Sequestration

General Discussion for SMART Scholarship Recipients

Re: Sequestration

Postby Guest_Help » Fri Oct 18, 2013 2:00 pm

So, I am looking into applying for this scholarship thing. From what I have read from this forum it sounds like a bad idea. Can anyone give me a straight yes or no with an explanation as to why I should apply or not?
Guest_Help
 

Re: Sequestration

Postby Guest_Help » Fri Oct 18, 2013 2:00 pm

So, I am looking into applying for this scholarship thing. From what I have read from this forum it sounds like a bad idea. Can anyone give me a straight yes or no with an explanation as to why I should apply or not?
Guest_Help
 

Re: Sequestration

Postby upsetAnon » Fri Oct 18, 2013 10:43 pm

Guest_Help wrote:So, I am looking into applying for this scholarship thing. From what I have read from this forum it sounds like a bad idea. Can anyone give me a straight yes or no with an explanation as to why I should apply or not?


Personally, I would apply and see what SF picks you. If it's at least in an area you would like to live, go for it. I was stuck in a small military town with nothing to do outside work and no social life. It was hell. If I were somewhere like Hill AFB though, outside a major city and with lots of outdoor recreation, I would happily work any job they gave me.

The financial aspect of it is great, but from what I hear, it's getting less great. I heard rumors that the latest contract does not prorate your payback, so you can't leave even a day early. I'v also heard they are trying to get rid of summer support payments, meaning some people may go into debt to do an internship depending on location. Previously, we were paid $1200 a week, which I admit was insanely awesome. I bought a 2 year old car with cash after just one internship by living in a ghetto apartment and eating ramen all summer.

The real problem is working a job for the feds in this political environment. Being furloughed by the sequester and then the shutdown has killed any sense or moral. Every young person worth their salt that I know is leaving for the private sector, and the older generation that is eligible for retirement is jumping ship. I predict that the military is going to horrible staffing issues soon, and I don't want to be around when the workload gets piled on those who are still around.
upsetAnon
 

Re: Sequestration

Postby smart_hopeful » Wed Oct 23, 2013 5:09 pm

Guest_Help wrote:So, I am looking into applying for this scholarship thing. From what I have read from this forum it sounds like a bad idea. Can anyone give me a straight yes or no with an explanation as to why I should apply or not?


Yes, you should apply. If you get the fellowship, if you like the offered agreement, and if a good SF with a good track record picks you (you can ask to speak with their SMART alums and get their emails for candid discussion), it's a great deal. If not, you can turn it down.
smart_hopeful
 

Re: Sequestration

Postby RF_EE » Wed Oct 23, 2013 6:19 pm

smart_hopeful wrote:
Guest_Help wrote:So, I am looking into applying for this scholarship thing. From what I have read from this forum it sounds like a bad idea. Can anyone give me a straight yes or no with an explanation as to why I should apply or not?


Yes, you should apply. If you get the fellowship, if you like the offered agreement, and if a good SF with a good track record picks you (you can ask to speak with their SMART alums and get their emails for candid discussion), it's a great deal. If not, you can turn it down.


This. A thousand times this. I was pretty certain I wouldn't accept an offer. Then they made the offer and I got to speak with current and former SMART Scholars at my SF, and they reassured me candidly that the program's and SF's flaws are outweighed by what you get to do and you educational benefits.
RF_EE
 
Posts: 24
Joined: Sun Aug 04, 2013 10:09 pm

Re: Sequestration

Postby Guest_Help » Fri Oct 25, 2013 12:14 am

Thank you all so much.
I do have one question, and I'm sure it will seem silly to you guys, what does SF stand for?
Other than that thank you for your help. I'll definitely be applying and keeping my ears open about it.
Guest_Help
 

Re: Sequestration

Postby Guest » Fri Oct 25, 2013 5:30 am

Sponsoring Facility
Guest
 

Re: Sequestration

Postby Guest_Oct2013 » Tue Nov 19, 2013 11:25 pm

Can anyone give me a straight yes or no with an explanation as to why I should apply or not?


No. See my previous posts (and posts of many others on this forum) for the reasons.

I started my new job outside the DoD after Phase II about three weeks ago. It is indescribably better than the work at my SF. The pay is much higher, too.

I'll definitely be applying and keeping my ears open about it.


Best of luck with the application. If you end up accepting, I hope that the work is a great match for you.

If you can, find out if you will have to do DAU (or DAWIA) training. If so, I would turn down the scholarship based on that alone. It is a complete waste of (hours upon hours of) time.

In case it isn't clear from my previous posts: I wouldn't wish my work experience at my SF on my worst enemy.
Guest_Oct2013
 

Re: Sequestration

Postby upsetSMART » Wed Nov 20, 2013 9:30 pm

Guest_Oct2013 wrote:
Can anyone give me a straight yes or no with an explanation as to why I should apply or not?


No. See my previous posts (and posts of many others on this forum) for the reasons.

