Graduate Fellowships for STEM Students

Applying to Graduate School this fall?  Aside from applying to graduate school the whole process of applying to fellowships can also be a time consuming process.  To make it easier we have put together a short listing of Graduate Fellowships that are due this fall.

National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program NSF GRFP

NSF’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program seeks to recruit individuals to STEM Careers by offering graduate fellowships.The program seeks to support individuals who have demonstrated potential to be high achieving scientists and engineers.  The program seeks to broaden participation in STEM from underrepresented groups including women, minorities, the disabled and veterans. If you hear people talking about “the NSF” this is the fellowship they are referring to and it can be a game changer. 

The NSF Fellowship is a comprehensive application.  Please see PowerPoint Presentation with a complete overview. Powerpoint Presentation with complete overview.
We strongly recommend reaching out to your Campus Graduation Division and your faculty mentors NOW for guidance.  It is never to early to start preparing for this one!

Full Proposal Deadline Dates

October 19, 2020       Life Sciences

October 20, 2020       Computer and Information Science and Engineering, Materials Research, Psychology, Social Sciences, STEM Education and Learning

October 21, 2020        Engineering

October 22, 2020       Chemistry, Geosciences, Mathematical Sciences, Physics and Astronomy

The NSF GRFP does not cover professional degrees such as MBA, PhD, JD, DVM, DDS, MD/PhD, JD/PhD, Master of Social work or Master of Public Health (MPH)

Letters of Recommendation must be received by October 30th.

Ford Fellowships – Fellowships will open on September 8th

Through its program of fellowships, the Ford Foundation seeks to increase the diversity of the nation’s college and university faculties by increasing their ethnic and racial diversity, maximize the educational benefits of diversity, and increase the number of professors who can and will use diversity as a resource for enriching the education of all students.”

Who’s eligible?

All U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, and U.S. permanent residents (holders of a Permanent Resident Card); individuals granted deferred action status under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program.  See website for additional criteria.

Individuals with evidence of superior academic achievement (such as grade point average, class rank, honors or other designations) 

Individuals committed to a career in teaching and research at the college or university level in the U.S.

Deadline: December 17, 2020  5:00 pm (EST)

Deadline: December 10, 2020 5:00 pm (EST) 

Deadline: December 10, 2020 5:00 pm (EST) 

GEM Fellowships

The National GEM Consortium offers three Fellowships. Aside from the monetary support the vast GEM Network provides underrepresented students with paid fellowships and internships as well as a number of career planning events throughout the entire academic journey.

The objective of this program is to promote the benefits of a masters degree within industry.  GEM Fellows are provided practical engineering summer work experiences through an employer sponsor and a portable academic year fellowship of tuition, fees, and a stipend which may be used at any participating GEM Member University where the GEM Fellow is admitted.”

Citizenship Requirements: Applicants must be a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident at time of application.
senior, masters student, or graduate of an accredited engineering or applied science program at the time of application,
Minimum GPA:  2.8

The objective of this program is to offer doctoral fellowships to underrepresented minority students who have either completed, are currently enrolled in a master’s in engineering program, or received admittance into a PhD program directly from a bachelor’s degree program. Fellowships may be used at any participating GEM Member University where the GEM Fellow is admitted.”

PhD Engineering Program Applicants:

Citizenship Requirements: Applicants must be a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident at time of application.
Levels: Must be a senior, or graduate of an accredited engineering or computer science program at the time of application
Minimum GPA:


“The goal of this program is to increase the number of minority students who pursue doctoral degrees in the natural science disciplines — chemistry, physics, earth sciences, mathematics, biological sciences, and computer science. Applicants to this program are accepted as early as their senior undergraduate year, as well as candidates currently enrolled in a Master’s of Engineering program and working professionals. Fellowships offered through this program are portable and may be used at any participating GEM Member University where the GEM Fellow is admitted.”

