Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Sponsoring the children

I donate to a scholarship where I can sponsor the students I specifically pick (all applications are from the same university). It costs me around $10k/student/year (I sponsor two) and mainly this provides a partial stipend, but the schools appreciate the private money so much the university fills in the rest if the stipend and covers tuition/fees/etc. I had this when I was in grad school so it's only right that I give back.  If the student has a fellowship already then this money goes on top of that.  Pretty awesome.  I pick my students based on what kind of research they do and then their personal/professional essays.  I've met some great people this way.  There's a big ceremony where the students get their awards and get to meet their sponsors.  It's a lot of fun to take part in as a student, and just as fun as a sponsor.

I really enjoy this because I get to see some of the state-of-the-art, talk with interesting people that really care about research, and get a couple nice dinners.  At the most recent dinner I started to realize that I may not be able to take part as much for a couple reasons next year.  First, I'll have less disposable income.  Second, I'm concerned about the conflict-of-interest.  Is funding a different PI's student at a competing university ethical?  I guess I could reach out to my new school's local chapter of this scholarship and fund a student, but what if I like one of my own student's research the most.  If I don't select the one I want to fund I fear it's wrong, and if I do select my own, then I'm using personal money to fund one of my "employees".  But giving to another university when my new place could use the money presents me with a dilemma.

Regardless, I will take part, if nothing else but volunteering with the organization.  I really enjoyed my experience with this scholarship, and I don't want to give up sponsoring students.  Should I?


  1. I'm assuming you're sponsoring grad students. Why not sponsor undergrads and your local and you alma mater? One at each balances things out. And no conflict of interest because undergrads don't really help you out.

    1. I am sponsoring grad students. The organization I donate to only sponsors grad students. And I really only want to donate to the organization that treated me so well. Thanks for trying to help though!

  2. Why are you leaving industry????? You're leaving so much good behind!!!!!