In a stroke of luck, I received an email in February from a fellow grad student on our programs' list-serv about a fellowship which was a perfect fit for me. Geared towards for students from backgrounds less underrepresented (i.e. women and racial/ethnic minorities) who use computational methods in fields outside of computer science (they actually specifically mentioned ecology). What made it perfect was that although there are tons of fellowships out there, most of these "Pre-Doctoral" fellowships were geared toward graduate students just starting out in their grad program who did NOT already have a masters degree. (Getting my masters' sometimes feels like a gift and a curse). Or fellowships having the requirement of attaining "candidate" status which I did achieve in March after successfully passing my Preliminary Exam (with a 6 person committee, I might add). Back on topic... This fellowship was perfect. Computational Scientist.. CHECK. Potential for excellence. CHECK. Likelihood of successfully completing graduate degree. CHECK. Extent to which I will serve to increase diversity in the workplace. CHECK. I was a little nervous that I was only able to give a 500 character statement (equates to 2 carefully crafted sentences) and a CV (I think mine is pretty impressive). Well everything was turned in by the deadline and the wait began. We were told we would be notified a the END of July. Imagine my surprise when I received an email an the END of June that I was one of 14 selected as an ACM SIGHPC/Intel Fellow. Congrats to me. I have funding for 3 years, which is perfect as I have 3 years to go. This year I'm buying a "supercomputer" (well it has 12 physical cores and 24 virtual cores, 64 GB of Ram so close enough) because the limiting factor to my research is the processing power on my lab desktop. And the model, I've built definitely needs it. It has been a running for a few weeks now on the campus cluster just to calibrate it but I only had funding to pay for it until summers end. So this is awesome!