Citizenship Requirements: Applicants must be a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident at time of application.
Levels: Must be a senior, or graduate of an accredited engineering or computer science program at the time of application
Minimum GPA:


The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans 

The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans program is intended for immigrants and children of immigrants in the United States. The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans program is intended for immigrants and children of immigrants who are pursuing full-time graduate degrees at United States institutions. To be eligible, you will have a bachelor’s degree as of the fall of 2021. You may be applying to graduate school at the same time that you are applying to the Fellowship, or you may already be enrolled in the graduate program that you are seeking funding for as of the application deadline. The Fellowship is open to all fields of study and fully accredited full-time graduate degree programs.  All students must be 30 or younger as of the application deadline

To be eligible, your birth parents must have both been born outside of the US as non-US citizens, and both parents must not have been eligible for US citizenship at the time of their births.*Please see website for specific citizenship requirements. Current and past DACA recipients are eligible to apply for this scholarship.  

Deadline to Apply: October 29, 2020


Two Sigma Fellowship

“The Two Sigma PhD Fellowship supports doctoral students pursuing a PhD in a STEM field such as Statistics, Applied Mathematics, Computer Science, Physics and Finance/Econometrics at an accredited university in the United States. Applications are assessed based on the student’s research proposal, publications and recommendation letters. Please note that students already supported by another industry fellowship are not eligible. 

Tuition and fees plus a stipend for living expenses are covered for 2 consecutive academic years in the form of an unrestricted gift paid directly to the university. (The total award will not exceed $75,000 USD per Academic year.)

  • A Two Sigma Research Mentor will be assigned to the Fellowship recipients
  • Applicants must be full-time students currently pursuing a PhD at an accredited university in the United States.
  •  Students must be in at least their 3rd year of a PhD program when the Fellowship begins (fall semester or quarter 2021).

Please note that students must be nominated their department Chair or designated faculty member.

There are two PhD Fellowships
Two Sigma Diversity PhD Fellowship
Two Sigma PhD Fellowship 

Desire to inspire others? Did you receive a graduate fellowship?  We’d love to hear from you!!   

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Continue reading “Graduate Fellowships for STEM Students”

people having a concert

“My Brother-in-law, Beyonce, and Helping Students Succeed”

Everyday on the first day of class I start off by making eye contact with a student sitting in the back of the class and say, “You know my brother works at Stubhub, he often gets free concert tickets. He’s got tickets to the upcoming Beyonce concert.  By any chance, are you a Beyonce fan?”  An excited student will eagerly nod and say yes!!  I’ll then stay in character and say, “Great. Okay, so I have to let him know exactly where you want to sit in order for him to get the tickets. Where exactly would you like to sit?” Almost on cue the student will say, “Front row, as close as possible.”  In a boisterous tone I’ll say, “Really? Front Row!! You want to sit in the Front Row!  Well, why aren’t you sitting in the front row right now??” The other students will laugh along with their classmates and I’ll then proceed to tell them the fact that students who sit in the line of sight of their professors always do better.  It’s not always Beyonce, one year it was K-Pop, another year it was Guns N’Roses because a student’s phone went off and her ringtone happened to be “Sweet Child O’Mine.” 

Regardless of the artist, the message is the same. Students need to sit in front. Now in a pandemic and with the lecture halls replaced with Zoom boxes I still did the Beyonce bit this year.  Students still loved it and understood why it’s so important to show up and sit in front. I would argue it’s even more important now.  Sitting in front it’s different now. At the very least it’s making sure your camera is on. It’s making sure your Zoom name is accurately placed on the box not Tim’s “iphone” or your email address. For students right now Zoom etiquette is as essential as wearing a face mask. 

Countless studies continue to show that students who sit in the line of sight will do better.  I have read countless letters of recommendation for graduate school and for scholarships where professors have mentioned specifically that the student that they are recommending is always sitting in the front and always engaged.  Even the mere fact that the professor can see you has a halo effect.  

Ways to Sit in Front When You’re Online!

Good Posture Plays A Role
So how do you sit in front when you’re sitting in front of your computer screen?  Are you lying in bed in pajamas? Are you slouching?  Besides giving the wrong impression this is also an ergonomic faux pas. Be sure to have good posture, you’ll look better and you’ll feel better. 

Avoid The Fisheye Lens Approach.
Not only does it look foolish, it will probably strain your eyesight. Maintain good proximity from the screen and ideally viewers will see your head and your shoulders. 

