sierra918

NSF GRFP 2016

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23 minutes ago, Neist said:

In a completely unrelated note...

Anyone else have a headache from drinking too much last night while you awaited the results?

Ugh.

I went for some double IPA's. Surprised I made it into the lab by 7 today

 

14 minutes ago, Neist said:

This fantastic advice. :D 

I would hope one wouldn't need to spoon feed the points into the maws of reviewers, but I think it's probably apt to. 

Yes, Maybe a bold heading with "Community Outreach" would be an excellent Idea if you have some. This was my last year to apply though so good luck in future years! Thought I wrote a winner this year and at least one reviewer agreed! I think my 3.5 undergrad and graduate GPA left a bad taste in two of the reviewers' mouths

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11 minutes ago, bpat1218 said:

Yes, Maybe a bold heading with "Community Outreach" would be an excellent Idea if you have some. This was my last year to apply though so good luck in future years! Thought I wrote a winner this year and at least one reviewer agreed! I think my 3.5 undergrad and graduate GPA left a bad taste in two of the reviewers' mouths

One didn't explicitly state so, but I got the impression they didn't like that it's taken a decade to finish my undergraduate. I guess excellent academic performance doesn't outweigh poverty and life circumstances.

You know what my proposal should be next year? A community driven analysis as to what a "proper" research proposal is versus one that is not. If I could get a large enough sample size, it might be eye-opening how well their intention to reinforcing science's diversity is (or is not).

Anyone got ideas how I could get large sample next year? :D 

8 minutes ago, Pink Fuzzy Bunny said:

I got really lucky with my reviewers, that's for sure. None of them said a single thing about my research proposal (which was a total trainwreck). So I got 6 E/E's.

Wait, did you get it? :D 

Edited by Neist

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15 minutes ago, Neist said:

This fantastic advice. :D 

I would hope one wouldn't need to spoon feed the points into the maws of reviewers, but I think it's probably apt to. 

I don't think spoon-feeding is the right word. I certainly don't have much of any experience applying to grants and fellowships (besides this one), but I think for something like NSF you really need to make sure that the rationale for the project, what and how you will do, what you expect to see, and how this will bring the field forward are all as explicit as possible. I'm sure your proposal did this, and even if the reviews can follow it, if there's anything that's left implicit, they'll ding you for it.

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Man, no luck. VG/VG VG/VG VG/VG. I feel like I got kinda screwed on reviewers. All 3 only gave 1-2 sentences of feedback on each category, and so vague that I wonder if they even read the whole thing. 

Here's my verbatim feedback from Reviewer 3 (it's always #3) in its entirely, for example: 

Intellectual Merit: VG "Adequate academic preparation. Very good work/ research experience" 

Broader Impacts: VG "Image processing can only go so far in helping tumor detection" 

Summary: "Mr. Commodork is qualified, but not in the first tier of candidates"

What am I supposed to make of that??? Last year, I got very in depth paragraphs and comments on specific activities. I thought I made my personal way stronger, but I'm not sure now. Did my reviewers just get lazy and burnt out, or was my app that much more forgettable this time around? My CV got way stronger between cycles, so I'm kind of at a loss. 

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My third reviewer was also not my biggest fan, and definitely did not read as thoroughly as the other two. It is frustrating to see I'm not the only one who had at least one reviewer completely missing things I made easy for them to see. It also isn't helpful that there is no consistency between my reviewers, so there is no main improvement I could make based on their comments. Finally, all of my comments focused on the research proposal, when I was told all along that "NSF funds the person" so I thought they might address my personal statement a little bit?!

I proposed a series of studies, I think there were 4 or 5 in total, so I could be thorough. I went overboard on the Broader Impacts (in psychology, not hard to do) 
Reviewer 3: "This is a promising applicant; the application would be stronger with additional studies and with broader implications articulated."

Edited by VulpesZerda

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Just now, Micecroscopy said:

I don't think spoon-feeding is the right word. I certainly don't have much of any experience applying to grants and fellowships (besides this one), but I think for something like NSF you really need to make sure that the rationale for the project, what and how you will do, what you expect to see, and how this will bring the field forward are all as explicit as possible. I'm sure your proposal did this, and even if the reviews can follow it, if there's anything that's left implicit, they'll ding you for it.

I'm a bit afraid that my proposal was just too complex to explain in its entirety, and my reviewers ended up wanting more.

