Students applying for the NSF GRFP – The Road to the Application @NSFGRFP


This page will serve as a chronicle and track record for some of our students in Maryland, including our LSAMP NSF BD Fellows, to review what they are learning about the 2016 NSF GRFP process, discuss questions, and receive support. Deadlines: http://www.nsfgrfp.org/applicants/important_dates

Please add your answers as comments on this page. Page down to the bottom of the page and post your entry. 

Assignment #1 – Due: 9/19/15

  • Introduce yourself: Name, department, research focus, school.
  • What did you learn from the NSF GRFP Training seminar from PROMISE AGEP Alumni, Dr. Frances Carter-Johnson and Dr. Patti Ordóñez? REF:  https://promiseagep.wordpress.com/2015/08/23/nsfgrfp/
  • What is your timeline and how does it fit into your study schedule for classes for Fall 2015 (name the classes).
  • Who are the research mentors (name, department, website) who will be writing your letters? Post after they have confirmed that they will write a strong recommendation. Discuss reasons why they will be supporting your application.

Patti Frances

Assignment #2 – Due: 9/25/15

Write one paragraph that describes your research. Name three members of the faculty within your department (name, website, research specialty) who have research that has a connection to your work. Explain how their work is connected.

Assignment #3 – Due: 10/2/15

From the NSF GRFP website.

a. BACKGROUND QUESTIONS: Important questions to ask yourself before writing the statement:

  1. Why are you fascinated by your research area?
  2. What examples of leadership skills and unique characteristics do you bring to your chosen field?
  3. What personal and individual strengths do you have that make you a qualified applicant?
  4. How will receiving the fellowship contribute to your career goals?
  5. What are all of your applicable experiences?
  6. For each experience, what were the key questions, methodology, findings, and conclusions?
  7. Did you work in a team and/or independently?
  8. How did you assist in the analysis of results?
  9. How did your activities address the Intellectual Merit and Broader Impacts criteria?

b. SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH QUESTIONS: Important questions to ask yourself before writing the statement:

  1. What issues in the scientific community are you most passionate about?
  2. Do you possess the technical knowledge and skills necessary for conducting this work, or will you have sufficient mentoring and training to complete the study?
  3. Is this plan feasible for the allotted time and institutional resources?
  4. How will your research contribute to the “big picture” outside the academic context?
  5. How can you draft a plan using the guidelines presented in the essay instructions?
  6. How does your proposed research address the Intellectual Merit and Broader Impacts criteria?

Answer #1 from part a, and #2 from part b (both italicized above) below. Do not answer “yes” or “no” for #2 in part b. Please be specific and provide a detailed, comprehensive answer. 

Assignment #4 – Due 10/9/15

Discuss where you are in the process. List the application components that you’ve completed, and when you will complete any remaining items.

Tags:

Categories: Ph.D. Completion

Author:Renetta Garrison Tull

Dr. Renetta Garrison Tull is the Associate Vice Provost for Strategic Initiatives at UMBC: An Honors University in Maryland (http://www.umbc.edu), and Professor of the Practice in the College of Engineering & IT. She is Special Assistant to the Sr. Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs & Director of Graduate and Professional Pipeline Development for the University System of Maryland (12 institutions). She is the Founding Director of PROMISE: Maryland’s Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP) – http://www.umbc.edu/promise, and Co-PI for the USM LSAMP. Her research is on global diversity in STEM and she is an international speaker, covering nearly all continents, for groups and conferences such as the World Engineering Education Forum, the International Federation of Engineering Education Societies, and the Pacific Sciences Congress. Her personal website is: http://renettatull.wordpress.com. Connect with her on Google+ google.com/+RenettaTull. Follow on Twitter: @Renetta_Tull; https://twitter.com/Renetta_Tull

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39 Comments on “Students applying for the NSF GRFP – The Road to the Application @NSFGRFP”

  1. Erica Dasi
    September 17, 2015 at 8:22 PM #

    Good Afternoon,

    My name is Erica Dasi. I am a first year Master’s student in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). My research focus involves recycling waste water into a renewable energy source.

    From the NSF-GRFP Training Seminar, I learned that the Program Solicitation is an excellent reference for finding additional information about the rules, requirements, deadlines, and missions of a fellowship. Reading this document will essentially help in the long run while applying for any fellowship. In addition, the seminar informed me of additional resources that can be accessed through the main NSF-GRFP website. These resources include the “tips for applying” tab and the contact information of previous GRFP Fellows. Furthermore, the workshop provided advice for becoming organized while applying. A few suggestions included marking calendars with application and recommendation deadlines and setting weekly or biweekly reminders indicating the time remaining until the deadlines. Other suggestions included combining application materials within an individual folder on your PC and creating sub-folders if necessary. With what I have learned from the NSF-GRFP training seminar, I feel better equipped in applying for this year’s GRFP cycle and future fellowships.

    My Fall 2015 schedule includes BIOL 602: Intro to Lab/Field Research, BIOL 626: Approaches to Molecular Biology, and BIOL 700: Intro to Grad Experience. BIOL 626 is a traditional lecture course, while BIOL 700 is a seminar course and BIOL 602 is my research period. My timeline in applying for GRFP this cycle has been divided into six phases representing the weeks until the deadline. The phases of my application timeline are described below. The goal is to set aside an hour each weekday morning towards completing the tasks outlined. The afternoons and evenings will be dedicated towards studying and completing assignments due during the week. This schedule will ensure a balance between coursework, research, the application, and other activities. Any spare time will be dedicated towards completing weekly tasks. A second goal is to spend at least two hours on the weekends towards the application.

    Phase 1 (09/13/15 – 09/19/15): Email research mentors to ask for strong letters of recommendation; Read solicitation; Complete general information section of application; Brainstorm for personal statement; Literature review for the research plan statement; Schedule an appointment with GSA writing advisor

    Phase 2 (09/20/15 – 09/26/15): Write personal statement, Literature review, Brainstorm for research plan statement; Visit Writing Center; Meet with GSA writing advisor; Send personal statement out for feedback

    Phase 3 (09/27/15 – 10/03/15): Revise personal statement; Write research plan statement; Schedule an appointment with GSA writing advisor

    Phase 4 (10/04/15 – 10/10/15): Revise personal statement, Visit writing center, Meet with GSA writing advisor, Send research plan statement out for feedback; Revise research plan statement

    Phase 5 (10/11/15 – 10/17/15): Revise personal and research plan statements. Email recommenders a friendly reminder.

    Phase 6 (10/18/15 – 10/24/15): Make final revision for essays; Visit writing center; Submit on Oct. 24; Email friendly reminder to recommenders.

    The research advisors who will be providing letters of recommendation are Dr. Rosemary Jagus, Dr. Allen Place, and Dr. Russell Hill. As an undergraduate researcher at the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology (IMET), I had the opportunity to interact closely with these individuals. Dr. Jagus served as a primary research advisor and mentor throughout my undergraduate career. On numerous occasions we collaborated with Dr. Place for a number of our research projects. Moreover, Dr. Hill participated in several events involving the undergraduate researchers at IMET. These individuals have witnessed my growth as a student, scientist, and overall as a person throughout the years and can therefore provide a strong recommendation for the fellowship.

    Recommenders:

    Dr. Rosemary Jagus
    Institution: Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology
    Website: http://www.umces.edu/imet/people/rjagus

    Dr. Allen Place
    Institution: Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology
    Website: http://www.umces.edu/imet/people/aplace

    Dr. Russell Hill
    Institution: Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology
    Website: http://www.umces.edu/imet/people/rhill

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Anonymous
    September 18, 2015 at 11:56 AM #

    Name: Kevin Chang
    Department: Mechanical Engineering
    Research Focus: Controls/Robotics
    School: UMBC

    What did I learn during the NSF GRFP training seminar?

    Drs. Carter and Ordonez thoroughly explained what aspects of the application process to focus on and how to set oneself apart and, as a result, I learned how to present and frame myself competitively in the eyes of GRFP reviewers. For example, how to write essays that specifically target two main ideas: intellectual merit and broader impact. Both Dr. Carter and Dr. Ordonez each gave very personal and inspirational anecdotes about their journey through the application process and how they wrote such unique and engaging essays that set themselves apart from the greater pool of applications while also addressing the main ideas of the GRFP. Dr. Carter’s account of her experience with the NSF essay was especially eye opening because,” the physics of cheerleading” is certainly something that I would not expect to be in an applicant’s essay for the NSF GRFP. This gave me some perspective on how I might be able to approach writing my own essays to be unique.

