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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

Fall 2001 STAR Fellowships for Graduate Environmental Study

Opening Date: August 15, 2000
Closing Date: November 20, 2000

Introduction
Eligibility
Application Package
Format for Pre-applications
Where and when to submit
Sample application

See current STAR Fellowship abstracts
 

ABSTRACT

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as part of its Science to Achieve Results (STAR) program, is offering Graduate Fellowships for master's and doctoral level students in environmentally related fields of study. The deadline for receipt of pre-applications is November 20, 2000. Subject to availability of funding, the Agency plans to award approximately 100 new fellowships. Master's level students may receive support for a maximum of 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. This amount covers a $17,000 annual stipend, $5,000 for authorized expenses, and up to $12,000 for tuition and fees. Actual annual support may vary based on length of fellowship award and tuition and fees.

GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF THE STAR FELLOWSHIPS PROGRAM

Introduction

The EPA invites pre-applications for graduate fellowships in academic disciplines relating to environmental research including physical, biological, and social sciences and engineering. A pre-application provides the information needed for the review of its merit. Top ranked applicants following the merit review will be required to submit a brief formal application.

These fellowships are intended to help defray costs associated with advanced environmentally oriented study leading to the master's or doctoral degree. 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 be lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence. Resident aliens must include their green card number in their pre-application. This number may 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 master's or doctoral degree in an environmentally related field of specialization (see fields of specialization below).

Students who have completed more than one year in the master's program or four years in the doctoral program are not eligible. Students enrolled in a master's program, however, may apply for a doctoral fellowship.

Employees of the U.S. government must be able to prove separation from Federal service before accepting 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.

DESCRIPTION OF A STAR FELLOWSHIP

Tenure

The term of a graduate fellowship is negotiated with students and customarily covers a period of 9 to 12 months for each fellowship year. Students seeking a master's degree may be supported for a maximum of two years. Students seeking doctoral degrees may receive support for a maximum of 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 master's 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: For the 2001-2002 academic year these will be $17,000 for 12-month tenures and prorated monthly at a maximum of $1,417 for shorter periods. Fundsfor unused months are forfeited. 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.
     
    • Tuition and Academic Fees: Up to $12,000 per year will be paid directly to the institution. For the purposes of this fellowship, health insurance is not considered to be an academic fee. Health insurance costs may, however, be paid from the expense budget.

    •  
    • Expense Allowance: Up to $5,000 will be provided to pay for items and activities for the direct benefit of the student's education, such as for health insurance, books, supplies, equipment, travel to technical meetings, and domestic and international travel required to conduct the proposed research. Specific instructions regarding the disbursement and management of the expense allowance will be provided during the award process.
Annual Fellowships Conference

Fellows are expected to attend an annual EPA STAR Graduate Fellows Conference as long as they are in the program, unless the immediate needs of their research project make attendance impractical. Resources to support this travel are to be taken from the expense allowance.

International Activities

The fellow's proposed research may be conducted outside the United States. However, EPA allows only $5,000 for all expenses, including travel. See "Stipends and Allowances" for details. If at any time during the research project, it becomes necessary for you to work outside the United States and its territories, you must notify your Project Officer who will obtain the necessary EPA and State Department approval before you can use fellowship funds to conduct these activities. In addition, for travel to international meetings, approval must be obtained from the EPA project officer.

THE STAR FELLOWSHIP APPLICATION PACKAGE

The application package for a STAR Fellowship consists of three major parts: 1) the pre-application, 2) three letters of recommendation, and 3) a self-addressed, stamped postcard. The pre-application provides the reviewers with information about you and your proposed research, the letters provide support for your pre-application, and the postcard allows us to keep you informed about the status of your pre-application. This section provides information you will need to complete each part of the application package.

Educational Levels
 

  • When completing your application package for a STAR fellowship you will be asked to describe your educational level. You may choose from one of the following:
  • 1. Entering Graduate Students are applicants who at the time of submission have completed or are in the process of completing their bachelor's degree, are seeking funding for a master's or doctoral program, and have completed no more than one year of graduate school. 
  • 2. Doctoral Students are those students who at the time of submission have completed or are in the process of completing their master's degree (or intend to enter a doctoral program without earning a master's degree), are seeking funding for a doctoral program, and have completed no more than one year of a doctoral program. 
  • 3. Continuing Doctoral Students are those students who at the time of submission are seeking funding for a doctoral program and have completed more than one year of a doctoral program. 
  • Sorting Codes

    You are also asked to select a Sorting Code for your application. This sorting code will be used to direct your application to the appropriate review panel. It is important that you select the most appropriate Sorting Code from the list shown below. If you select more than one Sorting Code it will be assigned to the first one you select, regardless of whether it is the most appropriate. 