Find Your Voice
If needed, invest in wireless headphones that include a microphone.  The only thing worse than speaking too low is speaking too LOUD.  You don’t want to be that person that sounds muffled. Speak clearly and confidently.  Even if you’re nervous chances are everyone else is to.  Practice speaking into the camera by yourself. Use your phone or video on your computer.  Record yourself if you have to.  You might notice that you use a lot of filler words such as “um” and “like”  if you’re from California like I am .  If you find yourself doing that, continue recording.  I guarantee that those Um’s and Ah’s will be gone like yesterday’s news.   

Use the Hand Raise Option on Zoom  
It’s inevitable that people will find themselves talking over each other during Zoom calls.  Be respectful and don’t be the person that talks over everyone.  If you’re already starting classes it’s likely that you’ve noticed that person.  Don’t be that person.  

Let Others Find their Voice, Too

When you’re not speaking put yourself mute on. This will help minimize background noise so that everyone can hear what the professor is saying.  Just be sure to take yourself off mute. 
Now get ready to be like Beyonce and “Run The World.”

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Congratulations!!! You deserve the recognition!!

Right now we may not be able to celebrate in the usual way but that doesn’t mean we can’t share the vibrant community of REU FInder Users. Were you accepted to an REU this summer? Were you awarded the NSF GRFP? Cool Internship this summer? We want to hear about it!! Help Change the Face of STEM by inspiring others. Fill out this short form and we’ll feature YOU on our Instagram page or in an upcoming post!!

Click here to submit your story

Last week I started an REUFinder Instagram page. The plan is to use this page to let students know about REUFinder as a resource and to feature student experiences. I’d like to highlight student’s words of wisdom, accomplishments and to build community for students. I am looking for students who are willing to share their your wisdom, experiences, favorite mantras, or tips that they have for other students also pursuing STEM Field. Maybe you participated in an experience that you heard about through REUFinder. We’d love to hear from you!

If you would like to be featured in a post please fill out the short form below.

Questions? Contact me at

Thank you in advance for your support. I look forward to seeing your posts. : )

Tiffany Reardon

Quick & Easy Guide To Creating A Student Bio

Good News. You just learned that you have received a scholarship or an award.
Maybe months ago you applied for this scholarship and since you haven’t hear back assumed that you were no longer in the running. But today you received the notification that you won the scholarship! With all that’s been going on in the last few months this glimmer of good news is a bright light on the horizon. The scholarship organization tells you that they’re delighted to give you this award and in order to receive it you need to formally accept it. They ask you for a headshot photo. Check! You’ve got your senior portrait or that brilliant headshot from your cousin’s wedding. They then ask you for a quote. Not a problem you’ve got a favorite quote that you’ve always used. They then as you for a bio! You panic. A Bio!! Not only do they want you to send them a Bio they want you to send it ASAP.

Don’t panic about writing a bio. A short paragraph written in third person is what they are generally asking for.

Use these Elements of a Bio to Easily Create Yours

WHO are You? Essentially your full name. It’s up to you whether or not you want to include your middle name. Also if you have a nickname you might want to include in parenthesis.

WHERE are you from? How you frame this is totally up to you. You might choose to say your from New York or The Bronx it’s completely up to you. However, remember that people like specifics, it makes your bio more memorable. It’s a bio and the point is for people to get to know you. If you’re from a small town you might say “Madera which is a small town in California’s Central Valley.”

WHAT have you done in high school or in college that you believe makes you stand out. Talk about something dynamic that you have done. Chances are this will be what you highlighted in the scholarship essays so feel free to include that in this section. This is not a time to be modest. Remember you’re writing this in third person so don’t worry you’re not going to sound conceited.

As you begin writing your bio you’ll likely begin to feel more confidence talking about your achievements.

WHEN you graduate what do you plan to do after?  For example,  “After receiving (his/her) Bachelor’s degree in (name of major), (Your name) plans to work in (Dream job or industry).”  You can be general or you can be specific. Maybe you want to go to graduate school but don’t know specifically what you want to pursue. You can keep it general and say that you plan to attend graduate school OR if you know what you want to do you can be specific. “After completing her Bachelor’s Degree in (Major) (Your Name) plans to pursue a PhD in (Discipline) focusing on (Sub-discipline).

