Summer Housing Guide to Providence and Beyond

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I don’t know who these people are but they seem excited right?

Congratulations!

If you’re desperately reading this you’ve probably found or are soon to find some fellowship, internship, or research opportunity to do this summer. It’s not an easy process and you worked hard for this, so take a quick moment to congratulate yourself and remember the little people who helped you make it here.

The only thing is, where are you going to live while you do this exciting new thing you now have the opportunity to do?

This post is intended to give you a brief introduction to the world of finding summer housing. In addition to what I say here I strongly encourage you to ask someone who has had to find summer housing in that city before  about how they went about the process. Their advice will be far more specific and relevant than my more general advice.

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Targeted Fellowship, Internship, and Research opportunities for Students from Historically Underrepresented Groups

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Don’t you love diversity?

There are many fellowship, internship, and research opportunities out there (far too many to list on this blog), and a significant portion of these are specifically for students from groups that have had a historically small presence within particular disciplines and within the university overall. Historically Underrepresented Groups (HUGs as they are called institutionally) can include any number of populations but is associated overall with students from marginalized minority groups, particularly:

  • Underrepresented Minority Students (Usually referring to Black, Latinx, and Native American, Indigenous, and Pacific Islander students, but can be expanded to other groups depending on how it is defined).
  • First-Generation College Students (This term is used pretty generally, but can refer broadly to students who are of the first-generation in their family to attend a four-year college in America).
  • Low-Income Students (This one is also used pretty generally and can be relative based on the environment one is from and where one goes to college).

There are other opportunities that can also be looking for women broadly (especially in STEM fields), LGBTQ+ students, and students with disabilities.

Here we hope to list some of what is out there, especially ones for Brown students. We will try to keep this post updated as we become aware of new opportunities and hope this can be a resource as you try to figure out what you can and should be applying for.

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What is the GRE and how do you prepare for it?

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Don’t these diverse people look happy about standardized testing?

The Graduate Record Examination, aka the GRE, is just a standardized test used as part of most graduate school and graduate fellowship applications. Like the SAT and ACT, it is created and administered by a corporation, in this case, Educational Testing Service (ETS).

If you are considering applying for graduate school, particularly Ph.D. programs and associated fellowships, such as the Ford Foundation Pre-Doctoral Fellowship, then you will probably need to take the GRE before you apply (scores are valid for up to 5 years after you take the test). This post is specifically about the GRE General Test, but there are also specific subject tests which you may need to take depending on the field you are trying to apply to (See this page for more information on GRE Subject tests)

GRE test scores, though they are widely asked for, are rarely going to be a make or break factor in any application. Most things look at your application holistically and will not hyper focus on your score. That being said, a better score can also only help your chances. Further there is no definite breakdown of what a good or bad score looks like, especially given the range of things and fields people apply to with these scores (There is no minimum score for being admitted to a graduate program at Harvard). The only thing that will be able to give you some context for your scores is the percentiles. These show you what percentage of test takers got a score lower than yours. But ultimately that accounts for very little since the GRE, like all standardized tests, is only based on how well you can take the test, not anything about you as a person.

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How to Begin Planning for your Summer

 

Thinking about what you want to do with your summer or after graduation can be overwhelming, scary, and difficult especially if we feel like we don’t even know where to start or what to look for.

Taking a look at this guide can be a first step to getting on the way to planning for what you want to do and it’s never too early to begin reflecting on what you want, what you need, and what you can do to fulfill those wants and needs. 

Where are you coming from?

You may not have all the answers now but it is helpful to take inventory of what position you are in and what this summer will mean for your broader plans. Summer after freshman year will be different than summer after junior year or after graduating. This also means taking inventory of financial and housing needs for the summer. How much money and what resources will you need to be able to meet your needs (including if you have obligations to other people) while living and working somewhere.

Where do you want to be? What do you want to be doing?

 

Start to think about what general things you may want to do with your summer. If you had your choice, what kinds of things would you like to be doing and where? Your needs will of course influence how you think about what you are interested in. You don’t need to be pressured to pursue your passion at the expense of your needs, but your passion does not have to be completely determined by your needs.

 

What opportunities exist?

