Free Money (a.k.a Fellowships)

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Talk given to UTCS graduate students on applying for fellowships

Talk given to UTCS graduate students on applying for fellowships

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  • 1. Free money (a.k.a Fellowships)
    Juan F. Sequeda
    jsequeda@cs.utexas.edu
  • 2. NSF Graduate Research Fellowship
    Deadline in early November
    Approx 1000 new 3-year fellowships award every year… for all disciplines!
    US Citizen or Permanent Resident
    Must be in early stages of grad studies
    Completed no more than 12 months of full time graduate studies
  • 3. $$$
    $40,5000 Annually ($30,000 stipend and $10,500 cost of education)
    $30,000/ 12 months = $2,500 a month
    Does NOT include health insurance
    You need to pay taxes  be responsible and save
    One-time $1000 International Research Travel Allowance
  • 4. Applying to (NSF) Fellowship
    Demanding, but rewarding
    It’s practice… we will all be writing grant proposals in the future
    If you are starting to apply now for the Nov deadline  20 hrs/week
  • 5. What do you need?
    Application
    Resume/CV
    Essay
    Personal Statement (NSF)
    Previous Research Experience (NSF)
    Proposed Plan of Research (NSF)
    3 Letter of Recommendation (NSF)
    Transcripts (NSF)
    GRE

  • 6. Personal Statement
    Use examples
    I’m a team player  NO!
    I participated in a research group and led the research that published a paper ….
    Why are you fascinated by your research area?
    What examples of leadership skills and unique characteristics do you bring to your chosen field?
    What personal and individual strengths do you have that make you a qualified applicant? (Examples!)
    How will receiving the fellowship contribute to your career goals?
    How does the information in your Personal Statement address the Intellectual Merit and Broader Impacts criteria?
    http://www.nsfgrfp.org/how_to_apply/application_materials
  • 7. Previous Research Experience
    Make your role clear
    What did you exactly do?
    What was your contribution?
    Demonstrate your ability to do research
    What was unique and novel?
    Methodologies, contributions
    Include broader impact
  • 8. Previous Research Experience (…)
    What are all of your applicable experiences?
    For each experience, what were the key questions, methodology, findings, and conclusions?
    Did you work in a team and/or independently?
    How did you assist in the analysis of results?
    How did your activities address the Intellectual Merit and Broader Impacts criteria?
    http://www.nsfgrfp.org/how_to_apply/application_materials
  • 9. Proposed Plan of Research
    What is the problem?
    Why is the problem important?
    How do you plan to solve it?
    What is your methodology and why?
    What are your expected results?
    What are the broader impacts of your research?
    Do you expect to collaborate with others?
    Where will you submit your work?
    Include citations
  • 10. Proposed Plan of Research (…)
    What issues in the scientific community are you most passionate about?
    Do you possess the technical knowledge and skills necessary for conducting this work, or will you have sufficient mentoring and training to complete the study?
    Is this plan feasible for the allotted time and institutional resources?
    How will your research contribute to the "big picture" outside the academic context?
    How can you draft a plan using the guidelines presented in the essay instructions?
    How does your proposed research address the Intellectual Merit and Broader Impacts criteria?
    http://www.nsfgrfp.org/how_to_apply/application_materials
  • 11. Writing the Essay
    Be Specific!
    Tie essays together
    Prior work shows ability to fulfill future research objectives
    Tie Broader impacts and teaching experience to research area
    Refer to prior research and broader impacts in research proposal
    Use bold headings
    Reviewers will be reading thousands of applications over a weekend
    READ EACH SENTECE: IF ANYBODY COULD WRITE IT, IT’S A BS SENTENCE
    BE UNIQUE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Thanks Katie Coons
  • 12. Recommendation Letter
    Ask Early!!!!
    Ask people who know your research
    Have your bio and accomplishments written so you can quickly email it to them
    Potential letter writers
    Advisor
    Co-advisor
    Senior Thesis advisor
    Professor you blew away with a publishable class project… not just a class that you got an A in!!!!
  • 13. Your advisor
    Your advisor wants you to get a fellowship
    It’s going to save him money
    My guess: your advisor has applied for grants
    Work with your advisor
    Write a recommendation letter
    Help you write essays
  • 14. Recommendation Letters
    Explaining the nature of the relationship to the applicant
    Comments on the applicant's potential and prior research experiences
    Statements about the applicant's academic potential and prior research experiences
    Statements about the applicant's proposed research
    Information to enable review panels to evaluate the application according to the NSF Merit Review Criteria of Intellectual Merit and Broader Impacts.
    http://www.nsfgrfp.org/how_to_apply/application_materials
  • 15. Recommendation Letters (…)
    Choose people that can speak to your abilities and potential, rather than someone with a prominent title.
    Provide referees sufficient time to write a strong letter.
    Discuss the application and share your essays with them.
    Inform them that reference letters should reflect both your “intellectual merit” and “broader impacts.”
    remind reference writers about deadline.
    No late letters will be accepted under any circumstances.
    Have a backup reference in case one of your other reference writers cannot submit their letter.
    http://www.nsfgrfp.org/how_to_apply/application_materials
  • 16. Intellectual Merit
    the strength of the academic record
    the proposed plan of research and whether it is potentially transformative
    the description of previous research experience, references
    the appropriateness of the choice of institution relative to the proposed plan for graduate education and research.
    http://www.nsfgrfp.org/how_to_apply/review_criteria
  • 17. Intellectual Merit (…)
    How important is the proposed activity to advancing knowledge and understanding within its own field or across different fields?
    How well qualified is the proposer (individual or team) to conduct the project? (If appropriate, the reviewer will comment on the quality of prior work.)
    To what extent does the proposed activity suggest and explore creative, original, or potentially transformative concepts?
    How well conceived and organized is the proposed activity?
    Is there sufficient access to resources?
    http://www.nsfgrfp.org/how_to_apply/review_criteria
  • 18. Broader Impact
    Contributions that infuse learning with the excitement of discovery, and assure that the findings and methods of research are communicated in a broad context and to a large audience.
    Encourage diversity, broaden opportunities, and enable the participation of all citizens-women and men, underrepresented minorities, and persons with disabilities-in science and research.
    Demonstrate how it will enhance scientific and technical understanding, while benefiting society.
    Provide characteristics of their background, including personal, professional, and educational experiences, to indicate their potential to fulfill the broader impacts criterion.
    http://www.nsfgrfp.org/how_to_apply/review_criteria
  • 19. Broader Impact (…)
    How well does the activity advance discovery and understanding while promoting teaching, training, and learning?
    How well does the proposed activity broaden the participation of underrepresented groups (e.g., gender, ethnicity, disability, geographic, etc.)?
    To what extent will it enhance the infrastructure for research and education, such as facilities, instrumentation, networks, and partnerships?
    Will the results be disseminated broadly to enhance scientific and technological understanding?
    What may be the benefits of the proposed activity to society?
    http://www.nsfgrfp.org/how_to_apply/review_criteria
  • 20. Questions?
    http://www.nsfgrfp.org/
    Acknowledgement: Slides from Joel Hestness and Katie Coons from the last GAD talk on this topic