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Santa Cruz, CA

Vikram Baliga, PhD Candidate at UC Santa Cruz, member of the Mehta Lab. Areas of study: ecology, ontogeny, morphometrics, and comparative methods.

Beneath the Waterline

Grant Writing

Vikram Baliga

A large part of being in graduate school is learning the ropes in the grant-writing process. Grants and fellowships, big and small, are the lifeline of the graduate student. Although TA-ing is usually fun and rewarding, doing so often takes a considerable chunk of time out of your weekly schedule. Receiving grants is the big ticket out of this. These pockets of financial support not only make it possible to fully concentrate on your research, but also teach you a great deal about fiscal responsibility.

In fields such as Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, the "big one" is the NSF Predoctoral Fellowship. Nearly every incoming student applies (or has previously applied) for it. Receiving the Fellowship is a blessing, considering that it provides three years of support. At UCSC, this Fellowship is so highly revered, there is even a mandatory class for first-year students that is geared towards maximizing students' success with it.