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About fizzberry2

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  • Application Season
    2014 Fall
  • Program
    Environmental Science/Geology/Geography
  1. I don't think that there's any harm in contacting the program director, or even the director of graduate studies, about funding. They might even be able to nominate you for fellowships that you might not have even known about, or point you towards nontraditional sources of funding. Contacting them before receiving your funding letter certainly doesn't make you seem desperate--it means that you're being proactive! I imagine that, if you explain your circumstances and let them know that you need as much time as possible to plan out your finances, you'd be putting the fire under them to get their funding letter together a bit faster. If you haven't already, start applying to external fellowships before you enroll. Good luck!!!
  2. Hey GradCafe engineers, I have a dilemma for you-- I just had a successful interview with a potential PI (she's a wetland biogeochemist) and she recommended that I contact a professor in the civil & environmental engineering department as a co-advisor (she's an engineer, but her research focuses on the human dimensions/geographies of watershed management). Both of them have encouraged me to apply to their respective departments, and both have let me know that there is a very good chance that I'd receive stipends and fellowships if admitted. (I'd be receiving a better funding package in the engineering department, I think.) The thing is, I'm unsure about applying to the engineering department since I'd have to take additional remedial prerequisites (my undergrad degree was in geology) that would take an additional semester or two to complete in addition to another year of grad-level engineering classes. I'm considering applying to the engineering program because I'm interested in planning, environmental science, and watershed management, and I wonder if the job prospects would be MUCH better if I had a master's in civil/environmental engineering than if I'd earned a degree in environmental science and resources management. What should I do? Do you think I'd fare better career-wise with an engineering degree? I suppose I could apply to both, but I'm pretty short on $ and time, and I don't think I'm eligible for any fee waivers... Any insight (especially from environmental/civil engineers that did not study engineering during undergrad) would be very much appreciated. Thanks!
  3. Just accepted to UK and bumping this thread! For those of you who are also checking out housing in the Lexington, KY area, I found this helpful: http://www.city-data.com/forum/lexington-area/1532179-moving-lexington-grad-school-help.html
  4. Bumping this thread once again......... I graduated from a big-name, private school in California with a BA in geology and a minor in Peace and Conflict Studies in 2011 with a 2.9 GPA. I had many wonderful experiences an undergrad (work experience in my field, 3+ years of research, building amazing relationships with professors and community activists) but I was never able to pull my overall GPA up over a 3.0. I was dealing with major depression, burnout, coming out of the closet (oy) and family issues/parental pressure throughout my undergrad...there were some days where I just couldn't find it in myself to fucking get out of bed, and I was always really afraid of getting help (stigmas associated with mental illness is no joke) until well after I graduated. I beat myself up for a very long time about what I did and didn't do during undergrad, but I now realize that it was 1) a (majorly expensive) learning experience that has made me a stronger, better, smarter human being and 2) that there are things that I needed to take care of (like taking care of myself and finding out a career path that would allow me to combine my passions for science, EJ, social theory, and cultural studies) before I embark on a fantastic voyage through Graduate School and Academia. [in retrospect, I wish I'd taken a semester or two off to just chill out and figure out who I was outside of school. If I could have afforded it, I would have loved to have taken a few months to travel/volunteer somewhere and let my brain rest...] Since then, I've had the privilege of interning at the National Park Service as a GIS tech (and presenting the work that I did there at a huge conference in my field--PM if you're interested in learning more about the program!), working in informal science education (continuing to work in the same programs that I did as an undergrad--I commute to my alma mater a couple of weekends a month) and working at a small environmental nonprofit organization where, despite our tenuous funding situation, I've had some great opportunities to meet amazing people (one of my mentors, a professor at a local college, wrote me a letter of recommendation), doing good work (environmental justice work in MY community, which feels gratifying), and figuring out what it is what I want to do in grad school (in a nutshell, study relationships between human adaptation to climate change + gender + water + human health + community organizing/social movements in urban environments). I'm