NGFP Tips and FAQs
Application Tips and Frequently Asked Questions
Roles and Responsibilities
What areas of work are NGFP fellows involved with?
NGFP fellows work for NNSA, which has a number of national security focus areas. Traditionally, NGFP has focused on the nonproliferation offices, including the areas of research and development, international security, and fissile materials disposition. However, in recent years the program has expanded drastically, allowing for fellows to explore national security areas outside of nonproliferation. These areas include maintaining the active stockpile, counterterrorism policy, infrastructure and operations, budget, and far more.
What if I don’t have experience in nuclear or policy?
Our program is open to students of diverse technical and policy backgrounds with a passion for the NNSA mission: Strengthen the nation through nuclear security. Many fellows have cited this fellowship as a great opportunity to balance their technical background with policy experience and vice versa.
What types of responsibilities do NGFP fellows typically have?
NNSA comprises several distinct offices and programs. Fellowship assignments vary by year. See our annual report for highlights from recent fellows.
Is the NGFP a federal employment position?
No. Fellows are hired by PNNL and put to work side-by-side with a NNSA supervisor and mentor at various NNSA sites around the US. Though fellows are actually PNNL employees, their day-to-day work, long-term goals, and individual development opportunities are managed by their NNSA mentor.
What requirements must NGFP applicants meet?
See our application page for eligibility information.
How should I list my education and experience?
Enter your degrees in the order in which they were received. At least one of your degrees must meet our graduation requirements that you are currently enrolled, or you must have completed a graduate degree program on or after April 2, 2019.
What is the PNNL Application?
You must complete both the NGFP and the PNNL jobs applications for your application to be considered complete. Please use the same email address for both applications. The PNNL NGFP job application is accessible on the PNNL Careers site. The posting opens and closes on the same schedule as the overall NGFP application.
When does the application open/close?
Applications are accepted from February through October for fellowships beginning the following June. The application deadline is the date by which your PNNL jobs application, letter of interest, résumé, letters of recommendation, and all other application sections must be received. See the application page for additional interview, hiring, and fellowship dates.
All components of both the NGFP and PNNL jobs application must be obtained by the closing date of the application. A security clearance will also be required for selected candidates. This process is extensive and rigorous and can take an extended amount of time. Please give yourself plenty of time for all paperwork to be processed.
What is the timeline for the application and hiring process?
Visit the application page for the latest deadlines. We typically accept applications from February through October for fellowships beginning the following June.
What happens if I don't get selected for NGFP?
The selection process is very competitive. If you qualify again for the next year, we invite you to apply again. Many fellows applied more than once.
How do I submit my résumé?
You will need to submit your résumé to both the NGFP application system and the PNNL jobs website. Please use the same email address for both applications.
You will have the option to copy and paste your résumé text or drag and drop a text file into the form. PDFs are not currently accepted. After inputting your résumé, our system will remove some formatting. Please review it carefully to ensure it is formatted correctly. Be aware that tables, fonts, photos, and colors may be affected.
How long should my résumé be?
There is no page limit. We typically recommend summarizing your education and most relevant skills/experiences/awards into the first two pages. Additional pages may list publications, conferences attended, and more.
What should my résumé say?
There is no right way to do a résumé, but below are few suggestions:
- Be consistent or parallel in your bullets. For example, start all bullets with a verb (i.e., Wrote a report; Managed a team; Oversaw lab safety protocols).
- Double check that you spelled the program’s name correctly. It is the NNSA Graduate Fellowship Program.
- Keep your most relevant information (education, skills, experience, awards) within the first two pages.
- Describe your experience with outcomes and numbers—for example, “instructed a course of forty graduate students participating in hands-on laboratory experiments,” or “oversaw a portfolio of $100K,” or “implemented a process improvement that saved $10K.”
- Include unpaid positions or academic projects that are relevant to the fellowship, such as if you researched and presented a paper on national security issues.
- Rather than list an ”objective” that notes you are applying for a fellowship or career in nuclear security (the reader will know this), we recommend a brief one to two sentence summary that captures your most relevant skills and experiences that fit this fellowship. For example, “PhD candidate in nuclear security with a background in project management and international relations and experience working with the NNSA.”
- There is no need to include references or contacts as letters of recommendation are requested separately.
Letters of Recommendation
How many letters of recommendation should I provide?
Two letters of recommendation are required.
In the online application you will be asked to provide email addresses for individuals who will submit letters of recommendation on your behalf. The system will send an email to your recommenders, asking them to complete an online recommendation form. Your recommenders can type their letter directly into the form or cut and paste text into the form.
Can I change my recommenders?
You may revise or change your recommenders at any time, but letters must be received by the application deadline for your application to be considered to be complete.
Who should write my letters of recommendation?
Letters of recommendation should be written by someone who has closely interacted with you and can effectively comment on your academic performance, research abilities, relevant skills, ability to collaborate, and previous experiences fit for this program. Letters of recommendation should ideally come from professors or supervisors who have worked with you as a project manager, research supervisor, academic advisor, or course instructor. It is recommended that you notify your recommenders prior to submitting your application so you can discuss the program in detail and give them time to prepare information on your behalf and to make sure the notification does not get lost in their inbox or spam filter.
Letter of Interest
What should my letter of interest say?
As part of your online application, you must provide a letter of interest. This letter should focus on you. Tell us who you are, why you want to pursue a career in national security, and what impact you expect this experience to have on your education and career goals. This letter does not need to tell the NNSA’s life story or yours—it simply needs to draw your reader to the most relevant skills and experience from your résumé that apply to this fellowship.
You are encouraged to share what you have accomplished so far in fields relevant to the fellowship (national security, nuclear engineering, international affairs/political science, and/or general STEM), including relevant coursework or research projects you have completed. You are also encouraged to share other relevant experience that has helped you develop skills fit for this program (i.e., leadership, project management, professional communication).
How long should my letter of interest be?
Suggested length is one page.
Need more help?
If you have more questions about the NGFP application or need additional assistance, contact email@example.com.