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Students: Add some sizzle to your science skills this summer via STAR

Arlene Jackson
Associate Training Director,
Office of the Scientific Director (OSD)

Each year, summer at NIA brings a chance for mentors to help their most stellar students heat up their research careers through the Summer Training in Aging Research (STAR) Program.

The STAR Program, a shining member of the broader NIH Summer Internship Program in Biomedical Research galaxy, connects college, medical school, and graduate students directly to NIA Intramural Research Program investigators and postdoctoral fellows. The program curriculum offers participants with a broad range of career interests opportunities to learn the latest scientific and lab skills, as well as valuable lessons from experienced investigators. For mentors, STAR is a golden opportunity to support emerging scientists and help diversify the research workforce by encouraging your talented students to apply.

The STAR experience

While last year’s program was 100% virtual due to COVID safety protocols, the students adjusted successfully and engaged in a meaningful educational experience.

STAR participants met virtually with their mentors, practiced and absorbed the scientific method, prepared literature reviews, and attended virtual seminars, journal clubs, a graduate and professional school fair, and skill building workshops for professional and personal development. The summer concluded with students developing research posters and presenting virtually during the NIH Summer Program Presentation Week.

Rave reviews

To date, NIA has mentored more than 1,300 summer interns over the program’s nearly 30-year history. If STAR was a movie, it would have five-star reviews: Past program participants have described it as “a blessing,” “a life-changing summer,” and “a huge and valuable opportunity for hands-on experience.”

Apply by March 1!

While no definitive decision has been made at this time as to whether the 2022 NIH Summer Program will be 100 % virtual, in-person, or a hybrid of both, we encourage students to apply for this year’s cohort. The application deadline for the NIH General Summer Internship Program (for college, medical school, and graduate students) is March 1, 2022. College, medical school, and graduate students can apply through the NIH Office of Intramural Training and Education website, which also provides application tips.

After students submit their online applications, they should contact me to ensure they are placed in the NIA applicant pool for consideration. NIA looks forward to meeting a new crop of super students this summer!

If you’re already an established researcher, please help us spread the word about this rewarding and valuable program! Please reach out to me or leave a comment below if you have questions.

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