I started my new job outside the DoD after Phase II about three weeks ago. It is indescribably better than the work at my SF. The pay is much higher, too.

I'll definitely be applying and keeping my ears open about it.


Best of luck with the application. If you end up accepting, I hope that the work is a great match for you.

If you can, find out if you will have to do DAU (or DAWIA) training. If so, I would turn down the scholarship based on that alone. It is a complete waste of (hours upon hours of) time.

In case it isn't clear from my previous posts: I wouldn't wish my work experience at my SF on my worst enemy.


I guess I lucked out on DAU. Our office compiled an answer book that we passed around and used to cheat. I knocked out DAU level 1 training in like a week, and spent most of my time web browsing. Even cheating DAU was a pain. Then when I was done, I resumed my normal routine of mostly web browsing all day. Fun times.
upsetSMART
 

Re: Sequestration

Postby upsetSMART » Wed Nov 20, 2013 9:38 pm

upsetSMART wrote:
Guest_Oct2013 wrote:
Can anyone give me a straight yes or no with an explanation as to why I should apply or not?


No. See my previous posts (and posts of many others on this forum) for the reasons.

I started my new job outside the DoD after Phase II about three weeks ago. It is indescribably better than the work at my SF. The pay is much higher, too.

I'll definitely be applying and keeping my ears open about it.


Best of luck with the application. If you end up accepting, I hope that the work is a great match for you.

If you can, find out if you will have to do DAU (or DAWIA) training. If so, I would turn down the scholarship based on that alone. It is a complete waste of (hours upon hours of) time.

In case it isn't clear from my previous posts: I wouldn't wish my work experience at my SF on my worst enemy.


I guess I lucked out on DAU. Our office compiled an answer book that we passed around and used to cheat. I knocked out DAU level 1 training in like a week, and spent most of my time web browsing. Even cheating DAU was a pain. Then when I was done, I resumed my normal routine of mostly web browsing all day. Fun times.


Looks like I can't edit my post to add this. It feels ironic to be someone who is so opposed to government waste, becoming a shining example of government waste. I wish I could quit, save the taxpayers money, and go do something interesting.
upsetSMART
 

Re: Sequestration

Postby RF_EE » Sun Nov 24, 2013 3:26 pm

Guest_Oct2013 wrote:
Can anyone give me a straight yes or no with an explanation as to why I should apply or not?


No. See my previous posts (and posts of many others on this forum) for the reasons.

I started my new job outside the DoD after Phase II about three weeks ago. It is indescribably better than the work at my SF. The pay is much higher, too.

I'll definitely be applying and keeping my ears open about it.


Best of luck with the application. If you end up accepting, I hope that the work is a great match for you.

If you can, find out if you will have to do DAU (or DAWIA) training. If so, I would turn down the scholarship based on that alone. It is a complete waste of (hours upon hours of) time.

In case it isn't clear from my previous posts: I wouldn't wish my work experience at my SF on my worst enemy.


Honestly though, how were you planning to pay for school outside of this scholarship program? For me, it was this or tens of thousands of dollars in student loans, plus a full-time job on top of full-time education. Now, I've gotten lucky because my SF seems to have their stuff together and really care about the SMART scholars (one of them made the front page of the SF's website for an article about the program), but even if I had gotten a bad SF I still go back and forth on whether or not I would've accepted the scholarship. Two years of school paid for, plus a salary, plus a guarantee of a job straight out of school (regardless of quality) is worth far more than two measly years of my life doing a job I don't enjoy. If I hate the job, I know that at the end of my commitment I'm free. If I like it, I have a job. I really don't see a true loss there, beyond some inconvenience.
RF_EE
 
Posts: 24
Joined: Sun Aug 04, 2013 10:09 pm

Re: Sequestration

Postby Guest » Sun Nov 24, 2013 4:56 pm

As a graduate student in the sciences, you take a research assistantship or a teaching assistantship. If the school you apply to doesn't offer you one, you go to a school that DOES offer you one. There's no difference between the top 20 schools, so you just find one that's looking for research.

Undergraduate, there's a LOT more financial help you can take that doesn't mess with your life's plans. But if you don't qualify, you don't need to go into 10s of thousands of dollars of debt + a full-time job. Many students can get through debt-free if they're willing to sacrifice things like a new car, senior trip with their friends, summer vacations, etc. You need to open your eyes if you think college requires going into debt. A part-time job + severe budgeting can get you through most state schools without any debt at all.
Guest
 

Re: Sequestration

Postby Guest_Oct2013 » Mon Nov 25, 2013 11:13 am

upsetSMART wrote:
I guess I lucked out on DAU. Our office compiled an answer book that we passed around and used to cheat.


The higher-level DAU courses are taken in a classroom with instructors monitoring the tests, so it will probably be a little harder to cheat during those. These in-classroom DAU courses are a significant time sink. One of them I took was two weeks (10 full business days) away from my regular job.

