Research Fellowship Program
The purpose of the VSGC Graduate STEM Research Fellowship program is to encourage talented individuals to pursue careers in STEM and support NASA’s mission. Awardees will be required to certify through their academic department that basic research support of at least $6,000 in matching funds is also being provided before funds are released. These Fellowships are intended to enhance basic graduate support such as graduate research assistantships, graduate teaching assistantships, and non-federal scholarships and fellowships.
Graduate Research Fellowships require that students participate in an active faculty-mentored research experience that aligns with STEM (Science, Technology, Math and Engineering) and meets NASA’s mission. Awards are made annually and are renewable for one year for students making satisfactory academic and research progress. This is a competitive fellowship program and awards are based on merit recognizing high academic achievement and promise
• Promote graduate STEM-related research, while recognizing high academic achievement and promise
• Increasing participation of underrepresented minorities, females, and students with disabilities in aerospace-related careers
• Implementing the goals of the Virginia Space Grant Consortium and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
•Graduation date no sooner than May, 2022
•Conducting research that supports NASA’s mission
•Grade point average of at least 3.0
•Must be receiving matching funds of at least $6,000 from applicant’s academic institution
•Enrolled as a full-time graduate student at one of the Virginia Space Grant Consortium member institutions:
The College of William & Mary
Old Dominion University
University of Virginia
Statement of academic goals – a brief statement written by the applicant relating to the reasons for his/her desire to enter a profession in a STEM field.
Resume’ – submit a short summary of your career and qualifications, list any relevant education information and significant accomplishments (uploaded as an attachment)
Research Proposal aligned with NASA’s mission – VSGC’s graduate STEM Research Scholarship Program encourages talented graduate majors to pursue aerospace-related fields and do research with a strong alignment with NASA’s four Mission Directorates.
Applicants should submit a proposal for research that is 2-3 pages (not including references) and clearly describes the research objective and methodology. A statement written by the student in consultation with the faculty advisor should describe the key elements of the proposed research and plan of study. All research projects must be mentored by a faculty member and this mentor will be required to submit a letter of reference for the project. Applicants will be asked to specifically identify how their research relates to NASA’s Mission Directorates.
The Selection Process
The selection committee is made up of university faculty in a variety of disciplines. Applicants should present their proposed research in a form that will be understandable to a range of readers. Only one graduate Scholarship application per student per year is allowed.
For a list of research titles and abstracts recently funded by the VSGC through the Undergraduate STEM Research Scholarship Program, visit the VSGC Student Research Conference website.
1.Letters of Recommendation – provide the names and contact information for two references of which one must be the applicant’s current faculty advisor. Letters of recommendation should assess the applicant’s potential as well as his/her progress and academic achievements. The on-line application system will contact both references via email to request a letter of recommendation on behalf of the applicant. We suggest that you inform both of your references that they will receive an email from the VSGC in reference to your application. Your references will be provided with a link to submit their recommendations. We must receive both recommendations by 11:59 p.m. on February 5, 2021 for your scholarship application to be complete.
2.Transcript – An unofficial transcript with all grades through fall semester 2020 is required and can be submitted as a PDF in the online application (upload as an attachment). If the applicant is selected to receive an award then a transcript will be required at acceptance. If the applicant does not have a PDF conversion tool, links to free on-line PDF converters are provided in the application. An online PDF converter can be found here.
• Awardees should complete all research as proposed and must notify VSGC immediately of any significant changes in the research project or timeline
• Awardees are required to participate in the VSGC’s Annual Student Research Conference to be held in late March or early April. Participation includes attendance and active involvement throughout the entire conference, a poster presentation on current research progress, and submission of a research paper for inclusion in the conference proceedings
• Awardees must provide a head-shot photo and biographical information upon selection
• Awardees must inform the Consortium of any changes in contact information including email, phone, or address
• Awardees should plan to respond to academic and employment follow-up surveys administered by VSGC as required by NASA
• Awardees may also be asked to share research experiences in public forums, classroom presentations and professional meetings. Presentations that encourage interest in aerospace careers and research to high school students are of particular interest to the Consortium
Disposition of Unused Funds:
If the scholarship recipient terminates his/her academic program during the 2021-2022 academic year, the University is required to return a prorated share of the scholarship award to the VSGC. Scholarship funds are not transferable. Any unused funds should be returned to us.
January 29, 2021: Applications are due before 11:59 p.m. on this date.
Early April 2021: Awards will be announced with funding provided to students through the universities for the 2021-2022 academic year.
Application link can be found here.
A printable flyer for the Graduate STEM Research Fellowship Program can be found here.
Sample proposals for the Graduate STEM Research Fellowship Program can be found here.