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Information for Faculty

Congratulations! You or your department may be in line for a BD Fellow. BD Fellows are graduate students who were LSAMP scholars as undergraduates (e.g., UMBC’s Meyerhoff Scholars’ Program is UMBC’s LSAMP Program). The students will be applying to your department, and applying for the 2-year fellowship. The National Science Foundation provides the first two years of funding. The department is then responsible for providing three additional years of funding.

For UMBC faculty members (Chairs, GPDs, or Advisors) who want to support an incoming student on a BD Fellowship:

  
As a member of the faculty, you may have been actively recruiting students, and you want to find a way to support them with a fellowship. The first step will be to see whether or not that student has been part of an LSAMP program as an undergraduate. You can check the list of undergraduate institutions with LSAMP programs here: LIST OF NSF LSAMP PROGRAMS

For UMBC faculty members (Chairs, GPDs, or Advisors) who are writing the nomination letters:  

Please note that this commitment for “follow-on” funding from the department is completely contingent upon the student’s successful completion of appropriate departmental milestones, such as good standing (GPA of 3.0 or better), and applicable department-wide exams for student at the end of a second year of graduate study. Your letter can clearly state this contingency. When planning for a BD Fellow, please note that the NSF BD funding will cover years 1 and 2 of their graduate studies. The department should then forecast, budget, and plan accordingly to fund years 3, 4, and 5 with the allocation of a departmental TA, GA, or other fellowship. 
Even though your respective department will commit to funding up to three additional years, BD Fellows must independently apply for additional, external funding for years 3, 4, and 5 while they still within their first two years of NSF’s funding. This is a mandate for UMBC’s BD program.  Because of this stipulation, some of the BD Fellows in past cohorts have been awarded additional funds beyond the two years of NSF’s BD funding.  Several BD Fellows have been subsequent awardees of the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship (NSF GRFP), the Ford Foundation, the Meyerhoff Graduate Biomedical Fellows program, Google Fellowship, UNCF Fellowship, GEM Fellowship, or other program to cover all or part of those subsequent 3rd, 4th, and/or 5th years. Some students have taken jobs with local industries following the M.S., and have taken advantage of corporate tuition remission programs instead of using funding from the department. In these cases, the department’s responsibility was relegated to teaching and mentoring, but the finances for those subsequent years were paid by another, external organization.
Unless otherwise noted in your letter, the subsequent funding for years 3, 4, and 5 is based upon the student’s immediate continuation in the PhD program, directly following the initial 2-year BD funding period.

BD Funding Schedule

Year 1, August (beginning of year 1) – August (end of  first year) – BD Funding from NSF Fellowship
  • Evaluation and Review
  • Determination to continue funding (paid by NSF) based upon achievement of appropriate milestones, good standing (GPA = 3.0 or higher), participation in BD activities (e.g., mentoring and training workshops and seminars.)
Year 2, August (start of year 2)  – August (end of year 2)- BD Funding from NSF Fellowship
  • Evaluation and Review
  • Determination to continue funding (paid by the department) based upon achievement of milestones in accordance to standard practices within the department that are apropos to a student completing the second year of graduate study,  including good standing (GPA = 3.0 or higher).
Year 3, August (start of 3rd year) – August (end of 3rd year) – Funding from the academic department (TA, RA, or external fellowship)
  • Evaluation based on standard departmental practices
  • Student should be progressing through qualifying milestones, e.g. portfolio, exam (qualifying exams may take place during a different time period, depending upon the practice of the respective department.)
Year 4, August (start of 4th year) – August (end of 4th year)- Funding from the academic department (TA, RA, or external fellowship)
  • Evaluation based on standard departmental practices
  • Student should be progressing through qualifying milestones, e.g. dissertation proposal (proposals may take place during a different time period, depending upon the practice of the department.)
Year 5, August (start of 5th year) – August (end of 5th year) – Funding from the academic department (TA, RA, or fellowship)
  • Evaluation based on standard departmental practices
  • Student should be progressing toward successful research for the dissertation.
 
BD Fellows will be expected to participate in workshops and sessions that will facilitate successful progression, professional development, and degree completion. Examples include the NSF GRFP Funding workshops, Summer Success Institute,  “Writing for Publication” workshops, Dissertation House, and other seminars. 
 
 
 

Sample nomination email from the UMBC GPD, UMBC Department Chair, or UMBC Faculty Advisor:

Dear Bridge to the Doctorate Committee:
 
The _________ department would like to nominate ____________ for the NSF Bridge to the Doctorate Fellowship. The ____________ department guarantees funding for her/him for three years following the two years of the NSF BD fellowship funding to finish his/her PhD if s/he is in good standing and meets all the necessary milestones during the first two years of his/her studies.
 
Sincerely,
 
___Name_________
Position
Department
Please note that a 3-year commitment from the advisor or department is a mandatory part of the nomination letter. 
This nomination can be emailed to marylandbridgetothedoctorate@gmail.com and cc’d to rtull@umbc.edu and chill@umbc.edu