    What is your timeline and how does it fit into your study schedule for classes for Fall 2015 (name the classes).

    Classes:
    • Advanced Controls Systems ENME 605 (Tuesday/Thursday – 4-5:30pm)
    • Advanced Conduction and Radiation Heat Transfer ENME 631 (Monday/Wednesday – 4-5:30pm)
    • Introduction to partial differential equations MATH 404 (Tuesday/Thursday – 1-2:15pm)
    My study schedule consists mainly using the weekends to complete the majority of my homework and then using various free hours during the week to hammer out the finer details. Now with the addition with the GRFP, I plan on using weekend mornings to write and refine my application essays.

    Who are your research Mentors?

    Dr. S. Andrew Gadsden (UMBC): http://me.umbc.edu/dr-andrew-gadsden-pe-pmp/
    Dr. Gadsden is my research advisor and the PI of the lab I am working in. He has seen my work ethic, understands my motivations, and knows that I have the potential for success in graduate studies.
    Dr. Stephen Wilkerson (UMBC, Army Research Lab): http://me.umbc.edu/dr-stephen-wilkerson/
    Dr. Wilkerson is my point of contact at the army research lab (ARL). He works closely with the lab I work in and is always looking out for the success of the lab and by extension the students in the lab. I have worked closely with Dr. Wilkerson on at least two projects, so he has a good idea of my skills and potential.
    Dr. Mark Bundy (Army Research Lab):
    Dr. Bundy is my research mentor and another one of my contacts at the ARL. Over there is the PI of the joint project with UMBC and ARL. I have performed research, experimentation and a literature search under him.
    1. Dr. Antwan Clark (Laboratory for the Physical Sciences):
    a. Dr. Clark was my research mentor during one of my internships during my undergraduate career. Under his guidance, I learned how to perform theoretical research and write papers. In addition, he helped to mentor and prepare me to present at an internationally recognized mathematics conference. He was a great mentor and helped me learn many valuable research and life skills.

    Like

  3. September 18, 2015 at 12:09 PM #

    Name: Kevin Chang
    Department: Mechanical Engineering
    Research Focus: Controls
    School: UMBC
    What did I learn during the NSF GRFP training seminar?
    Drs. Carter and Ordonez thoroughly explained what aspects of the application process to focus on and how to set oneself apart and, as a result, I learned how to present and frame myself competitively in the eyes of GRFP reviewers. For example, how to write essays that specifically target two main ideas: intellectual merit and broader impact. Both Dr. Carter and Dr. Ordonez each gave very personal and inspirational anecdotes about their journey through the application process and how they wrote such unique and engaging essays that set themselves apart from the greater pool of applications while also addressing the main ideas of the GRFP. Dr. Carter’s account of her experience with the NSF essay was especially eye opening because,” the physics of cheerleading” is certainly something that I would not expect to be in an applicant’s essay for the NSF GRFP. This gave me some perspective on how I might be able to approach writing my own essays to be unique.
    What is your timeline and how does it fit into your study schedule for classes for Fall 2015 (name the classes).
    Classes:
    • Advanced Controls Systems ENME 605 (Tuesday/Thursday – 4-5:30pm)
    • Advanced Conduction and Radiation Heat Transfer ENME 631 (Monday/Wednesday – 4-5:30pm)
    • Introduction to partial differential equations MATH 404 (Tuesday/Thursday – 1-2:15pm)
    My study schedule consists mainly using the weekends to complete the majority of my homework and then using various free hours during the week to hammer out the finer details. Now with the addition with the GRFP, I plan on using weekend mornings to write and refine my application essays.
    Who are your research Mentors?
    Dr. S. Andrew Gadsden (UMBC): http://me.umbc.edu/dr-andrew-gadsden-pe-pmp/
    Dr. Gadsden is my research advisor and the PI of the lab I am working in. He has seen my work ethic, understands my motivations, and knows that I have the potential for success in graduate studies.
    Dr. Stephen Wilkerson (UMBC, Army Research Lab): http://me.umbc.edu/dr-stephen-wilkerson/
    Dr. Wilkerson is my point of contact at the army research lab (ARL). He works closely with the lab I work in and is always looking out for the success of the lab and by extension the students in the lab. I have worked closely with Dr. Wilkerson on at least two projects, so he has a good idea of my skills and potential.
    Dr. Mark Bundy (Army Research Lab):
    Dr. Bundy is my research mentor and another one of my contacts at the ARL. Over there is the PI of the joint project with UMBC and ARL. I have performed research, experimentation and a literature search under him.
    Dr. Antwan Clark (Laboratory for the Physical Sciences):
    Dr. Clark was my research mentor during one of my internships during my undergraduate career. Under his guidance, I learned how to perform theoretical research and write papers. In addition, he helped to mentor and prepare me to present at an internationally recognized mathematics conference. He was a great mentor and helped me learn many valuable research and life skills.

    Like

  4. Anonymous
    September 18, 2015 at 9:02 PM #

    • My name is Ikenna Okafor; I am a first year Master student in the Biological Science Department at University of Maryland Baltimore County. My research focus is in developmental Biology.

    • At the NSF GRFP Training seminar, I learned a lot about what the statement is looking for. Specifically there is an emphasis on broader impact and intellectual merit.

    • Timeline

    Color Key:

    Class Tasks –Red GRFP Tasks- Black

    (I can see the colors on my word document)

    o Contact potential references 9/19/15
    o Complete FastLane GRFP Application Module 9/19/15
    o Rough draft of Personal/future goals statement 9/25/15
    o Get one peer review 9/26/15
    o Take personal/future goals statement to writing center 9/28/15
    o Bio 626 Homework 9/29/15
    o Take personal statement to graduate writing advisor 10/2/15
    o Send twice edited personal statement to Dr. Francis-Carter and Dr. Ordonez 10/5/15
    o Rough draft of research proposal
    o Send research statement to Research Mentors 10/5/15
    o Bio 626 Writing project assignment (identify gene) due 10/6/15
    o Bio 626 Writing project assignment (Abstract for project paper 1) 10/8/15
    o Bio 642 Exam 2 10/13/15
    o Bio 626 Writing project assignment (Abstract for project paper 2) 10/15/15
    o Bio 626 Midterm exam 10/20/15
    o Make edits to research statement when received.
    o Submit by 10/26/15
    o Bio 626 Writing project assignment (Abstract for project paper 3) 10/27/15
    o Bio 626 Writing project assignment (Annotated bibliography) 10/29/15
    o Bio 626 Writing project assignment (Abstract for project paper 4) 11/3/15
    o Bio 626 Writing project assignment (Outline of Project) 11/5/15
    o Bio 642 Exam 3 11/5/15
    o Confirm Letters are sent by 11/5/15

    October 26th:
    Life Science Application due

    November 5th
    Letters of recommendation due

    • My three recommenders

    1. Dr. Rachel Brewster Ph.D

    Department of Biological Science at UMBC
    http://biology.umbc.edu/directory/faculty/brewster/brewster-lab/

    Dr. Brewster will be supporting me in my application because I am a first year graduate student in her lab. I am currently doing a research rotation in her lab. Leading a project working to elucidate the mechanisms of Anoxia tolerance.

    2. Dr. Gul Dolen M.D./Ph.D

    Brain Science Institute, School of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University
    http://www.dolenlab.org/

    Dr. Dolen will be supporting me in my application because I served as a Post-Baccalaureate fellow in her lab this summer. I lead a project, for a four-month period, probing an autism relevant behavior in autism model mice.

    3. Dr. Ted Dumas Ph.D

    Krasnow institute of Advanced Studies Molecular Neuroscience, George Mason University http://krasnow1.gmu.edu/pbnj/

    Dr. Dumas will be supporting me in my application because I served as an undergraduate research assistant for him for about 2 years. I assisted on multiple projects, both in the realm of developmental neuroscience.

