year are you in school? I'm a senior in school.
What Fellowship did you get and what does it involve?I received the Environmental Protection Agency Greater Research Opportunities Undergraduate Fellowship (the EPA's GRO fellowship, for short). It involved me doing a
research internship with the EPA this last summer, and presenting my summer findings at a scientific conference (Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry).
What motivated you to apply for a Fellowship?I received the fellowship announcement from two or three separate professors and Alisa specifically saying I should apply--ultimately, Alisa's email was probably the reason I applied. I also needed money :).
What was the hardest part of the Fellowship application process? The hardest part of applying was definitely the writing. You can't give half effort on something as competitive as a fellowship, and Alisa helped me through countless revisions (actually, something like 7) of my essay. Another difficult part was wading through sometimes ambiguous paperwork.
What was the most rewarding part of the Fellowship applying process? The most rewarding part of the Fellowship application process was probably the experience I gained in writing my personal statement and project proposal. I learned a lot of the do's and don'ts of grant writing and ultimately became a better writer. The application was a pain to complete, but well worth it. Finally hitting the "send" button was also rewarding.
Do you have any advice for people applying? Yes.
1) Think critically about what you're applying to. Do you want to do what the fellowship
2) Prepare to spend a lot of time on your application. Consider it another class. If you
put a lot of work into it, you will learn a lot, regardless of whether you are awarded a
3) Start talking to professors in your field and glean as much advice as you can. Ask
different people to read through your essays, personal statements, etc. Be open to
criticism--you're not perfect.
4) Don't count yourself out. It is easy to see deficiencies in your resume, experiences,
etc., but other applicants likely have some of these too. That being said, most
fellowships are very competitive, and you should only apply if you think you have any
chance (even if it is small).
5) Prepare to spend a lot of time on your application. Did I say that already? That's
because I mean it. Get into the mindset of giving up a significant portion of your free
6) Your letters of recommendation writers should know you well and be able to say good
things about you. Start building relationships with people now if you don't know anybody
that can speak strongly to your character and abilities. Ask a professor about his/her
research, try to assist in their research, show interest in their classes, go the extra
mile to help them clean up/carry stuff on field trips, etc.
7) Thank your writers and anyone that helps you!