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Student Opportunity Grants

The Di Palo-Williams Student Opportunity Grant (“Opportunity Grant”) is generously funded by alumna Michele Di Palo-Williams '77 (Sociology) and her husband Graeme Williams. The grant will be available on a trial basis until summer, 2024.


Grant Goals

  • To support students engaging in research or other creative activities that advance their professional development in their field.
  • To complement our current grant programs (AYURE, SURE) by:
    • providing a quick funding option for sudden and/or modest project expenses
    • covering project expenses that are not easily covered by those other grants
    • supporting students/projects that are not already funded by those other grants



  • Students may apply for up to $200. Grant winners who need more than this amount can apply again at a later timepoint (see application deadlines, below). 
  • Funds are provided in the form of a prepaid debit card given to the student.



  • Student applicants must be enrolled at SUNY New Paltz during the grant award period, taking 6+ credits (or, if applying in summer, then being signed up for 6+ credits the following Fall semester), holding a 3.0+ GPA, and in good academic standing.
  • Master’s students may apply too, but priority will be given to undergraduate students if we are unable to support all strong applications.
  • Applicants must be mentored by a faculty member. This can include, for example, an independent study, Honors thesis, research team volunteering, or other collaborative projects. The grant is not meant for projects conducted within a major’s standard required course (ex, a Research Methods course).


How to Apply

  • Students can complete the application online at tinyurl.com/RSCAOpportunityGrant.
  • A copy of the application will be emailed to the faculty mentor for verification. The RSCA will review it and notify applicants within a week.
  • Applications are due by 5 p.m. on these dates:
    • Fall semester grants: September 1, October 1, or November 1 (extended to Nov 8 in 2022)
    • Spring semester grants: February 1, March 1, or April 1
    • Summer grant: June 1


Evaluation Criteria

  • The grant must support the student’s professional development in a clear, meaningful way.
  • We will prioritize applications with project expenses that other RSCA grants (AYURE, SURE) do not easily cover. For more details, see our chart of purchase types allowed by each RSCA grant.
  • We will also prioritize applications from students (and by extension, faculty mentors) who have not already won this grant or other RSCA grants (AYURE, SURE) recently.


About the Donors

Michele Di Palo-Williams '77 (Sociology) was a first-generation college student at SUNY New Paltz. She credits a rare summer research opportunity as foundational to her success in graduate school at Harvard University and her eventual career in healthcare data analysis and policy development.

Now on the New Paltz Foundation Board of Directors, Michele hopes to help current SUNY New Paltz students find similar opportunities to develop professionally through mentored research and creative activities. To that end, Michele and her husband Graeme Williams have created the Student Opportunity Grant.