Community-University Partnership Graduate Student Equity Award

With the support of the Suncor Energy Foundation, CUP is offering a Graduate Student Equity Award and mentorship opportunities available for equity-deserving students in any discipline pursuing community-engaged studies focused on children, families, and community well-being. No C.V. or letters of support required.

26 May 2022

The Community-University Partnership for the Study of Children, Youth, and Families (CUP) is offering a one-time Graduate Student Equity Award with the support of the Suncor Energy Foundation.

The CUP Graduate Student Equity Award supports equity-deserving graduate students through financial aid and networking and mentorship opportunities.

Information session:

CUP director Karen Edwards delivered an information session about the Graduate Student Equity Award on June 10.

To qualify, you must:

  • Be an enrolled University of Alberta graduate student (full- or part-time) for the duration of the award,
  • Be enrolled in a course-based or thesis-based graduate program focused on improving the wellbeing of children, youth, families, and/or communities,
  • Demonstrate your interest in community engagement and its application to your research and learning,
  • Identify as a member of an equity-deserving group,
  • Not hold other award(s) or scholarship(s) totalling more than $15,000 over the duration of this award.

Award description:

  • Duration: 8 months (Sept. 1, 2022 – April 30, 2023)
  • Financial benefits: Successful applicants will receive $7,000 to use in any way that helps them engage more fully with their graduate program.
  • Mentorship benefits: Successful applicants will form a community of practice. A community of practice is an educational method that brings together a group of people who share a passion for something they do and as they interact in the group they learn how to do it better. Successful applicants will participate in 3 community of practice sessions during the award period to explore and discuss the nuances of community engagement, discuss challenges, reflect on their experiences in their studies, and engage with CUP mentors. 
  • Networking benefits: Successful applicants will have a chance to engage with CUP Steering Committee members, which includes community leaders, government representatives, academics, and funding agency representatives.

Expectations of award recipients:

  • Recipients must participate in and contribute to all 3 community of practice sessions
  • At the end of the award, recipients must give a five-minute presentation to the CUP Steering Committee about the impacts of the award on their studies.

How to apply (Deadline for applications June 26 @ 11:59pm):

You can apply for the CUP Graduate Student Equity Award using the online application form. The form will ask you to:

  • Input your personal and academic information (ex. name, address, student ID, program)
  • Briefly explain your identity or intersectional identities and how your studies focus on children, youth, families, and/or communities
  • Indicate other sources of funding you will receive during the duration of the award
  • Upload a personal statement in the form of a written response (max. 450 words) or a video (max. 3 minutes) that answers the following questions:
    • What experiences have inspired you to focus your studies on community-engaged research?
    • How will a CUP Graduate Student Equity Award help you build on that experience?

How will CUP decide who gets this award?

  • A working group will review all applications through a blind screening process (i.e. with identifying information removed) and evaluate each application according to a rubric (included in the application form)
  • Ten recipients will be randomly chosen from the pool of eligible applicants


  1. How do you define equity-deserving? Equity-deserving communities are groups who face unequal access to opportunities, resources, funding, and support or who experience systemic discrimination and oppression. This includes Black people, people of color, 2SLGBTQ+, Indigenous people,  women, racialized people, people with mental or physical disabilities, newcomers, refugees, and more.
  2. What can I use the award for? The award can be used on anything that helps the student focus on their community engaged work/studies, including materials, tuition, childcare, cost of living, and more.
  3. Does it matter which Faculty or department I am enrolled in? No, this award is open to students in all disciplines as long as they meet other requirements.
  4. I am new to community-engaged work. Can I still apply? Yes. Students at all levels of their community engagement journey are invited to apply. It is not necessary to have formal or professional community engagement experience as long as you are looking to expand your knowledge of community engagement and apply it to your work. 
  5. I am already getting some funding during the tenure of the award. Can I still apply? As long as you do not hold a total balance of awards or scholarships that is over $15,000 during the award, you can apply.
  6. My work involves communities but is not specifically about children and family well-being. Can I still apply? Well-being refers to the overall quality of life, which is influenced by factors of health, spirituality, education, civic engagement, income, housing, social inclusion, culture, and more. As long as your application clearly explains how your studies address one or more of these factors in the context of communities, you are encouraged to apply.
  7. What should go into my personal statement? Your personal statement can be either a written response (max. 450 words) or a video (max. 3 minutes) that demonstrates why you are a good fit for this award. Depending on your situation, you can discuss personal experiences, informal community-based experiences, or professional experiences. Make sure you review the rubric and application form carefully to ensure you are providing strong answers.
  8. What is a “community of practice”? A community of practice is people with a common concern who meet regularly to support and empower one another. It is similar to a cohort. Successful applicants will join a community of practice including other applicants plus CUP mentors and committee members.

Need more information?

We will host an information session on June 10 @ 11:00AM. We will provide an overview of the award and provide time for questions and answers. Please register for the session by emailing with the subject "June 10 - Equity Award Information Session". 

Feel free to contact CUP at with any questions.