STEMPeers Fellows Program
Of the community, by the community, for the community

STEMPeers Fellow Program

June 2019

Overview

The STEMPeers community over the past four years has enabled the career development of several STEM professionals in the PhD CSG community through networking at STEMPeers conferences, science writing efforts at Club SciWri, science communication efforts at The Science Times, and mentoring through Gurukool. To commemorate the successful completion of four years of PhD CSG, and its community-wide efforts of fundraising, we proudly announce the STEMPeers Fellow Program. The STEMPeers Fellowship supports individuals with the following qualities:

  1. Career Development focused: Those who are seeking innovative and unconventional approaches to develop their careers post-PhD
  2. Scientific excellence focused: Those who are demonstrating exceptional scientific bent of mind.
  3. Community Development focused: Those who have come up with innovative ideas to help STEMPeers/CSG community grow.
  4. Social Entrepreneurship focused: Those who are using the skills learned during academic training for the betterment of the World.

The fellowship aims to provide supplemental funding towards work-related, or travel-related, or childcare-related, or brand-building-related activities that will enrich/support their career development efforts and help them overcome challenges associated with lack of career development resources at their geographical locations. Fellows should take advantage of the considerable intellectual and logistical resources of the PhD Career Support Group and expect to contribute meaningfully to the Foundation’s thinking in return. In evaluating each proposal, the selection committee weighs three factors: the applicant, the topic of the project, and the work product.

 

Goals

  1. Travel Awards: Aimed at providing travel expense support to the participants of STEMPeers conferences in USA and Europe (upto 500$ ea). The awardees will also receive a registration fee waiver for participating at a STEMPeers conference of their choice. The total number of awards in this category is two. There will be two additional awards of the same value to supplement the awardees’ (travel/accommodation) expenses to attend an international conference of their choice.
  2. Childcare Grants: With this category of fellowships, PhD CSG is providing grant support to help offset the cost of childcare, enabling scientists with dependent children to attend the STEMPeers conferences in USA and Europe (upto 250$ ea). Grants will be in the form of reimbursement of qualified expenses up to the designated limit to be remitted after the STEMPeers conferences in USA and Europe. Only one parent of a child or children may apply. You may apply for both a childcare grant and a travel award. Priority will be given to students and early-career scientists. The total number of awards in this category is four. There is one additional award (upto 250$) in this category (Shashi Bala Memorial Childcare Grant) sponsored by Drs Anshu Malhotra and Abhinav Dey in memory of Late Mrs Shashi Malhotra.  
  3. Club SciWri Scholarships: STEMPeers Fellows selected for this category will be given scholarships for their participation towards science communication and science writing efforts at Club SciWri (www.sciwri.club), CSG’s flagship blogging site with a proven track record of previous interns being placed at organizations like Nature, NPR, CCMB as well as initiating budding scicomm entrepreneurial brands like IpsaWonders and Fuzzy Synapse. There are four scholarships of 250$ value ea for these categories. Ananda Ghosh will sponsor one scholarship of 250$ dedicated to his mentor  Professor K. Muralidhar under Prof. K. Muralidhar Fellowship. 
  4. The Science Times Scholarships: STEMPeers Fellows selected for this category will be given scholarships for their participation towards science communication efforts at The Science Times. This Scicomm channel (https://www.instagram.com/thesciencetimes/) hosted on instagram has nearly 8700 followers and has a presence on the Facebook platform as well. We would like to stretch our presence to the twitter realm as well as further our promotion strategy. There will be between 2 – 5 fellowships awarded for science communication efforts evenly distributed to total an amount of $500.

The Applicant

The STEMPeers Fellowship chooses its fellows from a diverse pool of STEM* applicants that includes scientists, entrepreneurs, academics, and practitioners in a variety of fields.

Applicants should possess a PhD with good understanding of their chosen career and a willingness to amicably work with CSG mentors to create a track record of professional accomplishments.

Upon acceptance of the fellowship the candidates should acknowledge PhD CSG for STEMPeers Fellowship at various platforms (conferences/social media) where they present/share their accomplishments.

It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that they are eligible to receive this fellowship without violating any visa or any current employers’ rules. PhD CSG will not be responsible for any judicial matters or conflicts arising from this fellowship related to the agreements between the awardee and their organization.

*(alternative terms include but not limited to STEAM, STEMM, STEAAM; A= Arts/Agriculture, M=Medicine)

Milestones

  1. Travel Awards

The STEMPeers Fellows selected for Travel Awards are expected to write about their experience at the STEMPeers conference they attended as a blog and also provide continuous social media coverage as tweets/posts/instagram about the multiple sessions happening during the day.

  1. Childcare Grants

The STEMPeers Fellows selected for Childcare Grants are expected to share their experience with the PhD CSG community and help us improve this grants program for supporting parents attending STEMPeers conferences.

