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Everything posted by jendoly

  1. As an American, I can tell you that we are equally as terrified of making our own cultural mistakes! My host when I visited the grad school I am at now is a Chinese student who has only been in the US for about 4 years now (3 years then), and I stayed with her for a couple of days while visiting. She was amazing - took me on a drive around the city, took me to dinner, introduced me to several of her friends, and gave me a tour of the campus! I wanted to give her a gift to thank her for her generosity, but I wasn't sure what was appropriate - I brought her some snacks from my hometown in the end, and tried my hardest to figure out how to be the most respectful guest in her home that I could, and I had such a good time that I decided to come here for grad school. I haven't talked to her much since coming here, but I feel lucky to have had the chance to learn more about her culture and it has helped a lot in living with international students in my building. I don't have any roommates, and I guess maybe I seem unapproachable to most people, not just international students, but it doesn't mean I don't welcome conversation and friendship. I guess friendship can happen when both people are willing to risk their pride to make mistakes around each other and both people are forgiving enough of each other's mistakes. I think Americans are usually pretty forgiving of people not understanding our culture (especially since we have so many different cultures within just our own country that we have to be able to be understanding...), and if they're not, then they're not worth your friendship In terms of appropriate gifts, food is always a good gift, especially if you have spent enough time around the people to know what they like or don't like. I often cook a nice meal for people who have done something kind for me, or bake them something. Also appreciated are things from your culture - they will remind them of you after you have parted ways, which is always a good thing. I use a silk mousepad in my office that was given to me as a gift by a group of Chinese university students for giving them a tour of my lab, and it is something I can use and appreciate every day =) Good luck!!
  2. This might be of more interest to the science/engineering crowd, but hopefully also to anyone who has ever written a grant or proposal for federal funding programs - a letter to the Join Selection Committee on Deficit Reduction, started by the MIT Science Policy Initiative. http://standwithscience.org/theletter/ The text of the letter is pasted below, but please visit the link if you would like to sign (and add your own comment to it). To: The United States Congress Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction Dear Member: America’s science and engineering graduate students need your help. Our country is on the precipice: with US finances in a desperate position, upcoming decisions will determine the shape of our nation for decades to come. We urge you to seek common ground in Congress to preserve the indispensable investments in science and engineering research that will drive our nation’s prosperity for generations. We urge you to avoid any cuts in federally funded research. We could reiterate that scientific progress and technological innovation have kept the US at the head of the global economy for over half a century. We could remind you that rapid changes in health technology, information security, globalization, communications, artificial intelligence, and advanced materials make scientific and technological progress more critical than ever. We could warn you that our global competitors are ramping up investments in research and development, inspired by our own rise to economic superpower. But all this is well established[1][2][3][4][5][6]. Instead, we’d like to discuss a crucial element of research funding that is often overlooked: human capital. Over half a million graduate students and postdoctoral associates study science and engineering in the US[7]. These researchers form the bedrock labor force of the world’s best university R&D community. The value of these graduate students is not limited to the experiments they run and the papers they publish. Researchers in science and engineering learn to develop and implement long-term strategies, monitor progress, adapt to unexpected findings, evaluate their work and others’, collaborate across disciplines, acquire new skills, and communicate to a wide audience. Scientists and engineers don’t just get good jobs; they create good jobs, enabling their employers to produce the innovative products and services that drive our economic growth. Every science and engineering graduate represents a high-return investment in human capital, one impossible without federal support. Federal research funding is essential to graduate education because research is our education. Over 60% of university research is federally funded; private industry, although it dominates the development stage, accounts for only 6% of university research[8]. America must remain competitive in the global economy, and we cannot hope to do that by paying the lowest wages. We will never win a race to the bottom. Instead, we must innovate, and train the next generation of innovators. Innovation drives 60% of US growth[9]. Economists estimate that if our economy grew just half a percent faster than forecast for 20 years, the country would face half the deficit cutting it faces today[10]. Does federal research funding promote innovative technology and groundbreaking scientific progress? Absolutely. It also provides our economy with the most versatile, skilled, motivated, and creative workers in the world. We graduate students understand the severity of the fiscal crisis facing our country. Our sleeves are rolled up; we’re ready to be part of the solution. But we need your help. Congress’s goal in controlling our deficit is to protect America’s future prosperity; healthy federal research funding is essential to that prosperity. In the difficult months ahead, we ask you to look to the future and protect our crucial investments in R&D. Sincerely, America’s Science and Engineering Graduate Students
  3. In all of my SoPs, I made sure to mention 2-3 professors whose work I was particularly interested in. Often, at least at my school, that's how they know how to direct professors to read certain applications to see if they're interested in you. New professor or full professor aside, if the professor has funding, they can have an influence on whether or not you're made an offer.
  4. jendoly

