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Published on June 29th, 2016 | By: Eileen De Guire


HTCMC-GFMAT student view—NSF perspectives and guidance to young academics

Published on June 29th, 2016 | By: Eileen De Guire

[Image above] Surojit Gupta (standing) asks a question at the Young Investigators Forum. Credit: ACerS


Student report by Johnny Nelson, University of North Dakota


Alexis Lewis, one of the directors from the National Science Foundation, gave an exciting presentation with the theme for young professionals of “Funding, Academia, Industry, and Beyond” this afternoon. In it, she presented an NSF overview of the many opportunities available to faculty, graduate, Ph.D., and even post-doc students available through their Materials Engineering and Processing program. I didn’t even realize all the opportunities that the NSF had available for that type of continuing education and research, but, then again, I’ve not been a graduate student very long.


She also brought our attention to some of the different avenues for how students (in conjunction with faculty) can submit for their work to be considered for NSF grants—some of which are surprisingly generous. As an aside, the NSF is the smallest of the federal agencies administering this kind of grant—and that makes the work they approve, as well as their application screening process, very high caliber. Here’s a link to a guide that Lewis strongly encourages potential students and faculty to look over when submitting a project to the NSF. 


The overall takeaway I got from Lewis’s presentation is that the Materials Engineering and Processing program at the NSF is strongly encouraging high-quality science in collaboration with many different engineering fields, the sciences, math, and chemistry—and the opportunities are exciting. 


Matt Fuka, who blogged from the conference yesterday, was also very excited to hear what the presenters have to say. Although, I got a little lost when the topics veered into some unfamiliar territory. Both Matt and I have Dr. Surojit Gupta (who lectures at the University of North Dakota) as our advisor—and this being our first conference, we were pleased to hear his name come up time and again among the presenters. We were also surprised to see just how many colleagues of Dr. Gupta’s are in attendance at this conference.


Alexis Lewis set the bar pretty high with her presentation on expectations from the NSF when it comes to submitting projects for funding, but the presenters after her didn’t let us down. It was exciting to see such high-quality work by other young professionals, all of whom presented today have completed some amazing research with many great ideas for the future.


Overall the experience was positive, engaging, and let me see what happens when an organization like the NSF gets behind talented and determined students. These opportunities let students fulfill their lifelong dreams and ambitions to help others in science, medicine, industry, and the environment.

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