Questions for You Kind Individuals

Answers to various questions regarding the SMART Scholarship application process. Includes many tips and statistics.

Questions for You Kind Individuals

Postby Grayson » Sun Aug 25, 2019 3:28 pm

Hey everyone,

I have several questions that I would greatly appreciate if you could help me answer. I apologize for any redundancy, and feel free to answer any part or none of the questions, I just want as much helpful information as possible.

Is there a general consensus about which facilities are more "cutting edge" and which ones are more antiquated? I am excited about the idea of working for the DoD, but I want to be involved with more modern technologies, just to secure my future career prospects.

Are undergraduate students allowed to work at the ISN at MIT? I saw that as a listed facility, and the stuff they are working on seems absolutely fascinating.

Do any physics majors out there have any advice for the application, or what labs to apply for? This vaguely relates to the first question, but when I try to look at the projects that different labs are working on, the information is either nonexistent or quite sparse (I assume this is in part due to the security clearance involved with said projects).

When talking about the research I've already done (about 1 year mechanical/materials engineering lab), do they want super technical details usually, or just a general overview of what I've done?

Do any of you have any regrets for any of the choices you've made during your whole experience? Didn't work hard enough and made a bad impression? Worked too hard and burned out? Picked the wrong facility? Etc.

Finally, any general advice for the kind of stuff that they like to hear on the application questions or phone interviews? I've just registered and will start filling out the application over the next couple of months, but I wanted to see if there are any things you included in your application that anyone mentioned as standing out or being particularly attractive so I can tailor my experiences to sound more appealing.

Thank you all very much for your time, I appreciate it.

Regards,

Grayson
Grayson
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Aug 25, 2019 3:13 pm

Re: Questions for You Kind Individuals

Postby malarious » Sun Sep 15, 2019 12:21 am

Grayson wrote:Hey everyone,

I have several questions that I would greatly appreciate if you could help me answer. I apologize for any redundancy, and feel free to answer any part or none of the questions, I just want as much helpful information as possible.

Is there a general consensus about which facilities are more "cutting edge" and which ones are more antiquated? I am excited about the idea of working for the DoD, but I want to be involved with more modern technologies, just to secure my future career prospects.
Most research is classified, so there is less likely to be much discussion on what each lab offers. Some of them you know what their area may include, but not the specifics of their items. Many labs work in "what we want in X years", which can include working with technology they haven't even finished. It will just depend.

Are undergraduate students allowed to work at the ISN at MIT? I saw that as a listed facility, and the stuff they are working on seems absolutely fascinating.
If it is on the list of facilities in the scholarship list, you can. But your service commitment is not until after graduation, so working there before graduation will not effect time in. Make sure they are on the list of facilities you can request though.

Do any physics majors out there have any advice for the application, or what labs to apply for? This vaguely relates to the first question, but when I try to look at the projects that different labs are working on, the information is either nonexistent or quite sparse (I assume this is in part due to the security clearance involved with said projects).
Look up the labs on google/wikipedia for lab types on site. This is not available for all of them, and you shouldn't expect to find exact projects, but you can sometimes find (for example) "Motion and simulation lab". Sorry, not my area, so I do not have specific suggestions.

When talking about the research I've already done (about 1 year mechanical/materials engineering lab), do they want super technical details usually, or just a general overview of what I've done?
Was it as a research assistance? Talk about a briefly summarized version. The application will be given to each of the labs you apply to as a priority. Assume HR reads it first, so overly technical may lose some them, but someone in Engineering reads it later. I know they read it closely, because they asked me very specific things. I listed every (programming and foreign)language I knew and was asked about applications of certain programming languages. Why that foreign language, etc.

Do any of you have any regrets for any of the choices you've made during your whole experience? Didn't work hard enough and made a bad impression? Worked too hard and burned out? Picked the wrong facility? Etc.
I have not started work yet, but one regret I did NOT have, was study abroad. Depending on your year in school, talk to them about study abroad. I got SMART the semester I was going to study abroad, so I had a full scholarship with a monthly stipend. An academic year in Japan completed all my gen eds, so look at your options. Keep in mind your GPA matters and try not to overdue your courses, would help with the stress.

Finally, any general advice for the kind of stuff that they like to hear on the application questions or phone interviews? I've just registered and will start filling out the application over the next couple of months, but I wanted to see if there are any things you included in your application that anyone mentioned as standing out or being particularly attractive so I can tailor my experiences to sound more appealing.
Your interviewer will likely talk about projects, without being overly specific on details. Have questions based on what you hear. "We work in motion and simulation systems". You should have a response if possible, even if brought up later, like: What programming language? Monitor only, or virtual reality and harnessed as well? Questions show attention and can let you emphasize experience and your qualifications.

For me specifically, they mentioned programming languages, experience in student orgs/teams (robotics, formula SAE electric, etc), and leadership experience (student government, convention committees, etc). I did not have strong academics in my application, it was everything else I think that got me in the door.


Thank you all very much for your time, I appreciate it.

Regards,

Grayson
malarious
 
Posts: 46
Joined: Tue Jun 13, 2017 1:54 am


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