Submitting a Successful NIST Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) Developing the Personal Statement

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1 1 Submitting a Successful NIST Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) Developing the Personal Statement National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) United States Department of Commerce (DoC) Dr. Ann Q. Gates Associate Vice President for Research Malu Picard-Ami Proposal Development Specialist, ORSP Claudia Casas Project Manager, CAHSI Thursday, January 26, 2012 Proposal Development Team, Office of Research & Sponsored Projects (ORSP) Computing Alliance for Hispanic-Serving Institutions (CAHSI)

2 Agenda 2 National Institute of Standards and Technology, DoC Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program (NIST SURF) o Benefits of the NIST SURF o Quick view of NIST SURF application requirements o Essay section of the application Personal statement essay o Developing the personal statement essay o NIST Review Criteria o Writing the personal statement essay Other fellowship opportunities Resources

3 Benefits of the NIST Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program (NIST-SURF) o A summer stipend of 5,500 for summer research working with internationally known NIST scientists from May 21, 2012 through August 3, 2012 o Travel and housing allowances for Boulder Colorado or Gaithersburg, Maryland o Source of funding that does not have to be repaid o Exposure to cutting-edge research in one of eight different NIST labs. 3

4 4 Critical Dates January 26 Information Workshop January 27 February 2 Students prepare packages and meet with ORSP personnel for guidance February 3, 2012 Internal Student pre-application deadline February 6 February 10 Selected applicants work with ORSP personnel to strengthen application February 15, 2012 UTEP Application deadline READ THE GUIDELINES VERY CAREFULL AND FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS FY 2012 guidelines are posted

5 Eligibility requirements 5 There are two NIST SURF opportunities: Boulder, CO and Gaithersburg, MD Be a U.S. citizen or permanent U.S. resident. Commit 11 full continuous weeks (Monday through Friday) from 8:30-5, during the summer of 2012 Be a currently registered undergraduate at UTEP as a science or engineering major at the time of application. For Boulder programs only, your expected graduation date must not precede the summer program. Have a G.P.A. of 3.0/4.0 or better (recommended). Are considering pursuing a graduate degree (M.S. or Ph.D.).

6 6 Majors and Institutes Majors Biology, Materials science Physics Chemistry Engineering Nanoscale science (only MD) Computer science, Mathematics Neutron research(only MD) Laboratories Information Technology Laboratory (ITL) objective, neutral tests for information technology. (CO, MD) Material Measurement Laboratory (MML) measurement research, standards, and data in the chemical, biological and material sciences. (CO, MD) Physical Measurement Laboratory (PML) conducts basic research in the areas of quantum, electron, optical, atomic, molecular, and radiation physics. (CO, MD) Material Measurement Laboratory (MML)/ Center for Neutron Research (NCNR) The MML/NCNR SURF Program offers students two different programmatic choices, Chemical/Biochemical Sciences and Materials Science (MD) Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology (CNST) measurement methods, standards, and technology to facilitate the development and productive use of nanotechnology from discovery to production. (MD) Engineering Laboratory (EL) investigates the use of intelligent machines, precision control of machine tools, and information technology for the integration of all elements of a product's life cycle. (MD)

7 Quick View of NIST SURF Student Application Requirements 7 1. Students must apply through UTEP. 2. UTEP/CAHSI staff will work with each eligible student to prepare his/her package. 3. Students must bring the following to ORSP by February 3, 2012: a) Student Application form (different for Boulder and Gaithersburg) b) Official academic transcripts c) Personal Statement d) Résumé e) Two letters of reference (2 faculty recommendations) f) Verification of citizenship or legal permanent resident

8 Essay Section of the Application 8 Personal Statement must address evaluation criteria: Interest in participating in the program Career goals Commitment to working in a laboratory environment Academic ability GPA (grade point average) in courses relevant to the SURF NIST Honors and awards Laboratory experience Advanced degree interest Interest in pursuing graduate school

9 Personal Statement Essay 9 Consider What makes you unique Why you are interested in research and graduate studies What classes you like and what areas you would like to work in Differentiate yourself from other applicants Leadership and teamwork experience Individual strengths Describe your career plan and how graduate school relates to that career plan Who you are, what has influenced your career path, what your professional interests are, and how your plans integrate your research with the NIST programs and laboratories

10 Essay Section of the Application 10 Some Tips: Address review criteria Identify the lab you want to work with and why Link your career goals and research interests to the lab s goals and objectives Write multiple drafts allow time for review & re-writing The SURF Team uses the personal statement to match you with a summer project, so make sure to mention the areas you have excelled in. Keep in mind that students are often placed in specific projects because they have the needed skills for that project.