    Like

  5. September 18, 2015 at 9:04 PM #

    • My name is Ikenna Okafor; I am a first year masters student in the Biological Science Department at University of Maryland Baltimore County. My research focus is in developmental Biology.

    • At the NSF GRFP Training seminar, I learned a lot about what the statement is looking for. Specifically there is an emphasis on broader impact and intellectual merit.

    • Timeline

    Color Key

    Class Tasks –Red GRFP Tasks- Black

    (I can see the colors in my word Document)

    o Contact potential references 9/19/15
    o Complete FastLane GRFP Application Module 9/19/15
    o Rough draft of Personal/future goals statement 9/25/15
    o Get one peer review 9/26/15
    o Take personal/future goals statement to writing center 9/28/15
    o Bio 626 Homework 9/29/15
    o Take personal statement to graduate writing advisor 10/2/15
    o Send twice edited personal statement to Dr. Francis-Carter and Dr. Ordonez 10/5/15
    o Rough draft of research proposal
    o Send research statement to Research Mentors 10/5/15
    o Bio 626 Writing project assignment (identify gene) due 10/6/15
    o Bio 626 Writing project assignment (Abstract for project paper 1) 10/8/15
    o Bio 642 Exam 2 10/13/15
    o Bio 626 Writing project assignment (Abstract for project paper 2) 10/15/15
    o Bio 626 Midterm exam 10/20/15
    o Make edits to research statement when received.
    o Submit by 10/26/15
    o Bio 626 Writing project assignment (Abstract for project paper 3) 10/27/15
    o Bio 626 Writing project assignment (Annotated bibliography) 10/29/15
    o Bio 626 Writing project assignment (Abstract for project paper 4) 11/3/15
    o Bio 626 Writing project assignment (Outline of Project) 11/5/15
    o Bio 642 Exam 3 11/5/15
    o Confirm Letters are sent by 11/5/15

    October 26th:
    Life Science Application due

    November 5th
    Letters of recommendation due

    • My three recommenders

    1. Dr. Rachel Brewster Ph.D

    Department of Biological Science at UMBC
    http://biology.umbc.edu/directory/faculty/brewster/brewster-lab/

    Dr. Brewster will be supporting me in my application because I am a first year graduate student in her lab. I am currently doing a research rotation in her lab. Leading a project working to elucidate the mechanisms of Anoxia tolerance.

    2. Dr. Gul Dolen M.D./Ph.D

    Brain Science Institute, School of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University
    http://www.dolenlab.org/

    Dr. Dolen will be supporting me in my application because I served as a Post-Baccalaureate fellow in her lab this summer. I lead a project, for a four-month period, probing an autism relevant behavior in autism model mice.

    3. Dr. Ted Dumas Ph.D

    Krasnow institute of Advanced Studies Molecular Neuroscience, George Mason University http://krasnow1.gmu.edu/pbnj/

    Dr. Dumas will be supporting me in my application because I served as an undergraduate research assistant for him for about 2 years. I assisted on multiple projects, both in the realm of developmental neuroscience.

    Liked by 1 person

    • September 28, 2015 at 8:40 AM #

      This looks like an excellent plan and good method for organization. How is it working so far? Are you able to stick to it? Today is your writing center day. Let us know how it goes.

      Like

      • September 29, 2015 at 11:29 PM #

        I had to push the writing center date back by one day, so I went earlier today. Got some good feedback. I will make a few edits and make my appointment with the GSA grad writing advisor for Friday. Things are moving along nicely.

        Like

  6. Mitchel Zavala
    September 19, 2015 at 10:27 AM #

    Good Morning,
    My name is Mitchel Zavala. I am a mechanical engineering graduate student specializing in materials science. My research focus is in the mechanical characterization and synthesis of emerging materials.

    The NSF GRFP is always a huge help. Last year I was kind of lost to begin with during the whole application process. Dr. Carter-Johnson, and Dr.Ordóñez were incredible and really provided an overall guide and help to us as applicants. The personal statement is never easy. You always wonder what to write about, and even my second time around I learned a lot. I cannot stress enough how much this event helped me in terms of being more organized with my application package. Getting everything done in a timely manner and setting deadlines for not only yourself but mental deadlines as well for the people helping you (references) makes everything ten times easier. I hope I get it this year!

    I am only taking two classes this semester and putting most of my attention into testing and writing my thesis. I have ENME 815 Advanced Engineering of Ceramic Materials on Wednesday nighto from 5:30 to 8 and ENCH 686 Sensors from 4:30 to 7 on Tuesday nights the rest of my time is spent on synthesizing, testing, and analyzing my specimen matrix for my thesis. I will schedule one full day a week for the next six weeks and atleast a couple of hours on weekends on focusing on my application.

    My references are already set. My first reference will be my advisor Dr. Marc Zupan (mechanical engineering dept.) who I have been working under since my sophomore year of my undergraduate career. My second reference will be Dr. Rick Everett who has been working very closely with me on my research on emerging materials. He is someone who knows me and knows how hard I work. My third reference is Dr. William Golumbfskie. I worked with him for ten weeks. We worked directly with each other as a team for eight hours a day at the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division in the Metallurgy and Fasteners Branch. He’s always made it very clear that he would love to write recommendations for me. Last but not least Dr. Freeman Hrabowsk would be my fourth reference. He has been my mentor since Day 1 at UMBC. He has seen me evolve from a kid coming out of high school to the man I am today. He also recruited me over! He is like a father to me and he knows my research has inside and out. My work ethic is no mystery to him.

    Liked by 1 person

    • September 28, 2015 at 8:42 AM #

      Hi Mitchel. Which day are you using as your full day for writing? It’s nice to be able to carve out some dedicated time for writing the essays.

      Like

  7. Tim Brown
    September 19, 2015 at 7:58 PM #

    My name is Tim Brown. I am a doctoral student in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at University of Maryland, Baltimore County. My research interests are queueing theory, probability theory,stochastic processes, and performance modelling of telecommunications and health care services.
    The seminar taught me how to apply for the NSF GRFP Fellowship. I learned that most reviewers move quickly and won’t take time to search out hidden answers within your research proposal. And you want to make sure that the reviewer will be left with something to remember: a message that will remain after reading many other proposals.

    I have three class this semester which meets twice a week excluding Friday: Big Data, Optimization, and Probability. I study primarily during the day, so on Fridays and Saturdays mornings I plan on dedicating three hours to applying for the fellowship.

    My research mentors are
    •Dr. Weining Kang , Assistant Professor Department of Mathematics and Statistics,
    University of Maryland Baltimore County, http://userpages.umbc.edu/~wkang/

    •Dr. Asamoah Nkwanta, Associate Professor, Department of Mathematics, Morgan State University

    •Dr. Marshall Cohen, Professor Emeritus, Department of Mathematics, Cornell University,http://www.math.cornell.edu/~marshall/

    Liked by 1 person

    • September 28, 2015 at 8:38 AM #

      Tim, Please explain “why” these folks are listed as your research mentors. How do they connect to your work? Are they writing your letters? Why? I’m also looking forward to seeing more about your research in the next post. Be sure to go into detail about the depth of the work.

      Like

  8. September 20, 2015 at 9:38 AM #

    Name: Kevin Chang
    Department: Mechanical Engineering
    Research Focus: Controls
    School: UMBC

    What did I learn during the NSF GRFP training seminar?
    Drs. Carter and Ordonez thoroughly explained what aspects of the application process to focus on and how to set oneself apart and, as a result, I learned how to present and frame myself competitively in the eyes of GRFP reviewers. For example, how to write essays that specifically target two main ideas: intellectual merit and broader impact. Both Dr. Carter and Dr. Ordonez each gave very personal and inspirational anecdotes about their journey through the application process and how they wrote such unique and engaging essays that set themselves apart from the greater pool of applications while also addressing the main ideas of the GRFP. Dr. Carter’s account of her experience with the NSF essay was especially eye opening because,” the physics of cheerleading” is certainly something that I would not expect to be in an applicant’s essay for the NSF GRFP. This gave me some perspective on how I might be able to approach writing my own essays to be unique.

