spectastic

NSF GRFP 2017-18

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I notice there isn't one of these around yet for the upcoming cycle. I thought I'd start one, considering application just opened a few days ago, and they've made some changes, like going from 2000 awards to 1000 awards. I can only assume that this means they'll cut down the number of awards from the undergrads, 1st years, and 2nd years alike. I'm a 2nd year applying, trying to get my first author in December. Otherwise, this is pretty much a wash for me I think.

3.5 UG GPA

3.8 Grad GPA

Chemistry: battery electrode materials

Edited by spectastic

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Where do you see the number of awards change? The current solicitation still lists 2k from what I can see...

Thanks!

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1 hour ago, Adelaide9216 said:

Hello,

can a Fulbright award be combined with another Canadian scholarship? 

Not sure how this question fits in this thread. Can you maybe elaborate? This is for discussion of the NSF graduate fellowship. 

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1 hour ago, Eigen said:

Not sure how this question fits in this thread. Can you maybe elaborate? This is for discussion of the NSF graduate fellowship. 

Oops! I posted in the wrong thread :( 

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On 8/12/2017 at 3:39 PM, t_ruth said:

Where do you see the number of awards change? The current solicitation still lists 2k from what I can see...

Thanks!

i haven't yet checked myself. I just got the email from one of the admin people about it :). But judging from the direction everything is going in DC, I wouldn't be surprised if this stuff starts to disappear....

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I've done a good amount of reading on this fellowship and have yet to see where they decreased the number of awards given annually.  I could have missed it, though.  

Also, I wouldn't mind hearing how other people intend on tackling the two required essays, especially the Personal, Relevant Background, and Future Goals Statement.  I've read/skimmed several of them from past winners, and it seems difficult to discuss your past experiences without sounding incredibly cheesy.  Oh well.  I guess that's the name of the game   

Finally, if there are any other second-year graduates who are applying, please respond.

Edited by Professor2211

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1 hour ago, Professor2211 said:

I've done a good amount of reading on this fellowship and have yet to see where they decreased the number of awards given annually.  I could have missed it, though.  

Also, I wouldn't mind hearing how other people intend on tackling the two required essays, especially the Personal, Relevant Background, and Future Goals Statement.  I've read/skimmed several of them from past winners, and it seems difficult to discuss your past experiences without sounding incredibly cheesy.  Oh well.  I guess that's the name of the game   

Finally, if there are any other second-year graduates who are applying, please respond.

Nothing is official yet, but NSF has mentioned that would be one of the costcutting measures if their budget is reduced by 11%.

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/06/nsf-offers-arm-s-length-defense-trump-s-2018-request

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/05/how-nsf-cut-11-its-budget

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Hi all,

I'm a first-year applicant going into an Epidemiology and Biostatistics PhD from industry. My research background and interests are more on the social science end of the spectrum - community psychology, public health, substance use epidemiology, and I'm extremely hesitant to submit my application under the primary field of Biostatistics because my application will be unfamiliar and judged very differently by mathematicians than it would be by someone who is coming from a similar background.

 

Any other applicants with somewhat inter-disciplinary fields who are struggling with the same thing? Any recommendations for how to overcome this hurdle? Not really clear on what the rules are for selecting a primary field.

 

Thanks.

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On 9/18/2017 at 3:56 PM, Addix said:

Hi all,

I'm a first-year applicant going into an Epidemiology and Biostatistics PhD from industry. My research background and interests are more on the social science end of the spectrum - community psychology, public health, substance use epidemiology, and I'm extremely hesitant to submit my application under the primary field of Biostatistics because my application will be unfamiliar and judged very differently by mathematicians than it would be by someone who is coming from a similar background.

 

Any other applicants with somewhat inter-disciplinary fields who are struggling with the same thing? Any recommendations for how to overcome this hurdle? Not really clear on what the rules are for selecting a primary field.

 

Thanks.

