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Ray FAQ

This page is provided to assist applicants in preparing their responses. We cannot accept any applications to the Ray Award that do not use the online form! Each response is limited to 1500 characters (including spaces).  Service description entries have no character limit. 

If using Microsoft Word to prepare your responses, use "Tools | Word Count..." and read the line that says "Characters (with spaces)".


1. Service: The primary goal of the Ray Scholarship and Service Grant is to reward graduate student service. As a result, this section is given more weight than the others (40% of final score).

According to the Graduate School Handbook, "Under no circumstances should graduate students serve as “volunteer” GAs where they are expected to provide service with no stipend, at a stipend not commensurate with the expected load, or without an appropriate payment of tuition and fees. Course credit cannot be awarded to a student performing in the role of a GA in lieu of a stipend".  As such, the Ray Committee will not recognize volunteer GA work as service.

In this section, service to your department, your college, the University, and/or your community as a graduate student at OSU should be included. Do not include service performed before you begin graduate school at OSU. For this application, "service" refers to voluntary, non-academic activities for which you DID NOT receive any form of remuneration (neither cash nor academic credit. Mentoring an undergraduate in a lab where you are receiving credit or pay does not count as this is typically considered part of working in a lab.

*If you are listing Precepting, please clearly indicate how this is separate from your program, expected functions at work, etc.

If you feel there are extenuating circumstances that have impacted your ability to participate in service activities or have caused a gap in participating in service activities, you may describe them in the statement area below the service section. This area may not be used for any other purpose.

Keep in mind that simply being a graduate student is not an extenuating circumstance -- all applicants to the Ray Award Competition are graduate students at OSU and, therefore, are very busy.  Acceptable excuses include but are not limited to: single parent child care, eldely care etc. Please detail how this has inhibited your ability to participate in service.


2. Conference: Please provide some basic information about the conference(s) you are applying for, in the following format: (20% of final score)

Give the full name of the conference (do not use any abbreviations).

What is the scope of the conference (e.g. regional, national, international)? Is this a recurring conference, and if so, how often is the conference held (e.g. monthly, quarterly, twice a year, once a year, every other year)?

What type of presentation are you giving (e.g. poster, presentation)? Did you have a choice of formats, and if so, why did you pick this one? Are you a co-author on the corresponding paper, or sole author?

Are you participating in additional ways during the conference (e.g. volunteering, moderating a panel, proctoring a session, organizing a workshop)?

Discuss the specific reasons you chose to present this paper/project/work to this conference.



3. Research/Scholarship: Give a clear and concise summary of the research you will be presenting. Do not copy the abstract that was given to the conference's program committee (20% of final score).

This section may be read by someone in any discipline -- artist, engineer, humanist, scientist -- and must therefore be understandable by all. Keep technical terminology to a minimum and do not assume any familiarity with the research methods common to your field.

  1. Summaries must include:
  2. the central question being asked
  3. broadly described approach to answering question
  4. the answer to that question
  5. the implications of the result in relation to the field as a whole.

Note: This is not an abstract! The goal of this section is to help the judges understand what you are presenting at the conference and assess the scholarship of the applicant.

If you are applying for funding to present multiple papers, give a summary of one paper only -- usually the one you consider strongest or easiest to explain to non-specialists.


4. Professional Development: All of our applicants are very distinguished and worthy of an award. What is an area in which you feel the you still have room to develop? How will attendance at this conference contribute to your professional development?

Besides the obvious benefits of being able to network and gain feedback from others in attendance, we want you to discuss how this conference will help your professional development.