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About ad_infinitum

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  • Interests
    BioMEMS, microfluidics, biosensors, diagnostics, biomarker discovery, nanodevices
  • Application Season
    2019 Fall
  • Program
    PhD Biomedical Engineering

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  1. TL;DR: How do I write a NSF GRFP application in 3 weeks? How detailed are the research proposals supposed to be? Background - just your average bay area engineer: Graduated in 2016 from joint BS/MS program in Bioengineering Worked at a start up as an R&D engineer from 2016 to March of 2018 So I've been out of academic research for 2 years (no pubs, posters, PIs, etc since 2016). I always intended to do a PhD, and recent events have shown me that now is my time! But then I got more info: I thought that I only had one more chance to apply and that I could chose to either apply this fall along with my grad school apps or next fall after having entered a PhD program Turns out I'm wrong and that I can apply for both. Found this out literally yesterday. ? I had already planned an intense budget vacation for August and September. I can't cancel it and won't cancel it. This leaves me about 3 weeks to write my NSF GRFP application (October 1 - 23) Activate panic mode: what do I do!? Questions Have any of you written a successful (or almost successful) GRFP application in 3 weeks? How do you select a research proposal topic? I know people often go with the continuation of their undergrad studies, but I've been away from them for so long! I didn't go to a big research school, so my undergrad research project was a bit slow moving and dated to start with, now two years later, it seems that a lot of the problems in my field have been solved. I don't even know where to start a lit review now. Where to start in terms of scope? How in depth and detailed should the proposals be? I feel totally stupid and inadequate when reading sample proposals. Folks seem to have detailed and amazing proposal that go something like this (including instructions for each step!): Build bioreactor from scrap metal and found objects as described in figure 1. Engineer a special enzyme to do site directed mutagensis 10,000x faster. Develop a new engineered cell line of invincible cardiomyocytes using humming bird DNA Put magic enzymes and invincible cardiomyocytes into upcycled bioreactor and grow a human heart Broader impacts: cure all heart diseases for less than $150 I just feel like I'm not smart enough for this right now! Where do I start? Any suggested timelines or tips?
  2. Wow just in the nick of time! Congrats on your admission to a top program! I hear that Nashville is pretty awesome too.
  3. I'm in a different engineering field, but your profile looks appropriate for the schools you are applying to. General advice: If you want a PhD, apply directly to PhD programs, don't bother with MS. You should not have to pay for an engineering PhD -- do not accept an offer if it requires you to pay your own pay Most schools will promise funding to PhD students for at least the first 2 years of study. For example, University of Washington Civil Engineering states that "PhD student are fully funded with research or teaching assistantships, departmental support, and fellowships from a variety of organizations"
  4. Thanks for the encouragement. I don't exactly have the time, especially since you just alerted me to the fact that I have to do the NSFGRFP! (Thanks btw.) But I'll find some time - no one talk to me until December 15 But I KNOW I can score higher because I scored higher in all of my practice tests. So I'm just going to go for it. November 7 GRE here I come. I know that if I don't and get rejected from my top choices that I'll always wonder if I could have gotten in by spending another $200 and some time. If I retake after some more intense quant study, I'll know that I put together the best application that I possibly could, even if I get rejected.
  5. AUGH. Just finished GRE. 169V(99%) 162Q(81%) Gotta retake it. ? Damn that quant score. I was so proud of verbal. And I think I did well on AWA too.
  6. I actually already completed a MS through a joint BS/MS program so I'm pretty sure I only have one chance to apply -- right? Man, if I'm wrong I have a lot more writing to do than I thought... From the NSF GRFP Eligibility Page: What if I applied in the final year of my joint BS/MS program? Under the new one-time rule for graduate student applicants, am I still eligible to apply in the first year of my Ph.D. program? Yes. When you applied in the final year of your joint BS/MS program, you were still considered to be an undergraduate since you hadn't yet earned your BS degree. After your joint degree was awarded, you have one more chance to apply-but it must be at the beginning of the first year of your Ph.D. studies (before you complete any additional graduate credits). Note that having earned a joint BS/MS degree, you would not be eligible in the second year of your Ph.D. studies, as by then you will already have completed more than the allowable amount of graduate study. EDIT: WhyTry is right I'm pretty sure! Dang ok, gotta start thinking about NSF GRFP then too! Ahh I'm overwhelmed.
  7. Undergrad Institution (approx. rank/reputation in STEM): Top Ranked Masters University in Silicon Valley (for joint BS/MS) Major(s): Bioengineering Minor(s): Chemistry GPA in Major: N/A (my school doesn't calculate this) Overall GPA: 3.75/4.00 Demographics/Background: White female Grad School (same institution, same PI): Major(s): Bioengineering (MS) Overall GPA: 3.98/4.00 GRE Scores: Taking this Saturday. Will Update. Expect around 90 percentile Q: xxx (xx%) V: xxx (xx%) W: x.x (xx%) LOR: Undergrad/Grad research PI, Undergrad/grad research co-advisor, VP of manufacturing at my company (boss) Research Experience: 2.5 years in same lab for grad and undergrad. One project with one PI. 2 Years working in research and development at a medical device start up Publications/Abstracts/Presentations: 2 first author conference pubs 1 conference poster presentation ~3 university poster presentations Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Outstanding Bioengineering Senior Senior Design Presentation Award Engineering Ethics Prize Multiple university fellowships for undergrad research Tau Beta Pi membership Graduated Magna Cum Laude for undergrad Graduated "With Distinction" for grad Named merit fellowship to pay for masters degree Accepted into start up incubator program for company spun off from my research Fellowships/Funding: I'm thinking I'll wait until fall of my first year of PhD to apply for NSF since they changed the rules and I can only apply once Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Teaching assistantships in grad school Volunteer work encouraging female participation in stem Volunteer and paid tutoring positions for calculus, chemistry, physics, etc. 2 years experience as an R&D engineer at a med device start up Other Miscellaneous Accomplishments: Completed University Honors Program Anything else in your application that might matter (faculty connections, etc.): My PI's PI (academic grandpa) is at Stanford, but he's in EE (with some BioE research) and I'm applying to BioE. Idk if this matters at all. Research Interests: Microfluidics, bioMEMS, biosensors, nanodevices, single molecule detection, point-of-care diagnostics, lab-on-a-chip, transcriptomics Institutions/Programs: Berkeley BioE Standford BioE University of Washington BioE UCLA BioE CalTech Medical Engineering University of Michigan BME Cornell BME Georgia Tech BioE Maybe: Boston University BME, UC Davis BME, UCSD BioE, MIT Biological Engr. Comments: I'll be 26 when I start grad school. I guess this makes me a "mature" student. I'm taking a year off (now until I start school fall 2019) to travel the world. Not sure if this will look good or bad but I'm doing it anyways. Too many schools to apply to? Too few?
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