Recently, I was incredibly excited and humbled to learn that I was selected as a 2021 NSF GRFP Fellow. Like most of my accomplishments, this one was only made possible by the support of friends and colleagues, and the mentorship of my incredible advisors at Brown. One resource I found particularly helpful for this application was previous successful applications, specifically Victoria Dean’s and Nelson Liu’s. Given how useful these were for me, I figured I’d share my own application materials to contribute to the genre and help any future applicants. You can find both my research and personal essays linked below.
If there’s one piece of advice I’d give to anyone applying for the GRFP, it’s this: share your materials with as many grad students, professors and other researchers you can! It’s often daunting to share personal or professional essays with others (and the GRFP requires both!), but feedback from more experienced researchers - especially those who might have either written or seen successful GRFP applications in the past - is absolutely invaluable. Of course, you don’t have to listen to incorporate every piece of feedback you get, but often, you’ll be surprised at the suggestions you’ll get and realize you can make your application much stronger by changing a few paragraphs, etc. (this certainly happened to me!).
Good luck with your GRFP applications!