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TakeruK last won the day on April 21

TakeruK had the most liked content!

About TakeruK

  • Rank
    Cup o' Joe

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  • Gender
  • Location
    Canadian student in California
  • Application Season
    Already Attending
  • Program
    Planetary Sciences

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  1. You'll have to read the rules carefully and talk to your advisor. It's not clear what is meant when it says the scholarship is for expenses "related to a research project". It could include funding your salary (since paying the researcher is certainly a related expense) or it could really be for research-specific expenses only, such as equipment/materials, paper page charges, travel for research purposes, cost to pay a company to conduct a study etc. If it does not allow funding of your stipend, then you will need to be a little more specific on what you want to spend the money on. Usually, students discuss this with their advisor. Since you are not starting until the fall, it might be too early to be thinking about this but it's worth checking in with your advisor to see what they think. Especially since it's a departmental award, they would be the one that knows about what types of applications typically win. Also, whether or not you can apply this year for your 2nd year depends on the scholarship. If you are applying for the 2nd year, then you might have to wait a year to apply for it. Check the dates.
  2. I think many of the problems with graduate school are very real (however, I would say that almost everything on that linked article isn't really a problem unique to grad school, though I guess it's more a joke article?) Anyways I also agree that it is not great to only focus on the bad So here are some of my favourite things about being in academia/grad school: 1. Freedom to explore interesting science---as @maelia8 said, your colleagues all over campus are experts and they are all at your disposal. Similarly, the ability to contribute meaningfully to your colleagues' work. 2. Interactions with students (e.g. opportunities to teach, mentor, train) 3. Ability to have really cool experiences that I never thought I would happen to me. Some highlights: travel to Switzerland for a science meeting, interviewed by LA Times, operate one of the largest telescopes in the world, and listen to a talk by Stephen Hawking. 4. Ability to influence policy at your school and make a difference for you, your colleagues and future students. I feel like grad students have much more say in school/department policies than a typical employee at a corporation. 5. Flexibility on both working hours and vacation days 6. Feeling like you are part of a team of people that is exploring something new and expanding humankind's knowledge!
  3. Maybe by "assist" you meant attend? I think there's a French verb that is like assister that means attend isn't there? It's a good way to get insight on how to give these job talks one day. And as @fuzzylogician said, it might be the only way you get to interact with prospective faculty hires. And in addition to all this, the presenters have a lot on the line when it comes to job talks, so you can at least expect a very good talk. So it could be a good way to learn about stuff outside of your expertise, because job talk givers are especially careful to ensure non-experts can understand their work and want to hire them
  4. @MathCat: Yep, I was going to say the same thing as what you eventually found. You can tell UFile an international mailing address but still file BC tax forms I'm so looking forward to moving back to BC in a few months and then the 2017 tax year will be the last time I have to deal with this headache of filing in two countries!!
  5. I use Facebook for personal interactions, not academic/professional ones. Sure, a lot of my friends are in academia so they are also on my Facebook, but I don't use this platform to project my "academic image". I use Twitter mostly for professional interactions. I keep a LinkedIn profile updated so that people who find me in this way can get the basic pertinent info and be redirected towards my research website. If/When I start looking for work outside of academia, I will probably use this a lot more.
  6. I agree with the above posters that you should not include everything on this list. The SOP is not meant to be a summary of your activities, that's what a resume or CV is for! For many of the things on the list, you just need a line on your CV. In your SOP, you should be focussed on the future and also discuss what you want to do in grad school, so spending a bunch of space on your past is not helpful. Also, in your list here, you spend a lot of space detailing what you did year by year but I would say the thing to focus the most on your SOP is what you're simply listing as "other stats". Here is how I might structure a SOP for someone with your background: 1st paragraph: What do you want to do in a PhD program? What are your main interests? Why this school? 2nd paragraph: Discuss the research project that lead to your first publication. What was the goal of your project? What did you do? Be sure to say specifically your contribution, especially if it's a big contribution. What did you learn? Did you have to compete for this internship/position? If the conference presentation was part of this project, say that here (no need to elaborate, just say that you presented your work at X). 3rd paragraph: Discuss the research project that lead to your second publication. Same thing as above. 4th paragraph: Discuss any other research you've done in addition to the above publications. For example, if the research work you've done since graduation is not mentioned above, say it here. If everything is already included in above, then skip this. 5th paragraph: Instead of addressing your GPA, I would just focus on the positives. So, my advice would be to spend a paragraph showing how you have matured as a student and a researcher (if securing that unrelated job was related to this development, then you can mention it, otherwise leave it out). So, you might want to have a paragraph that discusses what you've been doing since graduation. How did you get these volunteer positions? You might want to end up combining this paragraph with the 4th paragraph. 