    TV Shows?

    It's also pretty easy to watch Netflix on my iPad while working out, so that's also a good excuse for watching a ton of TV (;
  5. Upon really reading the work, the same thing as msafiri happened - found some gaps in the research and started to make a plan to address them. then, a proposal i wrote got a grant, so now i have to do what I proposed before this whole thing happened, which luckily falls into that "they didn't do that" camp. Phew.....
  6. Heck yes! Though their graphic novel selection is a bit limited (but they can't help their size).
  7. Yes yes yes and yes. My fellowship helped me switch to the advisor of my dreams, who hadn't even read my application prior to my arrival at the school because he had no funding until after application season. The latitude to switch advisors or labs is amazing.
  8. Having grown up in the South and having gone to a Southern school for undergrad (now at a very Northern school for grad school), I haven't noticed any sort of prejudice against Southern schools or my alma mater. As long as your program has a good reputation in whatever you are studying, then I don't think you'll have any more of a problem finding a job elsewhere later. The question is "are Southern schools good or not", really, and again, it depends what your field is!
  9. jendoly

    TV Shows?

    Let me see if I can write down all the shows I watch or have watched this past year... Dexter, Doctor Who, Covert Affairs, Royal Pains, Merlin, Psych, House, Falling Skies, South Park, True Blood, SG:U, Enterprise, Misfits, Sherlock, Shameless (US edition), The Big C, Project Runway, NASA TV (:, and just started Castle.
  10. a) Really depends on what you are interested in. I haven't met anyone in either department that didn't like their advisor (but I obv. know less MEs here, so I can't speak for them as well) b ) Glad you're looking at related departments. I was a MechE undergrad -> AeroAstro grad...plenty of opportunities for us folk on the "dark side" (:
  11. I took my coursework off my resume/CV after getting my BS. It's relevant somewhat to internships that might not know the sequence of your curriculum and want to know what you've taken already (especially in engineering), but it's sort of generic after graduation, especially since curriculums are pretty typical across the board. Unless you have something really different (like a custom degree program where you mix and match majors), it will just look like filler I think. As for the blog, I would not include it unless you have been accorded some sort of award or recognition for it in the context of your career or research interests. On first look, it looks like there are a lot of posts that are not particularly relevant to an overarching theme, in which case you don't want a POI to go look at your blog and then feel like you've wasted their time with something irrelevant.
  12. For the love of all that is holy, keep the research sections up to date. That's what prospies reference when they're looking at your lab, and if all the info is outdated, it's hard to tell where they would fit in if they're referencing projects from five years ago... *speaking from personal experience as a prospie...*
  13. Wow, that's the first time I've ever heard of a distinction between MS and PhD level courses. Maybe it's different for engineering - there may be a certain pattern and chronology to when people take certain classes, but I've seen MS students TAing courses that PhD students take and vice versa. It all has to do with who decides to take what when in my department. If such a distinction is made at other schools, I can see where some of this thread's separation between MS and PhD students comes from, but I can also definitely see where some of the disbelief comes from as well. In my experience, PhD students certainly have more life and academic experience in general, but in my lab, we all share the dirty work; we all socialize together at the lab happy hour. We all treat each other with professional and personal respect. I guess I'm lucky to be in the kind of environment where you are judged by the work you put in, regardless of how many years you've been there or what degree you are working towards. Also, pretty much all our masters students are thesis'd, if not all. That probably makes a big difference.
  14. I used to have an email contact who had a "sent from a device with glass keys" at the end of his/her emails. always liked that, for some reason - cute but not annoying.
  15. Yes, the goddess is Greek, and none of the printer names make any sort of relevant sense to each other... but the computers actually work, mostly, compared to the crappy cluster machines I'd grown accustomed to in undergrad. well, the ubuntu ones do, not the windows ones... but awwww, the chapel has pretty brick! my undergrad chapel had even prettier brick stone though (;
