Jessica E. Slentz, Ph.D.

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

Dr. Jessica E. Slentz is a Managing Director of Grants and Federal Affairs in the Higher Education practice at McAllister & Quinn. She helps institutions realize groundbreaking and innovative research projects and programmatic initiatives that align with institutional priorities 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, with particular knowledge of higher education, having served in both administrative and faculty roles.

Prior to joining McAllister & Quinn, Dr. Slentz served as Director of Research, Scholarship, and Innovation at Nazareth College in Rochester, NY. In this role, she re-envisioned Nazareth College’s sponsored program office, creating a rich culture of research and grant seeking on campus. Through a combination of strategic grant planning, relationship building with Federal and foundation program officers, comprehensive proposal writing guidance and support, and targeted professional development for faculty and staff, she helped realize an exponential increase in both grant submissions and awards. Before that, she was the inaugural Grants and Government Relations Manager at the Rochester Museum and Science Center, and she was responsible for writing, submitting, and managing a diverse portfolio of Federal, state, and foundation grants on the Institutional Advancement team. Prior to pursuing full-time grants management, Dr. Slentz was 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 transitioning from her work as tenure-track faculty, she has been responsible for over $10 million in proposal submissions and has experience with a wide range of Federal agencies, including National Science Foundation (NSF), National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), Department of Justice (DOJ), Department of Education (DoED), Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), and National Institutes of Health (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 downtown D.C.

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, London, UK
  • B.A., Nazareth College of Rochester