 

Find out what kind of opportunities exist for things you are interested in. Try and talk to professors, older students, alumni, or anyone else who may have familiarity with that area. Different industries and fields have different timelines and requirements. Try looking on BrownConnect for internships and the Fellowships@Brown portal website for fellowship and research opportunities and be sure to look for and attend info-sessions. You can find more information about finding opportunities here

 

Keep track of opportunities that interest you!

As you hear about different opportunities you may want to make a spreadsheet or some other form of documentation. Keep track of deadlines, required materials (such as resumes, cover letters, application essays, etc.), how much you will be payed, and whether they require letters of recommendation. You don’t want to end up in a situation where the deadline sneaks up on you and you end up unable to apply when you could have.

Get more information!

 

For internships try to talk to people who might have experience in the industry you are trying to work in. It can be useful to talk with faculty members, staff, or deans who may be associated with fellowship or research opportunities you are interested in applying for. For any kind of opportunity, try and talk with other students who have done the thing before. These people will have the most specific information about what the thing is like and the process of applying for it and, if they previously did the opportunity, may be willing to give you information about what their application looked like. 

 

Prepare your application!

Begin to put together your application materials and if you need them, ask people who you would like to write recommendation letters for you if they would be willing to do so. You can seek help putting together parts of your application from the FIRe coordinator, the CareerLAB, and the Writing Center.

Apply and Apply Early!

Apply for any of the opportunities that interest you and would fit with your financial and housing needs. Even if something seems like a long-shot, apply anyway! You’re probably more qualified than you think. Make sure to request your recommendation letters and turn in your own application sooner rather than later. Waiting until the last minute can make it much harder for you to put together a high-quality application. Applying a little bit before the deadline can also give you more time in case any technical difficulties happen with your email, your computer, or whatever website you are using to submit an application.

 

How do I find Fellowships, Internships, and Research opportunities?

There are a number of different ways to go about finding fellowships, internships, and research opportunities. Below are a number of the main resources for searching for these opportunities to give you a sense of the differences between them.

You should also be asking older students, alumni, and faculty about opportunities they may know about, especially if they are in areas of study or industries related to what you are interested in. They are the most likely to know about things and be able to talk with you about the process. The databases and lists below are places to start as you go about your search.

You may want to make a spreadsheet that you can use to keep track of anything you come across that is interesting to you including information like the title, what company or organization is offering it, the deadline, and what supplemental materials are required.


Alumni Job Board (AJB)

Use AJB after graduating to find job and internship postings, particularly from other alumni. You can also use this to get access resources for finding and applying for jobs and networking.

BrownConnect

Use BrownConnect to find internships, funding opportunities (such as fellowships), and connect with alumni. Try using advanced search.

+ You can search for internships based on field, type of opportunity (i.e. paid or unpaid), and sector (i.e. private companies, non-profits, or government). Also pay attention to whether internships are marked Bruno internships. Bruno internships are either specifically for Brown students or have spots available specifically for Brown students. Many of the Brown connect internships can be applied to through the Jobs and Internships Board.

+ You can search for alumni to connect with based on many different metrics including their previous concentration, class year, and area they currently work. You can use the connect button on an individual alumni’s page to send them an email using a pre-made template (though I suggest you edit the template provided to personalize it).

+ The funding opportunity list draws from the Fellowships @ Brown site as well as the opportunities available from individual departments.

Brown Undergraduate Research Portal

Listing of various Brown supported Fellowships and Research Opportunity Programs.

Careers in the Common Good (CCG) Databasescreenshot-2016-11-07-17-22-49

Use the CCG Database to find jobs, internships, and fellowships specifically related to social change work such as education. You can access this from the CareerLAB tab on ASK and clicking Exploring Options.

CRC FIRe List of Targeted Opportunities for Students from Historically Underrepresented Groups

Use this list for looking for opportunities that are specifically for members of certain groups, particularly underrepresented minority students. It is curated by the FIRe coordinator in conversation with University Deans and staff. If you know of other opportunities that are not listed on this list please email the FIRe coordinator at crc@brown.edu with more information.

