Panel Discussion on NSF/DOE Graduate Research Fellowship Programs

Sept. 29, 2023
Photo of the panelists

The panelists. From left to right: Tai Kong, Christopher Kane, Brianna Billingsley, Stefan Meinel, Shufang Su

On September 22nd, an illuminating panel discussion in the Physics Department brought together first- and second-year graduate students, along with several senior undergraduates, to explore the graduate research fellowship programs offered by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Department of Energy (DOE). Recent recipients of these prestigious fellowships, along with their research advisors and a seasoned proposal reviewer, shared their invaluable experiences and stories. Brianna Billingsley and Christopher Kane, graduate students, commenced the session with insightful overviews of the NSF GRFP and DOE CSGF fellowship programs, and then provided practical advice based on their own successes, covering everything from research data preparation to securing reference letters and crafting compelling proposals. They particularly emphasized addressing the NSF's dual review criteria of Intellectual Merit and Broader Impacts effectively. Faculty advisors, Professor Tai Kong and Professor Stefan Meinel, further enriched the discussion by sharing their perspectives on guiding students through the application process. Professor Shufang Su, an experienced NSF fellowship program reviewer, shed light on the overall review process and offered indispensable guidance on crafting winning proposals. The interactive Q&A session that followed allowed participants to delve deeper into their queries, and the consensus was clear: the panel had significantly enhanced their understanding of these very competitive fellowship programs, providing valuable insights to strengthen their own applications.

Weigang Wang