UO workshop can help graduate students get NSF grants

Lab scene

A three-part workshop to help University of Oregon students apply for the prestigious National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program returns to campus this fall for its second year.

Of the 20 graduate students who participated in the workshop last year, six received the foundation grant.

Nationwide, the grant is given to only 2,000 graduate students. In 2015 only 2,000 of 16,000 applicants were accepted.

Recipients receive a three-year, $34,000 annual stipend as well as a $12,000 educational allowance at their universities.

“It is the gold standard in graduate research fellowships,” said UO professor Elliot Berkman. “So, if you’re going to go to grad school to do research, this is the fellowship you want to get.”

Applications require a two-page research proposal as well as professor recommendations and more. This workshop gives interested students an opportunity to learn about the grant, ask questions with previous and current recipients and get hands-on draft feedback.

The workshop has been offered in the psychology department for many years; however, Berkman and his colleagues expanded the workshop to the whole school last year.

Undergraduates looking toward graduate school and future research are also welcome to the workshop.

“It provides direct training in grant writing for students looking to go into research,” Berkman said.

Graduate students can apply for the grant twice during their graduate program.

Recipients who plan on mentoring at the event include Brendan Cullen, psychology; Krista DeStasio, psychology; Sarah Horn, psychology; Michelle Muth, geology; and Jonny Saunders, psychology and biology.

“This is a really useful exercise to go through because you can learn about grant writing and it gives you an opportunity to really refine your thinking about a particular project,” Berkman said. “I think it’s worthwhile for everybody.”

Students are required to RSVP no later than 5 p.m. Sept. 3. The three sessions will take place Mondays on Sept. 24, Oct. 1 and Oct 15.

To learn more about the event, see the NSF workshop announcement. To register for the event, see the sign-up sheet.