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NDSEG 2019

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I didn't see a thread for the NDSEG Fellowship for this application cycle.  It looks like previous years have had plenty of confusion and website issues, so I imagine I'll want to hear from other applicants as the process moves along.

I think my research is a much better fit for the NSF GRFP (which I've already submitted), but one aspect of my research aligns with an Army funding priority from its BAA, so I'm going to throw a Hail Mary application.  I've read a few successful essays from when the application process just asked for a one page essay to cover both your personal history and your research proposal, but I haven't read any successful applications with the new format of a 500 word personal statement and a 3 page proposal.  (Maybe this is the first year for this format?)

Good luck, everyone!

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I'm doing one as well as a hail mary! 

I am also nervous about the 3 page thing, because I couldn't find examples online of the 3 page one (I guess it started in 2018?). 

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Last year's was also a 3-page proposal, but it really is hard to find examples and/or tips for the application, because they've changed the requirements so much over the years, and NDSEG doesn't give application feedback the way NSF does. I applied last year as a first-year grad, didn't get it, gonna try again this year but yeah it's been hard to figure out what to improve upon.

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Hopefully they give out more than 70 awards this year...

For those applying, I wonder why there is a rather poorly formatted Jobs/Internships, Publications, etc section if you also have the opportunity to upload a CV ?

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19 hours ago, KaffeeCafe said:

I wonder why there is a rather poorly formatted Jobs/Internships, Publications, etc section if you also have the opportunity to upload a CV ?

That confused me a bit, too.  I emailed them and asked if conference poster presentations should be listed in the publications section, but that question was in an email with several questions, and they ignored that one.  (I have my posters on my CV, though.)  I've tried to ask a number of questions that I haven't gotten clear answers on, and found some bugs in their Survey Monkey web forms that they seem to have fixed now.  I called once, and the person who answered the phone sounded like a general receptionist/tech support who knew less about the NDSEG than I do.

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Anyone hear any updates? Looks like they sent out a batch of emails mid-march last year to update people whether they moved on from the initial stage. 

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There is a banner on the NDSEG site saying "application status notifications in early April" but who knows with STI-TEC, unfortunately. 

(Somewhat related I just found that the social media buttons on the footer of the main NDSEG site don't actually link to the NDSEG pages but are just placeholders.)

 

The SMART fellowship sent out semifinalist notifications at the beginning of February, but I believe that's run by Scholarship America instead.

Edited by NeoOzymandias

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On 3/9/2019 at 4:25 PM, NeoOzymandias said:

There is a banner on the NDSEG site saying "application status notifications in early April" but who knows with STI-TEC, unfortunately. 

(Somewhat related I just found that the social media buttons on the footer of the main NDSEG site don't actually link to the NDSEG pages but are just placeholders.)

 

The SMART fellowship sent out semifinalist notifications at the beginning of February, but I believe that's run by Scholarship America instead.

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. 

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My 2 cents.  The new contractor is pretty rough around the edges, but the number of awards was largely linked to an increase of cost per award (maybe some "startup"costs like building a website, but hopefully not graft).

The mid-March emails were a complete failure: with some actual awardees not receiving them, and revealed a lot of poor management.  I think it was meant to be a nice status update, but ended up making their job a lot harder (probably led to a big spike in phone calls afterwards).  I could be wrong, but I'd bet they just don't say anything until the awards are announced this year.

Thoughts?

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2 hours ago, ScottyT said:

My 2 cents.  The new contractor is pretty rough around the edges, but the number of awards was largely linked to an increase of cost per award (maybe some "startup"costs like building a website, but hopefully not graft).

The mid-March emails were a complete failure: with some actual awardees not receiving them, and revealed a lot of poor management.  I think it was meant to be a nice status update, but ended up making their job a lot harder (probably led to a big spike in phone calls afterwards).  I could be wrong, but I'd bet they just don't say anything until the awards are announced this year.

Thoughts?

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.

 

 

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On 3/14/2019 at 8:37 AM, ScottyT said:

My 2 cents.  The new contractor is pretty rough around the edges, but the number of awards was largely linked to an increase of cost per award (maybe some "startup"costs like building a website, but hopefully not graft).

The mid-March emails were a complete failure: with some actual awardees not receiving them, and revealed a lot of poor management.  I think it was meant to be a nice status update, but ended up making their job a lot harder (probably led to a big spike in phone calls afterwards).  I could be wrong, but I'd bet they just don't say anything until the awards are announced this year.

