The Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship | For Women, Masters, PhD – due Jan. 15th 2015

You seriously need to apply for this. If I was studying computer science, please believe I would be working on this essay right now.

Program:  Google’s scholarship recipients from North America will be invited to visit Google headquarters in Mountain View, California for the Google Scholars’ Retreat. The retreat will include workshops, speakers, panelists, breakout sessions and social activities scheduled over a 3-day period. Students will have the opportunity to explore the Googleplex and enjoy the San Francisco Bay Area as they get to know other talented computer science students from across the country.

Due Date: January 15, 2015

Who should apply:

  • a female student currently enrolled as an undergraduate or graduate student at a university for the 2014-2015 academic year
  • intend to be enrolled in or accepted as a full-time undergraduate or graduate student at a university in the United States for the 2015-2016 academic year
  • majoring in computer science, computer engineering, or a closely related technical field
  • maintain a strong academic record
  • exemplify leadership and demonstrate passion for increasing the involvement of women in computer science

Apply here.

Good luck! Let me know if you succeeded =)


Letters to Graduate Students 4 | Beware of the Quarter Life Crisis

Dear Dr. You

Dear Dr. You,

Quite frankly, I never heard of the quarter-life crisis until today. Gee thanks “Dominique” for sharing this insightful article with me today!

After reading this article, I realize that I am on the tail end of my quarter-life crisis. According to the article:

Phase 1 – A feeling of being trapped by your life choices. Feeling as though you are living your life on autopilot.

Ohmigoodness, yes! I admit after grad school I could not figure out what was next for me. In retrospect, I gravitated to my startup because I would essentially be commercializing my thesis project. It was a field that I knew and loved and believed in – proteomics. I knew I was good at it; I had awards to prove it. I loved my team, after all one of them was my PhD advisor. I couldn’t say no to him. He believed in me so much, imparted his knowledge on me, and mentored me for almost 5 years. But, I realized in this phase that being an adult means setting my own goals, pursuing my own dreams – not the dreams of my advisor nor my parents. But, my own. Up until the end of my PhD, I didn’t really have to think about what was next. What was next was always written in a course catalog. Now, with a world of opportunities available to me, I felt trapped in the startup. Long hours doing experiments, writing grants, writing business plans, training technicians, answering phones. My life was on autopilot.

Phase 2 – A rising sense of “I’ve got to get out” and the feeling that you can change your life.

I think the trigger to get out was staring at my dwindling bank account, and realizing that after receiving an advanced degree, I was  still not able to help my mother financially. Realizing that I couldn’t afford to travel as much as I wanted to. Realizing that my friends in the industry did not have 12+ hour days.

Phase 3 – Quitting the job or relationship or whatever else is making you feel trapped and embarking on a “time out” period where you try out new experiences to find out who you want to be.

So, I resigned. I don’t like the word “quit”. I most definitely didn’t quit. I resigned amicably. And, those weights lifted off my shoulder.

Phase 4 – Rebuilding your life.

I moved states. I got to use my interior decorating skills to “adultify” (i.e. beautify my place in a non-college student way) my new apartment. I feel free. I have time to explore my other passions now. Mind you, I do miss living in a college town. I miss having intellectual conversations with my peers and my “superstar”. I miss my “superstar”. I miss being at the forefront of new technologies and innovations. But, I finally have the time to take care of me, and I am loving it. I am loving this state and being close to my “Dominique.” I am loving dabbling in the medical device industry.

Phase 5 – Developing new commitments more attuned to your interests and aspirations.

I still don’t think I am where I want to be yet. But it’s a start. I just learned that I can paint :D. I’m serious about staying fit and now I have time to go to the gym. I know that I will start a start-up again one day; working in industry allows me to learn how I can do it right the next time. I’m still going to write that children’s book; I gave myself my own deadline. And, I love that it is a self-imposed deadline, and not a school deadline or work deadline, but my own. That simple deadline makes my heart smile.

So quarter-life crisis, I am proud to survive you!! And, Dr. You, if you are going through this, I wish you the best of luck. There is a light at the end of your tunnel! I see it!!! I do, I do. Do you? Look closely. You are almost there ;). Be blessed!

~ Bella A.

Faculty for the Future Fellowship, Due Nov. 14th | International Female Students Pursuing a PhD in STEM

Program: awards fellowships to women from developing and emerging economies to pursue PhD or post-doctorate studies in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines.

Apply if You: 

– are a female and are a citizen of a developing country or emerging economy. You are not eligible to apply if you hold dual citizenship of which one is citizenship of a developed country.

– are preparing for a PhD degree or post-doctoral research in the physical sciences, engineering, technology and related disciplines. Awards in biological sciences are limited to interdisciplinary research between physical and biological sciences. The Faculty for the Future program does not fund Master level studies;

– are enrolled, admitted or have applied to a host university/research institute abroad (applications are no longer accepted where a candidate has not yet applied to a university).

