Creating the Extraordinary Student Experience : Office of Student Life

Criteria - Application Questions

This page is provided merely 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).

    In this section, service to your department, your college, the University, and/or your community as a graduate student at OSU should be included. For the purpose of this application, "service" refers to voluntary, non-academic activities for which you DID NOT receive any form of remuneration (neither cash nor academic credit). (For example, paid Graduate Research or Teaching Assistantships would NOT be considered "service" under this definition. Neither would "volunteer" TAing for which academic credit is received).  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.

  2. If you feel there are extenuating circumstances that have impacted your ability to participate in service activities, you may describe them in the statement below. 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. Additionally please be aware that most of the judging panel is made up of graduate students with a wide range of service activities within and outside of the university. Though the Ray Travel Award has a large service component, applicants are not expected to spend all their free time in service. Applicants are encouraged to be honest about the time spent in each service activity. Applications that appear to have inflated service hours may be treated with a more critical eye.

  3. Research: Give an informal 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.

    In particular, summaries must include: the central question being asked, the answer to that question, and the means that were used to evaluate that answer. It is also helpful to discuss the implications of the result in relation to the field as a whole.

    Note that this is an area where many applicants perform poorly! We highly recommend that you ask a friend (especially someone in a different program, or even a non-academic) to look over your research summary. It's also likely that your advisor will be able to help you in tailoring your text to a non-technical audience.

    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. Goals: Describe your professional (i.e. career) goals and briefly characterize the factors that led you to adopt those goals (20% of final score).

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

    1. Give the full name of the conference (do not use any abbreviations).
    2. 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)?
    3. Is this a refereed conference? If so, what is its acceptance rate? (If you do not know, say so.)
    4. 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?
    5. Are you participating in additional ways during the conference (e.g. volunteering, moderating a panel, proctoring a session, organizing a workshop)?
    6. Discuss the specific reasons you chose to present this paper to this conference.

    Be sure to discuss each conference you are applying for, if more than one.