Some Examples
Discipline: Mechanical Engineering Subdiscipline: Robotics
Discipline: Electrical Engineering Subdiscipline: Integrated Circuits
Discipline: Materials Science Subdiscipline: Biomaterials

The WHY should be embedded into your bio.  Everyone has something that motivates them so talk about that. Not sure what that means well ask yourself WHY? Why are you pursuing this field? Why is this your dream job? What has motivated you to be in school and to pursue these interests.

Once you have answered the WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE and WHY you have all of the elements of your bio.

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Come On & Zoom!

Happy National Intern Day!   

Summer 2020 is a year like no other. According to a GitHub search more than 200 companies are hosting college interns remotely this summer. Board meetings are now replaced with virtual meetings likely using Zoom.

Check out our tips to maintain a professional image and maximize your Zoom presence in your virtual internships.

1) Use Your Name. Sometimes students will be joining Zoom using their laptops, phones or tablets. Make sure that your Zoom presence says your actual name and the not name of your device. Ideally use your first name and your last name. This makes it helpful specifically if there are others on your team with your same first name.

2) Turn on your camera. Always be sure that your video is on. Out of sight can mean out of mind and you WANT to be noticed during your internship.

3) Have a Zoom Profile Pic. There may be times that you need to turn your camera off so if you do be sure to have a profile picture. A headshot would be a good option.

How to set your profile pic: “Profile Settings. To access your Zoom profile, sign in to the Zoom web portal and click Profile. You can view and edit the following settings: Profile Picture: To add or change your profile picture, click Change, then adjust the crop area on your current picture or upload a new one.”

4) Include your Preferred Gender Pronoun after your name. You may notice that some colleagues will include their preferred gender pronoun in parenthesis after their name. Typically, you might see (he/her), (she/her) or (them/they). This makes it easy for others to know how you would like to be addressed it also promotes an inclusive workspace.

Does your Zoom presence look like this??

5) Use Zoom Backgrounds. If your workspace is a messy room or you’re surrounded by others in the background you might want to consider using a Zoom Background to maintain a professional image. Choose a background that looks professional and isn’t too pixelated. A quick Google search will show you a variety of options. Your Zoom Background should reflect your individual style but not overshadow you! Remember it’s a backdrop, you are the star so be sure you’re not distracting others by having animated backgrounds or even worse backgrounds that could be considered offensive in a professional setting.

6) Don’t forget the importance of good lighting. If you’re in a room that is dark be sure to either use a lamp or try and consider switching to a room with better lighting. Having a dark room is almost the same as not having your camera on since no one can see you.

7) Be sure you have a reliable computer during your internship. If you are interning remotely and are having trouble with sound or your connection let your supervisor know immediately. If you were in person your company would be providing a computer and internet so if you need these things remotely it’s not an unreasonable ask.

8) Dress for success. Even though you might roll out of bed and turn on your computer you don’t want to look that way. Unkept is unbecoming in the workplace even if it is a virtual workplace. Get up an extra half an hour and shower before you hop on Zoom. You’ll look better and feel better.

9) Good Ergonomics are important. Don’t hunch and ideally raise your computer so that the top of your laptop screen is in line with your eyebrows. Using a bunch of textbooks under your laptop is a perfect hack if you don’t have a moveable desk. Long hours in an uncomforable chair will take its toll after a while. If you can invest in an office chair but if that’s not an option put pillows on your chair to support your lower back.

Good ergonomics are important when working from home!

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How to make a statement with your new school email signature

So you’re starting college in the fall whether it be as a first year student, a community college transfer student, or a graduate student you’re likely checking your new school email frequently or should we say you should be checking your email frequently.  With that in mind, this is a great opportunity to start out your communications in a professional way. This will also give your email recipients some context particularly when you are emailing someone for the first time.   Here are some examples that you might consider based on your preferences.  Also, if you have not yet picked your school email address be sure to choose wisely as that’s something you’ll be stuck with for years, literally.  

If your legal name is different than your preferred nick name you might also include in your email signature.

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YouTube Channels for Students created by Students

Now that summer has officially begin for most students this is a great time to check out some new YouTube Channels created for students by students.   

