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UMBC LSAMP BD Applications for 2015-2017

posted Apr 8, 2015, 7:57 PM by BD Fellows Staff
The USM BD Fellowship program at UMBC is accepting applications for 12 graduate fellowships that will be available through the National Science Foundation's LSAMP Bridge to the Doctorate Program, starting Fall 2015. 


DISCLAIMER: Awarding of Bridge to the Doctorate Fellowships is subject to available funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF).  In the event that the NSF does not provide funds to sponsor a cohort for 2015-2017, UMBC will not be able to make awards through this program. Applicants are encouraged to plan for financial needs in advance, and pursue a variety of funding options. 


 

APPLICATION:
The Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation - Bridge to the Doctorate (BD) fellowships pay for tuition, individual health insurance, and includes a $30,000/year stipend for two years. 

Eligibility:

  • You participated in a Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program.
  • You have a B.S. degree in a science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) field.
  • You do not already have an advanced degree, e.g., M.S. or Ph.D.
If you meet these requirements,  you are eligible to apply for the fellowship.   Go to the documents section of the LSAMP Bridge to the Doctorate website: (http://sites.google.com/site/marylandbdfellows/home/documents-1), and click "Electronic BD Application_2015.docx."  

Applications are due by May 1, 2015. 


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:


Q: On the application, under "Application Checklist," who should write the letter to satisfy the following requirement:

Nomination letter from a faculty member in the UMBC graduate department?


A:  This letter, which can be in the form of a short email, should come from one of three people: 

  1. Your UMBC graduate department chairperson, 
  2. Your UMBC graduate program director (GPD), or 
  3. Your new UMBC research advisor if you already have one. 
A list of the graduate program directors (GPDs) can be found here:  http://www.umbc.edu/gradschool/contact/gpd.html.  The email needs to state that the department nominates you for the award, and that following the Bridge to the Doctorate (BD) award period (August 2015 - August 2017), the department will support your Ph.D. studies with funding in the form of a Teaching Assistantship (TA), Research Assistantship (RA), or external fellowship . In other words, once you have received funding from the BD program, your department needs to provide a commitment in writing for up to three more years of funding. 

Please note that the additional funding for subsequent years can be set at the department's designated funding rate which can be 30-50% less than the NSF BD stipend. Departments are generally unable to fund these additional three years at the $30,000 BD stipend rate, which is a significant award. We have had BD Fellows in the past from the following departments, EE, MechE, ChemE, Information Systems, Systems Engineering, Math, Stats, and Computer Science, so many of the department chairs and Graduate Program Directors are familiar with this process. Past BDs who have now graduated with PhDs, have had the following forms of additional support after finishing their BD terms: Meyerhoff Graduate Fellowship in the Biomedical Sciences, an external fellowship from an engineering or STEM organization (e.g., Google, NSF, GEM), TA in the department, RA with a faculty member in the department, RA with the research PI or advisor, fellowship through the department, or faculty member's research grant. The nomination letter from the faculty member can be emailed to marylandbridgetothedoctorate@gmail.com and cc'd to rtull@umbc.edu and chill@umbc.edu



For UMBC faculty members (Chairs, GPDs, or Advisors) who are writing the letters:  Please note that this commitment for "follow-on" funding from the department is completely contingent upon the student's successful completion of appropriate departmental milestones, such as good standing (GPA of 3.0 or better), and applicable department-wide exams for student at the end of a second year of graduate study. Your letter can clearly state this contingency. When planning for a BD Fellow, please note that the NSF BD funding will cover years 1 and 2 of their graduate studies. The department should then forecast, budget, and plan accordingly to fund years 3, 4, and 5 with the allocation of a departmental TA, GA, or other fellowship. 