    What is your timeline and how does it fit into your study schedule for classes for Fall 2015 (name the classes).
    Classes:
    • Advanced Controls Systems ENME 605 (Tuesday/Thursday – 4-5:30pm)
    • Advanced Conduction and Radiation Heat Transfer ENME 631 (Monday/Wednesday – 4-5:30pm)
    • Introduction to partial differential equations MATH 404 (Tuesday/Thursday – 1-2:15pm)
    My study schedule consists mainly using the weekends to complete the majority of my homework and then using various free hours during the week to hammer out the finer details. Now with the addition with the GRFP, I plan on using weekend mornings to write and refine my application essays.

    Who are your research Mentors?
    Dr. S. Andrew Gadsden (UMBC): http://me.umbc.edu/dr-andrew-gadsden-pe-pmp/
    Dr. Gadsden is my research advisor and the PI of the lab I am working in. He has seen my work ethic, understands my motivations, and knows that I have the potential for success in graduate studies.

    Dr. Stephen Wilkerson (UMBC, Army Research Lab): http://me.umbc.edu/dr-stephen-wilkerson/

    Dr. Wilkerson is my point of contact at the army research lab (ARL). He works closely with the lab I work in and is always looking out for the success of the lab and by extension the students in the lab. I have worked closely with Dr. Wilkerson on at least two projects, so he has a good idea of my skills and potential.

    Dr. Mark Bundy (Army Research Lab):
    Dr. Bundy is my research mentor and another one of my contacts at the ARL. Over there is the PI of the joint project with UMBC and ARL. I have performed research, experimentation and a literature search under him.

    Dr. Antwan Clark (Laboratory for the Physical Sciences):
    Dr. Clark was my research mentor during one of my internships during my undergraduate career. Under his guidance, I learned how to perform theoretical research and write papers. In addition, he helped to mentor and prepare me to present at an internationally recognized mathematics conference. He was a great mentor and helped me learn many valuable research and life skills.

    Liked by 1 person

    • September 28, 2015 at 8:45 AM #

      Kevin, It looks like you have some good consistent time in the mornings for either homework or writing. It might work well to have some writing days, e.g., Weds – Friday, 9AM – 11 AM. If you can get into the work quickly, you can find those few hours a day to be quite productive. Good luck.

      Like

  9. September 20, 2015 at 9:08 PM #

    Name:Rachel Grice
    Department: Information Systems-Human Centered Computing
    Research focus: Health IT, health care in the home
    School: UMBC

    What did you learn from the NSF GRFP Training seminar:

    I learned to not under estimate myself. I was pleased to see two women of color speaking about their success with receiving the NSF fellowship, and how they thought they would never receive the fellowship. Unfortunately, I am ineligible to apply because I have my MS degree, but I like examples. I like seeing two women that took the unconventional path (path where you may work and have a family THEN go back to school), and how it was a success for them. I saw that they needed their family support, and how having that prior work experience made them a STRONGER applicant. And that I need to include that in my fellowship application essays. This will make me stronger. More experienced. I can tie this into my research interests and will have 5+ years of WHY I want to pursue the path I am pursuing.

    What is your timeline and how does it fit into your study schedule for classes for Fall 2015:

    I am fortunate to be able to devote 100% of my time each week to research. This time also includes preparing my dissertation proposal to be given late in the semester. I am volunteering at Johns Hopkins this semester on a qualitative research project on home health. I will be analyzing dozens of interviews. I get to work with another group of researchers who could be eventual colleagues.

    I will apply to the GEM Fellowship ( due Nov 15 ) Facebook Fellowship ( due Nov 1 ) and the SMART Fellowship( due Dec 1 ). I will ask all of my recommenders for a reference by Sept. 27. I plan to work on the applications for 1 hour each Sunday night until the due date. That gives me approximately 8 hours per application.

    Who are the research mentors (name, department, website) who will be writing your letters? Discuss reasons why they will be supporting your application.

    My research mentors that will be writing my recommendations are Dr. Ant Ozok (my academic advisor) (UMBC, Human Centered Computing, http://userpages.umbc.edu/~ozok/), Dr. Michael Miller (UMB, Cardiovascular Medicine) and Dr. Govini Mohan (Booz Allen Hamilton). They support my application because they have known me for many years and can attest to my work ethic, responsibility, and eagerness to succeed in my field. I plan to use Dr. Renetta Tull’s rubric when I request their recommendation (https://renettatull.wordpress.com/2011/03/03/youve-just-asked-for-a-letter-of-recommendation-now-i-need-some-things-from-you/), so that I have included everything they need to write a strong recommendation.

    Like

  10. William Rivera
    September 22, 2015 at 8:34 AM #

    My name is William Rivera, a second year doctoral student in Mechanical Engineering working in the Dusty Plasma Lab. My current research topic is in out-gassing of plasma facing parts.

    The NSF GRFP seminar was great. I learned what the reviewers are looking for when they are reviewing your application learned to stay organized have dead lines so that you can have enough time to make a strong application.

    This semester I am taking 2 classes Nonlinear Vibrations and Advanced Controls, for both classes we meet twice a week. But I am also preparing for APS Division of Plasma Physics in November 16-20 so my schedule this semester is a bit constrained but i will dedicate a day a week for my application and i will also try to outline ideas when i have a break.

    My references are:

    Dr. Romero-Talamás (http://me.umbc.edu/dr-carlos-a-romero-talamas/),
    He has been my advisor and mentor since I have enrolled to UMBC as a Graduate student.

    Dr. Eggleton (http://me.umbc.edu/dr-charles-g-eggleton/)
    Has seen my struggle coming to UMBC with the intent to become a graduate student and having to take undergraduate classes to fill in some gaps.

    Dr. Gadsden (http://me.umbc.edu/dr-andrew-gadsden-pe-pmp/)
    I am currently in his Advanced Controls class and he is also the MEGSA advisor which i have a role in MeGSA so he is aware of my work ethics.

    Like

  11. Chris Mullen
    September 25, 2015 at 5:08 PM #

    My name is Chris Mullen, I’m a first year Master’s student in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. I am working with Dr Soobum Lee in the Energy Harvesting & Design Optimization Lab.

    The NSF GRFP Training seminar provided a wealth of knowledge for students interested in completing the 2016 GRFP application. Dr’s Frances Carter-Johnson and Patti Ordonez both had great energy, and both gave great tips and stories of how to create the best application possible. I feel like I have a better understanding of what reviewers are looking for, how to write a proper personal statement, and how to best present myself while applying for the fellowship.

    This Fall 2015 semester I’m working on my research while taking two courses: Design Optimization with Dr Lee, and Advanced Controls with Dr Gadsden. I have been able to work on my application on the weekends when I have finished class assignments, and fortunately there are GRFP assignments which help me keep myself on task.

    My research mentor is Dr Soobum Lee (Dept of Mechanical Engineering, http://userpages.umbc.edu/~sblee/People/SLee.htm). Dr Lee is supporting my application because I will be working under his supervision while conducting my research. Dr Charles Eggleton (Dept of Mechanical Engineering, http://me.umbc.edu/dr-charles-g-eggleton/) has been my mentor since 2012 when I joined the SSTEM Scholars program. I have met with him each semester to talk about my academic strategies and he has always been a great intellectual and moral support for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • September 28, 2015 at 8:49 AM #

      Dear Chris, If Dr. Lee is writing one of your letters, has Dr. Eggleton agreed to write another? Even though you were part of SSTEM, can he write about your research or research potential? Who is your third writer?

      Like

  12. Chris Mullen
    September 25, 2015 at 5:43 PM #

    My research is involved with scavenging energy from motion and converting it into electrical power. Currently I am researching how vibration resulting from the movement of the human body can produce electricity, and will design a system for harnessing that power. Dr Weidong Zhu is a professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department who has an impressive background in vibration and renewable energy, which is connected to my research as it focuses on energy harvesting from vibration. Dr Meilin Yu is an Assistant Professor in Mechanical Engineering who uses the same kind of software packages that I use in my research, and he is also interested in renewable energy. Whereas Dr Yu focuses on fluids, his methods of creating simulations is quite similar to the methods used in Dr Lee’s Lab. Dr Neil Rothman is a Professor of the Practice in Mechanical Engineering who has a wealth of knowledge regarding product design, development, and solid mechanics. From his experience working in industry, Dr Rothman would be able to comment on the design of the energy harvester, the use of materials and layout, as well as the conversion from kinetic energy to electricity energy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • September 28, 2015 at 8:50 AM #

      Good information about faculty connections to your research. I’d like to see more about the research itself.

