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Entangled Phantoms

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About Entangled Phantoms

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    Electrical Engineering

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  1. To get people to stop calling. It is why they lied last year. STI-TEC is a for-profit defense contractor and not the NSF or a foundation like Sloan, Ford, or Hertz. Different values and different levels of interest in helping students.
  2. This will take a while to sort out. Not everyone in the initial offer group will accept a slot. The people next on priority should get a crack at those slots. If necessary, another wave. April 30th seems ambitious for finalizing all fellowship slots, but good on them for trying. One of my labmates got an offer in June in the last couple of cycles.
  3. I doubt anyone has any idea what STI-TEC has in store this year. This is their second time doing this and the first time was ... well .... not smooth. Just for fun, here is a recap of last year. 1. 69 fellowships awarded and on April 12-13 acceptances go out. 2. Folks in the top 200 but not selected got this message: "As you know, your application was chosen to move forward to the final step in the process: the DoD Panel Review. We regret to inform you that you were not selected as part of the 2018 class. This year we planned to award roughly 200 fellowships and only 69 were selected due to the budget. You were in the top 200 and have been placed on the alternates selection list for the fellowship. This does not guarantee that you will be awarded the fellowship but serves as notice of your ranking and your potential in the unlikely event that the DoD will select additional awardees´╗┐."´╗┐ 3. Folks were naturally like, "WTF?" I mean, DoD has just gotten a big budget increase. Some grad cafers called their representatives in Congress: "I called my congressional representative + senators, and they sent me an email of a congressional staffer Jain Thapa who supposedly works with budgeting on DoD matters. He responded to my email saying he would follow up next week." 4. Grad cafers also know how to do their research. "Reached out to the government affairs office at my university. Very odd they cut number of fellowships awarded given that NDSEG specifically is a subprogram funded through the AF University Research Initiative account, which had a $12M increase over FY17." 5. STI-TEC apparently hears from Congressional staffers that there are a lot of pissed off people out there. Puts out a tweet (which they later deleted) suggesting that negative comments might lead to NDSEG getting shut down. Archived tweet - https://mobile.twitter.com/Andrew_S_Rosen/status/986273914019106818/photo/ 6. Guess what? There were no budget cuts! STI-TEC was forced to send us this: Dear 2018 NDSEG Fellowship Applicants, We are writing to you today to retract a part of our statement regarding the selection of the 2018 Fellowship class. In our email, we reported budget cuts as the basis for the number of fellowships awarded. We would like to provide clarification on the allocation of funding for the program. We incorrectly reported that the National Defense Science & Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) program has experienced budget cuts; however, the Department of Defense (DoD) increased the spending on the National Defense Science & Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) fellowship program compared to the previous fiscal year. In an effort to ensure that the program remains competitive with similar fellowships, the Department made programmatic changes to the FY17 NDSEG program that increased the cost per student. This increase in costs per fellow has, in turn, reduced the number of fellowships available. Moving forward, the Department intends to review the programmatic changes instituted during the FY17 fellowship class to properly balance the competitiveness of the program against the overall number of students that are trained in areas of defense relevance We apologize for any confusion that our statement may have caused. We appreciate your understanding and your support of the program. -The NDSEG Fellowship Team As it turns out, the cost per student increased soooo much that they went from 200 fellowship to 69! 7. Meanwhile, a lot of students outside the top 200 heard nothing. 8. Professors at Caltech and UCLA went to town on STI-TEC on twitter because their students heard nothing. https://mobile.twitter.com/sarah_reisman/status/985645455051665408 https://mobile.twitter.com/ArmaniLab/status/985630862631780352 Moral of the story - until STI-TEC establishes a track record of doing things in a professional manner, do not count on things working like they would at most other fellowship programs. Good luck to folks waiting on results. May you all have better luck than I did last year.
  4. If you are going to pay that much money out of picket for a degree, you should demand placement data from both programs. That should answer your question. If they both dont keep placement data, I would recommend not going to either.
  5. The CGS resolution applies to offers of funding. I would assume they can be professionals about this especially since they are not offering you funding, but apparently there are psychos in some fields. No idea. In my field, if you don't have an offer of funding, that in and of itself, says that program has only minimal interest in you. Consequently, the only people disappointed when don't enroll are the people cashing your tuition checks. If you have an offer of funding, it seems like a good idea to let the PI know. I wish I had done this.
