GRFP Essay Insights: Application Resources for the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program
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Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith, '12 Fellow
Biomedical Engineering
University of Missouri

What does being funded by the NSF GRFP mean to you?

It means a lot to me to be funded by NSF. I feel honored that they have invested in me and believe that I can make a difference with my research. Even though getting the award feels like an accomplishment, the real work lies ahead in fulfilling our research duties and advancing technology.

What has been the greatest advantage of winning the award?

The greatest advantage of winning the award is the freedom to choose where you want to attend graduate school and what research you want to work on. Instead of seeking out graduate schools, they seek you out.

What advice do you have for a student who is not sure
about applying?

To a student who is hesitant about applying I would say if you are going to apply, do it well. Don't waste time by just throwing an application together because it most likely won't win. Take the time to think it through and have other look over it. If you think that you qualify and have a shot at the award, do yourself the favor and put the time in to give yourself a chance.


Where is she now?

Sarah conducts biomedical research. She is also a member of the 2014 cohort of Mizzou's Graduate Student Leadership Program.

Social network discussions
Advice from Fellows

An important reason to apply is that a significant part of the application is about assessing your confidence in yourself. Even if you don't receive the fellowship, applying can boost your confidence that you have the tools and ability to plan and propose research, which is essential to succeed in graduate school.

John Smeda

'11 Fellow, Plant Sci

Cornell University


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Updated August 7, 2014 | Site content and handouts created by Robin G. Walker, PhD
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