The SPEAR Program is a comprehensive undergraduate mentoring plan designed to increase participation of groups underrepresented in science by providing select students the support needed to graduate with a STEM degree from a four-year institution. Under the supervision of Dr. Reagan DeFlorio, SPEAR mentees will be provided academic support throughout the school year to ensure they maintain competitive GPAs and develop the critical thinking skills necessary to succeed in a STEM career. During the summer, SPEAR mentees will be trained in the theory and practice of biological research through paid summer internships in the laboratory of Dr. David Stone at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Central to the SPEAR Program mission to increase participation of groups traditionally underrepresented in science, mentees will engage in community outreach by presenting their research to students at local public high schools and by hosting a “Science Day” for these students in collaboration with the graduate students in the Department of Biological Sciences at UIC. Applications are due by April 19, 2019 (click here to apply). Please email all questions to Dr. DeFlorio at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Eligibility and Requirements: Any student who is currently enrolled in a STEM degree program at a four-year institution is eligible. Mentees accepted into the program must complete all modules of the program. Mentees must be able to work 40 hours per week in the laboratory of Dr. Stone at UIC following a Monday - Friday daytime schedule during the 10-week summer internship (May 20-July 26).
Academic Support Module: This module is designed to facilitate academic success throughout the fall and spring semesters while mentees focus on their coursework. Mentees will be required to attend:
- Bi-weekly mentoring meetings
- Monthly journal club meetings
Scientific Research Module: Mentees will work as paid scientific researchers in the laboratory of Dr. Stone at UIC under the supervision of Dr. DeFlorio and graduate students. Mentees will be required to sign a contract guaranteeing their commitment to work 40 hour per week during the summer internship. Mentees will receive a competitive stipend intended to alleviate financial stress and allow them the opportunity to focus their time and energy on achieving the outcomes of the program. Throughout this research program, the yeast model Saccharomyces cerevisiae will be used to train mentees in experimental design, genetics, cell and molecular biological techniques, microscopy, and responsible data collection, analysis, and reporting. Mentees will engage in authentic learning by understanding how their manipulations affect the underlying biological processes of the cell. Mentees will be required to attend weekly lab meetings and mentoring sessions in which their performance will be assessed. At the end of the internship, mentees will write a report and give a formal presentation that address the scientific merit of their work and the personal impact the experience had on them.
Proposed Program Outcomes: By completing this proposed program, mentees will gain valuable experience conducting scientific research, a deeper understanding of the biological processes underlying their research, an ability to critically evaluate the research of others, and practice publicly presenting the results of their research, which will prepare them to succeed in a STEM career. Through civic engagement, mentees will experience first-hand the importance of giving back to the community and using their success to promote the success of others with similar challenges.
Please email all questions to Dr. DeFlorio at email@example.com