Graduate Scholars Program

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Apr 12, 2012

The National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) seeks applicants for its Graduate Scholars Program.  The SESYNC Graduate Scholars Program will harness the creative abilities of 10 graduate students from both the social and natural sciences, to identify socio-environmental topics that are ripe for synthesis.  Graduate Scholars will develop several potential “Themes” for SESYNC, and manage individual social networks for further Theme development.  SESYNC Themes are cross-disciplinary, exciting, new research questions that carry importance at an international scale, hold potential for policy/decision impacts, and are useful to audiences beyond the research community.  We are looking for an elite group of emergent scholars who are “big thinkers” in their fields to drive socio-environmental synthesis efforts.

This year-long program includes two in-person workshops in Annapolis, Maryland and one on-going social networking activity.  SESYNC will cover travel, accommodation and food expenses for the two in-person workshops.

Overview of Program

Theme Identification Workshop at SESYNC:  Mid June, 2012

SESYNC Graduate Scholars will attend a two-day Theme Identification Workshop at the SESYNC building in Annapolis, MD.  During the Theme Identification Workshop, Graduate Scholars will identify what they believe to be the most pressing socio-environmental topic areas, problems and challenges, and convert these into several working Themes.

Social Networking Component: June 2012 –December 2012

Following the Theme Identification Workshop, each SESYNC Graduate Scholar will create, recruit for and manage his/her own online social network of other graduate students using the platform of Ideascale to gain feedback on Themes.  SESYNC Graduate Scholars will encourage the participants of their online social networks to comment on, question, add to, develop and vote for Themes.  The top-voted Themes from each of the 10 social networks will be brought back to SESYNC for further discussion.

Process and Product Wrap-up Session at SESYNC:  January 2013

After 6 months of managing their individual online social networks, the 10 Graduate Scholars will meet again at SESYNC in Annapolis, MD for a two-day workshop to review the top 10 Themes derived from each social network and the process of social networking. Themes will be incorporated into SESYNC planning for synthesis efforts.

Applicant Information

Competitive Applicants:

  • Represent natural sciences and/or social sciences
  • Are dedicated to synthesizing the natural and social sciences
  • Exhibit academic success in terms of grade point average and other activities
  • Have experience with online social networking use and/or management
  • Can commit to a year-long process of online and in-person collaborations
  • Have either completed 2 semester’s worth of their Master’s program, or have advanced to candidacy (ABD) in their Doctoral program
  • Exhibit diversity with respect to discipline, gender, ethnicity, race, disability and geographic location
Submission Instructions: 

Components of the Graduate Scholars Program Application

  • Resume
  • Official transcript
  • A brief statement including:
    • Your interest in the Graduate Scholars Program
    • What you will bring to the Graduate Scholars Program
    • Your access to networks of other graduate students to populate your online social network
    • Your experience with social network or blog management and/or use
  • The names and contact information of three references (one of which must be your academic advisor)

Applications will be accepted in pdf digital format only (except for references).  Email complete application materials with a subject line SESYNC GRAD SCHOLARS APPLICATION to: by April 12, 2012.

Please contact Rachel Berndtson at with any questions.

The University of Maryland is an Equal Opportunity Employer
Minorities and Women Are Encouraged to Apply

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