Jessica E. Slentz, Ph.D.

Managing Director of Grants and Federal Affairs
  (202) 296-2741

As a Managing Director of Grants and Federal Affairs in the Higher Education practice at McAllister & Quinn, Dr. Jessica E. Slentz helps institutions realize groundbreaking initiatives by guiding faculty and staff through the entire grant application process, from ideation to the submission of strong, competitive proposals. Dr. Slentz has extensive experience in federal and foundation grant proposal development and project management in both the nonprofit and higher education sectors and has served in both administrative and faculty roles.

Prior to diving full time into the grants world, Dr. Slentz was on the tenure track as Assistant Professor of Professional Writing at Ithaca College in Central New York, specializing in professional and technical communication and proposal/grant writing research and instruction. Since then, she has served as both Grants and Government Relations Manager at the Rochester Museum and Science Center and the Director of Research, Scholarship, and Innovation at Nazareth College in Rochester, NY. In these roles she was responsible for writing, submitting, and managing diverse portfolios of federal, state, and foundation grants, and created thriving institutional cultures of research and grants-seeking. She has been responsible for over $45 million in proposal submissions and has experience with a wide range of federal agencies, including NSF, NEH, NEA, DOJ, DoED, IMLS, HRSA, and NIH.

Dr. Slentz’s experience as faculty closely informs her work as Managing Director. She has taught courses in proposal and grant writing in both the humanities and STEM fields, as well as secured grant funding for her own qualitative research. She has led hours of workshops and coaching sessions for faculty on project design, research administration, strategic program planning, and proposal development. She has authored over 15 presentations on rhetoric, writing, and persuasive communication, as well as given talks on proposal writing to AmeriCorp fellows and members of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. She teaches courses in Professional Communication as an adjunct professor.

Dr. Slentz earned her Ph.D. in Writing History and Theory at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH, an M.A. in English from the University of Rochester, an M.A. in Writing from Kingston University of London, in Kingston-Upon-Thames, UK, and a B.A. in Professional Communication and Information Design from Nazareth College of Rochester where she graduated magna cum laude. She lives in Rochester, NY.

Affiliations and Awards

  • National Council of University Research Administrators
  • Board Member, Case Western Reserve University Alumni Association Board of Directors

Publications and Events

  • Presenter, “Grant Writing as Resource Development,” training seminar for Rochester Youth Year VISTA (an AmeriCorps program) members and supervisors, Rochester, NY, March 2019.
  • Presenter, “Selling Your Superhero: Telling a Story Your Funders Want to Hear.” Association of Fundraising Professionals, June 14, 2018. Corning, NY.
  • Co-author, “Spies Like Us: Gamifying the Composition Classroom and Breaking the Academic Code,” Composition Studies, 45.2, Fall 2017, pp. 188-209.
  • Author, “Habits of Interaction: Touchscreen Technology and the Rhetorical Experience of Co-Curation at the Cleveland Museum of Art,” Enculturation: A Journal of Rhetoric, Writing, and Culture. Issue 22, July 2016.
  • Panelist, “Adjusting to Audiences: Emotionally, Cognitively, Culturally,” SUNY Council on Writing, Syracuse, NY, September 2017.
  • Presenter, “Touch-Able Bodies: A Look at Embodied Literacies, Rhetorical Experience, and Access at the Cleveland Museum of Art,” Thomas R. Watson Conference, Louisville, KY, October 2016.
  • Presenter, “Revisiting the ‘CCCC Guidelines for the Ethical Conduct of Research Composition Studies’: A call for renewed ethical guidelines for human subject research in composition studies post Web 2.0,” Conference on College Composition, Indianapolis, IN, May 2014.


  • Director of Research, Scholarship, and Innovation, Nazareth College of Rochester
  • Grants and Government Relations Manager, Rochester Museum and Science Center
  • Assistant Professor of Professional Writing, Ithaca College
  • Independent Grants Consultant


  • Higher Education
  • Nonprofits
  • Federal and Foundation Grants
  • Research


  • Ph.D., Case Western Reserve University
  • M.A., University of Rochester
  • M.A., Kingston University of London, UK
  • B.A., Nazareth College of Rochester