Archive for June, 2006


Signatures until fall

June 29, 2006

Graduate students who need a university official’s signature on fellowship documents before fall quarter should use the name Steve Cassedy, Associate Dean of Graduate Studies, instead of Richard Attiyeh. Fellowships documents for Steve’s signature will still be routed through me.

CORRECTION (6/29): Steve Cassedy will be the Interim Dean of Graduate Studies for the month of July only. August fellowships should be signed by Richard Attiyeh, Interim Dean of Graduate Studies and Vice Chancellor for Research. In September, the new dean of graduate studies will begin work, and I will update then about the new signature procedures.


NPR Feature

June 23, 2006

The Fulbright program was featured on NPR’s Talk of the Nation yesterday. (Students who just returned from Africa talk about their experiences.) To listen to the clip, go here.


Fellowship of the Day: Part I

June 21, 2006

Until the end of fellowship season ’06-’07, look for a semi-regular post called “Fellowship of the Day.” (Actual daily status of this post will vary.) I’ll use this opportunity to highlight somewhat obscure award opportunities that most people don’t find or consider. I’ll attempt breadth of qualifications and subject matters, to whatever extent I can.

Today: American Association of University Women (AAUW) American Fellowships.

$20,000 dissertation fellowships for women in any subject who have advanced to candidacy and plan to use the money to finish a dissertation. Women investigating gender issues are especially encouraged to apply. Those looking for postdoc opportunities should check this out, as well: the stipend jumps to $30,000 if you’ll have received your Ph.D. at the time funds are disbursed.


Essay Help

June 21, 2006

I’m reitering the offer in my last post: if you need help drafting a funding proposal, I’m here to help. Technicalities about your subject matter should be addressed to your PI or departmental sponsor, but keep in mind when you’re writing these proposals that in most cases, you’re addressing a literate but general purpose audience.

Right now, I’m taking appointments, but if there’s sufficient interest I’ll set up regular office hours. Undergraduates working on a Fulbright proposal are also welcome.

Fulbright Season

I’m seeing a lot of questions about how Fulbright works at UCSD. You should complete your application online here, print out a copy, attach any other documents (transcripts, letters, etc.), and deliver to OGSR’s main office (520 University Center, over by the new pool and Canyonview) by 4:30pm on September 8, 2006. If you require an exception because you live outside the San Diego area, please email me.

Two professors with some interest or expertise either in your subject matter or your region will interview you after they finish reading your application. This is not a selection process, and is in fact here for your benefit, so that you can make changes after you receive feedback. You’ll receive a rating from 1 (best) to 4 (not recommended for further consideration) that will accompany you to the national screening committee.

After giving you the opportunity to make changes to your CV and statement of purpose, we forward the applications to IIE, where the national screening committee makes the first cut. At this point, you’ll receive word on whether you’ve been recommended or not. If you haven’t, your Fulbright application ends there. If you have, you still might not get a Fulbright. From here, the applications have to be approved by the embassy committees in the foreign countries and then money has to be found to support your studies.

Lots more Fulbright information will follow here, but please contact me with any questions while you’re writing.


Fulbright Sample Essays

June 20, 2006

By popular demand: I have a few successful Fulbright essays to share with Fulbright full grant applicants who want to see how other UCSDers got funding. Contact me if you want to see them.
My observations so far: Get to your point quickly. As graduate students, you’re trained to survey the research before you state your original conclusion, but instead of taking the scenic route, think like a journalist and put your conclusion up front. THEN show us how you came to it, using the literature.

In your CV, be as simultaneously creative and honest as possible. Avoid cliches (“through my hard work and determination, I reached my goal and got all As/ended world hunger/dominated the global market in widgets”). Talk about your intellectual development in terms of concretes. If your interest in Foucault’s “Discipline and Punish” is the result of your work interviewing prisoners, let’s hear about what those interviews were like. Think about those experiences that are out of the common way. We’ve all worked hard at something or other, but we haven’t all interviewed prisoners. That makes the experience particular to you, and interests the selection committee.

I’ve sent out a (literally) worldwide call to our past Fulbrighters, and more essays trickle in each day. I’m going to wait a week and then fulfill any requests for samples with a single Adobe doc of all of the samples I have. And in case you didn’t get the email from your grad coordinators, I’m also available for help with your essays. I have work experience as a statements of purpose editor, and while I might not be familiar with your subject matter, I can spot cliches from a mile away.