      Like

  13. Mitchel Zavala
    September 26, 2015 at 2:02 PM #

    Hi!
    My research is on Covetics. Covetics are nanocarbon-metal hybrid materials. It is an emerging material that has not been fully understood yet. I am the only one in the world doing mechanical characterization of this new class of material due to the ties we have with the creators of the material and the Naval Surface Warfare Center. It is synthesized while the metal is in a molten state. An electric current is run through the material. Nanocarbon then forms a unique atomic bond with the metal atoms of the material. My research lies within the solid mechanics and materials division of the mechanical engineering department. My research is in materials characterization and in that sense it is similar to Dr.Topoleski, Dr. Khan, and Dr Farquhar. Dr. Topoleski specializes in the characterization of materials used within the human biological system. Dr. Farquhar specializes in the characterization of composite materials. Dr. Khan specializes in a variety of materials, one in particular is the characterization of Magnesium alloys. Again, our research all lies within the broader topic of material characterization, which means we all use similar techniques to better understand the material we are working with.

    Liked by 1 person

    • September 28, 2015 at 9:24 AM #

      Great Mitchel. As a point to remember as you move forward, remember to discuss faculty with their full names and descriptions. One of the points of the exercise is to have you practice and get used to descriptive writing.

      For example, instead of:

      My research lies within the solid mechanics and materials division of the mechanical engineering department. My research is in materials characterization and in that sense it is similar to Dr.Topoleski, Dr. Khan, and Dr Farquhar.

      Consider:

      My research lies within the Solid Mechanics and Materials Science focus area of the Mechanical Engineering Department at UMBC. This division includes research in topics such as mechanical behavior of hard tissues, fracture mechanics, modeling of composites, modeling of nano-materials and metal alloys, and biomaterials. My research looks at the characterization of materials where covetics, as a new emerging material, requires investigation of its structure and properties. My process and the techniques that I use to characterize materials involve examination of electrical, mechanical and thermal properties with specific attention to the stability of nanoscale carbon in a metal matrix. The techniques include use of an electron microscope and different types of X-ray spectroscopy. In materials science, the characterization process is similar across different materials, therefore, my work connects closely to the research of UMBC’s Dr. Tim Topoleski, Dr. Aktar Khan, and Dr. Anthony Farquhar. Each of these professors also use forms of microscopy and spectroscopy techniques to investigate the characterization biomaterials, alloys, and composites, respectively.

      [My example may have a measure of error because I’m not an ME, but you understand my point … be descriptive.]

      Like

  14. September 26, 2015 at 6:00 PM #

    I am interested in technology use in home health care and medication adherence, which is one particular problem in home health care. The home is the most under-studied health care setting, although so many health care activities go on in the home, and involve many different caregivers.The home is also potentially dangerous because it is unsupervised, so health activities like taking medication can be done incorrectly, leading to hospitalizations. I study how we can technology to support home health care and prevent patient morbidity, and also how we can apply what we know from human factors engineering into developing these technologies. Dr. Helena Mentis, Dr. Ant Ozok and Dr. Ravi Kuber all study health care in some way. Dr. Mentis has done research on touch-less interaction in health care settings, Dr. Ozok has looked at patient safety in health care, and Dr. Kuber has looked at applications for those with physical or cognitive disabilities. All three of these applications can be somehow tied to health care in the home for patients.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Erica Dasi
    September 27, 2015 at 11:29 PM #

    My research involves cultivating algae in wastewater to generate renewable energy sources, such as biofuel and biogas. Wastewater contains nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and organic compounds, which all promote the growth of algae. One challenge of cultivating algae in wastewater is that many species can only utilize a small fraction of the nutrients. For instance, while the algal species Chlamydomonas reinhardtii can use acetate for its growth, it is unable to make use of butyrate, malate, fumarate, as well as several other nutrients. This can pose as a problem because when it comes time to harvest algae for its use as a renewable energy source, its yields are low. In order to increase the yields of algae after its collection, my research involves genetically engineering C. reinhardtii to grow robustly in the presence of butyric acid. With this project, I hope to develop a strategy that will allow for the manipulation of all algae species to employ additional nutrients present in wastewater. Three faculty members with research in connection to my work are Dr. Stephen Miller, Dr. Jeffrey Gardner, and Dr. Michael Betenbaugh. Additional information about these individuals and their research can be found below. One of the major projects in the Miller lab is improving transformation experiments, which enable the transfer of DNA into an organism of interest. These transformation experiments are necessary for genetically engineering algae strains to use additional wastewater nutrients. Dr. Gardner’s research group is focused on elucidating bacterial metabolism and understanding how bacteria sense and obtain their energy. Although our research involves different organisms, both projects are engaged in comprehending how our respective organisms acquire and utilize their energy sources. With this connection I am sure that there is overlap in our research and much that I learn from his work. Dr. Betenbaugh’s research is closely related to my own; it involves genetically manipulating algae for optimizing their growth. A considerable amount of information identified by the Betenbaugh group, dictates the way I approach my research.

    Dr. Stephen Miller
    Website: http://biology.umbc.edu/directory/faculty/miller/miller-lab/
    Research specialty: Refining transformation experiments for algae

    Dr. Jeffrey Gardner
    Website: http://gardlab.umbc.edu/
    Research specialty: Microbial Systems and Synthetic Biology

    Dr. Michael Betenbaugh
    Website: http://betenbaugh.org/index.html#page-top
    Research specialty: Micro-algae engineering

    Liked by 1 person

  16. September 29, 2015 at 11:11 PM #

    I have previous work experience with individuals who have Autism spectrum disorder. So understanding how genetic mutations, for example Fragile X (caused by mutation in the Fmr1 gene, contribute to this condition is especially an interest of mine. My research has a developmental biology focus. Specifically, I am interested in how genes and proteins attribute to developmental disorders that affect the nervous system. To accomplish this, I will examine candidate genes using a variety of molecular and cellular biology techniques to manipulate gene expression. Additionally I intend to utilize electrophysiology and behavioral assaying techniques for phenotype analysis. Dr. Rachel Brewster, because of her strong background investigating developmental biology using a molecular biology approach, is a great resource. Dr. Weihong Lin uses electrophysiology to analyze olfactory functioning in mice models. She will be able to assist me in phenotype analysis. Also, Dr. Charles Bieberich explores issues at the interface between development and human disease, this is exactly what I am aiming to accomplish. His expertise will also be essential in generating transgenic model organisms and interpreting results. Websites listed below.

    http://biology.umbc.edu/directory/faculty/bieberich/

    http://biology.umbc.edu/directory/faculty/brewster/

    http://biology.umbc.edu/directory/faculty/lin/

    Like

  17. Tim Brown
    October 3, 2015 at 11:00 AM #

    My past mathematical research is in topology and computing. But my current research interest has revolved around operation research,probability theory, queuing theory, and stochastic modelling. Operations research arrives at optimal or near-optimal solutions to complex decision-making problems. Within the branch of operations research there is a mathematical study of waiting lines: queuing theory. Queues are a part of everyday life. A queue can be studied in terms of the source of each queued item, how frequently items arrive on the queue, how long they can or should wait, whether some items should jump ahead in the queue, how multiple queues might be formed and managed, and the rules by which items are queued and not queued. Providing too much service involves excessive costs. And not providing enough service capacity causes the waiting line to become excessively long. The ultimate objective is to attain an economic balance between the cost of service and the cost associated with the waiting for that service. Examples for the queuing theory are waiting lines in cafeterias, hospitals, banks, airports and so on.
    The three professors who have similar research interests in the Math department are Dr. Weining Kang, Dr. Hye-Won Kang and Dr. James Lo.

    Like

  18. Tim Brown
    October 3, 2015 at 1:10 PM #

    I am currently studying diffusion approximations for queues with many exponential servers. This work considers many-server queueing system in which customers arrive according to a renewal process and have service and patience times that are drawn from two independent sequences of independent,identically distributed random variables. Customers enter service in the order of arrival and are assumed to abandon the queue if the waiting time in queue exceeds the patience time. The state of the system with N servers is represented by a four-component process that consists of the forward recurrence time of the arrival process, a pair of measure-valued processes, one that keeps track of the waiting times of customers in queue and the other that keeps track of the amounts of time customers present in the system have been in service and a real-valued process that represents the total number of customers in the system.