11 11 Resume What should be on my resume? Keep in mind that a student resume should not just include the jobs that you have/had. The resume should also include information like: Expected graduation date Relevant classes and skills (especially computer skills) Hobbies Awards Publications, if any Honors Activities Work experience

12 ACTIVITY: Developing the Personal Statement 12 Split into groups of 3 Each member reads a personal statement essay sample that has been provided. Time: 10 minutes

13 ACTIVITY: Developing the Personal Statement 13 Within your group answer these questions What personal, professional or educational experiences in this sample made this a successful application? How did the writer sell his or her personal story? Did the writer discuss academic achievements? How did the writer describe their leadership skills? What personal contributions to the community, school or society did the writer convey? Time: 10 minutes

14 14 Report out Developing the Personal Statement

15 15 Advice From a Successful Applicant* No matter what your experiences / examples are, don't downplay them. Don't exaggerate, but make them sound exciting and important. Show the impact people have had on your life, as well as how these experiences will help you make an impact in the world. Specifically [reviewers] want to see that you will become a knowledge expert and can contribute to research. They ask for experiences that contributed to you wanting to go to graduate school, your competencies, and your career aspirations. It sounds like a lot, but you need to find a way to organize it, you need a unifying theme that runs throughout your essay, and then use your examples from the points above. Brown University March 11, 2010 biomed.brown.edu/grad-postdoc/.../nsf%20fellowship%20advice.pdf

16 ACTIVITY: Developing the Personal Statement 16 Following the directions on Handout # 1, spend a few minutes thinking about your response to each question and then complete the exercise Time: 5 minutes

17 ACTIVITY: Developing the Personal Statement: 17 Write down in a bullet format any personal, professional, and educational experiences you have had, using the guide below. Volunteer experiences Favorite classes or areas of study Science fair participation Poster presentations Publications or conference presentations Any awards earned Internships acquired Research experiences Role models in your life Jobs or any working experiences Summer opportunities attended List of companies or corporations that have hired you Memberships, associations, societies you are involved with Community or church activities Time: 10 minutes

18 18 Report Out Developing the Personal Statement

19 Writing the Personal Statement Essay First Draft: Take-Home Assignment 19 Using the resources given, complete the exercises in Handouts 2 & 3 Electronic copies of the handouts and presentation are available at: Send your completed assignment to Claudia Casas We will provide you with personal feedback and guidance on your draft essay and continue to assist you with other sections of the NIST SURF application.

20 Other Fellowship Opportunities 20 Campus Resources Institutionally Awarded Fellowships Fellowships offered through funded programs on campus o Search online for programs in your discipline e.g. - NSF S-STEM, NASA Center for Space Exploration Technology Research, NIH MARC, GK-12 Grad Fellows, HS-STEM Fellowships offered through departments and/or college o Check department websites University-Wide Fellowships o Contact Graduate School o Contact Lourdes Echegoyen at Campus Office of Undergraduate Research Initiatives (COURI) o o Nationally Awarded Fellowships Awarded directly from the granting agencies/foundations to undergraduate and graduate students Graduate students may choose to use their fellowships at any university to which they have been admitted Agencies (NSF, NEH, NIH, US Dept. of Education, NASA, DHS, Ford, DoD, NASA, EPA, AAUW, Hispanic Scholarship Fund ) National Resources

21 21 Resources Campus Office of Undergradua te Research Initiatives (COURI). Website: couri.utep.edu UTEP Graduate School website Graduate Fellowship Opportunities or Upcoming Events utep.edu/default. aspx?tabid= aduate University Library COS funding database Search Wizard fundingopps.cos. com.lib.utep.edu/ Other university graduate school websites edu/fundingopportunities/fun dingopportunities-bycategory/graduat e-fundingopportunities

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