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Meet Graduate Student Advocate for Fellowships: Leah Aldridge

Leah Aldridge, Graduate Student Advocate for Fellowships
Leah Aldridge, Graduate Student Advocate for Fellowships
In addition to being the Graduate Student Advocate for Fellowships, Leah is a USC School of Cinematic Arts PhD candidate. The focus of her research examines the international circulation of black cinematic images. Specifically she investigates the historical and industrial determinants that trigger Hollywood black film production cycles and analyzes their consumption abroad.
Leah’s Role at the Graduate School
My responsibility is to work with USC graduate students as they prepare application for external monies. There are graduate students all over the country competing for much of the same funding and we want our USC students to move to the front of that line and be successful. We hold information sessions where you can learn more about what’s available to you and how to access external resources. I love what I do as a Graduate Student Advocate because I’ve seen how just a little bit of information can make a big difference to a graduate student trying to figure it all out. I enjoy being of service and providing education to people and that’s why I’m here with the Graduate School.” –Leah Aldridge
Leah’s Advice for PhD students

First off educate yourselves on the different funding opportunities; your department’s stipends for Teaching or Research Assistants are terrific but you should be aware of other opportunities to fund your education and research. Also be creative in your search for fellowship funding: the funding you pursue might not be limited to the focus of your research, it could be to support you as a member of an historically under-represented group. Or it could come from a country abroad that wants to promote and create awareness of their research value. There are so many different types of funding available and I strongly suggest that you don’t limit yourself in your search. You might not get one big grant but you might be able to construct a funding fellowship plan made up of many different items. Some good resources are GRAPES UCLA, H-NET Humanities and Social Sciences Online. And, be sure to connect with other PhD students; your peers are the best source of information. There’s a big chance that other graduate students have had similar experiences and you can learn from them. Of course you must do your own digging around, but graduate student chatter is a wonderful source of information!” –Leah Aldridge

You can contact Leah for any questions related to Fellowships and the USC Graduate School at