    Like

  19. Mitchel Zavala
    October 3, 2015 at 9:33 PM #

    A.) Background Questions
    1.) I am absolutely fascinated with my research, because it is a chance to possibly advance our society. Aluminum is used constantly for many applications in the world both industrially and federally. If we can improve the mechanical properties of Aluminum, the applications would be significant.
    2.) I have always been a very friendly guy who enjoys working with other people. As a natural leader I like to get the best out of everyone and put everyone’s strengths to use. I am compassionate, understanding, and a team player. I can bring that to my field.
    3.) I am a hard working individual. I like to take the initiative. The research I have been given was originally just a topic. It was just Covetics. I have gone and created the topic I will be using for my thesis. I am self-motivated to achieve my PhD. I want to move forward and achieve great things, and I believe that this fellowship would help me do that.
    4.) I want to obtain my PhD and achieve great things afterwards. The support provided by this fellowship would do that. It would allow me to optimize my research and do good science.
    5.) 6.) 7.) 8.) In the summer of 2014 I worked at the Naval Surface Warfare Center. I worked with different aluminum magnesium alloys. Mechanical properties of aluminum allow naval ships to go faster speeds, carry bigger payloads, and travel farther distances. The alloys used in most marine applications come from the AA 5000 series, in which the primary alloying element is magnesium. Unfortunately alloys with greater than 3% magnesium are susceptible to sensitization leading to stress corrosion cracking (SCC). In order to prevent SCC from occurring within in-service parts, and analysis must be done to see if sensitization is occurring. This analysis consists of two evaluations. The first is the ASTM G67 Standard Test, which provides a quantitative measure of the susceptibility to intergranular corrosion (level of sensitization) of Al-Mg alloys. The second process is Metallography of the alloy. This process provides a visual of the level of sensitization of the alloy. My job over the length of my contract was to perform this analysis, consisting of these two processes, on multiple different alloys being used in naval ships today, in order to determine which Al-Mg alloy is the optimal choice for marine applications. In the summer of 2015 I again worked at the Naval Surface Warfare Center. I worked on researching and developing a process for systematically creating the emerging material known as Covetics by using and controlling the parameters of the Gleeble Machine. We are using different powdered metals and different forms of nano-carbon in order to create a homogenous single phase material. We used Copper powder and activated Carbon powder. Characterization techniques include mechanical testing, optical and electron microscopy, and grain/crystal structure analysis Characterized and compared the microstructures and impact resistance of Aluminum Covetic vs Aluminum metal. Characterization techniques include optical and electron microscopy, and grain/crystal structure analysis. We analyzed different Aluminum Covetic materials with different Carbon concentrations, and seeing the effect of carbon concentration on impact resistance and microstructure. In both of these situations I worked as an individual.
    9.) In terms of intellectual merit I have an organized matrix and structure to my research and my thesis. I have given multiple presentations on my research with SAMPE, PROMISE, and UMBC, and I plan to start publishing papers soon as I am currently synthesizing material and moving on to testing. My research has a strong potential to be advanced. In terms of broader impact, as I discussed in the first point, the use of our everyday materials mechanically advanced has very significant potential.

    B.) Scientific Research Questions
    1.) I am most passionate about advancing our societies technology and science to the next level. I want to further our society and make a mark on our generation.
    2.) I was an undergraduate researcher since my sophomore year. I learned all the knowledge and acquired all the tools I need to get this work done in those years. There are some things that I need to learn and understand, as I know there is always a way to make research better with more mentors and new techniques. Luckily I have surrounded myself with the right people. Brilliant people who want to see me succeed and who genuinely want to help and teach me.
    3.) My plan is feasible. Before it was a very broad research topic spanning across different scientific fields, and if you read the purpose it would have been hard to believe. I have focused the research and concentrated on certain points to optimize the research and make it just a better quality of work. I am very excited to move forward.
    4.) The big picture is all my research sees. The category of research is emerging materials. It is applicable to the next generation. The point of it is to better the everyday metals used in our generation.
    5.) The instructions are very insightful, and useful since it is what the reviewers expect to see, so drafting a checkpoint style plan based off of these instructions is very useful. The deadline is October 27th by 8PM, between now and then all I have to finish are the two statements. I have already started the research statement. The statements will go through multiple revisions between my advisor and mentors. A plan is in effect and we will meet the deadline day with plenty of time to spare.
    6.) I believe this question was answered in part A.

    Like

  20. October 3, 2015 at 9:56 PM #

    Why are you fascinated by your research area?

    I am fascinated by my research area because I was a research assistant in cardiology dealing with older adults with cardiovascular disease. I noticed many of these patients had problems adhering to medications. Also, many of them would go home after a cardiac event and have trouble with their medications, or rehabilitation in general. The home is so unique in health care because it is almost completely unsupervised by a professional, therefore many problems can occur. I saw first hand the problems occurring and how it had adverse effects on the patients, like hospital readmission. I also have family members who could benefit from home technologies to increase their adherence to medications, and just for health in general. I am fascinated because technology for health is “relatively” new, and cool things that have already come about , like the FitBit which is an example of persuasive technology, are my inspiration.

    Do you possess the technical knowledge and skills necessary for conducting this work, or will you have sufficient mentoring and training to complete the study?

    I possess most of the technical knowledge and skills to complete my research, the exception being intense computer programming. I will have to hire a undergraduate student to do that, but that is what research funds are for! Someone can’t be expected to always do every single aspect of research and a research team is always important! With regards to qualitative and qualitative research methods, I have the skills necessary to complete my research. Two years of doctoral coursework equipped me with that knowledge. My advisor is also very knowledgable (that’s what they’re there for fortunately), so if there is anything I need advice on, he is there to help.

    Like

  21. October 4, 2015 at 2:01 PM #

    1. Why are you fascinated by your research area?

    I became fascinated with my research because of prior my academic background, work and research experience. I received my bachelor’s degree in neuroscience from George Mason University. I have research experience in developmental neurobiology and also behavioral neuroscience related to autism. Furthermore, I have worked over the past 6 years with individuals with intellectual and developmental disorders.

    2. Do you possess the technical knowledge and skills necessary for conducting this work, or will you have sufficient mentoring and training to complete the study?

    Through the above-mentioned experiences, I have developed the knowledge and skills necessary to conduct my work. The coursework I have taken while perusing my bachelors and the coursework I am currently taking, provides great foundation. Additionally, primary literature will be used to supplement coursework. I have 3 separate research experiences that have provided me with relevant skills. Specific examples include, gene expression analysis and behavioral assaying.

    Like

    • Ikenna Okafor
      November 6, 2015 at 3:38 PM #

      Application complete!

      Like

  22. Erica Dasi
    October 4, 2015 at 9:08 PM #

    Why are you fascinated by your research area?

    My research area involves growing algae in wastewater to generate renewable energy sources, such as biofuel and biogas. I became fascinated with improving water quality as a young girl after visiting my father’s native country, Cameroon. My father and I stayed in a village located in the northwest province of the country. For two weeks we were unable to directly access safe drinking water. In fact, the bulk of our time was traveling from shop to shop in search for unopened bottles of water. While searching for bottled water, I realized that many people living in this area lacked a water supply leading to their homes. Furthermore, not a single system was present for directing wastewater away from communities. In most cases, residents were forced to travel miles to collect water unhygienic for use. Unlike you and I who have the luxury to take a few steps for a glass of water, there are many communities worldwide that cannot do so. In fact, 783 million people do not have access to clean water and 2.5 million individuals lack adequate sanitation (1). My direct exposure to this struggle has motivated me to combine my love for biological sciences with improving water quality worldwide.
    I am fascinated with research in this area because it offers the possibility of providing renewable energies as well. Biofuels and biogases are great alternatives to the fossil fuels commonly used today. For instance, these fuels don’t add additional amounts of CO2 (i.e. a greenhouse gas which causes global warming) to the atmosphere. In addition, when these fuels are combusted they do not add harmful gases into the atmosphere, such as nitric oxides (can lead to acid rain). This research can potentially be applied in providing clean water and generating electricity worldwide.