6th paragraph: Only if it is truly important to you, this is a place for you to briefly talk about your passion for teaching and outreach. Keep it short. It should not be longer than paragraphs 2 or 3. Talk about all of your outreach here---you don't have to worry about the timeline or saying you did X then Y then Z etc. Again, that's what the CV is for. Instead, just discuss your outreach in broad strokes: why do you do outreach? what did you do? what were you responsible for? what did you achieve? At this point you are probably 2/3rds of the way through your word limit. If you're over, then cut it down. The remaining 1/3 should be looking forward. Here, you can dive deeper into your research interests that you started discussing in the introduction. You can name specific names here if that's something your field does. Don't be too specific that it makes you sound like you only want to work in one lab. But this is where you make it clear that your research interests are well aligned with the department you're applying to and a good fit is extremely important. Next, you should provide more details on why you are applying to this specific department and tie it to your interests. Are there specific facilities, researchers, resources, locations, etc. that makes this department the best fit for you? Finally, most SOP prompts want you to end with some discussion of your future career goals. It's not terribly important what you write and you won't be held to these! But the point is for you to demonstrate why this particular graduate program and your research interests will lead you towards these goals. Many places will want to see that you chose to go to grad school and you chose their school because you need it to meet your goals, not just because you randomly applied to their program! Hope that is helpful. Looking through the list that you provided, I think the things I would recommend leaving out are: details about individual outreach work, elementary school teaching aide, part-time jobs, community arts program, private tutoring, and unrelated jobs.
  7. Congratulations on winning both! Unfortunately, as others pointed out, you cannot hold both at the same time. I do not think you can defer the OGS either but if you got it this year, you will likely to win it again next year. The max value of the OGS is 15,000 (5000 per term) and the OGS is generally easier to obtain (more awards available) than the CGS-M. A lot of students who win the CGS-M (one year) will go onto an OGS the second year. That said, I am not 100% sure if you get the full value of the CGS-M if you are part-time? You should check what the OGS policies are for part-time students and check that it's not more than the CGS-M. Also, as @Brillantine11 said, since you can get the OGS on a per-term basis, if you aren't taking the entire year of CGS-M for some reason, maybe you can take the OGS for just one of the terms where you aren't receiving CGS-M funding. Otherwise, if you are receiving the full CGS-M money for sure, then decline the OGS and apply for it next year. Note that there is a max # of years funded by both OGS and CGS-M, and that the years in which you hold a CGS-M count against your OGS eligibility but the years where you hold a OGS do not affect your national fellowship eligibility. (i.e. another sign that the CGS-M is more prestigious than the OGS).
  8. Your sidebar says your application year is Fall 2018 so you still have quite a bit of time before you are no longer eligible for the GRFP. In that time, you can surely build up a strong BI profile for yourself. This will help you later in your career too---even if you don't get the GRFP (it's very competitive), this type of experience will open more doors for you in the future. So I wouldn't simply just count yourself out of the running for the GRFP!
  9. lol sorry. In "real life" I have been having similar conversations recently with people who think any sort of advantage due to a personal or familial relationship is bad all the time, and I unfairly and incorrectly projected these conversations on your post!
  10. If you have a short, 1-page SOP then my thought would be to send that if it's really well written. If you have a long SOP that discusses a wider variety of things (like many SOPs do) then distill it and send only the parts directly related to your research background and interests, and only the parts specific to this professor of course. Although one can only guess what another person means, when they say "brief", I would think that they don't want an entire essay, but they want more than just saying "I am interested in X, Y and Z". I would aim for 2-3 paragraphs, maybe something like 10-12 sentences total.
  11. Usually the rule of thumb is 30% of your income should go towards rent and utilities. So, 30% of 28,000 is $8400. If you pay rent for only 9 months, then that is $933 per month (and this needs to include all utilities). 30% is an arbitrary number, but even if you go up to 40%, that is only around $1200. To me, this says that if you have a stipend around $28k, you will want to be spending 900-1200 on rent. 1500-1700 sounds very high for your stipend rate. Have you considered sharing a 2 or 4 bedroom place with roommates? Or living in a less expensive neighbourhood? Also, 9 month leases are more difficult to find and you will have the stress of having to find a new lease every single year. Sometimes landlords set higher rent rates for a 9 month lease so you might not save as much money as you might think with a shorter lease. But this is up to you
