STEP Frequently Asked Questions

I am planning to graduate in spring of 2022, am I eligible?

This fellowship program is aimed at giving research opportunities to undergraduates to encourage them along a career path in biomedical science. If you are a senior or are planning on graduating in the spring of 2022, you must indicate very specifically on the application how a summer research fellowship will benefit your career path, and specifically outline your immediate plans after the fellowship is completed. If you do not, it will be assumed your career plans are already set and your application will not receive high priority.

I am in a masters program, am I eligible?

This fellowship program is aimed at giving research opportunities to undergraduates to encourage them along a career path in biomedical science. If you are a masters student and currently funded by a fellowship, or paid for teaching, you are not eligible. Because this is a full time position, you cannot take any classes during the fellowship program. If you still would like to apply, you must specifically defend why a summer fellowship would benefit your career path.

I am not currently enrolled but I am planning on enrolling as a freshman in Spring, Summer or Fall of 2022, am I eligible?

No, you are not eligible.

I am a freshman in college, am I eligible?

Yes, you are eligible to apply. The selection criteria is in part based on your academic and research experience in the sciences and strong letters of recommendation. Therefore, if you have not taken any science classes, you may not be as competitive for a fellowship as an upper level student.

Who should I ask to write letters of recommendation?

Letters of recommendation will likely come from faculty at your institution. If you have any previous laboratory research experience, that mentor or professor's letter would be the most important. Professors who know your scientific/research abilities are also significant. It is important that the recommender can comment on how well you would do working in a research environment. A professor who ONLY knows you well enough to say you got a certain grade in the course that he/she taught is not that helpful because you are already telling us your GPA and grades in your coursework. If a previous employer feels able to comment on your ability to work in a lab, their recommendation could be important. It is really your decision what will make your application most competitive.

Can I use my university career office to send my recommendation letters using their forms?

Yes, any confidential letter of recommendation would be acceptable. Our form is likely very similar to your career office form. You should however make sure your letters are coming from individuals who can comment on your scientific/research ability, and that they are appropriate for this fellowship program.

Can I take classes during the fellowship?

No, the fellowship assumes you will be working at least 40 hours a week for the entire fellowship period.

What if I am planning on a family vacation during the middle of the summer?

The fellowship assumes you will work at least 40 hours per week for the entire fellowship period of 12 weeks (480 hours). Some flexibility might be allowed if you make prior arrangements with your mentor to make up for the time absent. You must attend the research symposium at the end of the summer (August).

Is housing provided by the fellowship program?

No. However, it is usually quite easy to find a reasonable summer sublet in Ann Arbor as many students leave Ann Arbor for spring/summer semesters and summer break. The program is currently exploring finding additional housing opportunities for students.

Are international students eligible?

No, the STEP fellowship program is an educational program funded by NIDDK. Students must be US citizens or permanent residents to be eligible for a fellowship. If you are an international student, you can apply to our Summer Undergraduate Fellowship Program (SURF).

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