The Cosmos Scholars grant program provides support to graduate students at Washington, DC area schools, including Georgetown University. These grants, supported by the Cosmos Club Foundation, provide awards of up to $5,000 to meet specific research needs not covered by other supporting funds, including but not limited to special supplies, travel, and unanticipated expenses that would enhance the work.
Shican Claire Li, a PhD student in Biology, received a Cosmos Scholars grant in 2021 and has shared details about her experiences and advice for applicants:
What is your research focus?
My project studies how Giardia lamblia responds to the mechanical stress in the host during infection, specifically, how Giardia behaves in a mucus-like viscoelastic environment. We use both biological and physical approaches to study Giardia responses in growth, attachment patterns, and gene expressions.
How did you learn about the Cosmos Scholars grant program and what made you decide to apply?
I first heard about the Cosmos Scholars grant program when I asked my colleague for any eligible grants for international students. I learned more from the email my program sends out, the grad school fellowship webpage, and also from Arifa, a previous awardee from my program. I decided to apply because of its inclusiveness of applicants’ nationality and area of study.
How do you hope this award will positively impact your research?
The financial support will enable me to conduct the experiments I proposed and add an essential part of results and discussion in my dissertation. I also have become more confident in writing about my research, more engaged in thinking, planning, and modifying my project, and braver in practice to form research ideas.
What advice would you give to prospective applicants?
Avoid jargon and give your readers a good background introduction before going into your experimental details.