I hope that you can get out of these, but this wasn't an option at my SF. I tried.

I'm just trying to give fair warning to anyone who is considering signing up with SMART. I have a PhD in engineering, and some of the (many, many hours) of required DAU involved doing algebra exercises. I'm not exaggerating.
Guest_Oct2013
 

Re: Sequestration

Postby upsetSMART » Mon Nov 25, 2013 7:26 pm

Guest_Oct2013 wrote:
upsetSMART wrote:
I guess I lucked out on DAU. Our office compiled an answer book that we passed around and used to cheat.


The higher-level DAU courses are taken in a classroom with instructors monitoring the tests, so it will probably be a little harder to cheat during those. These in-classroom DAU courses are a significant time sink. One of them I took was two weeks (10 full business days) away from my regular job.

I hope that you can get out of these, but this wasn't an option at my SF. I tried.

I'm just trying to give fair warning to anyone who is considering signing up with SMART. I have a PhD in engineering, and some of the (many, many hours) of required DAU involved doing algebra exercises. I'm not exaggerating.


Crossing my fingers that I can skip it then. That sounds pretty terrible. The 2.5 week mandatory base orientation was pretty bad, especially after having 22 weeks of working at the base under my belt. 90% of the stuff only applied to safety regs in repair bays, that had absolutely nothing to do with any job in any building even somewhat near the one I work in.
upsetSMART
 

Re: Sequestration

Postby GuestDoneSmart » Mon Nov 25, 2013 9:25 pm

Honestly though, how were you planning to pay for school outside of this scholarship program? For me, it was this or tens of thousands of dollars in student loans, plus a full-time job on top of full-time education. Now, I've gotten lucky because my SF seems to have their stuff together and really care about the SMART scholars (one of them made the front page of the SF's website for an article about the program), but even if I had gotten a bad SF I still go back and forth on whether or not I would've accepted the scholarship. Two years of school paid for, plus a salary, plus a guarantee of a job straight out of school (regardless of quality) is worth far more than two measly years of my life doing a job I don't enjoy. If I hate the job, I know that at the end of my commitment I'm free. If I like it, I have a job. I really don't see a true loss there, beyond some inconvenience.


The salary + a job after school should really not be a deciding factor. You have to consider your work experience at the SF and how it will relate to the job you want outside of the SF, after your commitment. If you're wanting to do R&D (as the SMART scholarship so willingly advertised), and you end up spending your working days on DAU, reading the entire internet, and filling out acquisition paperwork (in other words, nothing technical at all), then you aren't doing any favors for yourself. In addition to a lack of real-world work experience, all of those technical skills that you learned in school are becoming rustier each day you're at your SF not using them. Most companies doing R&D WILL require you to have a technical interview with members of their department to be sure that you are technically competent. I'm not saying it's impossible to leave your SF and go into a private sector R&D organization for a company - it is. But rest assured, it is a lot harder than just filling out a few resumes online. Trust me.

Crossing my fingers that I can skip it then. That sounds pretty terrible. The 2.5 week mandatory base orientation was pretty bad, especially after having 22 weeks of working at the base under my belt. 90% of the stuff only applied to safety regs in repair bays, that had absolutely nothing to do with any job in any building even somewhat near the one I work in.

Yup, that's the government for you -- and that wont be the last experience like that! Be prepared, you're about to see how Uncle Sam spends your tax money, and the waste is completely unimaginable.
GuestDoneSmart
 

Re: Sequestration

Postby LetsGetOuttaHere » Sun Mar 30, 2014 8:27 am

recipient99 wrote:They have been changing the agreement every year. According to the emails they have been sending out, all cohorts are obligated to abide by the changes. I have no idea how it could possibly be legal to force someone to follow changes to a contract after he signs it. Regardless of whether it is legal or not, this gives you an idea of how the SMART Program treats the recipients.


I have the original service commitment I signed in 2008, and it says the following.

"4.6. Participant agrees that if he/she fails to fulfill the post-graduation service commitment, Participant will be indebted to the U.S. Treasury and promptly reimbursement the U.S. Government for any and all funds expended on behalf of Participant. Participant will receive a reduction in the amount owed commensurate with the time Participant satisfactorily served in the post-graduation commitment; "

That last sentence seems clear to me. The amount I owe the Treasury would be prorated. Also, I think it allows me to ignore the yearly changes in the agreement because it says this:

"7.1. This Service Agreement contains the entire agreement regarding the Participant’s involvement in the Program. Statements, promises, inducements, or documents that are not included in this Service Agreement shall not be valid or binding. "

So it looks like at least the 2008 cohort should be able to get out early if they're willing to pay back the prorated amount. This is not feasible for me, unfortunately. If anyone can figure out how I can get out of this $&!#-hole six months early let me know. All the SMART propaganda claiming that we would be working on "cutting edge" technology and research was a complete lie in my case. I can feel my career rotting away every time I sit down at my cube.
LetsGetOuttaHere
 

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