Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Fellowship Applications Submitted

As of yesterday, I am done with applying for things (hopefully for a little while). I sent off my application for the NDSEG fellowship, which was a request that the defense department give me about a hundred thousand dollars.

Applying for these fellowships is a funny thing, because at least in the sciences (and particularly at the CS department at Carnegie Mellon), no one needs them. We are already well paid. Receiving this fellowship will not allow me to pursue groundbreaking research for the benefit of our nation that I would not be able to otherwise. The benefit would mostly go to Carnegie Mellon and to my advisers -- they would no longer have to pay me, and as a result, could more easily support other students. Because of this, its interesting that the government has chosen to distribute money through graduate fellowships like this, rather than just giving it directly to academic departments of their choice.

The whole thing is a study in incentives. The main benefit of the fellowship goes to the school, but I apply because it will provide me with a line on my resume and a few hundred dollars extra a month. To apply, students need recommendations, and who better to write them than their advisers? But of course, advisers have a vested interest in having their students receive outside support.

We find out in April.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Actually, receiving a fellowship can make a huge difference for a student. It means the student can choose to work with whatever adviser he wants (irrespective of any funding issues), and that the student can pursue whatever research they want.

In my own case (I had an NDSEG fellowship) the fellowship was essential to my career: it allowed me to transfer to another department without having to worry about who was going to fund me (which, at the time, no one would have been willing to do).