    F01-STAR-A1 Environmental/Civil Engineering 
    F01-STAR-B1 Other Engineering (e.g., chemical, mechanical, agricultural, systems, risk management, etc.) 
    F01-STAR-C1 Chemistry and Materials Science 
    F01-STAR-D1 Oceanography (includes physical, chemical, and biological systems) 
    F01-STAR-E1 Geology (includes geochemistry and geophysics) 
    F01-STAR-F1 Geography 
    F01-STAR-F2 Atmospheric Sciences 
    F01-STAR-G1 Social Sciences (includes sociology, anthropology, psychology) 
    F01-STAR-G2 Economics
    F01-STAR-G3 Environmental Decision Making (includes risk communication, environmental policy) 
    F01-STAR-G4 Urban and Regional Planning 
    F01-STAR-H1 Aquatic Ecology and Ecosystems * 
    F01-STAR-H2 Terrestrial Ecology and Ecosystems *
    F01-STAR-J1 Toxicology 
    F01-STAR-J2 Biochemistry, Biophysics, Bioengineering 
    F01-STAR-K1 Zoology 
    F01-STAR-K2 Forestry 
    F01-STAR-K3 Entomology 
    F01-STAR-K4 Ecological Risk Assessment 
    F01-STAR-L1 Microbiology 
    F01-STAR-L2 Molecular Biology/Genetics 
    F01-STAR-L3 Public Health Sciences (includes epidemiology, exposure assessment, biostatistics and health risk assessment)

    * These categories are designed for applications pertaining to the inter-relationship of organisms and their environments, where there is not a more specific EPA code available, such as Oceanography, Entomology, etc.

    Mandatory Format for Pre-applications

    The pre-application part of your package consists of thirteen (13) items. The pre-application must be completed using a 12 point or equivalent typeface on 8-1/2 x 11-in paper with one-inch margins all around. Page limitations for individual components of the pre-application are specified below. Do not exceed these limits or the proposal will be ineligible. Do not submit permanently materials bound, or in ring binders.

    ITEMS 1-8 COMBINED MUST NOT EXCEED ONE PAGE

    Item 1 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., African-American, white, Hispanic, native American, Asian and Pacific Islander, etc.)

    Item 2 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 resident alien, provide your green card number. EPA may choose to verify this information.

    Item 3 DEGREE SOUGHT -- state either master's or doctoral (or M.S., M.A., Ph.D., etc.). Include the month and year you expect the degree to be awarded.

    Item 4 EDUCATIONAL LEVEL -- state either entering graduate student, doctoral student, or continuing doctoral student (as defined above).

    Item 5 SORTING CODE -- from list provided above. You MUST select only one. Your pre-application will be reviewed by individuals from the field you select. This code must also appear in the address for delivery of your pre-application, as specified below.

    Item 6 TITLE -- provide a descriptive title for your research project, or your research area of interest if the specific topic has not yet been selected. This title will be posted on the NCER web site in the event of an award.

    Item 7 CURRENT SCHOOL AND DEPARTMENT -- Name and location of your current university, school and department. 

    Item 8 NAME AND ADDRESS OF GRADUATE ADVISOR -- If you have a graduate advisor, give his or her name, address, and telecommunications data, including phone, fax, and e-mail, if available. If you do not yet have an advisor, write "NA". 

    ITEM 9 MUST NOT EXCEED ONE PAGE

    Item 9 STATEMENT OF OBJECTIVES -- Explain 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 your dedication to your studies and to an environmentally oriented career. This statement will also provide insight into your organizational, analytical, and written communication skills. 

    ITEMS 10 & 11 COMBINED, MUST NOT EXCEED ONE PAGE

    Item 10 EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE -- List the academic degrees you have received or expect to receive in the near future, including the date and the institution. Also list 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 11 PUBLICATIONS -- If you have published in the technical literature, provide a bibliography here. If you have not yet published, write "NA".

    ITEM 12 MUST NOT EXCEED 5 PAGES

    Item 12 NARRATIVE STATEMENT -- The narrative statement will differ slightly at each educational 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 GRADUATE 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 thesis/special project? If so, describe it. If you do not know, what project would you like to propose? Why would it be important? How is it relevant to the issues or problems that EPA deals with or regulates?

    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 become involved in a research project this year, what would it be? Why is it important? How will it advance your academic and career goals? How is it relevant to the issues or problems that EPA deals with or regulates?

