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NSF GRFP 2019-2020


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Good luck to everyone! I was super impatient to hear back (hence making that whole chart thing) and was planning on staying up until GRFP results were posted, but we had to go to the vet to put my fam

Buckle your seatbelts everyone...

While waiting for my code to run for the paper I'm working on, I looked at the NSF threads from the past couple years and found for each year when maintenance was announced (or at least when someone p

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16 hours ago, dakotaS said:

Was there anyone else with a 1st author pub that was NOT recommended? I’m a little shocked by my results. 

I had that happen twice. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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8 hours ago, Eman2 said:

I didn't get it either or even honorable mention. Feels kinda crappy. I told myself that it was a long shot to not get my hopes up but I'm surprisingly disappointed. There are some existential doubts about my abilities that I'm feeling like what yayareaforever commented.

In hindsight I sort of rushed the application but idk I thought it was pretty good. Hopefully the feed back from the reviewers will be constructive at least.

On a positive note I applied for two more fellowships that I haven't heard back from yet and one is an even bigger award than the NSF!

 

6 hours ago, captivatingCA said:

I wasn't awarded, and I definitely felt a bit of a ding after reading the email. But I've started to look at the things that have gone right for me so far. Personally, I'm just happy that I'm going to grad school. Even if the NSF is indicative of ability (which, as jstop28 mentions, isn't necessarily true), a rejection isn't a death sentence to my scientific career. I have a lot of time ahead of me to learn and develop, and I'm looking forward to seeing the reviews so that I can figure out what areas to improve. While the validation (and money) would have been great, not getting the fellowship doesn't fundamentally change the calculus of the next few years, and it won't stop me from pursuing my goals. 

thank you all for empathizing with me-- it feels encouraging to know that I'm not the only one feeling this way. I'm going to bounce back and move onto my next project. Wishing the best for all of your scientific endeavors 🙂

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20 hours ago, dakotaS said:

Was there anyone else with a 1st author pub that was NOT recommended? I’m a little shocked by my results. 

I had first author and also not recommended. You have to realize that there are people out there who just have incredible resumes (like 4 pubs by end of undergrad incredible).

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Does anyone else think that Honorable Mention is pretty worthless for the GRFP? They say you could put it on your CV, but isn't it basically announcing you weren't good enough for the actual award? I guess I don't understand the point, as we're applying to be a GRFP fellow, not for some strange pat on the back from the NSF. Full disclosure: got HM and was pretty excited reading half of the first sentence of the NSF email, only to be pretty disappointed by reading on. 😅

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19 hours ago, pchemp said:

Does anyone else think that Honorable Mention is pretty worthless for the GRFP? They say you could put it on your CV, but isn't it basically announcing you weren't good enough for the actual award? I guess I don't understand the point, as we're applying to be a GRFP fellow, not for some strange pat on the back from the NSF. Full disclosure: got HM and was pretty excited reading half of the first sentence of the NSF email, only to be pretty disappointed by reading on. 😅

I think HM and awardees make up the top 30% of applicants and based off of a recent reddit thread "comments from a GRFP reviewer," the NSF chooses who gets the award from the top 30%. They probably apply their agenda here to diversify science or something... though that isn't something we're privy too. I got HM too and definitely wished I received something monetary...even like $200 to use for our next conference would have been nice...

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Don’t HMs get access to some resources online or something? I thought that was the case but could be wrong. I know they’ve also drawn late awards from the HM pool in past years although the chances are very low. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Has anyone who received the GRFP award received additional information? The original email said information regarding how to accept/decline the award would be sent out before April 21st, which is in 2 days. I haven't received any additional emails/info, so I just want to make sure I'm not the only one.

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7 hours ago, Bernt said:

Has anyone who received the GRFP award received additional information? The original email said information regarding how to accept/decline the award would be sent out before April 21st, which is in 2 days. I haven't received any additional emails/info, so I just want to make sure I'm not the only one.

Received the same email, so I am sure that we won't receive any additional information until the 21st i.e. this Tuesday. 

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Reviews are up!

Undergrad, Chemical Engineering - G/E, E/E, E/E - offer awarded

One reviewer (the G/E) was extremely blunt in his review for my intellectual merit: "The skill of independent research is not supported by reference letters." Ouch. My imposter syndrome. 😔

Meanwhile, another reviewer (E/E) said: "Based on the recommendation letters, it is clear that [Applicant] is not only talented but also thoughtful and independent."

Really goes to show the bias in the process and how luck (who reads my application, what mood they are in, whether they are rushing through the application, etc) really is a significant component.

