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U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Research and Development
National Center for Environmental Research
Science to Achieve Results (STAR) Program

CLOSED - FOR REFERENCES PURPOSES ONLY

Science To Achieve Results* (STAR) Graduate Environmental Education Fellowships Announcement and Instructions for the 1997-1998 Academic Year

Deadline for Submission: January 3, 1997

For additional information, call: 1-800-490-9194

* Science To Achieve Results -- EPA's commitment to environmental science and technology research and education


TABLE OF CONTENTS


ACADEMIC FELLOWSHIPS: FOR GRADUATE ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION

Announcement of Availability

Abstract

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as part of its Science to Achieve Results (STAR) program, is offering Graduate Education Fellowships for masters and doctoral level students in environmentally-related fields of study. The deadline for receipt of pre-applications is January 3, 1997. Subject to availability of funding, the Agency plans to award between 50 and 100 new fellowships. Masters level students may receive support for up to two years. Doctoral students may be supported for a maximum of three years. The fellowship program provides up to $34,000 per year of support, depending on the number of months covered by the student's enrollment. This amount covers a $17,000 annual stipend and $5,000 for authorized expenses, paid to the student, and up to $12,000 for tuition and fees paid directly to the institution.

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General Description of the Program

Introduction

The EPA invites pre-applications for graduate fellowships in academic disciplines relating to environmental management including physical, biological, and social sciences; mathematics and computer science; engineering; and environmental law. A pre-application provides the information needed for the merit review. Finalists will be required to submit a brief formal application for assistance.

These fellowships are intended to help defray costs associated with advanced environmentally oriented study leading to the masters or doctoral degree. EPA expects to award approximately 50 - 100 new fellowships in 1997. Instructions for completing and submitting pre-applications are found in the sections that follow. Instructions must be followed exactly or the submission will not be reviewed.

Purpose of the Program

The purpose of the fellowship program is to encourage promising students to obtain advanced degrees and pursue careers in environmentally related fields. This goal is consistent with the mission of EPA, which is to provide leadership in the nation's environmental science, research, education, assessment, restoration, and preservation efforts. Both the public and private sectors will need a steady stream of well-trained environmental specialists if our society is to meet the environmental challenges of the future.

Eligibility

Applicants must be citizens of the United States or its territories or possessions, or lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence. Resident aliens must include their green card number in their pre-application. This number will be verified with the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

Students do not need to be enrolled in or formally accepted in a full-time graduate program at the time they apply for a fellowship, but proof of enrollment or acceptance must be produced prior to the award of the fellowship. Students must attend a fully accredited U.S. college or university. Students must be pursuing a masters or doctoral degree in an environmentally related field of specialization (see fields of specialization below). Students who have been enrolled for more than two years in the masters program or four years in the doctoral program are not eligible.

The research may be conducted outside the United States. However, EPA allows only $5,000 for all expenses, including travel. See "Stipends and Allowances" below for details.

Full time or permanent Federal employees are not eligible for this fellowship. If you are employed by the U.S. government when you apply, you must be able to prove separation before you accept this fellowship.

Acceptance of this fellowship does not necessarily preclude acceptance of other scholarship, fellowship, traineeship, or grant aid. However, this fellowship may not be awarded to anyone who will simultaneously be receiving other federal assistance.

Eligible women, minorities, and disabled students are strongly encouraged to apply.

Tenure

The term of a graduate fellowship is negotiated with students and ordinarily covers a period of 9 to 12 months for each fellowship year. Funds for unused months are forfeited. Students seeking a masters degree may be supported for a maximum of two years. Students seeking doctoral degrees may receive support for up to three years.

Stipend and Allowances

The fellowship provides up to $34,000 per year of support. A maximum of $68,000 will be provided for masters fellows (two years) and up to $102,000 (three years) will be provided to doctoral students. The $34,000 annual support covers stipend, tuition, and expenses as follows:

  • Stipends during 1997-1998 will be $17,000 for 12-month tenures and prorated monthly at a maximum of $1417 for shorter periods. Stipends are paid directly to the Fellow. At its discretion, each fellowship institution may supplement a Fellow's stipend from institutional funds in accordance with the supplementation policy of the institution.
  • An expense allowance of up to $5,000 will be provided in a lump sum to the student to pay for items and activities for the direct benefit of the student's education, such as health insurance, books, supplies, equipment, and travel to technical meetings. In some cases, the student may want to arrange for the school to maintain an expense account for the student's use. Specific instructions for reporting and accounting expenditures from the expense account will be provided at the time of award.
  • Support for tuition and academic fees, up to $12,000 per year, will be paid directly to the institution.

