STEM Grant and Technical Writing Seminar

By Alycia Bardon, Digital Communication 2022.

On Friday, January 22, 2021 Georgian Court held four, virtual one-hour seminars throughout the day related to grand/technical writings in STEM, presented by four Georgian Court faculty members.

The first seminar of the day, “Selling your skills, selling your ideas: How to package a resume, cover letter, and research statement for ever situation,” was delivered by Dr. Jean Parry, an assistant professor of biology. She encouraged the audience to “stand out in in the pack” when working on their resumes, curriculum vitae, personal statements/cover letters, or research statements. Parry’s informative seminar offered the audience a solid place to start when navigate this critical process. She encouraged the audience that you do not need to be a perfect fit, but instead to tailor your document to how you would fit.

An important point Dr. Parry made was to “skip templates and start typing” and to “take ownership of the layout.” Many might be tempted to use a template but those are not tailored for STEM. She also advised to be critical when adding you work experience, research experience, college activities, awards/academic accomplishes, presentations/publications, and volunteer work. Dr. Parry’s also suggested to “avoid temptation to stuff the resume.”

The second seminar titled, “Grant Writing in Biology,” was presented by Dr. Chinenye Anako, a lecturer in biology. She started her presentation by listing the reasons why someone might write a grant such as to accomplish a project, develop a project, or to complete research. She goes on to explain that your grant writing must include what you are applying for and why such as making a change in the environment or community and how it will impact knowledge. Dr. Anako’s advice was to “know how to ask, build relationships, and to be persistent.” She also encouraged those writing a grant to not be afraid to make revisions and resubmissions.

Dr. Anako’s basic tips are to start early, consider the ethical and legality of the research/project, and to look into grant management companies that will aid you once you receive the grant. Dr. Anako states that “you are trying to persuade agencies to give you funds to complete a project.” It boils down to why you should be the person to get the award. She presentation offered a summary of steps to follow when writing a grant which include a study question, a letter of intent, and components of the grant proposal. In general, in your grant writing, you need to explain how the funding will support the work and why it will be significant.

The third seminar, “Securing Funding in Industry, Tales from Bell Labs” presented by Dr. Eric Rosenberg, assistant professor of applied computing, offered advice on working in labs. Dr. Rosenberg discussed patents but offered a warning that they are the “worst way to learn a subject.” For Dr. Rosenberg, what is patentable includes “progress of science and useful arts.” He explains that patents are thousands of dollars, might get rejected, and can be a long process.

Dr. Rosenberg’s next topic covers what happens at a research lab which includes basic and applied research, as well as market-oriented development. Dr. Rosenberg also described what a top-down project and a bottom-up project are and included real life examples to explain to his audience. Dr. Rosenberg offered tips on how to have a successful interview, such as ensuring to do background research on the company, ask questions, list things you like about the company and explain what you can bring to the table.

The fourth and final seminar was delivered by Dr. Saroj Aryal, an assistant professor of mathematics, tilted “Writing Mathematical Contents.” This topic is important for those in the audience wanting to go onto grad school. Those in grad school can find that writing involving math can include assignments, conferences/seminars, journal papers, and grant writing. When writing mathematical contents, you want to include your goals, explain your process, include things such as notations, terminologies, abbreviations, and symbols, write in 1st person (we), and have a bibliography which will have its own formats of citations.

Math papers should be precise and to the point. Dr. Aryal discuses some assignments that the audience might see while at grad school which include proof writing, conference and seminar presentations, and journal papers (the most challenging tasks). The latter section of Dr. Aryal’s talk covers typesetting and basic format of a program called LaTeX and showed the audience how to use such program. He advised to only use MS Word for just a couple of math questions but LaTeX, a free app, is better for extensive math content.

The four seminars presented were informative and offered advice for students in STEM to further their studies, research, as well as their career goals. Hopefully next year, we will be able to experience the presentations in person once again.