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Graduate School Diversity Mentoring Fellowship: 2010 - 2011
Dr. J. Eric Bickel

Dr. J. Eric Bickel

Two ME/ORIE professors, Sheldon Landsberger and Eric Bickel, have received approval from The University of Texas at Austin Graduate Program to fund Graduate School Diversity Mentoring Fellowships for the 2010-2011 academic year. They will each be able to offer a Diversity Mentoring Fellowship to an underrepresented minority student in these academic areas next year. The fellowships cover tuition, fees, and a nine-month stipend totaling $16,000. The total value of the fellowship is over $24,000 per student.

This year there was a 60% increase in the number of faculty applications for the fellowships, so this selection is a prestigious honor for both Drs. Landsberger and Bickel who wrote competitive proposals. The fellowships will allow well-qualified underrepresented students to be supported who otherwise would may not have that opportunity. Only American citizens (or permanent residents) are eligible to these, and underrepresented groups include the following: Hispanic, African-American, American Indian (male and female), and women of any ethnic background.

Nuclear and Radiation Program Fellowship

Within the Nuclear and Radiation Engineering program graduate students will be able to be involved in the research topics of Dr. Sheldon Landsberger. These areas include nuclear forensics, environmental science and engineering, robotics for nuclear materials-handling and radiochemistry.

Operations Research and Industrial Engineering Program Fellowship

Within the Operations Research and Industrial Engineering program, the selected fellow will pursue research under Professor Bickel's supervision. Possible topics include decision and risk analysis, uncertainty quantification, value of information, and climate and energy policy.

The Graduate School describes these fellowships as follows:

The purpose of the Diversity Mentoring Fellowship program is to help faculty members at The University of Texas at Austin bring outstanding new graduate students to campus that add to the diversity to our campus and mentor them.

Diversity Mentoring Fellowships are reserved for students who are U.S. citizens (or permanent residents), with clear demonstrated financial need, who are entering graduate school at the university for the first time in summer or fall 2010 (current undergraduates are eligible). During the recruiting season from January to early April, the faculty member will be able to nominate a student for their fellowship. The Fellowship Program in the Office of Graduate Studies will verify that the student nominated has been admitted to the faculty member's program and satisfies the citizenship condition. Potential graduate students do not apply. It is up to the Area or Landsberger or Bickel to try and recruit or identify students who can qualify. All potential students first need to be accepted into the program.

During the academic year 2010-2011, a Diversity Mentoring Fellow will receive a stipend of $16,000, plus an additional amount to help with medical insurance expenses. During each long semester the Fellow will also receive up to the maximum Tuition Benefit Assistance (currently $3566) toward tuition and required fees. A student entering in spring 2011 can continue the fellowship in the summer or the fall. Students will be expected to carry 9 hours of course work.

The essence of this award is the mentoring relationship between the faculty member and the student who is recruited, and a serious commitment of time and energy are involved. The entering student should be provided with experiences that will be developmental for someone new to the university and to their field of study. Such experiences might include, but would not be limited to, introduction to the current literature; exposure to outstanding research problems; laboratory experience and data collection; attending and giving seminars or professional meetings; and involvement in a current research project of the faculty mentor. After the mentorship period, the research relationship between the student and the mentor may or may not be pursued.

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