Thoughts?

I'm friends with someone who was a panelist reviewer for applications this year. They said that they gave folks an extra week to get their reviews in (maybe because some panelists are government workers and didn't have access to their emails for 5 weeks?), so I imagine if they do send out mid-March update emails that they won't come until next week (Friday March 22nd; last year they came out on Friday March 16th). That said, I think you have a point about them just keeping quiet. 

Also for what it's worth, I think my friend said that they had ~2200 applications submitted this year and are hoping to award somewhere between 200 and 300 fellowships. Provided what happened last year, though, I'm not holding my breath.

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2 hours ago, herbivore said:

Also for what it's worth, I think my friend said that they had ~2200 applications submitted this year and are hoping to award somewhere between 200 and 300 fellowships. Provided what happened last year, though, I'm not holding my breath.

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.

 

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16 minutes ago, Junin said:

Any word on application status for anyone? 

None. Someone on Reddit claims that in mid March last year, people were notified that they were either being rejected or continuing to be reviewed. I have gotten no sort of email. 

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I got an e-mail just after 3pm that I got the fellowship! No idea how they're sending it out—if it's by office or all at once.

Does anyone know if the NDSEG has any subject requirement? Is it like NSF where it's about the person not the specific project proposed? Or by accepting are you bound to do exactly what you outlined?

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33 minutes ago, Epigenetics said:

I got an e-mail just after 3pm that I got the fellowship! No idea how they're sending it out—if it's by office or all at once.

Does anyone know if the NDSEG has any subject requirement? Is it like NSF where it's about the person not the specific project proposed? Or by accepting are you bound to do exactly what you outlined?

Congrats! It's awesome to hear any evidence that these fellowship people are looking at what we submitted! I don't know the answer to your question, but I'm curious which branch you applied to. 

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1 hour ago, milka49 said:

Congrats! It's awesome to hear any evidence that these fellowship people are looking at what we submitted! I don't know the answer to your question, but I'm curious which branch you applied to.  

I applied to ARO with genetics as the BAA/subfield area. My proposal is identical to the one I submitted for NSF, just expanded to the pages but all about basic chromatin regulation.

Edited by Epigenetics

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3 hours ago, Epigenetics said:

I got an e-mail just after 3pm that I got the fellowship! No idea how they're sending it out—if it's by office or all at once.

Does anyone know if the NDSEG has any subject requirement? Is it like NSF where it's about the person not the specific project proposed? Or by accepting are you bound to do exactly what you outlined?

Congrats! I received the fellowship last year (but ended up turning it down). My impression was that the proposal was non-binding.

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Just now, hkcool said:

Congrats! I received the fellowship last year (but ended up turning it down). My impression was that the proposal was non-binding.

Awesome! Was that because you took NSF instead? NSF hasn't come out so I'll have to see on that end but it appears that most consider it more prestigious even though NDSEG has seemingly better benefits. Was that your experience?

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8 hours ago, Epigenetics said:

I got an e-mail just after 3pm that I got the fellowship! No idea how they're sending it out—if it's by office or all at once.

Does anyone know if the NDSEG has any subject requirement? Is it like NSF where it's about the person not the specific project proposed? Or by accepting are you bound to do exactly what you outlined?

Wow congratulations! I hope to hear soon for my proposal. Keeping my fingers crossed! :D

Edited by Ryleigh Moore

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14 hours ago, Epigenetics said:

Awesome! Was that because you took NSF instead? NSF hasn't come out so I'll have to see on that end but it appears that most consider it more prestigious even though NDSEG has seemingly better benefits. Was that your experience?

Would be interested in the answer to this too, although GRFP results are not out yet. I didn't apply for the GRFP last year because the stipend is essentially what I am getting now. However, after last year's application season (I applied for NDSEG only and got dinged), my advisor was incredulous that I would apply for the NDSEG and not the NSF. It was news to him that NDSEG offers more money and conference support (maybe this was not always true?). Regardless, he said the NSF is the "better opportunity" whatever that means. So why is there this bias against NDSEG? 

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On 3/29/2019 at 3:40 PM, Epigenetics said:

I got an e-mail just after 3pm that I got the fellowship! No idea how they're sending it out—if it's by office or all at once.

Does anyone know if the NDSEG has any subject requirement? Is it like NSF where it's about the person not the specific project proposed? Or by accepting are you bound to do exactly what you outlined?

I haven't heard either way about my application...so maybe by office?

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