Make sure your area of study is eligible. Any research public health related is usually turned down as they want you to apply to NIH instead. I purposely stayed away from Epidemiology programs for this reason:

"Individuals are not eligible to apply if they will conduct biomedical research for which the goals are directly health-related, such as etiology, diagnosis or treatment of physical or mental disease, abnormality, or malfunction in humans and other animals. Research activities using animal models of disease, for developing or testing of drugs or other procedures for treatment of disease, and statistical modeling for which the purpose is diagnosis or epidemiology also are not eligible for support."

https://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2016/nsf16588/nsf16588.htm

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On 9/19/2017 at 9:19 PM, jmillar said:

Make sure your area of study is eligible. Any research public health related is usually turned down as they want you to apply to NIH instead. I purposely stayed away from Epidemiology programs for this reason:

"Individuals are not eligible to apply if they will conduct biomedical research for which the goals are directly health-related, such as etiology, diagnosis or treatment of physical or mental disease, abnormality, or malfunction in humans and other animals. Research activities using animal models of disease, for developing or testing of drugs or other procedures for treatment of disease, and statistical modeling for which the purpose is diagnosis or epidemiology also are not eligible for support."

https://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2016/nsf16588/nsf16588.htm

Yes, thank you, very important piece of that solicitation for all health people!

What do you mean exactly, by "I purposely stayed away from Epidemiology programs for this reason"? That you stay away from applying to the NSF for any research associated with Epidemiology? Unfortunately, I'm not eligible for any NIH training grants, and my PI did not renew their T32 grant this year. I feel somewhat forced to apply for this NSF GRFP with a research agenda focused entirely on a biostatistics hypothesis / objective and obviously listing biostatistics as my primary field.

I appreciate your advice and any other pointers you may have as I see your field is very similar to mine. Have you won an NSF GRFP? How have you funded your program at UM?

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6 hours ago, Addix said:

What do you mean exactly, by "I purposely stayed away from Epidemiology programs for this reason"? That you stay away from applying to the NSF for any research associated with Epidemiology? Unfortunately, I'm not eligible for any NIH training grants, and my PI did not renew their T32 grant this year. I feel somewhat forced to apply for this NSF GRFP with a research agenda focused entirely on a biostatistics hypothesis / objective and obviously listing biostatistics as my primary field.

I appreciate your advice and any other pointers you may have as I see your field is very similar to mine. Have you won an NSF GRFP? How have you funded your program at UM?

I did receive an NSF GRFP, which is how I am funding part of my program. The rest is funded through an in house fellowship program at UM.

What I meant was I applied to PhD programs outside of strictly Epidemiology to make sure I would not loose eligibility. I still have ties to the Epidemiology department, but my actual department is Bioinformatics. I also made sure my research is more based on evolution, rather than health related outcomes.

The interdisciplinary angle will work if you can think of another area other than Epidemiology to be part of that interdisciplinary work. The NSF wording was changed in 2012 to heavily discourage Epidemiology work.

Edited by jmillar

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On 9/3/2017 at 4:48 PM, jmillar said:

Nothing is official yet, but NSF has mentioned that would be one of the costcutting measures if their budget is reduced by 11%.

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/06/nsf-offers-arm-s-length-defense-trump-s-2018-request

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/05/how-nsf-cut-11-its-budget

The Trump cuts were largely rejected by the House. There were some cuts, but it looks like they hopefully will not affect the GRFP, as long as the House-proposed budget stands.

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/06/trump-cuts-nsf-mostly-rejected-house-panel-it-nixes-new-ships

http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/49771/title/House-Proposes-NSF-and-NOAA-Cuts--NASA-Gains/

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I know this is a highly competitive fellowship (i.e., I assume that other applicants don't want to expose their own "trade secrets"), but I'm just curious to hear other applicants' thoughts and/or questions on this process.  For example, other than your advisers, who is reviewing your Personal Statement and Graduate Research Plan Statements?  Also, how many references are you including, especially for the graduate research plan?  Any other comments or questions are welcome!  Thanks

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On 10/3/2017 at 10:55 PM, TommySotomayor said:

I know this is a highly competitive fellowship (i.e., I assume that other applicants don't want to expose their own "trade secrets"), but I'm just curious to hear other applicants' thoughts and/or questions on this process.

I'm a 2017 fellow, so I don't mind sharing trade secrets :)

On 10/3/2017 at 10:55 PM, TommySotomayor said:

other than your advisers, who is reviewing your Personal Statement and Graduate Research Plan Statements?  

I had my advisor, my DGS, a classmate who had received the fellowship the previous year, and  a friend in my cohort read my research statement. And a staff member at my university's writing center.

On 10/3/2017 at 10:55 PM, TommySotomayor said:

  Also, how many references are you including, especially for the graduate research plan? 

I had 7 references.

