The academic cycle of funding applications is as never-ending as it can be intimidating. From exploratory dissertation research grants to career-boosting postdoctoral fellowships, we can feel our academic and professional fate seemingly left to the mercy of nameless, faceless selection committees, each seeking a different interdisciplinary, thematic, chronological, or geographic dimension from the last. This session invites graduate students and early career professionals to meet experienced colleagues who have served on selection committees for prestigious national competitions, directors of site- and subfield-specific award programs, and early career colleagues who seem to have figured out the magic formula for successfully navigating the grant and fellowship process. Practical guidance will address the topics of how to: write a compelling proposal, communicate research plans clearly and concisely to an interdisciplinary and non-specialist readership, demonstrate appropriate fit with the goals of the funding sources, and demonstrate creativity and conscientious thinking in your research proposal. In addition, early career colleagues will address how they see the annual cycle of grant and fellowship applications fitting within the larger course of academic degree completion, professional development, and the academic job market. Panelist presentations will be followed by generous time for discussion and Q&A with the audience.