    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 work has been published on this subject and how do these results relate to your project? 
    C. Approach - How will you test your hypotheses?
    D. Expected Results -- What scientific or other benefits are expected from this work?
    E. References (these must be included within the five page limit).

    ITEM 13 MAY USE AS MANY PAGES AS NECESSARY 

    Item 13 TRANSCRIPT INFORMATION -- Provide, in tabular form, the following information taken from your transcripts: identify the institutions at which the credits were earned, dates, names and catalog numbers of courses taken, credit hours, grades received, and cumulative GPA for all courses taken at each degree level. If possible, course titles should not exceed the space available. Abbreviations are allowed. If courses were audited or not completed, note this information. If any institution you attended had a grading system different from the traditional "A, B, C..." system, explain the system in a succinct footnote to Item 13. Do not leave anything out. Include data from your entire college career. DO NOT INCLUDE COPIES OF YOUR TRANSCRIPTS. Top-ranked applicants will be required to submit official copies of transcripts for validation prior to the award of the fellowship.

    Letters of Recommendation

    Each application package MUST include three reference letters from individuals who have knowledge of your academic record. If you have a sponsor or advisor in the program, one of these letters should come from that individual. EPA is bound by regulation to require three letters. If the pre-application does not include three letters, it will not be reviewed. The original and six (6) copies of each required letter must be contained in an individual envelope sealed by the writer and must be included in the pre-application package. We will not accept reference letters sent separately.

    Self-addressed and Stamped Postcard

    Include a postcard in your package so that we can notify you that your pre-application was received. If your postcard with the identifying application number is not returned within 30 days of the announcement deadline, you MUST call 1-800-490-9194 to verify that your package was received. If you do not include the postcard, you will not be notified that we received your package.

    SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS

    All pre-applications must be submitted in the exact format described. All necessary information is provided in the instructions. To illustrate the instructions, a sample pre-application appears at the end of this announcement. Pre-applications must include the original and six copies of each letter of reference enclosed in three individually sealed envelopes, as described above. 

    EVALUATION AND SELECTION PROCESS

    The pre-applications and letters of recommendation will be reviewed by non-EPA experts from the appropriate field of study. Students applying for fellowships must select a Sorting Code from the list provided. Reviewers are recruited based on the specialty fields represented by the pre-applications.

    Each student will be evaluated based on his or her potential for success in a graduate study program. The reviewers will consider academic records, recommendations, and career goals and objectives. Students at each educational level will be evaluated based on the information provided in the pre-application as described above under "Mandatory Format for Pre-Applications".

    Reviewers will recommend the best applicants from each of the three educational level categories. Finalists will be selected for award of a fellowship based on the availability of funds, reviewers' evaluations, and program goals, such as distribution of awards across disciplines, institutions and geography, degree level being sought, and other possible indicators of program balance. Only finalists will be required to submit the following: 

        • EPA Form 5770-2, "Fellowship Application;"
        • EPA Form 5700-49, "Certification Regarding Debarment, Suspension, and Other Responsibility Matters;" and
        • Sealed official transcripts from all institutions (if so instructed by EPA).
    The necessary forms are available on the NCER homepage (www.epa.gov/ncer/fellow/).

    WHERE AND WHEN TO SUBMIT

    Pre-applications must be received at EPA no later than 4:00 p.m.,EST,on November 20, 2000. Pre-applications may be submitted by regular mail, express mail, or uniformed courier services. If using regular mail, allow sufficient time for delivery since applications MUST be at EPA by 4:00 p.m. EST on November 20, 2000.

    If sending by regular or priority U.S. mail, send the original AND SIX (6) COPIES of all required materials to:
     

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
    Peer Review Division (8703R)
    Sorting Code: F01-STAR-XX (replace with the appropriate sorting code; see list provided)
    Ariel Rios Building 
    1200 Pennsylvania Avenue 
    NW Washington DC 20460


    For express mail-delivered applications, the following address must be used:
     

    U. S. Environmental Protection Agency
    Peer Review Division (8703R)
    Sorting Code: F01-STAR-XX (replace with the appropriate sorting code; see list provided)
    Room B-10105 
    1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
    Washington, DC 20004


    Phone: (202) 564-6939 (for express mail applications)

    Courier- or personally-delivered applications must be brought to the Ronald Reagan Building, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20004. The courier must come to the EPA Visitors Lobby (see map), tell the security guard that he/she has a delivery for the EPA mail room. The courier will be required to sign a visitor's log, and will be directed to the EPA mail room. The mail room is open 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. weekdays, exclusive of Federal holidays. If the applicant requires a receipt for the delivery, you will need to provide a form which the mail room personnel will sign.

