty unusual and it put me a step ahead of my cohort being a relatively new PhD but already having several publications,” Bowen said.

It wasn’t until she met with a representative from Queen’s Gift Planning, that Bowen realized that smaller annual gifts over time can create a larger fund that can make the difference in the life of a student.

Now she is thrilled to have a fellowship that is going to help many generations of Queen’s students. She has also named Queen’s as a future beneficiary of her Living Trust, which will contribute to her fellowship in the future.

“I am incredibly fortunate that I can give back,” Bowen said. “I gave an incremental amount (every year). Now I have a fund that is going to last far beyond my lifetime and help students reach their goals.”

To learn more about remembering Queen's with a lasting legacy in support of the causes you care about most, please contact the Gift Planning team.

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