The Tech Twins

Andrew and Mark created their Channel, The Tech Twins to help first generation college students succeed in the tech industry

Twin brothers Andrew and Mark Ansell have put together a YouTube Channel appropriately titled “The Tech Twins.”  Both Andrew and Mark double majored in Mechanical Engineering and Business Administration at the University of California at Berkeley.  During their time at Berkeley they interned at top tech companies such as Apple, Microsoft, and Tesla.  Their channel has a wealth of interviews and resources for students everything from creating resumes and obtaining internships to giving a glimpse into what it’s like to Study Abroad.  Whether you’re studying Business or Engineering you’ll definitely want to subscribe and learn from their experiences in the tech world.  Check it out!

Imari Walker Karega

Fun fact: Imari’s latest post is perfect for high school seniors starting college this fall.

Analytical Chemist, Environmental Engineer and Duke PhD student Imari Walker Karega has created a brand new YouTube channel that combines “Education, Weekly Inspiration, and Science.”  Subscribe to Imari’s channel if you’re a high school student looking for advice on applying to colleges, an undergraduate interested in obtaining a PhD or just plain interested in science. If you’re the latter you’ll love her episode on Microplastics. Tune in to hearing about Imari’s journey to the Doctorate and her words of wisdom.  
Check it out!


Fun Fact: Kanoa transferred to UC Berkeley from San Diego Mesa College in San Diego, CA

Recent Chemical Engineering graduate Kanoa Cook has created a YouTube Channel that combines everything from his experience transferring from a community to a university to learning more about vaccines. As an undergraduate student Kanoa interned at top pharmaceutical companies such as Amgen and participated in REU at Louisiana State University and the University of California at San Diego. Subscribers will enjoy Kanoa’s upcoming videos. 
Check it Out!

Alexis Loveraz

When he’s not creating math tutorials Alex is a student a high school student at Harlem Prep High School
in New York City.

Worried that your little brothers and sisters are spending too much time on TikTok?  Don’t worry Alexis Loveraz aka the “Tik Tok tutor” is using his math skills to tutor kids in mathematics and chemistry.  This sixteen year old’s channel is not only entertaining but can save families a ton of money on test prep courses for standardized tests such as the SAT. Check him out on TikTok and YouTube!

Alex on Tik Tok
Alex on YouTube

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Online Summer Experiences

Applying to Graduate School? Looking for an opportunity to learn more about bioinformatics, medical devices, biotech industry, or pharmacy school? Check out these amazing opportunities! Candidates should have a personal computer with reliable internet access. Don’t have Wifi?

Careers Beyond the Bench: Biotech Industry Online Summer Program

“The pharmaceutical and other biomedical industries require an understanding of both business and science to bring lifesaving technologies to market. Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) in Claremont, CA, offers the Careers Beyond the Bench program to provide skills and professional development opportunities for undergraduates interested in careers in biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, or other biomedical product industries. The course is entirely online.”

During this challenging and fun three-week summer program, participants will learn about business skills and career opportunities in the biomedical sector, providing an edge for careers beyond the bench in these science-based industries.

Session Dates: 
Session #1: June 15 – July 3
Session #2: July 6 – July 24

Levels: Undergraduates Interested in learning more about the bioscience industry.
Deadline: June 1st for session #1 and June 15th for Session #2

Medical Device Development Bootcamp

Are you interested in learning about the process for designing and manufacturing medical devices. This two week program might be just for you.

Session Dates: 
Session #1: June 15 – June 26
Session #2: July 6 – July 17

Levels: Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors interested in medical devices that are pursuing STEM degrees.
Deadline: June 1st for session #1 and June 15th for Session #2

Clinical Genetics and Bioinformatics Online Summer Program

Are you interested in learning more about human genomics, bioinformatics, genetic counseling and precision medicine? If so, this program might be a good fit for you!

Levels: Undergraduate students
Deadline to Apply: June 12th

Online Pre-Pharmacy Enrichment Summer Program

This five-day online program is designed for students interested in careers in pharmacy. Students will participate in interactive remote classes and activities related to pharmacy practice.

