As part of assistant professor and co-director of Professional Writing at Oregon Institute of Technology (Oregon Tech), Amber Lancaster, Ph.D., tasked her students to partner with professional clients to pursue funding for a number of community projects. The result of two of those projects amounted to $9,500 in grant funding awarded to the Klamath Falls Blue Zones Project.

During winter 2020 term, four students in Dr. Lancaster’s Writing 410 Proposal & Grant Writing class worked with Blue Zones Project as their client to help write proposals for needed grants. These projects included a separated bike lane, a bike share program near the hospital and Oregon Tech, a playground project to raise funding for an 80,000 square foot playground in Moore Park, and a Pedlet Project to increase foot traffic in downtown Klamath Falls and help with economic vitality.

Writing 410: Proposals & Grant Writing is a practical, hands-on course that teaches students how to identify community needs and seek funding for solutions. “Students learn the full grant cycle while working with a client - from identifying a project to locating Requests for Proposals, to writing prospectus proposals and a grant package,” said Dr. Lancaster. “Anyone entering or working in a field that relies on grant funding would benefit from taking Writing 410. We hope to expand this course's offerings in the near future as part of a Professional Writing Certificate, so both degree- and nondegree-seeking students can benefit from the valuable skills and experience this course offers.”

Blue Zones Project executive director, Merritt Driscoll, commented on the student partnership experience, saying, "We had a wonderful experience working with Amber and her students, and the students produced high quality, comprehensive documents that we could use to apply for grants." Because of the students' work, Blue Zones Project received grant awards for two projects- the playground and the pedlets.


Mindy Miranda
Mindy Miranda

Mindy Miranda, a Communication major and Professional Writing minor from Prineville, worked on the Moore Park playground project proposal for a multiphased project. Her work resulted in Blue Zones receiving an award of $2,500 that will purchase a piece of equipment for the playground. Mindy is a mother and a full-time employee at Oregon Tech, working as Veterans Certifying Official & Financial Aid advisor in the Financial Aid Office.

She shared, “Being able to work with Blue Zones on the Moore Park Playground project was so fun, especially since my husband and I have a 3-year-old daughter and we often play at Moore Park. The time and attention to detail that the Klamath County kids put in to designing the all-access playground was overwhelmingly wonderful and the work that Blue Zones had already put in to this local initiative was truly impressive. Blue Zones is a great asset to our community. I can’t wait to see the other great projects they have in store for the Klamath Basin.”

Adam Lindgren
Adam Lindgren

Adam Lindgren, an Electrical Engineering major from Gold Hill, worked on the pedlet project to create convertible outdoor spaces for downtown businesses to provide more seating for customers. His grant proposal helped Blue Zones Project identify a funding source and receive an award of $7,000.

The idea behind the pedlet design is to extend the sidewalk into curbside parking to create additional seating. Pedlets are modular by design so they can be stored during the winter months. In locations that have implemented pedlets there has been a significant increase in customers for the restaurants or cafes. He shared, “I think with the pandemic this project is even more important to help local businesses recuperate and maintain social distancing.”

As a writing requirement for his degree program, Adam signed up for grant writing because of the usefulness it would have toward his future career.

“I think that this course was helpful in learning the process of grant writing,” said Adam. Another grant proposal he wrote for Oregon Tech's Rocket and Aerospace club for the High-Altitude CubeSat Experiment (HACX) project also received funding. He said, “The CubeSat project will also serve as my capstone project for my major and hopefully it will be a steppingstone for Oregon Tech having a CubeSat program. I would recommend this class to anyone that may need funding for a senior project or any field that may need additional funding for any project.”

For more information, please contact Dr. Lancaster at