Fellowships @ Brown (F@B)

Use F@B to find fellowships and research opportunities. Some are nationally competitive while others are internal to Brown. See FIRe FAQ to learn more about fellowships.

Jobs and Internships Board (JIB)

Use JIB primarily for finding internships and job opportunities both for the summer and for after graduation. You can also use JIB to store copies of transcripts, resumes, and cover letters to make applying easier. 

Serve Rhode Island Volunteer Portal

Serve Rhode Island connects schools, nonprofits, and other organizations with people looking for volunteering and community service positions. Take a look at their website if you are looking for an organization to get involved with in Rhode Island.

UFunds

You can use UFunds to apply for many different funding and fellowship opportunities. USe to apply for Emergency  Gap funding, which may be helpful for supplementing things other funding might not cover such as travel costs.

 Watson Institute Undergraduate Opportunities

The Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs has various research and fellowship programs available to undergraduate students, especially those concentrating in Public Policy and International Relations.

UTRA Application Tips- Dean Adetunji

  1. What organization and funding programs are you involved with at Brown?

In my role as Associate Dean of the College for Undergraduate Research and Inclusive Science, I oversee the Undergraduate Research office, serve as the Co-Chair for Brown University Engaged Scholarship and Broader Impacts Joint Committee, and oversee wide-ranging efforts linking STEM research, teaching and service with societal relevant outcomes.

I also serve as the executive producer of Science Cartoons (SciToons) production, direct the Research at Brown grant program, and serve as the director of the Undergraduate Teaching and Research Award (UTRA) program.


  1. When is an appropriate time to begin thinking about the UTRA?

We encourage students to start thinking about the UTRA in their first year at Brown. The faculty initiated Interdisciplinary Team (I-Team) UTRA is a good avenue for first year students to get involved with an UTRA project.

The I-Team is designed so that only faculty can submit both initial and final applications. Successful applications go through two rounds of reviews–pre-approval (phase-I) and the final approval (phase-II).

Applications that are pre-approved by the UTRA review committee are listed on the UTRAs website in mid-December so that interested students can read the proposals and contact the faculty through early January to inquire about how they can apply to the faculty’s pre-approved I-Team UTRA projects.

Students selected for I-Team UTRA projects by faculty are included on the faculty’s final I-Team UTRA applications for consideration for the final phase-II approval by the UTRA review committee. Projects of Faculty and students selected for the final approval are notified by mid-January.


  1. What characteristics make an application particularly compelling in your eyes?

Applications which demonstrate strong collaboration between faculty and students; coupled with strong mentoring plan for students are usually very compelling.


  1. 4. Any tips for potential applicants?
  • Attend the UTRA information sessions in fall and spring semesters.
  • Start early to find faculty a collaborator and discuss your proposed ideas with your collaborating faculty.
  • Make sure what you are proposing is feasible during the timeline of your proposal.
  • Consider applying for semester UTRA not just summer UTRA.
  • Proofread your proposal.

 

Application Tips with the CareerLab’s Jim Amspacher

1. What review committees are you involved with at Brown?
Currently on Truman Committee and the Social Innovations Fellowship Committee. In the past I have been a reader for the iProv and LINK awards.

2. When should students begin thinking about these opportunities?
Truman
I think most students don’t think about it until the fall of their Junior years. It would be better if they started thinking about it no later than the second semester Sophomore year.
SIF
Students have thought about (and applied and won the award) starting in their first semester on campus!
LINK and iProv
Start planning your search and pulling together your application materials over January break.

3. What characteristics make an application particularly compelling in your eyes?
Detailed stories about experiences that make you a good fit for that particular award. Directly and clearly answering the questions in the prompts from the application. Recommendation letters from people who have worked with the applicant on the job/research/project that the recommender is writing about.

4. Any tips for potential applicants?
Make it easy on the reviewers. Narrative is good, but clarity is better.
Seek out MANY advisors/friends/mentors to review your application.

Royce Fellowship Application Tips-Kerri Heffernan

“Established in 1996 through the generosity of Charles Royce, a 1961 graduate of Brown University, the Royce Fellowship Program supports Brown University undergraduates as they carry out independent projects of their own design in locations across the United States and around the world. Along with funding, the program confers lifetime membership in the Society of Royce Fellows, a community of student scholars, faculty fellows, and Royce alumni that offers a forum for reflection, inquiry, and intellectual engagement within the university.

