Drexel Bio-med Undergrad, Emily Ballantyne, Co-oping in Chile through the Whitaker International Program

Chile- WhitakerEmily Ballantyne
Biomedical Engineering

Whitaker International Fellowship in Chile

The Whitaker Fellowship program sends young U.S. based biomedical engineers around the world to study, complete an internship or conduct research on biomedical engineering, thus building international bridges and providing unique experiences to future leaders in the field. Applicants must be highly qualified and must have demonstrated significant interest in biomedical engineering. The Whitaker International Fellow award will be approximately one academic year in length, and should be used to conduct work commensurate with the grantee’s experience in BME.

Emily Ballantyne secured an unpaid undergraduate biomedical research position in Chile almost a year before her departure. Interested in Human performance and biomecanics, Emily was thrilled to be given an opportunity to perform research in computational biophysics with a project titled “Regional Deformation Analysis of the Lungs”. In order to fund the opportunity, Emily applied for the Whitaker Fellowship in collaboration with the Drexel Fellowships Office. After being awarded the highest grant available from the Whitaker Program, Emily completed all necessary documents and flew to Chile to begin her experience.

In Chile, Emily lives with a host family. She loves being immersed in the Chilean culture and, of course, she practices her Spanish constantly! Aside from the professional experience and invaluable connections that she has made through her co-op, Emily has also had time to explore Chile and pursue adventures! Read about her experience in Emily’s Blog and visit the Drexel Fellowships Website to learn more about the Whitaker Program!

Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program Information Session

Goldwater Scholarship Logo Thursday, October 16th, 3-4 pm
Disque 109

The Goldwater Scholarship is a highly prestigious national award that recognizes the nation’s top undergraduates in Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math fields. Goldwater Scholars receive up to $7,500/year for their final year or two of undergraduate study, and are well-positioned for graduate school applications and awards.

A student must be nominated by their home institution to apply for the Goldwater Scholarship. At Drexel, we hold an open campus competition for those four nomination spots; the required pre-application deadline is 21st October.

Please visit our website for more details.

Boren Awards for International Study Information Session

boren1Wednesday, October 15th, 7-8 pm
Webinar: Click to Join

Boren Awards provide unique funding opportunities for U.S. undergraduate and graduate students to study less commonly taught languages in world regions critical to U.S. interests, and underrepresented in study abroad, including Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East. Boren Scholars and Fellows represent a vital pool of highly motivated individuals who wish to work in the federal national security arena.

Undergraduate Boren Scholars usually study and/or co-op abroad while Boren Graduate Fellows usually study and/or research abroad. In exchange for funding, Boren awardees commit to working in the federal government for at least one year after graduation.

A student must be nominated by their home university to apply for the Boren Award. The campus deadline for the internal application is January 6th, 2015. Visit our website for more details.

Scholarships for students who want to make a difference

Are you an exceptional student dedicated to changing the world? Interested in a career in public service or government? Committed to working on environmental science or policy? Want to work for an international affairs think tank after graduation? Come learn more about nationally competitive scholarships for students who want to make a difference.

Public Affairs Info Session
October 14, 3-4PM
109 Disque Hall

Featured programs include:

trumanlogoTruman Scholarship:  For outstanding juniors who are U.S. citizens and planning to study in any field that leads to a career in public service or government. Up to $30,000 educational support, plus mentorship, leadership training, and membership in a powerful network of Truman Scholars. For more information, go to: http://www.truman.gov/

Carnegie logoCarnegie Junior Fellows: for juniors eligible to work in the U.S. post-graduation and interested in the field of international affairs.  Each year the Endowment offers 8-10 one-year fellowships to uniquely qualified graduating seniors and individuals who have graduated during the past academic year.  Carnegie Junior Fellows works as research assistants to the Endowment senior associates.  For more information, go to: http://www.carnegieendowment.org/about/index.cfm?fa=jrfellows

Udall logoUdall Scholarship: for sophomores and pre/juniors who are U.S. citizens and are planning future careers in any field related to the environment. The award is also open to Native American and Alaska Native students committed to a career related to tribal public policy or health care. For more information, go to: http://www.udall.gov/OurPrograms/MKUScholarship/MKUScholarship.aspx

Freshmen and sophomores are encouraged to come to this information session: the more time you have to think about and prepare for these prestigious scholarships, the better your application will be! 

