Maria Forrest

Maria Forrest

As the philanthropy advisor for the College of Natural Resources and Sciences at Humboldt State University, Maria Forrest works with individual mid-level to major donors. Seeking to do more work with foundations and corporations, she did some research into developing her grant writing skills and found San Diego State University’s online program through the College of Extended Studies.

“I wanted to learn the how-to’s, like how to research and seek grant opportunities, how to prepare for writing a grant proposal, and how to write it,” said Forrest. In just two five-week online courses, Forrest learned to do exactly that.

Taught by long-time instructor Jay Katz, the courses — Introduction to Grants and Funding Research and Grant Proposal Development — teach students how to identify funding prospects, understand grant guidelines, and construct a proposal that’s clear, persuasive, and resonates with the priorities of various funders.

“I chose this program over others because it was an opportunity to earn a certificate,” said Forrest. “It always seems to matter to employers, current or future, that you not only took classes, but that you went the extra mile to complete a certificate.”  She viewed the quality of instruction and the access to the professor as the program’s biggest strengths.

“I really appreciated Jay’s commitment to teaching. He provided us with important feedback on our assignments,” said Forrest. “He also addressed students’ individual questions pertaining to the area they were currently working in and gave them ideas to build on.”

Forrest also appreciated that the courses afforded the opportunity to get some writing practice for real grants. Then shortly after receiving her certificate, she got to apply her skills.

“I partnered with a colleague to write a successful proposal for $135,000 to fund an endowment for student research,” said Forrest, “and another colleague and I are working on a grant proposal in the neighborhood of $100,000 to fund expendable STEM scholarships. … I definitely recommend SDSU’s Grant Writing program. It’s an opportunity to learn from real-life grant examples, get tips and guidance from an expert in the field, receive practice and feedback, all while getting a certificate.”

The 2018 fall session begins with the Grant Proposal Development course on Oct. 22. Learn more at