Levels: Undergraduate students & high school seniors thinking about applying to Pharmacy School
Deadline to Apply: June 1st

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“My internship and graduation have been cancelled, now what?”

2020 is a year like no other. It has been tough for all of us but for those of you graduating, whether it be high school graduation or college graduation it’s an even tougher time.  Although many campuses are postponing commencements for a later date, right now it’s just not the same. That feeling of taking your last final of the semester on campus or walking across the stage is a milestone that has been taken away suddenly and with no advance warning.  

The hardest part of all of this is that we simply do not know when things will come back to normal and for now this is our “new normal.”  Because things are so up in the air right now many REU’s and internships are notifying candidates that they might have to cancel programs and rescind offers. If this is your situation you are justifiably disappointed but I urge you the importance of keeping up your momentum. The resilience and forward thinking that got you where you are today will get you through this.  

Keeping up the momentum doesn’t mean you have to ignore what’s going on.  On the contrary, keeping up the momentum means not giving up your academic and career goals.

Many students are worried that Pass/No Pass grades on your spring 2020 transcripts will reflect poorly on graduate school applications or just in general.  Please understand that we are all going through this together.  No one is going to judge you if you struggled this semester.  No one is going to deprive you of an opportunity because you were affected by the pandemic, you are not alone, we are all being affected by this. 

Once this crisis passes, and it will, Class of 2020 graduates will have a bond that will forever tie them together. Postponed commencements, postponed graduation parties, cancelled proms and other cancelled and postponed social milestones will forever be a connection that you have as the Class of 2020.  Millenials and Gen Z’ers have gotten a bad rap since day one but now more than ever we see you and we salute you.

Here are some options and ideas for you to explore to Keep the Momentum during this challenging time! 

  1. If your internship has been cancelled ask if you can work remotely.  Some companies might be able to accommodate this as an option. 

  2. If your REU has been canceled ask if you can contribute to the project in a remote capacity.  Although research in a wet lab might be more of a challenge its worth asking  Graduate students are still doing research so it’s worth asking if you can somehow be involved on a smaller scale. For instance, you can possibly help with modeling simulations or literature reviews.

  3. If you need to find a job and are on social media sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram are using #hiringnow to inform others about job opportunities.

  4. Develop an independent research project. Is there a project you have always wanted to work on? Now is the time.  Ask a faculty member or graduate student if they will be willing to mentor you through this project. 

  5. Take an online class for free. Check out our recommendations for the best free courses to take now

  6. Become an online tutor. Even if classes continue to be online throughout the summer the need for tutors may actually increase. Ask your campus or local community college if they need tutors or teaching assistants for the upcoming summer. 

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The Best Free Online Classes

Almost overnight you likely transitioned to online courses. Now three weeks in you’ve likely gotten the hang of it. Did you know that there are hundreds of free online courses that you can take from top university’s. Here is a short list of free online classes you should take now. 

Stanford University’s Intro to Machine Learning offered by Coursera
Learn the theoretical and practical application of ML in this free course. 

Yale’s The Science of Well Being. Want to increase your happiness and productive habits.  Regardless of your major this is a class anyone can benefit from Offered by Coursera

John Hopkin’s Ruby on Rails
. Chances are you have heard of C++ and Java but in this course you’ll learn “web applications with the Ruby on Rails web application framework, which is geared towards rapid prototyping.” Offered by Coursera

University of Michigan’s Python for Everyone. Learn the basics of Python in this course offered by Coursera

Vanderbilt University’s Introduction to Programming with MATLAB offered by Coursera

Imperial College of London’s Incorporating Renewable Energy in Electricity Grids

Offered by edX

MIT’s Principles of Synthetic Biology” Learn how to engineer biological systems and program organisms to perform novel tasks. Offered by edX

Cornell University’s A Hands-on Introduction to Engineering Simulations-
Learn how to analyze real-world engineering problems using ANSYS simulation software and gain important professional skills sought by employers. Offered by edX

Aside from EX and Coursera there are a number of other just for fun classes that might be of interest.  For example, have you always wanted to study photography? Now’s your chance. During the month of April Nikon is offering free online photography classes during the entire month of April.

This just a small sample of the free online courses that await you. 

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