Boren Award for International Study Information Session

boren1Thursday, October 9th, 12-1 pm
Disque 109

Boren Awards provide unique funding opportunities for U.S. undergraduate and graduate students to study less commonly taught languages in world regions critical to U.S. interests, and underrepresented in study abroad, including Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East.  Boren Scholars and Fellows represent a vital pool of highly motivated individuals who wish to work in the federal national security arena.

Undergraduate Boren Scholars usually study and/or co-op abroad while Boren Graduate Fellows usually study and/or research abroad. In exchange for funding, Boren awardees commit to working in the federal government for at least one year after graduation.

A student must be nominated by their home university to apply for the Boren Award. The campus deadline for the internal application is January 6th, 2015. Visit our website for more details.

Writing the NSF GRFP “Personal, Relevant Background and Future Goals Statement”

NSF logo

Thursday, October 9th, 7 – 8:30 pm
Webinar

The GRFP is a generous and prestigious award that supports research-oriented students in STEM and Social Science fields during their first three years of graduate school, with a $32,000 stipend plus a $12,000 Cost of Education Allowance.

The “Personal, Relevant Background, and Future Goals” essay is designed to give reviewers a sense of who you are, your experience and readiness to conduct advanced research and studies, and your research and career goals. In this hands-on workshop, we will discuss how to approach this essay and work to explore your motivation, experience, and goals to help you – and your reader – gain a deeper understanding of your fellowship application.

Please visit our website for the full schedule.

Truman Scholarship Info Session

trumanlogoOctober 8, 7-8 PM
Webinar (click to join)
Please RSVP!

The Truman Scholarship is a highly prestigious national award that recognizes the nation’s top undergraduates committed to careers in public service. Truman Scholars receive up to $30,000 to pursue a degree in public service-related fields. Scholars also gain opportunities for summer internships, receive career and professional development, and join a powerful network of Truman Scholar alumni. To be eligible, you must be a junior (planning to graduate in 2016) and a US Citizen or National.

To apply for this award, you must be nominated by Drexel University. The required internal application deadline is November 6 at 12 noon. To learn about the nomination process, visit our website.

Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program Information Session

 Tuesday,Goldwater Scholarship Logo October 7th,
 8-9 am
 Bossone 302

The Goldwater Scholarship is a highly prestigious national award that recognizes the nation’s top undergraduates in Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math fields. Goldwater Scholars receive up to $7,500/year for their final year or two of undergraduate study, and are well-positioned for graduate school applications and awards.

A student must be nominated by their home institution to apply for the Goldwater Scholarship. At Drexel, we hold an open campus competition for those four nomination spots; the required pre-application deadline is 21st October.

Please visit our website for more details.

Writing the NSF GRFP “Graduate Research Plan”

NSF logo

Monday, October 6th, 12-1 pm
2019 MacAlister Hall (3260 Chestnut Hall)

The GRFP is a generous and prestigious award that supports research-oriented students in STEM and Social Science fields during their first three years of graduate school, with a $32,000 stipend plus a $12,000 Cost of Education Allowance.

The Graduate Research Statement is where you outline a plan for future research and demonstrate that you can conceive and undertake original research that will advance knowledge in your field and have broader impacts for society. These workshops will review what to address, how to get started, and revision strategies.

Please visit our website for the full schedule.

Getting to the “Best of You”: Interview with NSF Graduate Research Fellow, Paco Sangaiah

Paco BlogKarthik “Paco” Sangaiah, is a first year PhD student in Computer Engineering and a recent recipient of the three-year NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. His goal as a researcher is to develop cutting edge network-on-a-chip (NoC) designs that will cater to future exascale computing workloads in industry and the research community. In addition, Paco is a teaching assistant and mentor to undergraduate students.

DFO: What motivated you to apply for the NSF GRFP?
Paco:
I saw that many influential scientists started out with NSF awards. Leaders in my field, or scientists I’d see on TV, I’d look through their CVs and find that for many of them, the NSF GRFP seemed to be the first major step that really kicked off their careers.