  12. I think there are two separate things to address in your post. First, what are your future plans? It sounds like you don't have any current plans to continue in academia, which means having more publications does not really help you at all. Later in your post, you say "temporarily out of academia", which indicates you might have plans to return? I think what you do next really depends on what you want your future plans to be. Second, there are no universal "rules" on when you are allowed to provide data or intellectual contribution. This depends entirely on your specific situation and your relationship with the data and your advisor. Generally, you certainly have to include your advisor in the discussion in some way because it's very rare for a graduate student working in a lab or any research group to have sole ownership of the data. Maybe the data that you are being asked for by your friend is indeed entirely yours because you got that image without any support from the PhD program (i.e. on your own time, using your own personally owned equipment etc.) But this is not usually the case and I think you should talk to your advisor first. In addition, you cannot unilaterally decide that the work from your dissertation will not be (re)submitted to another publication/journal. If you provide your friend with an image that you were planning to use in your original publication, then you might make it no longer possible to publish your original paper. You may choose to no longer be involved with getting your dissertation published, but your advisor/coauthors may still own the data and want to do their own publication with it, and you should not be competing against them or sabotaging their attempts by giving away images/data that isn't yours. That said, if you want to add intellectual contribution to your friend's paper, now that you are no longer affiliated with your grad school and not being paid by your advisor, you are free to do what you want with your time. So if you are being added as an author for intellectual contributions (honestly, this sounds super shady on your friend's part to include you in this manner but that's outside the topic of this post!) then I don't think you "need" to talk to your advisor. However, as I wrote above, you are basically competing against your former group now and while I can't think of any policies that might still be in place to prevent you from doing this, it really does not sound like a good idea. Especially if you want to go back into academia, you will need the support of your former collaborators and I think getting yourself on a rival paper that is scooping your old group will destroy your relationship with the old group and burn all your bridges. Summary of my opinion: If you don't want to go back into academia, then having more papers will not help you. Being part of this rival paper will needlessly hurt your former group and bring you no benefit. If you do want to go back into academia, then I don't think the benefits of being part of this rival paper will outweigh the harm from burning bridges with your former group.
  13. Definitely have to ask, but in general graduate schools, especially those in the US, do not like to accept credit for courses taken at other universities.
  14. In general, sure, nepotism (especially the connotation it carries) is bad, but I don't think it's always/objectively bad/wrong. I think that the hiring process should have well defined goals and decisions made during the process should advance these goals. So, if nepotism gets in the way of these goals, then nepotism is bad. But sometimes nepotism actually advances these goals so I would say that it is justified and preferable to favour someone's relative/family member in these cases. For example, at my current university, we are a very small school and we care about hiring people that will understand the "campus culture". When I was on the hiring committee for a position in student affairs, we placed a lot of value on candidates who either knew our school culture, came from a school with a similar culture or demonstrated ability to adapt to our culture. Typically most hires are internal but this particular hire ended up with external. Another example is one of my former (non-academic) workplaces. In the summer, when the regular workers at the warehouse went on vacation, they hire university students to replace them and pay them pretty well (we'd earn enough in the summer to pay for tuition). They favoured relatives of current staff over unrelated applicants. The goal of this program was to provide some sort of tuition assistance programs to dependents of their full time employees. In some cases, I do believe we want to hire on the basis of merit primarily. But there are plenty of other reasons to not put merit as the primary or sole factor. I would never argue that it is a good idea to hire someone unqualified just because they are related to someone. However, some jobs are seeking the "most qualified" candidate while others just want candidates to meet some qualification level and then it's other factors that determine who gets the offer. In the latter case, if being related to a current employees is one of the other factors advance the employers' goals then I don't think nepotism is a bad thing.
  15. When I was making my decision, the stipend mostly** factored in to answer the question, "Is the stipend enough to live at the level of comfort I want?". If it's a yes, then I didn't worry about stipend, because small differences now aren't worth career opportunities later, to me. But if the lower stipend place was not enough to live the life I wanted, then it did become a factor. After checking if there are any other funding opportunities, I declined offers that were "no" to this question. In your case, I guess it would really matter whether or not the Buffalo stipend is enough for you to live on. You have a slightly more extreme case of $10k per year, which is almost $50k in total difference!! Whether this number is enough to change your plans depends on your goals. For me, the goal was mainly a postdoc and in my field, the difference between a great postdoc and a minimal postdoc is about $15k per year in salary. Factor in a 3 year postdoc and the potential difference is about $45k, which I use as the comparison of how much more a better school could be "valued". However, this is not quite right since nothing is certain and also I think there is a lot more future value because a great postdoc is great for its salary as well as its research opportunities. But this gives you another way to look at the numbers. **The other way stipend mattered was in the "quality of life" side of the decision. For example, although UConn may be in a location you're not used to, you can potentially use that extra money for other quality of life improvements. Maybe you can rent a nicer place than you would be able to in Buffalo, or travel more, or save more money for the future etc. So I would count stipend value in trade-offs vs things like how much I like a location, but I wouldn't really compare it to the other factors like research, career opportunities etc.