Every spring, up to twenty students at Brown are inducted into the Society of Royce Fellows, each receiving an award of up to $4,000 to pursue a research, curricular development, or public service project of his or her own design. The program seeks to enable undergraduates to explore their developing interests and passions and to extend the ideals of Brown’s open curriculum beyond the walls of the university”


Below are Royce Fellowship application tips from Kerri Heffernan

1. What organization and funding programs are you involved with at Brown (Basically what is your role for someone who doesn’t know you at all)?
I direct the Royce Fellowship. I oversee all aspects of the Fellowship including the application and selection process.
2. When is an appropriate time to begin thinking about the Royce Fellowship?
I think its good to begin thinking about independent research in your second year. It’s smart to understand what your options are for funding and support – and to understand what type of course work and experiences are going to help you craft a successful proposal. The application deadline for the Royce is February – I really encourage students to meet with me to discuss their ideas in October and November, It can take time to hone an idea, build a base of support, understand IRB protocols, get appropriate letters of support and work through multiple drafts.
3. What characteristics make an application particularly compelling in your eyes?
We fund a really diverse pool of student proposals – from bench science to composing an opera. The committee looks for proposals that are well crafted, creative, enthusiastically supported by a faculty sponsor and ‘doable’ in the time frame of the Fellowship. I tend to be drawn to proposals that tell me with great enthusiasm and rigor, why I should care about a nano gold particle, Columbia’s position on climate change or liturgical music in 1940’s New York.
4. Any tips for potential applicants?
Be sure you have a question. Many times students have a good idea but not a real ‘question’. Before applying meet with current or former Fellows and the director to better understand the types of projects that the Fellowship funds. Talk about the scope of work, the expectations for a product and the types of support you can expect.

LINK Award Application Tips-Sarah Brown

“Each year, Brown awards financial assistance to students pursuing unpaid or low-paying summer internships. These awards allow students to explore career options and engage in experiential learning activities outside of the classroom. Students must apply for or secure an internship that is unpaid or that pays $1,000 or less before applying for funds.

The Brown LINK Award Program is funded by Brown alums and parents, the Office of Financial Aid, as well as other Brown departments, and is administered by the Center for Careers and Life After Brown.”


 

Below are Sarah Brown’s tips for putting together a great LINK award application

1. What organization and funding programs are you involved with at Brown (Basically what is your role for someone who doesn’t know you at all)?
I am the Internships Manager at the CareerLAB, working mostly on the BrownConnect initiative and the LINK/SEW funding process. BrownConnect LINK awards financial assistance to students pursuing unpaid or low-paying summer internships. Students must apply for or secure an internship that is unpaid or that pays $1,000 or less before applying for funds. The Summer Earnings Waiver (SEW) provides additional scholarship to replace the Standard Contribution (SC) from Summer Earnings Expectation that is on some students’ financial aid packages.
2. When is an appropriate time to begin thinking about the LINK award?
Our LINK/SEW application process is open when students return to campus for the spring semester. We traditionally have two deadlines: one in mid-March and another in mid-April. In order to apply for a LINK award, you must have at least applied for the internship you are looking to fund. This means that students need to be conscious of the LINK deadlines as early as January, when they start the internship search. Most internships are posted between January-March, with employers making decisions by April. I would say students need to be thinking about LINK as early as January-early February.
 
3. What characteristics make an application particularly compelling in your eyes?
The best students applications for LINK funding are those that can really connect all the dots between their academics and extracurriculars at Brown, and the goals they have for themselves post-Brown. We are not looking for students who can definitively say what they expect to be doing once they graduate, but we are looking for students who can make a good case for why the internship they are looking to fund is a great career/experiential learning experience given their current classes, interests, and some of the potential career paths they are considering after graduation.
4. Any tips for potential applicants?
Start early! The best applications are those that have been thoughtfully prepared by the student; they are clear, concise, and well organized. Because LINK is a competitive process, I would highly recommend coming to the CareerLAB’s PCA open hours to have your resume and personal statement reviewed.