mainly interested in applying to programs in geography: - IU: PhD, geography - after flying out to visit, getting a chance to see the city and meeting with EVERYONE in the department, it's my top choice!) - UW-Madison: MS, geography - after talking on the phone with the person I wanted to work with--who said that she was impressed with my lab experience--for over an hour, definitely my second choice! - Clark University: PhD, geography - I've contacted the people I've wanted to work with and read some of their books...they're feminist geographers and I love their work. Tie for second! - University of Kentucky (PhD, geography - I feel like I didn't have as great of a rapport/feelings as I did about the first three schools, but I love their political ecology program and I'm a good fit for their department. Third choice! I'm also applying to at least 2 other MS programs in forestry/watershed management/enviro studies/hydrology with later/rolling deadlines (right now, UConn - rolling). While I'm a great fit for those and I know I'd be getting some great skills in those programs (e.g. GIS, water law, biogeochemistry, fundamentals of forestry/social theory/etc. I missed out on as a physical science major) My GRE scores aren't amazing (v160, q149), but I have: - strong LoRs from peeps in related fields (geography is so interdisciplinary it doesn't matter that they're not officially "geographers"...technically, though, I guess 2 of them are physical geographers and 1 is a human geographer if geologists = physical geographers and polisci/human rights/cultural researchers = human geographers), - mostly As and Bs challenging/interesting major and minor classes - lots of interesting research & work experience, - previous, meaningful contact with all researchers at schools that I've applied to. I'm also an African-American, queer female in the physical/environmental/social sciences and applying to schools where low racial diversity is an issue (2 of my top schools are in small towns/cities in the Midwest). At least one of the schools I'm applying to is aggressively recruiting PoCs to rectify that lack of diversity. I don't really feel comfortable touting my "diverse" background in my application (I didn't at all in my SoP), but I casually inquired about diversity-related funding in my phone interview at UW-Madison and let my other departments know that I was definitely interested in being considered for funding opportunities aimed at increasing diversity in the field. I guess if I get rejected to all of the schools I've applied to this year, I'll take a break from work to travel, drop $$ on one of those fancy GRE prep courses and maybe complete a GIS graduate certificate at Penn State (does anyone know anything about that program? It sounds interesting.) So sorry for being long-winded, everyone! I just wanted to get some angst off my chest and share my story...hopefully it'll help someone else out there. f you've read this post to the end, thank you! Here's to finding success and happiness in the new year!
  5. Hi everyone, I'm applying to an awesome joint Peace Corps-Master's International program at Michigan Tech. The program, which focuses on Natural Hazards, allows students to integrate their research project into their two years of Peace Corps service. (You can read more about the program here: http://peacecorps.mtu.edu/) I'm also applying to other PCMI-environmental studies programs (this is the only geology program) at other schools, but this one's my first choice. A little about my background: BA Earth Sciences, Dec. 2011 (minor: Peace and Conflict Studies) lots of research/lab/field work: I worked with a professor on a project related to petrology/structural geology (~3 years, a couple of abstracts and posters presented at places like GSA, AGU, school symposia. I'm getting a letter of rec from this professor), worked with another professor in a biogeochemistry lab (~2.5 years, no research projects but some field work. I took her class and I'm getting a letter of rec from her), worked in the research collections of a large museum for a year (was fun! not sure if that counts?) experience w/environmental education (I've been working for various environmental/science education outreach projects throughout my college career and since graduation, and I'm currently working with kids in after-school programs) my grades are low. (2.9-3.0 GPA with my transfer credits, in-major GPA: 3.2), so I'm trying to figure out how to work an explanation for my academic performance into my SOP. While I was an undergrad, I dealt with stress, depression, horrible (as in sexist and possibly racist) professors, a crazy workload and a couple of deaths within my circle of friends family. (I'm really, really not looking for a sob story, but I do want a chance to tell my story.) I'm submitting my application in the spring for the fall 2013 semester, but I've already started working on my statement of purpose. I'd rather not post the entire thing here, so please message me if you have a couple of moments to look over my statement of purpose and give me some feedback. (If you're a student who's planning on applying to the same program, you should send me a message too!) Thanks!
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