SUU Alumna Writes Grant for Southview Skills Track

Published: March 22, 2022 | Author: Abbie Cochrane | Read Time: 5 minutes

Alumna Addy Rich writes grantJune 2021 saw the opening of the new Southview Skills Track in Cedar City, thanks to the grant writing skills of Southern Utah University alumna Addy Rich. Just off the Turnpike trail and neighboring the Southview trailhead, the track is a course of beginner and intermediate-level mountain biking obstacles.

The construction of the park was made possible by funding from a grant written by Rich. During the project, Rich was an intern for Dr. Briget Eastep, the executive director of SUU’s Outdoor Pathways. The project sparked Rich’s interest while she was taking a Grant and Technical Writing class where she was assigned to find a community partner and write a grant for them. It wasn’t too difficult for her to decide who she wanted to partner with.

“I was having a pretty hard time finding a community partner that would let me write a grant for them. After finding someone that accepted my help I was so excited and ready to jump into the project,” Rich said. “My family was involved in the mountain bike community up north and I’ve always been pretty passionate about the outdoors, so I thought it would be really cool to do something that involved those things.”

Once she decided on who she would be working with, Rich got in touch with Dave Jacobsen, her main partner for the project.

“He was my main contact with the BLM and he’s the one who got me in contact with Briget Eastep in SUU’s IIC,” Rich said. “Getting the grant was a big team effort.”

Rich went into detail about the time and effort involved with getting the grant for the project. There was a lot of research involved that heavily outweighed the amount of writing she did for the grant. She estimated that 90% of her time was spent researching and the remaining 10% was spent writing the grant. However, it was also a great learning experience.

“Writing a grant is difficult, but there are just certain steps you have to follow,” Rich said. “There were many times where I doubted myself, especially when I heard how much the grant was for. It ended up being a huge grant and I didn’t think that I had the experience necessary for something like that. I was able to overcome this by going to work and tackling the project a little at a time. It helped not to think about the whole thing at once because that could get a little overwhelming.”

Rich talked about how her experience bringing the park to life has given her a greater appreciation for the mountain biking community and nature.

“I am also much more appreciative of the trails now that I know how much work and love went into getting them there. It’s hard to put into words what the park means to me,” said Rich. “Before the park first opened, my friends and I would go on mountain bike rides and I would point it out and be like ‘hey that’s my park.’ For the grand opening my whole family came down and we rode a lot of the trails.”

Even though it started as an assignment for a class, Rich says that she is so grateful for the impact the assignment and the project have had on her life and her career path. Rich now works for a nonprofit organization. Her main job? Writing grants for them.

“That’s something I never would have been able to do without the bike park,” she remarked. “Before, I didn’t know what I wanted to do once I graduated. Now, because of this project, I do.”

So far, the Southview Skills Track has proved to unite the community. Not only does it provide a fun extracurricular activity for mountain bikers of all ages, but it is a place where beginner-level bikers can improve and practice their skills before they move on to more advanced trails. Every inch of the park is a tribute to Rich’s passion for nature and recreation.

“Addy is a classic example of a student who goes above and beyond in the class,” said Dr. Julia Combs, Director of the Writing Center and English professor at the university. “She is the one who brought SUU Outdoors, BLM, and the city together.”

Dr. Combs, who teaches the class, explained that grant-writing is a skill that elevates one’s career and opens doors to bigger and better opportunities. She emphasized that grant-writing is cross-disciplinary, and students like Rich who demonstrate the determination to see a project through to the end are the ones that get job offers right out of the gate.

“Only one out of ten grants a year get funded. The successful students are the ones who continue the project outside the deadline for the class. They anticipate and problem solve, and it produces results,” Dr. Combs said. “Behind every nonprofit is a story and a need.”

Dr. Combs’ main goal in teaching the class is to teach students that the writer’s job is to make the reader’s job easier. Students learn to write brief and concise emails as well as good communication skills. Their big assignment? Find a project partner in a field that interests them and write a grant for them. To learn more about the Grant and Technical Writing class, visit the English department’s website.

The Southview Skills Track mountain biking park is open to the public in Cedar City, Utah. Bikers of all ages and experiences are welcomed at the park, whether to practice new skills or just enjoy the ride.

Tags: Alumni Student Life English

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