  16. "EE/controls/embedded avionics folks are worth their weight in gold", in the words of my advisor. I think your change in field would _not_ be a problem. (current Astro grad student, from MechE undergrad)
  17. No, definitely attach it! I wouldn't really ask if I was a competitive candidate though - shows more confidence to just approach it like you are, I think (:
  18. My signature (that I program into my Outlook and my iPad) is First name Middle Initial Last name Degree Candidate Laboratory Name Department Name Institution Email address (some might include a phone number as well, but I'm more accessible by email) Sometimes I delete this from my iPad (because it uses it as a signature for email sent from my Gmail too, and I don't always want all that identifying info in the Gmails I send), but the nice thing is that Outlook only includes it if you are composing a mail from scratch - not in replies. Therefore your email train doesn't get all mucked up with your signature over and over. Someone said above that they don't think including info about the degree you're a candidate for is good - a lot of grad students at my institution put all of the above info (save maybe replacing the degree candidate with "Graduate Student"). In my department, we send a lot of RFQs and RFIs to industry partners and it is often important to establish with those people who you are on a project, especially if you have undergraduates working for you and also emailing people about the project. I include the specific degree I'm a candidate for (currently a masters, though I intend to go on for a PhD) to give people within my institution a relative idea of how long I've been there so that they don't mentally assign me a greater degree of institutional history knowledge than I actually possess. xD Back to the original point of the thread - I have an NSF and a couple of other fellowships, but I wouldn't include that in my signature. The main reason for this is that anyone who needs to know that (or to whom I'm wanting to convey that fact) either already knows it or is getting my resume enclosed as an attachment =P I do however call myself a "research fellow" as opposed to "research assistant" on places where I am to list my job title, etc. That conveys that I am on fellowship without having to say which one super blatantly, which I feel reduces any potential pretentiousness.
  19. Huh. I always felt a little weird about putting stuff like a CV or a resume online (like, if my labmates found it, they might laugh their heads off >>) but I guess it's a common thing, then? Not like our lab's website has been updated in 5 years to even link to me =P
  20. Possibly! Both my undergrad and grad institutions refer to computer labs as clusters. As a little game: at my undergrad, there's one in the basement of the terrible concrete brutalist engineering building, and one in the pretty brick one. at my grad, they are all referred to by the name of a goddess. (;
  21. Anyone else had the incredibly heartbreaking experience of suddenly finding a paper or report that basically invalidates all of your research (either because it proves or disproves something related or just because it was the exact same topic you were researching)? How far along had you gotten? Was it new, or had you just missed it for whatever reason in your lit review?
  22. Oh man, for the love of everything, do not turn in anything written in OpenOffice writer or impress (whatever the powerpoint clone is) as an assignment. I got a C on an assignment last semester because all of my bullets left aligned (ie: weren't nested) when they opened it in Office on their computer and they thought I was dumb enough to actually not nest them and put them all at the same level of importance, despite my pleading in the email to let me know if there were any formatting issues as I'd used OO. Impress always screws up PPT files and vice versa, so unless you're showing something ON your computer MADE on your computer, get ready for wasted "looking dumb" time at the beginning of presentations. I use OO on my netbook and Office on my main laptop, and I refuse to use OO anymore, despite having found it convenient on cluster machines as an undergrad. It's just been way too much trouble. ):
  23. MIT's athletic center keeps winning awards and recognition for being one of the best gyms in Boston. Might be worth looking into (:
  24. Hot dog! Didn't think I had a chance at top ten, much less number two =P
  25. You may be thinking about NDSEG, where it asks for name and contact info for everything you list.
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