Deborah Hanus

Advice for your ACM SIGHPC/Intel Computational & Data Science Fellowship application

The ACM SIGHPC/Intel Computational & Data Science Fellowship is a mouthful to say, but it is a wonderful fellowship to have. It provides graduate student awardees an annual $15K to offset the costs of their program, renewable for up to five years. As one of the fellowship's inaugural awardees, I've had several people ask me for application tips, so here, I'll share what I know.

The application has three parts, each of which needs to be completed by a different person, so you should request a nomination as early as possible The application usually opens around March 15, and is due around April 30.

Application Walkthrough

Step 1. Advisor Nomination Letter

Only one student per department can apply for this fellowship, so your advisor will usually need to check with your department before nominating you. They will also answer a number of demographic questions and two short essays. A few questions of note follow.

Step 2. Candidate Application

After your advisor has secured your nomination, you will receive your application form. For this form, the three notable items of information are:

Step 3. Endorsement Letter

General information & advice

Given how short the applicant’s section of the fellowship application is, my working hypothesis is that the nomination and endorsement letters carry more weight than the applicant’s section. Therefore, I would advise you to write a good biography, a clear description of why you care about your work, and get feedback on your curriculum vitae. Beyond that, I would urge you to not stress much about this application. By the time you gain your department’s nomination for this award, you’ve already completed the hardest parts of the application – finding people who believe in and support you. And that will pay massive dividends throughout your graduate career, whether or not you win this award.