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DevSci Graduate Student Fellowship

Overview

Overview

DevSci offers fellowship support for a graduate student engaged in collaborative research in the developmental sciences. The fellowship is designed to provide exceptional candidates with the opportunity and protected research time to build scientific bridges across their home laboratory to another developmentally-focused laboratory as a means of bringing new methods/approaches to bear on critical questions. A goal for the fellowship year is for students to develop an in-depth understanding of the developmental emergence and course of the mechanisms and processes related to their field, through investigation, training and/or coursework. 

A call for applications will be circulated in the Spring of 2020.

About the Application

Overview

The Northwestern Institute for Innovations in Developmental Sciences (DevSci) offers fellowship support for a graduate student engaged in collaborative research in the developmental sciences. The fellowship is designed to provide exceptional candidates with the opportunity and protected research time to build scientific bridges across their home laboratory to another developmentally-focused laboratory as a means of bringing new methods/approaches to bear on critical questions. A goal for the fellowship year is for students to develop an in-depth understanding of the developmental emergence and course of the mechanisms and processes related to their field, through investigation, training and/or coursework (include approach in Training Plan).

Successful candidates will have outstanding scientific and leadership promise, have a strong collaborative orientation, and have enthusiasm for working at the intersection of multiple disciplines. This one-year fellowship, funded by TGS, is awarded competitively, based on the candidates’ qualifications and quality of proposed research. 

Applicants must be a DevSci Cluster member in good standing.

Application Requirements

An application consists of:

1.  A proposal of a maximum of 3 pages in length (not including references), outlining the project and its relation to developmental science

  • Proposals must (a) incorporate interdisciplinary methods and concepts central to developmental sciences, (b) bridge two disciplines (or sub-disciplines; i.e., sponsors within the same department are permitted if their areas of research are sufficiently distinct), programs, or schools; (c) provide rationale for the significance and innovation of the proposed work; and (d) explain alignment with DevSci’s Healthier, Earlier mission (https://devsci.northwestern.edu/about-us/).
  • The fellowships may be used to support masters, dissertation, or intervening research projects- the only stipulations relate to criteria above.
  • The expectation is that Fellows will be excused from normal TA duties for the year.
  • The fellow will be expected to present the ongoing project at a planned DevSci event, and then at the end of the Fellowship period, the student will give a presentation describing their project and progress.
  • It is expected that the fellowship will result in a publishable work and conference presentation.
  • The Awardee will also be eligible for reimbursement for traveling to a conference to present (up to $500).

2.  Letter from a primary faculty sponsor

Strong applications will build in developmental research techniques and related questions, and ideally incorporate two sponsors from different disciplines or sub-areas within a discipline, and/or programs/schools.

In the letter of support, the primary sponsor should discuss the students’ qualifications, endorse the project, and include a brief description of the student’s progress to date in graduate school, and the student’s unique capabilities for engendering and leading interdisciplinary work in the developmental sciences. They must also affirm willingness to support the student’s time commitment to this fellowship. These fellowships have a dual purpose: (a) to encourage research by graduate students that incorporates methods and conceptual questions central to developmental sciences, and (b) to encourage the type of interdisciplinary collaboration that will facilitate building novel skills and new perspectives- important attributes for a career in transdisciplinary developmental research. Please consider these points when crafting the support letter. Co-signing/input from co-sponsor are encouraged.


3.  A mentorship/training plan endorsed by the mentor and co-sponsor (signature, or email endorsement attached are acceptable)

The mentorship/training plan should outline a plan for how the student plans to interact with the mentor team throughout the fellowship period (e.g., weekly meetings, lab-meeting attendance) and what novel training experiences the student will engage in with their mentoring team (e.g., exposure to new methods). This plan should be 1 page maximum, completed by the applicant, and signed by both sponsors.

Priority will be given to applicants that:

  • Have a well-developed plan to interact regularly with both sponsors;
  • Clearly would not have the time or opportunity to learn a new skill or conduct the project without the fellowship support (e.g., the fellowship is intended to release the student from TA responsibilities with the intention of providing more dedicated training/project time);
  • Articulates how this fellowship will strengthen the applicant’s understanding of developmental science mechanisms through experiential and didactic training and investigation.

 4.  Grad student’s curriculum vita.

To Submit

Proposals, CV, supporting letter(s) and training plan should be sent to the fellowship committee c/o DevSci Associate Director, Dr. Rachel Flynn. Please send your application for the fellowship as one pdf file.  Faculty sponsors can send their letter directly via email if they prefer. Please feel free to contact Rachel with any questions or for more information about the fellowship or application:

 Rachel Flynn, PhD
Associate Director, Institute for Innovations in Developmental Sciences (DevSci)
633 N. St. Clair, Suite 19-041
Chicago, Il. 60611
rachel.flynn@northwestern.edu
312-503-9803

Previous DevSci Grad Student Fellows

2019 Recipient: Naomi Polinsky

The winner of this year’s fellowship is Naomi Polinsky, a PhD candidate in Cognitive Psychology who was chosen after demonstrating an enthusiastic motivation for integrating a transdisciplinary methodology and perspective to her developmental research. Her research explores advancement of early STEM learning experiences in informal settings, with an emphasis on synthesizing learning sciences and cognitive development practices. To study children’s learning of computational thinking in informal STEM experiences, Polinsky proposes integrating the contrasting qualitative and quantitative methodologies of each discipline. Read the Announcement

2019 Recipient: Naomi Polinsky
2018 Recipient: Silvia Lam

2018 Recipient: Silvia Lam

Silvia Lam is a PhD candidate in Communication Sciences and Disorders with a research focus on reading fluency, processing speed and automaticity, and dyslexia subtypes. She hopes to determine whether this construct makes a unique contribution to reading beyond other well-established reading-related skills and provide earlier identification and intervention for children with dyslexia. The study bridges the fields of cognitive neuroscience, developmental psychology, and communication sciences and disorders and utilizes extensive behavioral assessment and EEG. Read the Announcement