    (1) This information was retrieved on October 4, 2015 at 5:44 pm from the United Nations (UN) – Water at the following website: http://www.unwater.org/water-cooperation-2013/water-cooperation/facts-and-figures/en/

    Do you possess the technical knowledge and skills necessary for conducting this work, or will you have sufficient mentoring and training to complete the study?

    With my undergraduate training and research experience in biological sciences, I believe that I have a strong foundation of the technical knowledge and skills necessary for conducting this work. My research experiences have exposed me to a number of techniques commonly used in the field that include basic cloning, Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), synthesizing and purifying recombinant protein, western blot analysis, and gel electrophoresis. Furthermore, I have taken courses that have taught me about these techniques in detail (i.e. how they work, individual components, and applications). With these experiences, I feel confident in my abilities of outlining a research plan for approaching my research.

    While I posses a solid foundation going forth, my research will offer the chance of gaining new insights and skills in not only biological sciences, but other disciplines such as environmental engineering and biochemistry. As I am interested in optimizing growth conditions of green algae in wastewater, I can learn how the the wastewater treatment process. In addition, refining my knowledge in cellular metabolism can be useful in engineering a algae stains capable of metabolize additional nutrients present within wastewater.

    Like

  23. October 6, 2015 at 12:37 AM #

    Kevin Chang – Control Systems / Robotics
    Why are you fascinated by your research area?

    I am fascinated by robotics because of the potential to augment and automate almost anything. I’ll explain below.

    Augment: When I hear augmentation and robotics in the same sentence, the first two words I think of are exoskeletons and prosthetics. Part of the reason I think that way is influenced by the movies I watch, but I mean… who doesn’t want to be iron man? Or rather who doesn’t want to at least try on the Iron man armor? But on a more serious note, there is so much potential in the field of human mechatronics. From leg prosthetics that actively compensate for walking gait to full exo-suits to help with physical rehabilitation or reducing fatigue for solders during marching. It’s already impressive to see what people have already done with human mechatronics today, but imagine five or ten years down the line. Where will the technology be? It is incredibly exciting to consider the possibility that using robots to augment human ability could one day give paraplegics the ability to walk again or amputees to function with equal or enhanced usability to their flesh and bone counterparts.

    Automate: It’s simple really; a robot can be designed to perform almost any task. 3D printing is a great example of this. The ability to manufacture objects with complex geometries has traditionally been limited to those with access to incredibly expensive manufacturing machines. But now, with the popularization of 3D printing the past couple years, crowdfunding and competition have pushed prices down so that it’s easy for anyone to buy a 3D printer, download/design a file, press print, and voila! A part has been created. It’s quite fascinating to see how 3D printing, such a simple concept of automating the extrusion of molten material, has been one of the cornerstones behind the so called “maker” movement across the country. It’s given the power of manufacturing to the people, of which I am a strong proponent of. Also I am sure that this technology will be extremely useful when I am prototyping for my future test setups.

    Do you possess the technical knowledge and skills necessary for conducting this work, or will you have sufficient mentoring and training to complete the study?

    I believe that I already have many of the skills necessary to pursue this field of study. But to say I feel completely ready for it would be an overstatement. I think I have much to learn with regards to practical and theoretical aspects of the field. That being said, I have access to many great resources at UMBC and ARL that would help me tremendously in my effort to become an expert in this field. It’s never easy to jump into something with so many unknowns, but that’s part of why it’s so exciting; you get to learn so many new things and it’s all for that one ah-hah moment that you get somewhere down the line.

    Like

  24. William Rivera
    October 6, 2015 at 8:56 PM #

    Assignment #1
    My name is William Rivera. I am a second year PHD student in the Mechanical Engineering Department. I am currently researching the outgassing of plasma facing materials.
    At the NSF-GRFP Training Seminar, I learned what statements NSF is looking for how to become organized set up deadlines and friendly reminders so I can stay upto date with my applications. Also learned what are somethings that NSF is looking for from there applicants.
    I am taking two classes this semester along with research that I have to do for The APS Division of Plasma Physics conference which I am presenting at. So most of my time is dedicated on doing research and fulfilling my duties as a student which includes the homework projects and exams. I am allocating Saturday morning to work on my Personal statement and my Proposed Research statement.
    My references are already set.
    1) Dr. Romero-Talamás, I have been working in his lab since May 2014 http://me.umbc.edu/dr-carlos-a-romero-talamas/
    2) Dr. Gadsden, I am currently taking a class with him and a part of my project deals with controls and he is also the MEGSA Advisor, and I hold a role with MEGSA. http://me.umbc.edu/dr-andrew-gadsden-pe-pmp/
    3) Dr. Eggleton, He is the Mechanical engineering Chair and nows how much I have grown as a student based on past and present performance. http://me.umbc.edu/dr-charles-g-eggleton/

    Assignment #2:
    The end goal of my research is to be able to develop plasma diagnostic equipment very inexpensively using additive manufacturing. Currently I am researching how 3D printed plastic parts outgas in vacuum conditions and what methods can be used to reduce the outgassing from these parts such as electroplating. The method used to determine what molecules are present in the vacuum chamber is using a Residual gas analyzer and looking at the spectrum to see what is outgassing from the part. Dr. Ma (http://me.umbc.edu/dr-ronghui-ma/) focuses on Heat and Mass transfer which connects with my research directly because we are modeling how much mass is being lost from the specimen when it is in vacuum and how long it takes. Dr. Gadsden (http://me.umbc.edu/dr-andrew-gadsden-pe-pmp/) focuses in Automatic controls and his expertise in controls is helping me develop a way to obtain data from our pressure gauges in a more efficient way. Dr. Zhu (http://me.umbc.edu/dr-liang-zhu/)specializes in heat transfer and for our future experiment we will begin to heat up the chamber to help remove excess water molecules from our specimen and the chamber.

    Assignment #3:
    1) I am fascinated with my research because I have the opportunity to directly contribute in the field of alternative energy (fusion energy). Also I am taking a nonconventional form of manufacturing in the vacuum field and figuring out how to make these parts work for out application.
    2) I do possess the technical knowledge and skills necessary to conduct this work. I have a background in physics and math during my career as a graduate student I have taken classes that will directly assist me in my research such as intro to heat transfer, Heat and mass transfer and intro to plasma. Also my experience in the lab will help me with conducting my work. My advisor is also very knowledgeable in my field of study so I will have

    Like

  25. Erica Dasi
    October 18, 2015 at 8:21 PM #

    Discuss where you are in the process. List the application components that you’ve completed, and when you will complete any remaining items.

    I am currently refining my personal statement and research proposal based on the feedback that I received. I plan to visit the writing center once more before I submit on the October 24th. So far I have completed the the general information section on the Fastlane website.

    Like

  26. October 22, 2015 at 11:21 AM #

    Assignment #1
    My name is Abdullah Ali. I am a second year masters student in the Information Systems department, the Human-Centered Computing program. My specific focus in the program is interaction design. I’m attending the University of Maryland Baltimore County.
    Attending the GRFP training seminar held by Dr. Frances Carter-Johnson and Dr. Patti Ordóñez was very beneficial. I learned a lot about the process of applying to such a fellowship, and how different it is from my past experiences. I also, learned how competitive it is, and why I need to spend so much time writing and revising my essays.

    The fall 2015 semester is a very busy one. I am enrolled in an artificial intelligence class that meets twice on Mondays and Wednesdays, I am also enrolled in a 3D printing and digital fabrication class that meets for 3 hours on Fridays and requires additional lab work during the week. I am attending and presenting research at a conference during the last week of October, so it is crucial for me to get my application done before that.

    My research mentors, who will be writing my letters of recommendations are:
    Dr. Amy Hurst
    Information Systems – UMBC
    http://www.amyhurst.com

    Dr. Jeffrey P. Bigham
    Human-Computer Interaction Institute
    Language Technologies Institute
    School of Computer Science
    Carnegie Mellon University

    Dr. Ravi Kuber
    Information Systems – UMBC
    http://userpages.umbc.edu/~rkuber/

    All of my mentors have already agreed to writing me strong recommendation letters. I have worked on research projects with all three of them in the past, and I have a minimum of one publication with each.

