Thursday, March 12, 2009

On engineers and professors

Lunch break. Sue and I are about 1/3 of the way through our next region -- 15 apps, from which we'll choose 2 scholars, 1 for a second read, and one honorable mention. There are several NAFAns who have candidates in this pile, so I have a few of you on the brain.

This is a MUCH stronger region -- the first two files I read were stronger than anything I read in the first region. We are seeing a surplus of engineers and professors, though, which just gets, well, a little repetitive after a while. Remember my discussion of diversity in the pool yesterday? Not a whole lot of that so far. Yes, these future engineers and profs will do good things, and some of them are great students -- but to stand out as a candidate in one of these fields, you really have to be over the top in the classroom, AND have a lot of other activities, too.

Which brings me back to the student we selected out of the first region. What really set that student apart was how we had a sense that this student really would make a difference -- how the student had a vision for impacting a community. At the risk of offending the engineers and profs who are reading this, the students who are proposing to be engineers and profs often times are not articulating how they will make a difference in the world. Yes, they may be an electrical engineer, or a marine biologist -- but how will their research change the world? I really like seeing students who have a vision of how their future work and goals will impact people and the environment.

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