Apply to the GRAD-MAP Winter Workshop!

Today we have a guest post from Milena Crnogorčević, one of the co-leads of the GRAD-MAP program at the University of Maryland. Together with other graduate students in the astronomy and physics departments, Milena helps organize and run various GRAD-MAP activities.

GRAD-MAP: Winter Workshop & research opportunities for underrepresented undergraduate students hosted by the University of Maryland Departments of Astronomy and Physics!

Are you an undergraduate student interested in learning about fascinating astronomy, physics, and biophysics research? Do you have your eyes set on a graduate program, but would like to explore different research topics before applying? Or, you haven’t really done research before and want to learn what all the fuss is about? Do you want to learn to code, do research with a University of Maryland mentor, learn about graduate programs, internship applications, and more? Folks, I’ve got SOME GREAT NEWS FOR YOU: 

GRAD-MAP (Virtual)
Winter Workshop 2021!


Graduate Resources Advancing Diversity with Maryland Astronomy and Physics (GRAD-MAP) is a graduate-student-led initiative at the Departments of Astronomy and Physics at the University of Maryland (UMD), striving to build strong ties with mid-Atlantic minority-serving institutions (MSIs) through seminars, forums, workshops, science discussions, and research. We connect interested MSI students with our graduate and faculty researchers at UMD. Our goal is to provide an opportunity for underrepresented minority students to gain the skills and experience to successfully pursue graduate degrees in physics and astronomy. In doing so, we hope to significantly improve the diversity of Astronomy and Physics graduate students and serve as an example for the current and future initiatives throughout the United States.

There are two pillars to our program: the Winter Workshop and the Summer Scholars Program. All participants of the Winter Workshop are eligible to apply for the Summer Scholars Program—a ten-week REU-like experience at UMD during the summer. However, the focus of this post is the GRAD-MAP Winter Workshop, the application deadline for which is quickly approaching, on next Monday, Nov 16 (hint: apply here.)

GRAD-MAP Winter Workshop

This year, the GRAD-MAP Winter Workshop will take place online, on January 4 – 10, 2021

There are many parts to the Winter Workshop program, allowing our participants to develop their professional skills on multiple axes:

  • A major part of the Winter Workshop is oriented towards learning to code: all participants will go through a structured and interactive Python bootcamp, geared toward the new-to-coding learner. 
  • Learning to code will help the participants in their mini-research projects. All Winter Workshop participants carry out a mini-research project under the mentorship of physics or astronomy researchers (usually one-on-one mentoring, or in a small group), in a wide range of topics, including multimessenger astronomy (neutrinos, gravitational waves, and cutting-edge electromagnetic observations), cosmology & dark matter, galaxies, exoplanets and exoplanet atmospheres, material science, atomic physics, biophysics, and more! 
  • In addition to all the research and coding, we also provide professional development seminars that include practical & honest discussions about getting into internships and graduate programs, development of soft skills, writing workshops, and alike.
  • Furthermore, we organize lab tours (this year virtually) where students learn about different kinds of research done at large local labs. Also, students use telescopes and conduct their own observations (eg. Greenbank Telescope), and learn more about instrumentation projects at NASA Goddard, NIST, and APL. 
  • Finally, a major part of the GRAD-MAP Winter Workshop is the community building among the participants, but also creating relationships with the graduate students and faculty at the UMD Astronomy and Physics. These connections allow for access to first-hand information about physics and astronomy research and can lead to future collaborations.

This is SO cool, but how do I apply?

Application form:

Deadline: Monday, November 16, 11:59 PM


Any undergraduate student at a US institution potentially interested in pursuing a career/graduate school in physics or astronomy and who supports the GRAD-MAP mission may apply. Preference is given to students from institutions without significant undergraduate research opportunities, including community colleges, and students in the mid-Atlantic region. Students who identify as underrepresented minorities (including African-American, Latinx, and Native American) are strongly encouraged to apply. 

If you would like to learn more about the GRAD-MAP Winter Workshop, please visit or e-mail the GRAD-MAP team ([email protected]). GRAD-MAP is looking forward to reading your applications and meeting you this winter!

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