    Assignment #2
    I am interested in researching interaction design between users of varying abilities that being physical, or cognitive and the technologies they would need to access the Internet. Specifically I am interested in trying to formulate guidelines to aid technology builders when they are designing said technologies. I intend to do so by working closely with individuals of saying abilities, those that have a positive progression like dyslexia, and those of degenerative nature such as Parkinson’s disease. Currently I am working with Dr. Amy Hurst on designing adaptive user interfaces for users with limited motor abilities, and I am collaborating with Dr. Jeffery Bigham at Carnegie Mellon University in creating a video game that detects dyslexia aimed at children. Dr. Hurst is an accessibility expert and has done her doctoral dissertation on working to create interfaces for users with limited motor abilities (Dr. Amy Hirst, http://www.amyhurst.com, Accessibility) I have worked with Dr. Kuber before on accessibility projects (Dr. Ravi Kuber, http://userpages.umbc.edu/~rkuber/, Accessibility). Finally since I am most interested in internet accessibility, and will be building web application I could use the expertise of Dr. Helena Mentis who’s speciality is online collaborative applications (Dr. Helena Mentis, http://userpages.umbc.edu/~mentis/index.html, Computer-Supported Collaborative Work)

    Assignment #3
    A.
    The reason I am focusing my research on web accessibility has very deep personal roots. As a survivor of a war zone, who grew up without access to computer, let alone the Internet I was not familiar with concept of having an ocean of information at my finger tips. I was fortunate enough to find a safe haven for myself when I moved the United States back in late 2008. I struggled a lot when I started school, but I found a savior in the Internet itself. I was able to, not only catch on to my peer’s knowledge of things they picked up just by growing up here, I was reading up on things outside of, yet related to, my homework which gave me a competitive advantage in classes. This is the reason why I am striving to provide access to this wealth of information to people who were unfortunate to be able to access it easily, or at all.
    I believe that my personal life experience has taught me a lot about being a leader. Growing up in a war zone shaped me to do the best I can with what I have, try to do things myself, and be grateful if help from others is ever an option. A great leader leads by doing and setting an example.
    Receiving the NSF GRFP fellowship would be a great honor and an opportunity to propel my career forward. Besides the status that comes with the fellowship, the connections to the best minds in the field, I am also excited about having access to such resources as the the XSEDE cyberinfrastructre, an option that can open many possible research opportunities.
    During my academic journey I’ve had the privilege of being a part of many great research experiences.
    I was a part of a 7 person team that analyzed popular 3D modeling catalogs online, that allows any user online to upload a 3D design and share it with the entire world. After going through the models, we determined the which of them were designed as an assertive technology, such as prosthetic limbs, and categorized them. We followed up with the designers of said item via an online survey, which I was involved in designing, to understand their backgrounds and motivations for creating such models. This pager went on to be published at the ACM SIGCHI conference in 2015 and won a best paper award, being at the 1% highest rated paper that year.
    I have been involved with another team in the aims to better understand the needs individuals with motor impairments have when interacting with computers, specifically while using a pointing device. I was involved in designing a number of interfaces, and conducting studies with users to better to get their feedback and incorporate it in the next iterations of designs. After we analyzed the data from these studies we were able to create personas to classify the types of users and how to design interfaces for each of them. This work was published in a paper at the W4A, Web for All, conference in 2015 and was nominated as a best paper. As a part of this team we continued building on our findings from the aforementioned paper and improved our designs. I then took those designs and made an interactive prototype that notified users if they were experiencing pointing performance. We tested this prototype with individuals with degenerative conditions that affected their ability to use a computer, individuals with parkinson disease, and were able to further extend our understanding of interface design requirements and recommendations for such individuals. The results of this work are currently under review for a conference paper.
    I worked under a faculty mentor to design an alternative authentication method on touchscreen device, such as mobile devices, by using gestures instead of pin numbers. I designed the authentication mechanism, programmed a working version of it, designed and conducted studies with a number of users to evaluate the mechanism’s usability and security. The result of this work was published in a 2 page poster paper at the SOUPS conference in 2015, and there is a full paper currently under review at another conference. This work was funded by the U.S Navy.
    I independently designed an authentication mechanism for blind individuals using wearable technology a device made by Google called Google Glass. The design of the system was accepted at a student research competition at the ACM ASSETS conference 2015 which I will be presenting at the end of October.
    Over the summer of 2015 I had the privilege of teaming up with a team at Carnegie Mellon University, and their Human-Computer Interaction Institute. The team was lead by Dr. Jeffery P Bigham. I worked closely with post-doctoral researcher Dr. Luz Rello on her project to build computer applications for users with dyslexia. During my stay Dr. Rello and myself were able to take medical exercises designed to diagnose dyslexia, which typically take a long period of time, cost hundreds to thousands of dollars, and requires the involvement of a medical professional and we turned them into a 15 minute long web-based interactive video game that any person between the age of 7-70 can play it and our system, by using machine learning algorithms, would be able to detect if the user is dyslexic with 85% accuracy. I was involved in designing the designing the game, its levels, interactions, and graphics. I developed an early prototype of the game and was involved in user-testing the prototype with individuals which the result of was published in a two page paper poster at the ACM ASSETS conference 2015. We incorporated the feedback from the early prototype testing into our designs, and I went on to create a full version of the game that was tested with over 200 users. The results of this study is currently under review in a conference paper.

    B.
    I am passionate about leveling the playing field in terms of information access to anyone who needs it. I have an undergraduate degree in information systems and web development, I have worked on a number of projects that required me to use my technical skills to build them. Knowledge is forever expanding, and I believe that under my department I will have enough support and opportunities to expand my knowledge further.
    My plan is to contribute a framework of a set of guidelines of design principles aimed at individuals with varying abilities, and to try to get closer to the concept of universal design.

    Assignment #4
    I have contacted all of my letter of recommendation writers, I am finalizing my drafts, and should be able to submit my application soon.

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  27. Tim Brown
    October 30, 2015 at 2:07 PM #

    BACKGROUND QUESTIONS:
    Queuing theory is beautiful to me because of the deep and meaningful ideas touched upon by it, the vastness of these ideas, the clearness and elegance of their representation. Queuing theory gives me the ability to apply probability to scheduling, logistics/distribution, and computer network management. I am intrigued how operations research uses mathematical techniques to tackle real-life problems

    My most compelling strength is my capacity for growth – the willingness to work extremely hard, guided by a great awareness of where I stand mathematically and curiosity about Mathematics.
    Receiving this fellowship will give me the opportunity to develop into a very strong mathematician who can contribute to important research projects.

    During the summer of 2013 I participated in a Research Experience for Undergraduates held at the Center for Discrete Mathematics and Theoretical Computer Science. I worked independently on a project which I focused on visualizing ascent and descent directions for the modulus of a complex polynomials at an arbitrary point in a complex plane. In particular, I wanted to construct polynomials with specific properties of ascent and descent. Next we want to experiment with visualization techniques so we can get a better understanding of ascent and descent.

    My next project I examined Ultrafilters and Topological Semi-groups. In particular I was interested in a technique for constructing a universal map from a topological space X to a compact Hausdorff space βX. A compact space is one in which any infinite sequence of points in the space ends up getting arbitrarily close to at least one point in the space.

    My current research consists of simulation of fluids limits of many-server retrial queues and diffusion approximations for queues. This work considers a many-server retrial queuing systems in which impatient customers with i.i.d, generally distributed service times and independent services of i.i.d, generally distributed inter-attempt times. A newly arrived customer attempts to obtain service immediately upon arrival and joins a retrial orbit with probability p in [0,1] if all servers are busy, and re-attempts to obtain service after a random amount of time until it gets service.

    SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH QUESTIONS:
    Recently, there has been an explosive growth in Internet services, greatly increasing the importance of data center systems. Applications served from “the cloud” are driving data center growth and quickly overtaking traditional workstations. Although there are many analytic and simulation tools for evaluating components of desktop and server architectures in detail, scalable modelling tools are noticeably missing.
    I believe that stochastic methods and queueing theory together provide an avenue to answer important questions about data center systems.

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