TU - HHMI exrop opportunities
EXROP, for EXceptional Research OPportunities
(the domestic hhmi summer research program)

The deadline for applying is October 4, 2010.

This year, Nellin Njovu went to Boston and conducted research with Dr. David Clapham on Sperm Cell Hyperactivation.  In 2009 Ashley McMullen went to Harvard and in 2008 Sarah Jackson went to Yale University.  In 2006 Alexis Torre went to Cal Tech for the summer.  In 2005, Chris Koehler went to Berkeley.  We can submit up to 2 students to HHMI for the EXROP program.

The students work in the lab of an HHMI Investigator – it’s an unusually good opportunity.  The students are provided a $4,500 stipend to cover routine living expenses (e.g., meals and local transportation).  In addition, HHMI will arrange for and pay all reasonable travel and summer housing program costs. To top it off, EXROP alumni who pursue graduate study leading to the PhD are eligible to apply for an extremely generous $44,000/yr stipend plus tuition and fees at the institution of their choice – HHMI’s Gilliam Fellowship.  (Not a bad deal!)  We need to find a strong student who comes from a disadvantaged or underrepresented background (see requirements below).  The work is always biomedical by nature, but HHMI draws a pretty wide circle around biomedical. 

Please spread the word to faculty in your department to alert students about this great opportunity.  Have faculty contact me about prospective students.  You can also send students my way to learn about the program.  It is, we recognize, sometimes difficult to know about a student’s financial need, but we can work with Financial Aid to determine that.  In the past, in biology we have sent the names of our majors to ask who is eligible for financial aid.  In general this coincides pretty well with HHS guidelines (see very last line of this email) – we can verify later.

The student eligibility requirements are listed below.  If you wish to nominate a student to participate in EXROP 2011, please provide the name and email address of the student by Monday, October 4, 2010 to Kimberly Messersmith at kmessers@trinity.edu.

A recommendation letter for your nominated student by Monday, November 1, 2010.  The information should be sent to kmessers@trinity.edu. 

Letter of Recommendation

For each nominee, a recommendation letter is required.  The letter should be sent as an attachment to kmessers@trinity.edu by November 1, 2010.  The letter should include the following information:

•  The student’s name and current year in school (e.g., sophomore or junior);
•  A description of the student’s abilities, accomplishments, and motivation;
•  The student's qualification as a person from a disadvantaged and/or underrepresented background;
•  Your plans for mentoring the student after the summer EXROP experience.


 Below is a timeline for the 2011 EXROP program that you can feel free to share with your selected student.  Deadline for providing the student’s name and requested information to Kimberly Messersmith, HHMI Grant Coordinator, is October 4, 2010. 


The objective of EXROP is to increase the diversity of the science professoriate.  Our strategy is to match motivated and well-prepared students from disadvantaged backgrounds with HHMI scientists for a 10-week summer research program.  We rely on you to help us find the EXROP students before the summer AND provide the encouraging environment for the students after the summer research experience.

A selection panel will evaluate the applications and recommend the students who will be placed in HHMI labs.  The panel will be asked to help us identify students who are motivated, well-prepared, and who will benefit from the experience.  It is important to note that an important criterion is the plans that you have to mentor the student before and after the summer research experience.

Since EXROP’s inception, HHMI has matched 437 students from 105 grantee colleges and universities with 160 HHMI investigators, early career scientists, and professors at 52 institutions throughout the nation. The demographics of the EXROP students are important:  43% African American, 32% Hispanic/Latino, 19% white or Asian, and about 1% Native American.  And the outcomes of EXROP are impressive:  of EXROP students who have completed the baccalaureate degree, 49% are in graduate programs and 96% are in science. 

The unusual success of the EXROP program can be attributed to five critical elements:  (1) Students come to the program after being identified by HHMI talent scouts (that’s you!) who already know the students and are in the best position to know when the student is ready for the experience.  (2) We carefully match the students with summer research mentors, taking into account several factors including the student’s interests, the scientist’s interests, and whether the student has the appropriate background for a particular lab.  (3) The EXROP summer presents the student the opportunity to engage in an intensive research experience in a first-rate laboratory.  (4) EXROP students broaden their perspectives through participation in formal summer research programs at host institutions and by networking with other summer students at the institution where they do their summer program and with other EXROP students and Gilliam Fellows at the annual meeting held here at HHMI.  (5) After the summer is over and the student returns to your institution, you provide additional opportunities for the student to engage in science and to be mentored by you and your colleagues; often the year following the EXROP summer is a time for the student to engage in more research at her/his home institution. 


EXROP Student Eligibility Requirements  

•  Students should be from a disadvantaged or underrepresented background for participation in our program.
•  Students who have the potential and maturity to excel in an independent research project and go on to graduate work.  Although your nominee does not need prior research experience, we are looking for students with clear potential to excel in graduate work and to become our future leaders in academic science.
•  Students who will be enrolled at your institution in fall 2011.  Students who will graduate by the spring of 2011 will not be eligible to participate.
•  Students who will commit to at least 10 weeks for a summer research experience. Each participating student will receive a $4,500 stipend to cover routine living expenses (e.g., meals and local transportation).  In addition, HHMI will arrange for and pay all reasonable travel and summer housing program costs.  HHMI will make every effort to ensure that each student is placed in a program that has appropriate housing and a supportive environment.  We will provide the stipend by supplementing your current HHMI grant by a payment of $4,500 in April 2011.
•  Students must confirm that they have health insurance that extends through the entire summer research experience.  Health insurance might be obtained through the family, the undergraduate institution, or the summer institution.  Because of the variability of health care plans, students should have written confirmation of their coverage before the summer program begins HHMI does not provide any health insurance or other benefits to individuals supported under its grant programs, including EXROP participants. HHMI is not responsible for incidents or accidents involving grant program participants (whether on travel, in the laboratory or classroom, or otherwise).

2011 EXROP Timeline

•  October 4, 2010 – Deadline for faculty to submit their student nominations (name and email address) to kmessers@trinity.edu.  Each grantee may submit up to two nominations.
•  October 22, 2010 – Nominated students may access online EXROP application site.  HHMI will email students further instructions.
•  November 1, 2010 – Deadline for receipt of recommendation letters.  Note that the letter should come from a faculty member who can best speak to the student’s qualifications; the recommender need not be the program director or HHMI professor who nominated the student.  Letters must be submitted electronically as an attachment to kmessers@trinity.edu.
•  December 1, 2010 – Deadline for students to complete online EXROP application.  Completion of application includes receipt of undergraduate transcripts by HHMI.
•  Early-Mid January – Notification of EXROP award.
•  January 29, 2011 – Deadline for students to accept/decline EXROP award.
•  February and March 2010 – HHMI will match each student with her/his summer research mentor.
•  May 18-20, 2011 – Annual EXROP meeting for all 2010 and 2011 students at HHMI headquarters.  New students will connect with experienced students, share expectations, and learn from each other.  HHMI scientists who have been matched with a 2011 EXROP student will be invited to the meeting.  We find that the EXROP meeting is a critical event for the new students as well as an important opportunity for the past EXROP students to report on their summer research.
•  Late May or early June 2011 - Students begin their 10-week summer programs, with specific start and end dates negotiated by HHMI staff, HHMI scientists, and EXROP students.


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