Getting signatures without pain and suffering

June 19, 2006

Some fellowship applications/progress reports will require the signature of an “institutional official,” “contracts and grants officer,” or some variation thereof. For graduate students on fellowships, this is always Richard Attiyeh, VC for Research. I’m responsible for getting his signatures on fellowship documents.

On our website, we state that we can only guarantee an on-time signature if you give the document to us 10 days in advance. This strikes many people as onerous, so I wanted to explain why this is: it’s a measure for your protection. If you’ve invested weeks in a fellowship application, I don’t want to be the one to tell you that your application can’t go forward because your P.I. isn’t UCSD eligible. It can take a week or more to sort out these sort of problems, and since it’s my job to catch these errors for you, I need time to help you fix them, too.

That said, I realize that most people want to work on their fellowship applications up until the last possible moment.

So today’s entry is about how to help you break the 10-day rule.

Here are the common errors I see on fellowship applications. If you correct them as you put together your application, I won’t have any reason to send you back if you just happen to give it to me, say, only 3 days in advance.

1. All other signatures before the VC’s signature. We’re signing off on the administrative aspects, but your Principal Investigator (PI) and department have to sign off on the academics so that we know your research is sound. We cannot sign if other signatures are missing.

2. PI must be UCSD eligible. This means that the faculty member’s appointment must be held through UCSD–not Scripps Memorial, as we often see. Here are the acceptable ranks:

Members of the Academic Senate:
Professor – all ranks
Professor in Residence – all ranks
Professor of Clinical X – all ranks but instructor
Research Professor
Professor Emeritus – all ranks
Senior Lecturer and Lecturer with Security of Employment
Acting Professor and Acting Associate Professor
(but not Acting Assistant Professor)
University Librarian (but no other librarians)
Registrar and Chief Admissions Officer
Vice Chancellor

In addition, salaried adjunct professors (but not those with the rank “Instructor”) can serve as PIs. Clinical professors with at least a 50% UCSD appointment can also be PIs. When in doubt, check with your proposed PI to learn his/her exact title, and contact me. Exceptions are available, but need to be put into motion well in advance.

3. Unless your PI has a prior agreement with UCSD, no campus matching funds should appear in any budget.

4. Animal/Human Subjects Approval. This does not need to be in place at the time you submit your grant, but it should be in process. Please contact IACUC directly. No funds will be dispensed without IACUC approval documents, should you receive a grant. School of Medicine fellowship applicants need to submit projects to UCSD’s IACUC, not the VA’s.

5. Report the correct costs. Resident fees for UCSD graduate students in 06-07 are $8,668.50. Non-resident tuition is $14,694 + $267 ed. fee. This is all you can generally report as a “direct cost” of education, unless the fellowship provides money for books or lab fees.

6. Submit the whole fellowship application. If we don’t have the entire application, we don’t know what we’re signing.

7. If the fellowship signature page contains the phrase “no per signature”, please get it to me at least five days in advance. This means that I can’t use VC’s signature stamp in his absence, and a VC’s schedule, as one might imagine, is rather full.

I hope this is useful to you. I leave you with Rule #8: When in doubt, ask.


DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service)

June 16, 2006

First off, this is a fantastic alternative to anyone who’s considering using a Fulbright to go to Germany. (Be sure to notify both foundations if you apply to both–if you’re awarded both, you’ll have the opportunity to choose.)

Second, the DAAD is actually four different grants. Let’s run through them:

1) The study scholarship. For graduating seniors and recent grads to pursue a year of independent study in Germany. The DAAD program representative I spoke with at UCLA last week said that DAAD is getting some of its most competitive applications for this grant.

2) Master’s degrees in Germany to encourage applicants to the new MA programs in Germany. For two years, with one 1 yr. renewal if necessary.

3) Artists and musicians scholarships. Highly competitive global pool of artists and musicians compete for this award. Shannon Hunt-Scott, the DAAD alumni officer, advises us that these awards are made by Germans (unlike the other awards) and that applicants should research contemporary artistic trends in Germany. Applicants should also contact Shannon Hunt-Scott before they apply.

4) Research grants. Either short term (1-6 mos.) or long term (6-10 mos.) Short term applicants should apply for the Aug. 1 deadline. For those pursuing a German Ph.D., three years of funding might be available. Health care, a travel stipend, and study allowance are provided, but no tuition. This grant is less competitive than the study scholarship.

UCSD applicants should apply through the Office of Graduate Studies and Research. Keep checking here for an update for our campus deadlines. The short term deadline for this year will probably be July 14.