– hold an excellent academic record

– have a proven track record of teaching experience or can demonstrate commitment to teaching

– can demonstrate active participation in faculty life and outreach programs to encourage young women into the sciences

– are willing to contribute to the socio-economic development of your home country and region by strengthening the faculties in your home university, pursuing relevant research, or using your specific expertise to address public policy matters

Click here for more information.

Good luck!

Interested in Data Science? Apply for the Winter Data Science Fellowship

Program: The Data Incubator is an intensive six-week fellowship that prepares postdocs and PhDs in STEM + social science fields seeking industry careers as data scientists. The program is free for fellows and supported by sponsorships from dozens of employers across multiple industries. In response to the overwhelming interest in our earlier summer and fall sessions, we will be holding a winter postdoc fellowship.

Locations: There will be both an in-person (in NYC) and online section of the fellowship.

Dates: Both sections will be from 01/05/15 to 02/13/15

Who should apply: Anyone within one year of graduating from a PhD program or who has already obtained a PhD is welcome to apply. Applications from international students welcome. There is a common application for both the online and in-person sections. Everyone else (including non-PhDs) is enouraged to sign-up for a future session.

For additional information, checkout our website, blog, Venture Beat article, or Harvard Business Review piece.

Good luck!

$20,000 Fellowship for PhD students | Due Dec. 1st

Are you pursuing innovative research related to information security, storage and availability? Then, this fellowship has your name on it!

The Symantec Research Labs Graduate Fellowship

Symantec is accepting applications for  2015 Fellowship Program. Award decisions will be made in January 2015. Symantec will award Symantec Research Labs (SRL) Graduate Fellowships to outstanding Ph.D. students who meet the eligibility criteria listed below. A key goal of the program is to fund innovative research that has real-world value, in areas where Symantec conducts business. We are soliciting applications for the following areas:

  • Next Generation Security: security and cryptography in the areas of mobile computing, data center, Internet of Things (IoT), cloud, web, big data analytics, networks, information security, etc.
  • Storage and Systems: areas such as storage, backup, virtualization, cloud computing, big data infrastructure, etc.
  • Machine learning and data mining: including predictive analytics and anomaly detection, in support of the security, storage, and systems areas mentioned above.

Provisions of the Award

The SRL Graduate Fellowship provides up to $20,000 USD that may be used to cover one year of the student’s tuition fees and to reimburse expenses incurred by the student to engage into research collaboration with Symantec, such as conference registration fees, travel expenses, hardware, etc. If the fellowship is to cover tuition, this portion of the award will be made through the university.

Apply here —>

Letters to Graduate Students 3 | Creating a WOW Resume

Dear Dr. You

Dear Dr. You –

Graduation is over! Thesis is submitted! Diploma is on its way! And, now you are ready to for this new, wonderfully frustrating period of your life – job hunting! Whooohooo (not! ;/)

Well, I have good news. This is the best article I’ve found to date on how to create a WOW resume.

Best of luck to you! Now, go ahead and wow the recruiters with your awesome expertise!

Kindest regards,

Bella A.

I’m not poor! I’m impecunious.

One of my best friends, is studying for her GRE. She keeps me entertained with her new vocabulary.

“Bella, I don’t want to be impecunious,” she said.

And, I couldn’t help but laugh. I am quite convinced that the Queen created that word to avoid using the word “poor.” The Webster dictionary hints that I am right because the word was first used in the Medieval times.

If you saw a vagrant, with a placard that read, “Help me, I’m impecunious,” what would your first instinct be? I’d think it was a new disease. When in fact, poverty has existed from since the dawn of time.

I imagine the Queen loved that word. She could now say, “My royal subjects, many people in The United Kingdom are living in dire, impecunious conditions. Today, I implore Parliament to implement the anti-impecunious decree.”

Ahh, GRE, I wish I knew why you existed.

Letter to Graduate Students 2 | Salary Negotiations


Dear Dr. You,

I know you must be super stressed with your job search. I wish I could tell you that job hunting is easy. But, it’s not. It took me 100+ job applications and 4 months before I found mine. Sadly, this is a true representation of the average PhD’s job hunt. Even post-docs have it rough. A post-doc friend applied to 100+ faculty and industry positions, and only got 1 offer.

But, I’ll give you some hope. I have a friend who landed a job after his first on-campus interview. He’s a pretty wow engineer. Maybe, if the stars are aligned in your favor and you are pretty wow, then you’ll get a job after your first interview too.

Dear Dr. You
Fast forward to getting the job offer. How do you know what your salary should be?

Here are four great websites to help you:

1. GlassDoor is my personal favorite.

  • You can search by job title, geographic location and company name.
  • Average salaries are displayed in a simple horizontal bar chat.
  • Current and former employees review company culture and work-life balance.


  • You can search by job title and geographic location.
  • Average salaries are displayed in a bell curve.
  • A benefits tab summarizes the typical compensation package offered to someone with your job title.