Even though your respective department will commit to funding up to three additional years, BD Fellows must independently apply for additional, external funding for years 3, 4, and 5 while they still within their first two years of NSF's funding. This is a mandate for UMBC's BD program.  Because of this stipulation, some of the BD Fellows in past cohorts have been awarded additional funds beyond the two years of NSF's BD funding.  Several BD Fellows have been subsequent awardees of the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship (NSF GRFP), the Ford Foundation, the Meyerhoff Graduate Biomedical Fellows program, Google Fellowship, UNCF Fellowship, GEM Fellowship, or other program to cover all or part of those subsequent 3rd, 4th, and/or 5th years. Some students have taken jobs with local industries following the M.S., and have taken advantage of corporate tuition remission programs instead of using funding from the department. In these cases, the department's responsibility was relegated to teaching and mentoring, but the finances for those subsequent years were paid by another, external organization. 

Unless otherwise noted in your letter, the subsequent funding for years 3, 4, and 5 is based upon the student's immediate continuation in the PhD program, directly following the initial 2-year BD funding period. Therefore, students who enter the BD program in 2013 will be expected to have the following funding schedule:

Year 1, August 2015 - August 2016 - BD Funding from NSF Fellowship
  • Evaluation and Review
  • Determination to continue funding (paid by NSF) based upon achievement of appropriate milestones, good standing (GPA = 3.0 or higher), participation in BD activities (e.g., mentoring and training workshops and seminars.)

Year 2, August 2016 - August 2017- BD Funding from NSF Fellowship
  • Evaluation and Review
  • Determination to continue funding (paid by the department) based upon achievement of milestones in accordance to standard practices within the department that are apropos to a student completing the second year of graduate study,  including good standing (GPA = 3.0 or higher). 

Year 3, August 2017 - August 2018 - Funding from the academic department (TA, RA, or external fellowship)
  • Evaluation based on standard departmental practices
  • Student should be progressing through qualifying milestones, e.g. portfolio, exam (qualifying exams may take place during a different time period, depending upon the practice of the respective department.)

Year 4, August 2018 - August 2019- Funding from the academic department (TA, RA, or external fellowship)
  • Evaluation based on standard departmental practices
  • Student should be progressing through qualifying milestones, e.g. dissertation proposal (proposals may take place during a different time period, depending upon the practice of the department.)

Year 5, August 2019 - August 2020 - Funding from the academic department (TA, RA, or fellowship)
  • Evaluation based on standard departmental practices
  • Student should be progressing toward successful research for the dissertation.


BD Fellows will be expected to participate in workshops and sessions that will facilitate successful progression, professional development, and degree completion. Examples include the NSF GRFP Funding workshops, Summer Success Institute,  "Writing for Publication" workshops, Dissertation House, and other seminars. 



Sample nomination email from the UMBC GPD, UMBC Department Chair, or UMBC Faculty Advisor:

Dear Bridge to the Doctorate Committee:

The _________ department would like to nominate ____________ for the NSF Bridge to the Doctorate Fellowship. The ____________ department guarantees funding for her/him for three years following the two years of the NSF BD fellowship funding to finish his/her PhD if s/he is in good standing and meets all the necessary milestones during the first two years of his/her studies. 

Sincerely,

___Name_________
Position
Department



This nomination can be emailed to marylandbridgetothedoctorate@gmail.com and cc'd to rtull@umbc.edu and chill@umbc.edu
______________________________________________________________________________________________


Q: What do I need to do to become "certified" per the sentence under "Eligibility": 
Must be certified as a participant by the applicant’s undergraduate LSAMP program

A: You must have a letter or email of verification/certification to indicate that you participated in an LSAMP program during your undergraduate years, from your undergraduate LSAMP director or coordinator. That letter can come in the form of an email and it can be as short as one paragraph. It must come from the person who directs or coordinates your undergraduate LSAMP program. This person should be familiar with your participation in LSAMP at the undergraduate level. The email must come from the LSAMP director/coordinator of the school where you received your degree.  We cannot accept letters from directors of schools where you may have participated in a summer program if you did not receive a degree from that institution.  As an example, if you were an undergraduate student at the University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez, but participated in a summer program at Cornell, the letter/email must come from your LSAMP director at UPRM or within the UPR system.  This verification/certification should be emailed to:  marylandbridgetothedoctorate@gmail.com and cc'd to rtull@umbc.edu and chill@umbc.edu.
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