I conducted an independent study to make my proposal, and the unedited version was far, far larger (around 15 pages, if memory serves). Cutting that down to 3 pages meant I had to cut out a lot of details.

Might have to rethink the proposal next time.

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Interestingly, the one reviewer who kept me from getting it (grrr...) did give some helpful suggestions for a non-profit science news project I'm in the process of founding. So I guess something positive came of that. :)

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Just now, Pink Fuzzy Bunny said:

Yes :D I'll be rooting for you again next year, Neist!

Congrats! :) And thanks for the well-wishes!

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Great job to everyone who got it! I got some excellent feedback and if it were not for a slightly vague methods section in my proposal, I think I might have had a fighting chance. One reviewer commented that my research area isn't innovative enough (food safety modeling). If we had all the answers in that area, there would be no foodborne illness in the world! 

Live and learn, I suppose. I am just glad to have done this and to have some positive feedback on my work--it's a nice ego boost! If anyone is resubmitting again and wants to have a look at my application materials, I am happy to send them to you along with my feedback sheet. I applied as a second year grad student this year, so I'm out of the race. Rejected proposals can be more helpful than accepted ones at times.

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1 minute ago, Humulus_lupulus said:

Great job to everyone who got it! I got some excellent feedback and if it were not for a slightly vague methods section in my proposal, I think I might have had a fighting chance. One reviewer commented that my research area isn't innovative enough (food safety modeling). If we had all the answers in that area, there would be no foodborne illness in the world! 

Live and learn, I suppose. I am just glad to have done this and to have some positive feedback on my work--it's a nice ego boost! If anyone is resubmitting again and wants to have a look at my application materials, I am happy to send them to you along with my feedback sheet. I applied as a second year grad student this year, so I'm out of the race. Rejected proposals can be more helpful than accepted ones at times.

Would really appreciate that! Would be helpful to look at a proposal with actual feedback (imnotbitterreallyiswear).

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I'm not upset with the result (Honorable Mention), but I'm a bit confused about the reviews.

R1: E/VG, R2: G/G, R3: E/E

Which is fine, it seems like the 2nd referee wasn't very much of a fan, so I was looking forward to their comments (addressing the weak areas of the proposal), only to find nothing constructive – or critical, for that matter.

The most "critical" thing any reviewer wrote was R2 in the IM section: "The proposed research is important and it appears that the applicant is enthusiastic about pursuing it. He seems to have a good understanding of the relevant science, but more detailed information about the physics and engineering challenges would be useful." (–– Edit: I should add that, in my field, this, asking for more discussion of the engineering challenges, is tantamount to saying "this proposal should have been at least 10 pages longer and went well beyond the depth of the student's (and their PI's) research", so it's not really useful at all ––) And their Summary Comments were: "The applicant has done an outstanding job in his academic career thus far. He displays a passion both for science and for increasing the opportunities in science for underrepresented groups." This was the guy who gave G/G, because the E/E and E/VG reviewers had nothing remotely critical to say.

From talking to friends about their reviews, it just sounds like a lot of variability in terms of the marks given (G vs. VG vs. E) and reviewer comments. (A friend of mine had a critique from someone who gave him an E in the same category, for example.) I'm not upset about the result; I just wish we got more useful feedback...

Edited by cwr

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E/E, E/E, and... G/VG. Not awarded. 

I'm highly interdisciplinary and I can easily tell which discipline my third reviewer is from. Naturally I'm letting it consume me and reading way too much into it. Plus I think I'm stuck in a never-ending eyeroll due to the review ending with telling me they actually don't know how my application could be any stronger.

Did anybody else have reviewers basically tell you what letter writers said? I felt really uncomfortable reading one of the first two reviewer comments because it gave specifics from each of my letter writers.

 

edit: typo. Tired.

Edited by mb712

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1 minute ago, cwr said:

I'm not upset with the result (Honorable Mention), but I'm a bit confused about the reviews.

R1: E/VG, R2: G/G, R3: E/E

Which is fine, it seems like the 2nd referee wasn't very much of a fan, so I was looking forward to their comments (addressing the weak areas of the proposal), only to find nothing constructive – or critical, for that matter.

The most "critical" thing any reviewer wrote was R2 in the IM section: "The proposed research is important and it appears that the applicant is enthusiastic about pursuing it. He seems to have a good understanding of the relevant science, but more detailed information about the physics and engineering challenges would be useful." And their Summary Comments were: "The applicant has done an outstanding job in his academic career thus far. He displays a passion both for science and for increasing the opportunities in science for underrepresented groups." This was the guy who gave G/G, because the E/E and E/VG reviewers had nothing remotely critical to say.

