After a huge effort from Sander Koole (my internship supervisor) and I in the past half year or so, I recently received the Mosaic grant from the NWO (Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research). In January this year, I found out through a fellow student that I was eligible for this grant, but we only had a few weeks until the application deadline which included a detailed grant proposal. We had to work hard and fast to make the deadline. After making the first selection phase (41 out of 210) in February, I followed workshops to further develop my research ideas and to prepare a presentation to convince a multidisciplinary committee of professors to fund the project.

This summer, during my vacation, I was informed that I was one of 20 to receive the grant. Not long after, near the end of the year, NWO also held a short ceremony to award the grants in person. This was also the last time that the grant was awarded because of budget cuts, which does make it extra special. Even without applying for this grant, the last year at the VU has been a huge learning experience for me, and also very challenging, but I am very grateful that these efforts have been rewarded. It is the cherry on the cake. This is a short summary of the research project:

“The proposed research investigates how and why affirming feelings of belonging may improve academic achievement among ethnic minority students. The resulting insights will be used to design powerful new belongingness interventions. These interventions will be evaluated in terms of their effectiveness in closing the minority achievement gap.”