The Honeycutt Fellowship: A Show of Support for Georgia State Student Researchers

KateMcCann-e1437757025168-620x793Kate McCann doesn’t play on any of Georgia State’s athletic teams, but she’s still got at least two people in her cheering section — Kenneth and Georganne Honeycutt, whose eponymous fellowship has helped support her as she pursues a Ph.D. in neuroscience.

A fellowship “doesn’t have to pay for fees, it doesn’t have to pay for science — it can pay for your life,” says McCann, who came to Georgia State in 2010 to work under Kim Huhman in the Neuroscience Institute. “I use mine to pay my student fees, for example. Mainly it’s a way for us to not have to stress about money while we’re in grad school, to help ease that financial stress that might be on you so you can really focus on your research.”

The three-year Honeycutt Fellowship is an endowed fund awarded to Georgia State neuroscience students who have passed the first round of exams in their graduate studies and are excelling in their research. Neither Kenneth nor Georganne have backgrounds in science — they both earned MBAs from the Robinson College of Business — but with a daughter who’s a neuroscientist herself, McCann says, they have a keen awareness of the challenges facing student researchers.

“They saw how much science can really wear you down — your experiments don’t work over and over and over again, your dissertation can get dragged out, and it can be a very discouraging field to be in sometimes,” she explains. “You’re super excited when you come in and you want to be a scientist, and then it might be failure after failure. It takes a lot out of you.”

Fortunately, not only have the Honeycutts given McCann the financial support to continue her work, they’ve given her personal encouragement that’s motivated her to keep pressing on despite setbacks.

“The Honeycutts are just such genuine and supportive people. They’re very interested in how my work is progressing and what I’ve found, and just knowing you have that community support really helps build your confidence that what you’re doing is interesting to other people besides yourself and that you’re doing good work.”