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On 4/19/2020 at 9:23 PM, Bernt said:

Has anyone who received the GRFP award received additional information? The original email said information regarding how to accept/decline the award would be sent out before April 21st, which is in 2 days. I haven't received any additional emails/info, so I just want to make sure I'm not the only one.

It says May 7 on the portal.

Anyway, accepted in bioinformatics: E/E, E/E, E/VG. All of the reviews basically said it was impressive I had X number of publications. Meh, personally it feels a bit odd to be judged solely by the # of pubs, but I guess that's the way academia works?

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Honorable Mention senior undergrad (chem synthesis, IM/BI):

E/G, E/VG, E/E

Varying comments about the broader impacts of my project, but all said my GPA and research was good and that my personal pursuits were acceptable.

ok. I expected this.

 

Edited by struggleknot
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Accepted in Robotics & Computer Vision, senior undergraduate: E/E, E/E, VG/VG.

The VG reviewer seemed to do a more thorough job of analysis, or at least I appreciated the feedback for improvement that shows a bit of what he/she was looking for: awards for service/outreach impact, and a gentle suggestion to get a wider variety of research experience (I was only in one lab throughout all of my undergrad). The VG reviewer concluded with the recommendation that the proposal be funded. I'm glad that NSF standardizes ratings!

The "multiple publications and conference presentations" thing came up in all my reviews, which I think made up for merely "good" and "above average" coursework (3.54 GPA). 

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3 minutes ago, jychung said:

Honorable mention, senior undergraduate applying in Microbial Biology. I got E/E, VG/VG, E/E and overall pretty positive reviews... do you have to get all E/E to get an award?

I want to say it depends on the field and like general pool? Then again, it's kind of a crapshoot... some years people have gotten almost straight E's and weren't even awarded..

Edited by struggleknot
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Not recommended 2nd year grad student in psychology - cognitive neuroscience: E/E, G/G, VG/VG

I think it's kind of weird all of my raters gave me completely different scores from each other and the same ones for each section. The G/G reviewer left like 7 positive comments and only one fairly minor "possible improvement" note, and they lowkey seemed pretty enthusiastic about the whole application so I don't know why I only got a G/G from them, but oh well. If anything my comments from my VG/VG reviewer were more critical than the G/G reviewer. It's completely a crapshoot so I'm trying not to take it personally, but my lab funding is a mess right now so this still sucks a lot for my future as a grad student. 

 

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2nd year PhD in Ecology. Offered Award- E/E, VG/E, G/E. 

Reviewer #1 was surprisingly complimentary!  "unparalleled research breadth", "most inspiring [broader impacts] I've seen" and "one of the best proposals I have seen" were some of the more flattering quotes- I'll take it!

#2 didn't have any critique to offer or say much, just agreed that I was well qualified to do the research and that it would be useful in advancing the field, and that the broader impacts have high potential.

#3 was VERY thorough, and wrote out two whole paragraphs going through all the strengths and weaknesses of both criteria. They liked my experience, especially in undergrad, and thought the aims were very interesting (if challenging) and would generate important insights if successful. They were less pleased with my experimental design and felt they weren't thought through sufficiently and didn't have enough detail- they picked out some very technical methodological weak points that I've caught and changed since writing the proposal, so it seems like it was reviewed by someone who's definitely quite familiar with my branch of the field. Knocked me for not having publications/talks/posters stemming from work in my first year of grad school too, but overall it's useful and really thorough feedback that I appreciate getting. I'm just grateful it seems like all three actually read my application thoroughly and paid attention!

tl;dr depth of review and assessment of IM varied by reviewer but they all really liked my BI

Edited by Vaudevillain
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Not awarded - VG/E, E/E, G/G. I'm an undergrad senior and applied through mathematical sciences - statistics. The first two reviewers really liked my application and didn't really have any critiques. The third thought my proposal lacked 'scope and depth' and that my broader impacts were 'too ambitious to be realistic'. I have a lot of inter-sectional identities that I implemented into my personal statement, so maybe it seemed like I was fishing for points? They all played a part in my experience, so I thought it would be relevant to include them. My future goals were ambitious, but certainly doable. Reviewer 3 also mentioned that I did not have a solid previous research product, which is rare for undergrads in stats (if by product that mean publications). The reviewer may have been a researcher in machine learning (which my proposal is related to), and it's much more common for undergrads to have publications there. 

When I found out I wasn't awarded I figured I would just learn from the reviews and do better next time. I never expected to have conflicting reviews. Now I don't know what to do. I'm also a little upset because this is the second time one reviewer out of three has tanked an application(the first time was to a conference). At the very least this is a learning experience; now I know firsthand how random the process can be. Sorry for the rant!

Tl;dr - The reviewer curse is well and alive. 

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