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Jelena Maricic | Drexel university, Philadelphia | USA

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Difficulty of defining oneself in one page

My student applied for Lindau fellowship last week and it took several iterations before his one page personal statement started to look more convincing and along the lines of what Lindau meeting organizers are looking for in their attendees.

By the way, Lindau meeting is an annual meeting with Nobel laureates every year that takes place in Lindau, Germany. This year the topics will be in physics, chemistry and related sciences. Another graduate student from Drexel attended the meeting 2 years ago and was thrilled with it. Highly recommended.

In the process of helping my student write his one page statement, it became strikingly obvious how difficult it is to express oneself effectively in one page, with strong arguments and without excessive words. Because saying that the Lindau is a great meeting and it would be great to go, will not do. That is common to everyone. On the other hand it is not easy to bring all the things from ones past that are significant, but seem unimportant and trivial because they have already been done. He ended with a pretty good statement and we’ll see if he gets selected. But one way or another, it was an excellent lesson in writing and bringing out the right facts and effective arguments that make the strong application.

Conclusion – it is all about practice and help from the more experienced once. More often you apply to various fellowships and grants the better you get. Ability to adequately explain scientific work and findings is no less important than the exciting science itself.

Recommendation – start early, apply to many places, and seek help and criticism from people around you.

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