Edited by Levon3

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2nd year grad student applying here. I switched fields from undergrad to grad school so I am trying really hard to sell the effort I made in that switch. Does anyone want to work together on editing our essays? Might help us catch things that people we work with constantly will not. 

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Thoughts/opinions are much appreciated on how to present preliminary data in the research proposal section.

I am a first year graduate student, so a couple preliminary findings leading to my project definitely contributes to the rationale, therefore it makes sense to mention preliminary observations right? However, these data are unpublished, and was done by a post doc in the lab. Is it worth going into detail about these finding, if so, is it necessary to include appropriate figures. Also, suggestions on how to properly cite these unpublished figures that are not mine. 

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On 10/10/2017 at 12:35 PM, Sepens said:

How important is the graduate research plan if your a senior undergraduate applicant for the fellowship?  I have some ideas but nothing is set in stone.

They know that nothing is set in stone. Even if you're in your first or second year of a PhD program, your ideas will not be set in stone. What matters is that you can write a coherent, focused, achievable plan. Show that you know what steps will be involved and how it will add to the literature in a meaningful way. You are not tied--at all--to actually completing that plan. Also, FWIW, I heard from professors that the personal statement is perhaps more important than the research plan. They are funding a scholar, not a proposal for this fellowship-- they know you're just beginning and that your research agenda may shift substantially. 

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On 10/9/2017 at 10:06 PM, Immunolog said:

Also, suggestions on how to properly cite these unpublished figures that are not mine. 

I suspect that this varies by field. In my field, it is acceptable to cite it as you would any journal article, but where you would normally print the title of the journal, instead write, "Manuscript in preparation" or "Manuscript under review" (depending on which is true). 

For example (APA): 
Harding, M. W. (2017). A receptor for the immuno-suppressant FK 506 is a cis–trans peptidyl-prolyl isomerase. Manuscript in preparation.

Edited by Levon3
added citation style

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Hi -- new question from a non-student here. Given the new combined personal statement and research history format, how would you recommend balancing a detailed description of all technical/relevant experiences (i.e. glorified CV), versus dedicating space towards linking each experience to soft skills learned and growth towards your current path (more of a traditional "personal" statement)? There doesn't seem to be another space to mention or briefly describe experiences that were relevant but may not be among the 2 or 3 most pivotal experiences; is it better to mention everything at least briefly or completely omit some in favor of elaborating on other experiences? My relevant experience list is rather extended given I have spent a significant amount of time conducting research after undergraduate in a non-academic setting. 

Thoughts? Thanks! 

Edited by CAWater13

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On 10/8/2017 at 6:47 PM, 94AVL said:

2nd year grad student applying here. I switched fields from undergrad to grad school so I am trying really hard to sell the effort I made in that switch. Does anyone want to work together on editing our essays? Might help us catch things that people we work with constantly will not. 

Hey I am also a 2nd yr grad. I would be interested in helping edit if you are still interested. I think it is a good idea, my field is biomedical engineering, but I am sure another perspective is generally good to have. You can email me your materials at [email protected] I'll send you mine as well. I know it is very soon to deadline so I can try to reply within the week. 

 

- Gabi

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22 hours ago, CAWater13 said:

Hi -- new question from a non-student here. Given the new combined personal statement and research history format, how would you recommend balancing a detailed description of all technical/relevant experiences (i.e. glorified CV), versus dedicating space towards linking each experience to soft skills learned and growth towards your current path (more of a traditional "personal" statement)? There doesn't seem to be another space to mention or briefly describe experiences that were relevant but may not be among the 2 or 3 most pivotal experiences; is it better to mention everything at least briefly or completely omit some in favor of elaborating on other experiences? My relevant experience list is rather extended given I have spent a significant amount of time conducting research after undergraduate in a non-academic setting. 

Thoughts? Thanks! 

If I knew a rec letter-writer was going to include some CV details, I left it out of my statement. Otherwise, I just tried really hard to paint a cohesive picture of how the relevant experiences fit in with the path. Last year I emailed people in my field on the awardee list and asked if they'd be willing to share their statements with me. A few did. Those few were super helpful as examples of how to word it. There are also quite a few examples posted around the internet.

But to answer your question, my instinct was to try to mention everything, and it worked for me. 

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Any advice on choosing a primary field? My project is mostly ecology and environmental biology (which look like they are under the same panel for review) but will use genomics for the data analysis. Should I say my field of study is interdisciplinary or just leave it as one primary field ie ecology. 

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