Criteria for Evaluation and Selection:

Each student will be evaluated in terms of his or her potential for successful graduate study, as evidenced by academic records, recommendations, and career goals and objectives. Students at each educational level will be evaluated further according to the criteria described below under "Mandatory Format for Submission of Pre-Applications".

Pre-applications and letters of recommendation will be reviewed by experts from the appropriate degree fields. Students applying for fellowships must select a field of specialization from the table below. Reviewers are recruited based on the specialty fields represented by the pre-applications. Pre-applications from all specialties are judged within the following four categories:

  1. Entering masters students
  2. Continuing masters students
  3. Entering doctoral students
  4. Continuing doctoral students
Reviewers will recommend the best students from each of these four categories. Finalists will be selected based on the merit evaluations, program goals, and availability of funds. Only finalists will be required to submit the following:

  1. EPA Form 5770-2, "Fellowship Application"
  2. EPA Form 5700-49, "Certificate Regarding Debarment, Suspension, and Other Responsibility Matters"
  3. Sealed official transcripts from all institutions (if so instructed by EPA)
EPA will provide the necessary forms to finalists.

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Where and When to Submit

Pre-applications must be received at the contact point no later than 4:00 p.m., EST, on January 3, 1997. Pre-applications may be submitted by regular mail, express mail, or other courier services. If using regular mail, allow sufficient time for delivery since all pre-applications must arrive by 4:00 p.m., EST on January 3, 1997.

Send the original AND SIX (6) COPIES OF ALL required materials to:

    STAR Fellowships
    NCER (8703)
    Room 2411, Waterside Mall
    US EPA
    401 M Street, SW
    Washington, DC 20460
A telephone contact number is necessary for most courier deliveries. You may use 202/260-0563 for that purpose. NOTE: This is not an appropriate contact number for other information.


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Notification and Award Dates

If you comply with the requirement to include a stamped, self-addressed postcard with your pre-application, you will be notified when we receive your package. Periodic updates of review status will be posted on the NCER Home Page (http://www.epa.gov/ncerqa). Subject to the availability of funding, awards should be made by August 1, 1997 for the fall term.


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Page Limitation

Typeface must be 12 point or equivalent, with one-inch margins all around. The length of the individual components of the pre-application is specified in the "Format for Submission of Proposals" which follows. If any of these limitations are exceeded, the proposal will be ineligible. Do not reduce materials. Do not submit materials bound or in ring binders.


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Submission Requirements

All pre-applications must be submitted in the exact format described below under "Mandatory Format for Pre-Applications". All necessary information is provided in that section. In addition, a sample pre-application appears at the end of this announcement to clarify the instructions. Pre-applications must be accompanied by three letters of reference as described below. These letters must be in individual envelopes sealed by the writers.


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Mandatory Format for Pre-Applications

ITEMS 1 THROUGH 5 SHOULD COMPRISE THE FIRST PAGE

Item 1.a. PERSONAL DATA -- provide your full name (last name first), current address, permanent address, and home and work telephone numbers. If you can be reached by fax or e-mail, include that information as well. (Optional -- for statistical reporting purposes only, we ask you to include your gender and race, e.g., black, white, hispanic, native American.)

Item 1.b. CITIZENSHIP STATUS -- state whether you are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. If you are a citizen, give the city of your birth. If you are a nonresident alien, provide your green card number. EPA may choose to verify this information.

Item 2. DEGREE SOUGHT -- state either masters or doctoral (or MS, MA, PhD, etc). Include the month and year the degree is expected to be awarded.

Item 3. LEVEL OF EDUCATION AT START OF FELLOWSHIP -- entering masters, continuing masters, entering doctoral, or continuing doctoral.

Item 4.a. FIELD OF SPECIALIZATION CODE -- from list below. You MUST choose only one. Your pre-application will be reviewed by individuals from the field you select.

Item 4.b. NAME OF SPECIALIZATION -- from list below.

Item 5.a. CURRENT SCHOOL AND DEPARTMENT -- Name and location of your current university, school, and department.