3. CareerOneStop

  • You can search by job title and geographic location.
  • Average salaries are displayed in a horizontal bar chart.
  • A Cost of Living calculator (use the free demo) helps you determine if your monthly salary is enough to pay all your bills, student loans and still leave you enough dollars to save.

4. MyPlan

  • You can search by job title and geographic location.
  • Average salaries are displayed in a tabular format, indicating percentile distributions.


Best of luck to you as you start your job search! You got this! Let me know if these websites were helpful to you, and if there are websites that are even better than



Bella A.

Letter to Graduate Students 1 | Life After Graduate School

Dear Dr. You –

Congratulations on accomplishing one of the greatest achievements of your life! Only a few venture into PhD Land, and you were one of the brave souls to take that step. I do not know the obstacles you overcame to get here today, but I know they were many. You did it! I am so proud of you. You were tempted to quit several times. You doubted your intelligence several times. But, you held fast onto this PhDream and guess what it’s over! Pheww!! Life. Begins. Now.

Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. Savor this moment.

Do a happy dance. In the mirror.

Do a happy dance. In the street.

Hug somebody. Squeeze them hard.

Cry those happy tears. Go ahead. I understand.

You have every right to be overwhelmed with emotion. I was too.

Dear Dr. You

The next few months is going to feel very surreal. You will stare at your diploma a few times, double checking that your name is really printed on that piece of paper. You will take Brain Trips and go back to the joyous and miserable moments of grad school. Take those trips. Relive them.

Remember when you gave your first talk at group meeting? Remember how little data you had? Remember how nervous you were? Hey, what about that time someone accidentally messed up your experiment by contaminating the incubator in the cell culture room? Or how stressed you felt when you realized that it was Year 4 and you still didn’t have any publications to your name. Remember that professor who ignored you in the hallway (even if he saw you at least once a week for two years)? But, remember how you always told him “Hi” with that Caribbean smile. And, remember when in Year 3, he finally acknowledged your presence and held the door open for you and told you Good Morning.  So, in celebration you did that happy dance and told all the guys in the lab “I won! I finally converted Professor X.” 😀

Remember when you won your first poster award? Omg. When they called YOUR name out of all those names? Remember when you started mentoring newer graduate students, showing them the ropes. Remember your first conference? Remember the first compliment your advisor gave you? Wait, Rewind. Remember again the first compliment your advisor gave you. Haha. That was a shocker, huh? Your advisor being proud of your work. Pinch me! Pinch me now! 😀

Remember the friends you made along the way? The bar crawls? The football games? Salsa dancing? Dinner parties? Those highly intellectual conversations that went on from 9p to 3a? Those coffee and cheesecake breaks?

Remember studying for quals. Failing quals. Studying again. Failing again. Studying again (last chance). Then, passing! Omg, yes! Dang, multiple choice is always so annoying. Can they just ask you questions verbally, and let you explain yourself? Jeez. Who invented multiple choice anyway.

Dr. You, life begins now. And, life now is so liberating. You feel free. Your manager at work does not send you emails at midnight, expecting a response. You now work from 8a – 5p, and you are not expected to bring work home. I’m dead serious. You do not have to work from 8a – 7p and again from 9p to midnight like before. You’re laughing? I’m not kidding. The hours from 5p to midnight are your own. Your weekends – all of Saturday and Sunday are your own. Un-freaking-believable. Pinch me! Pinch me now!

It will be a “struggle” managing all this “free time.” Heck, that’s why I’m blogging! Do you think I ever thought about blogging in grad school. Haha. Sometimes you will feel like your days are being wasted. Grad school was so hard, and well, work, work is not that challenging. You will feel like you can do so much more, but you are being limited by the politics of your organization. Don’t quit your job. Are you crazy?! I mean financial stability is amazing. Be the best you can be at work, and show them you can be even better than they expect. Who knows? Maybe you will be promoted earlier and retire younger.

See, in graduate school you always knew what was coming next. You always had a plan for this semester and next semester. You had deadlines for fellowships and grants. You registered for classes, then took classes. You did research, then presented it weekly or monthly. You did research to get publications. You published to show your expertise in your field. You marketed yourself as an “almost expert” to beef up your resume, and get a job. Now you have the job, there are project plans and there are internal deadlines. But, these deadlines may not lead to the improvement of you as an individual per se, Instead, they may feel more like an improvement to an organization. So, it may take some getting used to. And, it is a bit unclear what you will be doing next year. Or in 4 years. There are no more classes to take. There are no more graduations left. But, there are promotions. Your wings are not clipped. And, you are not limited to where you can fly. You can choose to live in the U.S., Caribbean, Europe, Africa, South America, Japan or Australia. It is the limitless opportunities in this great, big world that make you question which step to take now versus later. But, be free Dr. You. Be You. Do you. Go where the wind blows. I am super excited to see what your future holds.



Bella Agnes, Ph.D.