  1. Club SciWri Scholarships

The STEMPeers Fellows selected for scholarships at Club SciWri will be expected to build their own brands by:

  • Science Writing: Initiate new blog series and commit to running it on a regular basis for at least a year.  The rules of the fellowship will be governed by the editorial board of Club SciWri. (The total number of awards in this sub-category is two; each valued at 250$)
  • Science Illustration: They will help Club SciWri bloggers by creating visualizations for every story being published (the number of awards in this sub category is one; valued at 250$)
  • Social Media: Efficiently run the Twitter handle of @ClubSciWri and @Stempeer15, tag relevant organizations when a blog is posted and increase the followers of these Twitter handles (The total number of awards in this subcategory is one; valued at 250$)

 

  1. The STEM Times Scholarships

The Science Times fellows will be expected to build their own brand in either of the following ways. Candidates are free to propose other creative ways :

  • Manage the Twitter platform for The Science Times. This will involve sharing the instagram post described in fewer than 160 characters. Engaging with highly linked scientists, scicomm accounts, SciArtists and science journalists on twitter to increase engagement and visibility of the brand
  • Design promotional giveaways (zines, pins) etc. Research potential collaborations and design contests to increase brand visibility and engagement on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
  • Propose a new series of posts to feature on The Science Times with the potential to be able to generate 2 posts a month for 12 months that stay up to The Science Times standard.
  • Attend science communication conferences for personal growth as well as showcase The Science Times platform at these events.

 

How to apply?

Send in your CV, category of award and a statement of purpose (SOP; not more than one page) to stempeers@gmail.com with a subject line “STEMPeers Fellow Program Application”

What to write in the SOP?

-Which category of fellowship are you applying for?

-Why do you need the fellowship?

-Why do you deserve the fellowship?

-What are your goals with the fellowship and their timeline within the next one year?

Applicants should consult the deadlines posted on the fellowship website www.stempeers.org

Proposals will be evaluated within two months of the deadline for submissions (July 22nd 2019) . The fellowship program considers applications subject to funding availability.

Contact Information

For more information please contact: stempeers@gmail.com

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Is this meant for new interns or existing members of CSG initiatives?

Answer: The existing members can avail these scholarships as well. However, just so that the new applicants get a fair chance to compete we will ask the existing members to share their CV and SOPs as well.

  1. How will this be provided – cash/ visa restrictions for some?

Answer: The awards will be provided as a gift card (most probably). If the candidates are outside US, we will figure out ways to wire them the scholarship amount.   

The visa restrictions are there and we know it will be problem for some. That was the reason we named them Scholarships (not internships). Many of us win travel scholarships (like given by AACR-Scholar-In-Training Awards) to attend conferences and we are not restricted to receive them when on visa. In the first STEM Peers at Boston, the participants of the Elevator pitch competition received gift cards and all of them were on J or H visa. They too didn’t report any problem. Additionally, if you win a competition for a  scholarship we don’t think visa restrictions are a problem. Many scientific societies have these competitions and several visa holders win them.

Having said that, we have mentioned in the rules of the fellowships that it is the candidates’ responsibility to make sure that the award doesn’t conflict with their employers-employee relationship. Additionally, the nature or participation in CSG work through this scholarship will be open to CSG members who are in places beyond US, like Europe and India. They might not have a problem in receiving them.

  1. How do we ensure the performance of the fellow after fellowship award? Do they get this after a year?

Answer: The SOP submitted for the respective fellowship will require the applicant to spell out their goals with a timeline. Of course, every fellowship will have different goals and different timelines. For example, a SciWri writing fellowship applicant will  spell out the kind of series they want to write about and their frequency for the next one year. The jury will take a call if that plan is doable (neither overambitious nor below threshold) and decide if the applicant qualifies for the award. In case of a lack of clarity, the jury members will set up a conference call with the applicant and take a final decision.

The tentative plan is that the fellowship award money will be given in two phases (6 months) after satisfactory performance evaluation by the jury. If the awardee is to be re-reimbursed (travel, conference registration, accommodation, etc.) because they cannot earn (due to visa restrictions) then we will pay them based-on them sending us the receipts for these expenses (of course, we will also consult the respective jury if the candidate met the fellowship goals).

  1. Do their duties stop at the end of a year like a contract or do they stay on as a part of the team?

Answer: They are not bound to do any duties here, so there is no contract. It is a fellowship for their career advancement, not an internship. CSG expects them to fulfill their fellowship goals (they made while applying) to receive the award. If they want to, they can stay as a part of the team or move on after meeting the goals of their fellowship. Ultimate goal for CSG is that they become successful in their career transition and acknowledge the STEMPeers fellowship in print/electronic/social media (just like academics acknowledge grants in publications).

 

  1. What if I don’t find answers to my questions here?

Answer: You can email us at stempeers@gmail.com and we will respond with an appropriate answer.

Disclaimer:

  1. The jury’s decision on the selected candidates will be final and PhD CSG will not entertain any requests for reconsideration of application. We will have a waitlist of candidates and they will be contacted if additional funding becomes available (like sponsored fellowships, etc.) or if any of the main list candidates withdraw their applications.
  2. The PhD CSG board of directors reserve the right to make changes to the rules/conditions of the fellowship without prior notice.