Item 5.b. ADVISOR -- If you have a graduate advisor, give his or her name, address, and telecommunications data, including phone, fax, and e-mail, if available.

Item 6. TRANSCRIPT INFORMATION -- Provide copies of transcripts from all the institutions at which course credits were earned. These transcripts should include dates, names and catalog numbers of courses taken, credit hours, and grades received. Include data from your entire college career. These transcripts DO NOT need to be official copies but must be complete for all institutions and course work. Fellowship finalists will be required to submit official copies of transcripts for validation prior to the award of the fellowship.

Item 6 may take as much space as necessary.

ITEM 7 MUST BE COMPLETED ON ONE PAGE. IF YOU HAVE ROOM, YOU MAY INCLUDE ITEM 8 ON THE SAME PAGE.

Item 7. Experience -- List specifically relevant experience, including paid employment, military service, internships, residencies, special studies, volunteer work, etc. Give dates and a short description of your duties in each position, listing most recent first. Give names and addresses of employers. List only relevant experience.

Item 8. STATEMENT OF OBJECTIVES -- This is a brief explanation of your academic and career goals and how your proposed course of study or research will help you to achieve these goals. Include any background information you believe is pertinent and provide insight into why you have chosen the goals you are pursuing. You will be evaluated on the seriousness of your dedication to your studies and to an environmentally-oriented career. This statement will also provide insight into your organization, analytical, and written communication skills.

On one page or less, state your future goals in the academic and environmental career you have chosen and how your proposed study or research project will help you to attain those goals. Include any background information you believe is pertinent and some insights into your reasons for pursuing the goals you have chosen.

Item 9. NARRATIVE STATEMENT -- The narrative statement will differ slightly at each academic level. All students must include a description of the scientific and, if appropriate, societal importance of their field of study. At the various levels, reviewers will be looking for answers to the following questions:

  • Entering Masters Students: What are the degree requirements in your program? What is your planned course of study during the period of the fellowship? Do you know if you will be undertaking a special project? If so, describe it briefly. If you do not know, what project would you like to propose? Why would it be important?
  • Continuing Masters Students: What are the degree requirements in your program? How will your planned curriculum build on what you have already taken? Are there any research projects or work study assignments that you plan to do this year as part of your curriculum? How will it be relevant to your academic and career goals?
  • Entering Doctoral Students: Why do you want a doctoral degree? What are the degree requirements in your program? How does this program build on your former education? If you could get involved in research project this year, what would it be? Why is it important? How will it advance your academic and career goals?
  • Continuing Doctoral Students: Provide a scope of work for your research project. The scope of work must be structured as follows:
      A. Goal of research -- Introduce the problem. What is your hypothesis?
      B. Rationale -- What is the technical or social need for this research? What other published work has been done on this subject and how do these results relate to your project?
      C. Approach and Expected Results -- How will you test your hypotheses? What scientific or other benefits are expected from this work?
Each academic level will have specific evaluation criteria pertaining to the narrative statement, as described in the section above. The page limitations for each educational level are as follows:
    Entering Masters Students -- 2 pages
    Continuing Masters Students -- 2 pages
    Entering Doctoral Students -- 2 pages
    Continuing Doctoral Students -- 5 pages
These page limitations include all figures and tables. References may be on a separate page or pages.

Reference Letters: Each pre-application must include three reference letters. If the applicant has a sponsor or advisor in the program, then one of these letters must come from that individual. The remaining letters should come from individuals who are familiar with the applicant's academic record. If you have no sponsor yet, then submit three letters. Each original letter and six (6) copies must be contained in an envelope sealed by the writer and must be included in the pre-application package. NOTE: Fellowship regulations require that an application must contain at least three reference letters or it cannot be reviewed.

Self Addressed, Stamped Post Card: Include this in your package so that we can notify you that we received your pre-application.


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For Further Information

For additional information or assistance in preparing your pre-application, first consult the "Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)" on the NCER Home Page (http://www.epa.gov/ncerqa). EPA also maintains a toll-free Help Line on which you may leave a recorded question and telephone number where you can be reached. For Help Line assistance, dial 1-800-490-9194.