From talking to friends about their reviews, it just sounds like a lot of variability in terms of the marks given (G vs. VG vs. E) and reviewer comments. (A friend of mine had a critique from someone who gave him an E in the same category, for example.) I'm not upset about the result; I just wish we got more useful feedback...

That is strange that they would give you G/G with no real reason. This whole process can be so confusing. Congrats on the HM!

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10 minutes ago, mb712 said:

Did anybody else have reviewers basically tell you what letter writers said? I felt really uncomfortable reading one of the first two reviewer comments because it gave specifics from each of my letter writers.

This happened to me last year. One reviewer copied and pasted sections of my LOR #1's letter verbatim into the score sheet. Luckily, this year, my reviewers were actually quite thoughtful.

Edited by Spaghettyohz

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So I'm not sure how to read the results. I got G/E, E/E, E/E and honorable mention. What does this mean? I know this means I don't have funding haha but like, what's the point of honorable mention?

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10 minutes ago, mb712 said:

Did anybody else have reviewers basically tell you what letter writers said? I felt really uncomfortable reading one of the first two reviewer comments because it gave specifics from each of my letter writers.

Not for me. 

A little bit curious what my letter writers said, but nothing was in my comments.

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44 minutes ago, Neist said:

One didn't explicitly state so, but I got the impression they didn't like that it's taken a decade to finish my undergraduate. I guess excellent academic performance doesn't outweigh poverty and life circumstances.

Hey Neist,

I am one of those not-so-traditional applicants myself. I returned to graduate school after working for a few years. I am several years older and have had some different life experiences compared to most people in my program just embarking on graduate studies. In talking with my advisor about the GRFP, I was essentially told not to hold my breath because NSF is biased towards younger students and since I wasn't a kid fresh out of undergrad, my chances were low... 

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1 hour ago, bpat1218 said:

Note to future applicants: Arrange your statement such that even the lazy (or, for benefit of the doubt, tired and eyes glazed over from reading so many statements) reviewer cannot miss the important bits. 

This is definitely what I aimed to do. Bolded lots of direct claims regarding Broader Impacts.

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2 hours ago, Neist said:

I echo your comments, but I'm not discouraged by my results.

I just finished Free Radicals: The Secret Anarchy of Science by Brooks, and I feel as if I'm going to turn into a anarchist historian. That last reviewer just didn't get it, and I'll prove it, eventually. :) 

Anarchy? :D yahs. 

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12 minutes ago, speleothem3 said:

Hey Neist,

I am one of those not-so-traditional applicants myself. I returned to graduate school after working for a few years. I am several years older and have had some different life experiences compared to most people in my program just embarking on graduate studies. In talking with my advisor about the GRFP, I was essentially told not to hold my breath because NSF is biased towards younger students and since I wasn't a kid fresh out of undergrad, my chances were low... 

Doesn't surprise me, but it's nice to hear from another not-so-traditional applicant. :) 

Other than Mr./Mrs. "I found poo in my cheerios" reviewer, I was pretty happy with my other feedback. They were positive, and they agreed that my research did hold merit. Their complaints were more targeted with how I constructed my proposal, and I definitely agree with their comments.

The last reviewer should have just said "LOLZ UR DUMB". It might have been less cutting.

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1 hour ago, Pink Fuzzy Bunny said:

I got really lucky with my reviewers, that's for sure. None of them said a single thing about my research proposal (which was a total trainwreck). So I got 3 E/E's.

Congrats!!! I'm so excited for you! While you may have gotten lucky with reviewers, you wouldn't have gotten it unless you had a really great proposal. You've earned it 😊

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14 minutes ago, Neist said:

Doesn't surprise me, but it's nice to hear from another not-so-traditional applicant. :) 

Other than Mr./Mrs. "I found poo in my cheerios" reviewer, I was pretty happy with my other feedback. They were positive, and they agreed that my research did hold merit. Their complaints were more targeted with how I constructed my proposal, and I definitely agree with their comments.

The last reviewer should have just said "LOLZ UR DUMB". It might have been less cutting.

That's exactly how I felt!! My 3rd reviewer accused me of using local workers as slave labor. I couldn't help but chuckle at that one!

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