At first I was discouraged when I didn’t see many computer engineers win. This is a really dry field for people don’t understand it, but I thought I had a chance when I figured out how to match each of my experiences to a greater objective. My field is not curing cancer, or fusion energy, or creating next gen space rockets, which are really hot topics, but it makes those other fields work better. When the broad impact became clear – if it got read the way I was thinking it, I felt that I had a chance.

DFO: What was the application process like?
Paco:
It was hell. Can I say that? First of all, you don’t realize how much work it takes when you first get into it. A few weeks into it you realize, “Wait, how do I write this personal statement?” especially after reading the essays of previous recipients, and you see how spot-on they are about what they’re going to do and how they’re going to do it. It’s very hard to conceive how a handful of ideas can go into a “best-of-you” version on paper in that short amount of time, and to have those ideas so well formulated that someone who’s an expert in the field will agree with you.

I’d say the first two weeks are the worst though – creating a draft from nothing – that’s pretty hard. By the end of it, I had 10 drafts of the Personal Statement, and 13 of the Research Statement.

DFO: You were successful, but did you find that applying benefited you in other ways?
Paco:
Having a polished research statement at the start of my graduate program really helped me define the objectives I wanted to accomplish toward my greater goals, and what those goals are. I find a lot of graduate students get into stuck in the mental limbo in the beginning – what to do, what profs to work with – so having all of that figured out was a great bonus.

When I was prepping to do one of the info sessions [with the DFO], I had just worked through a bunch of deadlines and finished doing a lot of nitty gritty stuff. Reading my personal statement reminded me why I’m pursuing what I’m pursuing, why I’m working so hard and am willing to make sacrifices more than perhaps some of my friends. To reflect back on your experiences, your goals, and trajectory forward, and knowing you’ve defined this for yourself, that’s really rewarding. And I felt that way even before I got accepted.

DFO: Did it help you to share your application with other people?
Paco:
When I first started the process, I didn’t open up to anyone. The personal statement is so well, personal, and it’s essentially a boast about yourself, the best qualities that you have relative to everyone else, so you don’t really want to open yourself up to criticism.

You’re afraid that people will say, “That’s not a good idea,” or, “You shouldn’t write about that.” So I really had to get over that fear, which is what happens when you go to a workshop, because you get put on the spot. Then you realize, everyone’s in the same position!

Once you share your drafts with a couple of people, it really does become easier. The process becomes much more of a discussion, and you find that people you didn’t expect can help you figure out what you should include. For me one of those people was an old roommate – I happened to tell him about the essays and he reminded me about being a leader at Tau Beta Phi. I ended up writing about that role because it really connected all my experiences.

DFO: Who were your key supports during the application process?
Paco:
My advisor, Dr. Baris Taskin, was super helpful throughout the entire process, though lots of people contributed different parts to how I crafted my essays. But he really gave me the space to focus on my application, and every day he’d ask me, “Ok, what do you have? I’ve got 20 minutes to look at it.” And he would read it and let me know what he liked, what wasn’t working, he’d suggest new ideas, or remind of experiences that I should include.

DFO: Now that you have the NSF GRFP, what is it like? What does it enable you to do that you couldn’t have done otherwise?
Paco:

I have more time, flexibility, financial freedom, which is a real luxury for grad students. And that opens up more international opportunities, like the NSF GROW program, which I’ve been looking into.

I also have special access to certain resources, like the XSEDE Super Computing Cluster – which is a bunch of super computers based at different universities that are networked to each other. This is very useful for our field because we are always running tons of computations, hundreds of them at a time, as a matter of fact. You usually have to pay to use it, but I have free access, which I’m pretty excited about.

DFO: What’s your advice for this year’s applicants?
Paco:
The number one thing: go bug the DFO folks. They’re much better than many fellowships offices, and everyone there really wants to help you. Also, use the Writing Center! They helped me cut down unnecessary details, which is hard because you value everything you’ve written so much and you don’t want to trim things. The DWC is really helpful for this, and they can also be a great sanity check in the process.

At the end of the reading your essays, a reader should know who you are, why you deserve this, what you’re working on and what’s your motivation – that’s what really matters.

 

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