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Field of Specialization Codes

Engineering Life Sciences
01 Agricultural 61 Ecology/Ecosystems
02 Chemical 62 Toxicology
03 Mechanical/Environmental 63 Pathology (includes plant
04 Civil/Environmental and animal)
05 Risk Management (e.g., pollution 64 Zoology
prevention, life cycle analysis) 65 Molecular Biology/Genetics
10 Mathematics 66 Microbiology/Cell Biology
20 Computer Science and Engineering 67 Forestry
(includes information systems) 68 Entomology
30 Chemistry/Materials Science

69 Biochemistry, Biophysics, Bioengineering

Earth Sciences Social Sciences
41 Oceanography (includes physical 71 Economics
chemical, and biological systems) 72 Anthropology
42 Geography 73 Sociology
43 Atmospheric Sciences 74 Social Psychology
44 Geology (includes geochemistry
and geophysics) Environmental Policy
50 Risk Assessment (includes exposure 81 Risk Communication
assessment, effects assessment) 82 Environmental History
83 Urban and Land Use Planning
84 Environmental Law


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Sample Pre-Application

The pages that follow constitute a sample pre-application for graduate fellowship.

NOTE!!!! : Smart as he is, this hypothetical student probably would NOT get an EPA fellowship because his curriculum has no obvious relationship to environmental concerns. His only chance would be if his narrative statement clearly made that connection. The purpose of this sample is to demonstrate format, not content.

BECKETT, SAMUEL JOHN Page 1 of x

PRE-APPLICATION FOR GRADUATE FELLOWSHIP

1.a. Name, Addresses, and Telecommunications Data:

BECKETT, Samuel John

Current Address:
68 Dane Avenue
Somerville, MA 02899

Permanent Address:
c/o John Beckett
RR 2, Box 98
Elk Ridge, Indiana 54096

Home Phone: 617/222-2222
Work Phone: 617/333-3333
Fax: 617/444-4444
E-mail: qstrings@ql.com

Phone: 219/555-5555

White male

1.b. Citizenship Status: U.S. Citizen, born in Elk Ridge, Indiana (Note: if this student were a permanent resident alien, he would indicate his green card number here.)

2. Degree Applying For: Doctoral degree (or PhD, ScD, etc.), expected 6/97

3. Level of Education at Start of Fellowship: continuing doctoral

4.a. Field of Specialization Code: 10

4.b. Name of Specialization: mathematics

5.a. Current School and Department: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, School of Mathematics and Physics, Department of Theoretical Mathematics, Cambridge, MA

5.b. Name and Address of Graduate Advisor (Sponsor):

J. C. Armstrong
Chairman, Department of Theoretical Mathematics
464-82
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cambridge, MA 02899
Office Phone: 617/666-6666 Fax: 617/777-7777
E-mail: Xxxxxxx@mit.edu

******************************************************************************

BECKETT, SAMUEL JOHN
Page 2 of x

6. Transcripts - Insert or attach copies of transcripts

******************************************************************************

BECKETT, SAMUEL JOHN
Page w of x

7. Other Relevant Experience:

  • 1/96 to Present: Teaching Assistant
    MIT, Department of Mathematics
    Philip LoNicro, 617/888-8888

  • 11/95 - 1/96 : Invited Consultant
    Made design modifications to satellite guidance system
    US Navy, Adm. Albert Calavicci 202/999-9999

  • 6/95 - 9/95 : Internship
    Worked on Jet Propulsion Laboratory classified high energy Pasadena, CA.
    B.F. Gooshman, systems mentor, 818/222-2222

  • 3/95 : Invented a plasma energy drive system
    Patent Number 876GB5F457YD398
etc. Limited to one page.

******************************************************************************

BECKETT, SAMUEL JOHN
Page y of x

8. Statement of Objectives (Do NOT exceed one page)

(This is a written account of your academic and environmental career goals, in which you relate your past accomplishments and future plans and describe how your proposed plan of study or research will tie these together. This section is a key criterion for review, so be as articulate and thorough as possible.)

******************************************************************************

BECKETT, SAMUEL JOHN
Page z of x

9. Narrative Statement (Text and page number requirements differ for different educational levels. Be certain you follow instructions for this section exactly. It is a key review section.)

Sam Beckett, our hypothetical candidate, must provide a detailed scope of work for his proposed research because he is a continuing PhD student. He may not exceed five pages in describing the goals, rationale, and approach for his project. References for the project may be provided on additional pages.

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