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Fellowship writing programs reward all students


By Joye Purser
Campus Life Staff

A lot of time and effort has been put into programs such as the Graduate Studies Writing Program and Woodruff Writing Program, designed specifically to help students apply for and obtain funding for undergraduate and graduate research projects.

Programs headed and developed by individuals such as William Wepfer, Jeffrey Donnell, Amanda Gable, and Helen Grenga, have grown in leaps and bounds and have gotten impressive results.

The Graduate Studies Writing Program, directed through the Department of Graduate Studies, includes "workshops and individual assistance on how to prepare for competitive graduate school and national fellowship applications," according to literature supplied by Dr. Donnell.

The workshops, held several times a year, cover topics such as how to form an essay describing research experience and how to develop fellowship applications.

Advertisements for these workshops are posted periodically in many departments on campus and in the Student Center.

Although most of the workshops are offered in early Fall, Dr. Donnell explained that since the school quarters affected by the Olympic games will likely be hectic and confusing times for many students, several workshops will be scheduled for spring quarter so students may be inspired to remain focused on their goals."

The primary thing I want students to do is to think ahead, to plan, and to collect information early rather than wait," said Don nell. He also stated that, for students considering graduate programs, the sophomore or junior year is not too early to begin planning for their graduate careers.

Donnell recommended addressing some points to become competent in the fellowship proposal game: Contact me or Amanda Gable." Let all of your school's faculty know what you plan to do.

Through talking about your goals you will likely receive strong advice and support as well as have a much easier job of obtaining faculty recommendations.

Look for advertisements for programs such as the Graduate Studies Writing Program or Woodruff Writing Program (developed within the Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering).

Get in contact with officials of your major school's professional programs, such as ASME, AMSA, ACS, or IEEE. Donnell feels that organizations such as those offer a reasonable and appropriate environment for successful career development." Think about what you want to do in the future (even if it is very abstract), why you want to do it, and what type of experience you have.

Never work alone. Now is the time to consider faculty and researchers as mentors and colleagues. Always seek advice if needed or if in doubt.

In short, Donnell suggested that the three keys to publishing effective grant proposals revolve around the examining of professional goals, support of faculty, and support of Dr. Gable or himself. "We are strongly committed to helping present themselves well."

William came to the department in the summer of 1990 for the purpose of helping students get funding. Helen Gringa, Associate Vice President of Graduate Studies, modified the program to address the needs of the entire campus. Between then and now, ""The program has grown somewhat," says Donnell, and Dr. Amanda Gable came to Georgia Tech.

Gable is a Program Coordinator for Graduate Studies and hosts the workshops along with Donnell, which are open to all students. Donnell cited that since 1990, about 45 National Science Foundation fellowships have been won by students in the School of Mechanical Engineering (ME). Last year alone, $1.5 million in

funding was won by ME students. Last spring, 11 ME's got fellowships. Donnell noted that, last year, approximately 50% of those went to undergraduates.

"I think we rank very, very well nationally," commented Donnell. He speculated that the Georgia Tech School of Mechanical Engineering ranks in about the top 10 for schools having NSF grant winners. Currently, about 50 student in the department are funded by NSF.

Not only do graduate fellowships honor and support student researchers, but they also raise the integrity of the school. Any student who would like more information should call Dr. Jeffrey Donnell at 853-9499 or write him at jd31@prism.gatech.edu or

contact Dr. Amanda Gable at 894-0014 or amanda.gable@grad.gatech.edu.

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Copyright © 1995 by Stephanie L. Goff, Editor and by the Student Publications Board