    Map
     

    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. Subject to the availability of funding, awards should be made by July 31, 2001 for the fall term. 

    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 telephone number which allows individuals to leave a recorded message or question. These will be answered through a return telephone call. To access this service, dial 1-800-490-9194.

    SAMPLE PRE-APPLICATION

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

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



    Pre-application for STAR Graduate Fellowship


    Page1

    1. Name: 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 Telephone: 101-555-1234
    Work Telephone: 101-555-1111
    Fax: 101-555-1010
    E-Mail: Xxxxx@yyy.com 
    Gender: Male 
    Race: White

    • 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.)
    • Degree Applying For: Ph.D. Expected 6/03 
    • Education Level at Start of Fellowship: Continuing Doctoral 
    • Sorting Code: F01-STAR-Z1-Mathematics
    • Title: The Development of Mathematical Relationships to Describe the Behavior of Chemical Contaminants at Hazardous Waste Sites.
    • Current School and Department: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, School of Mathematics and Physics, Department of Theoretical Mathematics, Cambridge, MA 
    • Name and Address of Graduate Advisor (Sponsor): 
    J. C. Armstrong 
    Chairman, Department of Theoretical Mathematics 
    Room 464-82 
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology 
    Cambridge, MA 02899 
    Office Phone:(101) 555-1235 Fax: (101) 555-4321
    E-mail: Xxxxxxx@mit.edu



    Page 2
    • Statement of Objectives: 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. The quality of this section is a key criterion for review, so be as articulate and thorough as possible.


    Page 3
    • Education and Experience:
    1/98 to Present: Enrolled in Ph.D. Program at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Current GPA: 4.0
    1/98 to Present: Teaching Assistant MIT, Department of Mathematics. Contact: Philip Lonicro, (617)111-0001
    11/97 to 1/98: Invented a Plasma Energy Drive System (Patent Number 876GB5F457YD)
    1/96 to 1/98: Employed at Highbrow Technologies, Riverside CA.
    1/94 to 12/95 California Institute of Technology, MS Applied Mathematics.
    10/90 to 12/93 University of Indiana B.S. Mathematics (Summa Cum Laude) 4.0 GPA (4 point scale)
    • Publications
    Smith, A.B., Jones X,Y, and Beckett S.J. "Algorithms for Hazardous Waste Site Management". Environ. Sci. Tech. 1(11), 111-222 (1997).
    Smith, A.B., Jones X,Y, and Beckett S.J. "Spatial Analyses for the Assessment of Hazardous Waste Sites". Environ. Sci. Tech. 2(8), 1-22 (1998).


    Pages 4-8

    12. Narrative Statement 

    Sam Beckett, our hypothetical candidate, must provide a detailed scope of work for his proposed research, because he is a continuing Ph.D. student, he may not exceed five pages in describing the goals, rationale, approach, and references for his project.




    Pages 9 and Beyond.

    13. Transcript Data 
     

    Institution Year Course # Title Credit Hrs Grade
    MIT 1996 744 Special Project 5 In Progress
    MIT 1996 740 Topology 5 In Progress
    MIT 1996 735 Number Theory 4 In Progress
    MIT 1996 722 Adv Topics in Chaos 4 In Progress
    MIT 1996 719 Special Project 5 A
    MIT 1996 716 Transfinite math 5 A
    Cal Tech 1995 Ph-96 Number Theory 8 A
    Cal Tech 1995 Ph-85 Euclidian Geometry 4 A
    Cal Tech 1995 R-65 Applied Physics 4 A
    Cal Tech 1995 R-64 Applications Theory 4 A
    Cal Tech 1994 R-63 Linear Geometry 4 A
    Cal Tech 1994 R-62 Basic Java Language 4 P
    Cal Tech 1994 R-61 C++ Programming 5 P
    Cal Tech 1994 R-60 Special Project 4 A
    Cal Tech 1994 R-59 Research Project 4 A
    U. Indiana 1993 620 Applied Geometry 4 A
    U. Indiana 1993 621 Advanced Calculus 4 A
    U. Indiana 1993 666 Computing 4 A
    U. Indiana 1992 431 Advanced Math 4 B+
    U. Indiana 1992 444 Physical Education 4 P
    U. Indiana 1991  522 English 4 C
    U. Indiana 1991 101 Math  4 A
    U. Indiana 1991 122 Geography 4 A
    U. Indiana 1991 177 Statistics 4 A

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