How to respond to lab soliciation

Answers to various questions regarding the SMART Scholarship application process. Includes many tips and statistics.
codeToad
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How to respond to lab soliciation

Post by codeToad »

I am a freshman EE major graduating in 2021 because of AP and IB credits. I was confirmed to be a semifinalist this morning, but I also received my first email from a lab. I was contacted by the leader of the Benefield Anechoic Facility 20 minutes before the semifinalist confirmation was received. I did not have them as one of the labs I was interested in. In this email, he told me that "We're the most technically complex DoD facility with a cutting edge mission set... If you are interested in Electronic Warfare, Anechoic Chamber physics, and hardware capability design, we are probably a perfect fit". He ended the email by telling me to let him know if I am interested and willing to chat.

So here is the first question: what does this actually mean? Does getting a response this early suggest that they consider me a strong candidate, as phrases like "we are probably a perfect fit" suggest? Or is it routine to get an email like this? I am aware that this is nothing close to a guarantee at getting the scholarship, but I find that the more I understand the intentions of the person I am responding to, the better of a response I can formulate.

Beyond this, I would appreciate any recommendations on how to respond. From the research I have done, I would be happy to work at this facility. Obviously, I would want to respond by saying that I am interested, perhaps asking some more specific questions about the type of work they do at this lab. Furthermore, I would want to express interest in the chat he suggested. Beyond this, is there anything I could do to make a strong first-ish impression?

jiggie

Re: How to respond to lab soliciation

Post by jiggie »

Doing what you've stated in your last few sentences seems like a great route to take. If they are contacting you this early then either they are an often-overlooked facility trying to reach out to get candidates that would otherwise not have heard of them, or, the more probable case, you are a strong candidate in general, and should therefore ensure that you come off as very likely having options beyond this SF, which you likely do. I'd say get info, but if you feel you got the email because you're a strong applicant, and you have some other SF's you would prefer, keep your options open for longer. Congrats!

StormfalconX
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Re: How to respond to lab soliciation

Post by StormfalconX »

Hmm, I got the exact same email with the exact same wording as well. I responded and I'm talking to him tomorrow. Will see how it goes.

codeToad
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Re: How to respond to lab soliciation

Post by codeToad »

I was just able to speak with him today. His questions were very general (Why did you choose EE, Why the SMART scholarship, etc.), but he went out of his way to stress the benefits of his facility and of being a DoD engineer in general. However, there only seems to be one position there.

StormfalconX
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Re: How to respond to lab soliciation

Post by StormfalconX »

Sorry forgot to respond. I spoke to him on the 8th. Same questions as you. Why my college, why ECE/CS, etc. I asked him a lot of questions as well. He also told me only 1 spot was available at his facility. I'm interested but would also like to keep my options open. Have you heard back from anyone else?

codeToad
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Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2019 3:28 pm
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Re: How to respond to lab soliciation

Post by codeToad »

I haven't heard about anyone else being contacted by this facility, but I have been contacted by a second facility, who I am going to set up an interview with. That being said, this would be my first choice. But for now, I just need to keep pursuing alternatives, as being accepted by any facility would still be absolutely life-changing. I wish the best for you and my fellow semifinalists.

codeToad
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Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2019 3:28 pm
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Re: How to respond to lab soliciation

Post by codeToad »

StormFalconX, I don't know if you will get this, but I am happy to report that I received an award at Tinker AFB. I know that Benefield only had one position, so I genuinely hope that you got that award or whatever award you were hoping for. You provided a little bit of certainty when I was very early into the interview period, and for that I thank you. You seem like a genuinely good human being, and I wish you the best.

-CodeToad

StormfalconX
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Re: How to respond to lab soliciation

Post by StormfalconX »

Hello CodeToad!
Congratulations on your offer! I'm very happy for you. Unfortunately I didn't receive an offer at this time for Benefield, nor my top choice either. I was really shocked because I had been in contact with the facility multiple times before the application process began and I thought my interview went quite well. Don't know what else they were looking for. Regardless, hope to try next year. Once again congratulations on Tinker AFB!

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