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Responding to Fellowship Prompts

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Developed by Kathleen Kokosinski and Lara Polansky for the Bren Communications Center at UCSB, January 2009

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Responding to Fellowship Prompts

  1. 1. Fellowship/Grant Application Workshop Tuesday, January 13 th , 2009 Bren Writing Center
  2. 2. Overview <ul><li>How to interpret fellowship/grant application prompts </li></ul><ul><li>How to map your response to the prompt </li></ul><ul><li>How to structure/organize your response </li></ul><ul><li>How to best feature your work/skills </li></ul><ul><li>How to use verbs to strengthen your writing </li></ul>
  3. 3. Example Prompt <ul><li>Switzer Environmental Fellowship </li></ul><ul><li>A 2-3 page original essay. The essay must offer insights into the personal motivations of the applicant as well as how his/her academic experience will be applied to environmental improvement. The essay should address the following: </li></ul>
  4. 4. Key Questions <ul><li>The applicant’s vision of his/her future role in the environmental field, including influences and experiences shaping that vision. </li></ul><ul><li>A description of how the applicant’s background, academic studies, or other experiences will be applied to a career dedicated to effecting positive environmental results. </li></ul><ul><li>A brief description of the applicant's academic focus, describing how it will have a direct, early and positive impact on environmental quality. </li></ul><ul><li>One or more examples of how the applicant has been an agent of change or contributed to solving an environmental issue or problem. </li></ul><ul><li>Evidence of leadership ability and experience. Challenges overcome may be described as well as accomplishments. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Other Considerations <ul><li>Commitment to aggressively pursue and implement effective solutions to improve the quality of our environment (1,3) </li></ul><ul><li>Maximum potential for producing an early impact on environmental quality (3) </li></ul><ul><li>Strong leadership, communication and critical thinking skills (5) </li></ul><ul><li>Relevant work or volunteer experience in an environmental field (2) </li></ul><ul><li>Breadth of skill, creativity and flexibility to effectively bridge the public, private and academic arenas (4) </li></ul><ul><li>Scientific, technical and/or policy background as applied to the applicant’s chosen environmental field (2) </li></ul>
  6. 6. Other Considerations <ul><li>Engagement in new approaches to major environmental issues or emerging fields including climate change and energy, green chemistry, environmental health and justice, and others (2,3) </li></ul><ul><li>Individuals who have some professional or work experience between undergraduate and graduate study are often more competitive candidates for Switzer Environmental Fellowships due to their understanding of systems and conditions required for promoting positive environmental change (2) </li></ul><ul><li>Ability to articulate how you will effect positive environmental change beyond the classroom or research setting (3,4) </li></ul><ul><li>With the support of The Annenberg Foundation and our added focus on southern California in 2009, applicants who are committed to solving the environmental problems unique to that region </li></ul>
  7. 7. Example Breakdown <ul><li>Question #3: </li></ul><ul><li>A brief description of the applicant's academic focus, describing how it will have a direct, early and positive impact on environmental quality. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Commitment to aggressively pursue and implement effective solutions to improve the quality of our environment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ability to articulate how they will effect positive environmental change beyond the classroom or research setting </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Maximum potential for producing an early impact on environmental quality </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Engagement in new approaches to major environmental issues or emerging fields including climate change and energy, green chemistry, environmental health and justice, and others </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Mapping Your Response <ul><li>Use the “Tom Dunne” Technique </li></ul><ul><li>Group bullets according to questions </li></ul><ul><li>Outline responses to each question </li></ul><ul><li>Need cohesive theme </li></ul><ul><li>Formulate topic sentences that relate to theme </li></ul>
  9. 9. Structure/Organize Response <ul><li>Research the fellowship organization </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Write to specific audience </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Align response with organization’s mission </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Think about how you would tell your story (chronological order, group based on phases of experience) </li></ul><ul><li>Consider end goals when answering questions about your academic, professional, and research experiences </li></ul><ul><li>Do not necessarily have to answer questions in the order provided </li></ul><ul><ul><li>For example, it may difficult to answer Question #1 without first describing answers to other questions. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Watch for overlap between questions. A good outline can prevent repetition. </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Featuring Work/Skills <ul><li>Not Effective </li></ul><ul><li>I have excellent leadership skills. </li></ul><ul><li>Effective </li></ul><ul><li>I organized a sustainability conference to improve the environmental performance of local firms. This conference targeted 100 environmental professionals and received considerable media attention. </li></ul><ul><li>Formula : </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>1) Specific Example </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>2) Statistic </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>3) Impact </li></ul></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Featuring Work/Skills <ul><li>Not Effective </li></ul><ul><li>In the future, I would like to work for an NGO promoting conservation of critical habitat. </li></ul><ul><li>Effective </li></ul><ul><li>I envision myself pursuing a position in an NGO similar to the Sierra Club, enacting change via local participation through… </li></ul><ul><li>Helpful Hints: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Research projects/ companies that parallel your interests. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Be specific about future goals. </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Don’t Sell Yourself Short! <ul><li>Do not dismiss the fellowship if it is not in your specific field of study. </li></ul><ul><li>Align response with the fellowship’s objectives by indirectly linking it to experiences and goals. </li></ul><ul><li>Example : Doris Duke Fellows Program offers funding to students, “committed to careers as practicing conservationists”. </li></ul><ul><li>However, if you are studying CEM at Bren, you can still make a strong case. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>e.g., think about discussing how a career in CEM will change corporations so that they use resources more efficiently </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Using Verbs Effectively <ul><li>Avoid “to be” verbs </li></ul>Suggested Active Verbs: Create Develop Organize Initiate Participate Engage Demonstrate Bridge Link Collaborate Enhance Contribute Identify Prepare Allow Facilitate Manage Continue Produce Generate Construct Utilize
  14. 14. Additional Resources <ul><li>Proper Citation Formatting & Style Guides </li></ul><ul><li>MLA: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/557/01/ </li></ul><ul><li>APA: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/01/ </li></ul><ul><li>Purdue’s Online Writing Lab (OWL): http://owl.english.purdue.edu/ </li></ul>
  15. 15. Questions???

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