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A compilation of stories, telescopes, internship resources, and other things radio astronomy.

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Graduate School: Applying, Living, Thesising

The Professional Student is a blog about everything grad school from the application process to my experiences living as a grad student, being a parent in grad school, and researching the role of chemistry in the evolution of our universe.

Astrochemistry: The Study of Molecules in Space

Olivia Wilkins

Astrochemistry is the joining of astronomy and chemistry, but what types of questions do astrochemists study, and why do they study these questions at all? Here, astrochemistry is defined as the study of molecules in space, and we take a look at where they are, how they got there, and what they are doing before considering some of the many ways in which chemistry can help us understand our wider universe.

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How Astronomers Get Observing Time on Telescopes

Olivia Wilkins

Obtaining astronomical data with a telescope takes much longer than several hours actually using the instrument. Rather, the process takes months starting with a telescope proposal that provides both scientific justification for the project and technical justification for the instruments requested. Here’s a look into what this process looks like, from writing the proposal itself to the review process, using my recent Green Bank Telescope observations to provide some examples.

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Applying to the NSF GRFP: The Research Statement

Olivia Wilkins

The application for the NSF GRFP includes a two-page research statement. In these two pages, you have to provide a brief plan of what research you plan to carry out in grad school, address your intellectual merits and broader impacts, and provide enough background information so that a scientist in the same discipline (but likely a completely different area of research) can easily understand the ideas you are trying to convey. How can you possibly fit all of that into two pages?

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