  6. For whatever reason, a non-trivial number of people seem to wait right up to the 4/15 deadline before choosing one offer from two or more competing ones. Graduate programs don't automatically call the next stiff off the waitlist. I know because I got my offer on 4/26. Guess what? More than likely, someone on a waitlist that the school I committed to was made an offer after that. I am sorry that you work in a field with such petty and vindictive people. You should probably add that caveat in your advice. Faculty and admissions staff in the science and engineering must be real sweeties. Personally, I think all it takes is a basic sense of decency and understanding to not hold a grudge against someone because of waitlist movement after the deadline. FWIW, I called the prospective advisor at the school I originally committed to and let him know I got into my top choice. He wished me well and told me to notify he admissions staff and I did. A year later, I invited said prospective advisor to my current school to give a talk to the student chapter of our professional society. He was happy to come and did. Read the first sentence of the link you posted. Advice on these forums can have big real life consequences. Please recognize that before spooking prospective students by talking about torching one's professional network and whatnot. This might be a problem in your field. If so, I am very sorry that you have to deal with this. Most of us do not.
  7. What on Earth are you talking about? What do you think happens when someone gets off a waitlist? Moreover, OP's offer doesn't even come with funding. So even if the fuzzy rationale behind your advice was the CGS resolution, it doesn't apply. Even if it did one can obtain a release from the institution committed to. And Jesus, stop with melodrama about professional relationships down the line and being seen as unreliable. Waitlists are thing. Schools know about them. OP - please talk to some mentors or advisors at your current school. Take anything from randos on the interwebs (including me) with a grain of salt.
  8. STI-TEC does presentations at large-ish engineering programs. Their rep said 100-120 was the target. I wanted to figure out if it was worth bothering with NDSEG this year and I specifically asked if there was any chance of returning to ASEE levels of fellowships (~200). Flat out 'no.' Unless funding for NDSEG doubled or tripled since November, keep your hopes in the 100-120 range.
  9. I decided not to bother with NDSEG this year, but it seems like things were smoother on the website since there isn't a post complaining about an unsecure website (unless I missed it). Given all the problems last year, I expect they will play it safe and just announce winners in April. While we are on the topic a website, boy are we giving STI-TEC some benefit of the doubt. Going from 170 fellowships to 70 is a huge drop! Support per fellow is at least $39k (stipend plus health insurance) but you also have coverage for tuition/fees/university overhead. So we're looking at $50-70k per fellow. That is $5-7M! I would have expected a much better website for that kind of money. If they keep the number of fellows at a reduced level for all three fellowship classes, that is $15-21M in their pocket relative to ASEE. I mean, this is a for-profit contractor and a lot of them pull this crap with DoD contracts. The trick is to not make the grift less obvious.
  10. You don't have to make promises to anyone. Professors understand the applicants have applied to other programs. They are adults. Reach out to potential advisors at UIUC now. Tell them you were accepted and are interested in their work. There is nothing untoward about starting a conversation now and turning them down later when you have to make a decisions.
  11. LOL. The new contracter cracks me up. I see this year that they are hiding the number of 2018 fellowships awarded (69 after the new contractor took over) but still publish the number of 2017 fellowships awarded (~170 when ASEE was in charge). Almost as smooth as last year when they claimed that the NDSEG budget was cut and then recanted after angry applicants called members of Congress and the DoD and found out funding was actually increased for the program. Curious to see what shenanigans they pull in year 2. Last year's mistake was skimming too much off the top (100 fewer fellowships is probably a cool $5-7M in STI-TEC's pocket). Feel they need to scale down the grift a tad.
  12. Yes, the brand name can have an effect. It can open door, but name alone won't net you funding. Ideas matter. As far as getting into EECS, your GPA and publication likely did not matter much. It should not surprise you that plenty of people are waitlisted or rejected by MIT with near perfect numbers and first author publications. What can swing the balance is having a connection to a current professor who is looking for students. A lot of faculty would prefer to take an applicant who was vouched for by a colleague they know well than take a piece of paper with perfect numbers. If you think you can build that bridge to a faculty member over a year, then hold out for MIT. That said, the actual faculty member in question matters more. If you have a famous professor at UCLA taking you on versus a newly minted assistant professor, go to UCLA.
  13. Plenty of graduate students live in Tacoma Park or Hyattsville and trade a short commute to campus for easy(ier) access to DC. One does not have to live in College Park. In terms of pure location, I would take UMD hands down.
  14. University of Wisconsin - Madison Research Expenditures (MechE / Engineering School) 2018 - $10.9M /$115.9M 2017 - $10.5M / $125.1M 2016 - $10.6M / $120.3M 2015 - $13.1M / $166.9M 2014 - $10.8M / $178.8M 2013 - $16.4M / $181.4M 2012 - $14.3M / $137.0M 2011 - $13.5M / $127.3M 2010 - $14.4M / $126.0M 2009 - $14.3M / $122.0M Source: (ASEE Profile data) Reduced state funding and tuition freezes earlier to start the decade are finally taking full effect. If a school is paying you crap, chances are the school is not in great shape. University of Illinois - UC Research Expenditures (MechE / Engineering School) 2018 - $24.3M / $221.1M <too lazy to look up the years between> 2009 - $17.9M / $207.8M Source: (ASEE Profile data) I've lived in Madison and was accepted to UIUC (declined). Madison is the cooler city by far. But the decline at UW's programs is undeniable. It costs money to provide meaningful startup packages to new faculty and high enough stipends to attract top students. Cuts and tight budgets also hit things like career services. I would think twice before trusting my career aspirations to a school in a state that is hostile to higher education.
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