Congratulations to STEP Award Recipients! It’s Time Again to STEP Up, Graduate Students!

By Virunya Bhat posted 09-13-2018 14:51


The Education Committee and Graduate Subcommittee congratulate the recent recipients of Supplemental Training for Education Program (STEP) awards. This program provides funding for graduate students who have advanced to candidacy to engage in an activity they propose that will enhance their skills for their chosen professional path and that is outside the training available in their graduate program. Applications are being accepted until October 9 for the current application period.

May 2018 STEP award winners include Gabriella Composto from Rutgers who attended the Environmental Mixtures Workshop at Columbia University in Aug 2018, Michael Kerins from the University of Arizona who will attend the Dose-Response Boot Camp from TERA, Fjodor Melnikov from Yale University who will train in the laboratory of Jakub Kostal at the George Washington University in Washington, DC, and Dahea (Diana) You from Rutgers who will attend the Intensive Workshops on Model-informed Drug Development from Cetara in Princeton, NJ; these latter experiences are in September and October 2018. Two STEP awardees were announced in fall 2017, including STEP awardee John Szilagyi from Rutgers who attended the BioTech 82: Bioinformatics for Beginners Course in February 2018 at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD, and highlighted his training in a Communique Blog article John Szilagyi STEPs into Bioinformatics at the NIH. STEP awardee Kyle Wegner from the University of Wisconsin will also attend the Dose-Response Bootcamp this fall.

The STEP award reimburses costs of up to $1,000. Awardees will provide brief follow-up communication on the funded experience, which will help highlight their receipt of the award and benefits of the experience to their graduate education. STEP funding does not support activities to refine a dissertation project-specific technique or attendance at a professional society conference.

The follow-up information verifies the value of the experiences in the career progression of awardees. For example, one year after STEP awardee Megan Culbreth participated in a Scientists Teaching Science course through the New York Academy of Science, she marveled that “Taking this course was invaluable, and helped inspire me to pursue academic teaching, as well as research positions.” Aseel Eid attended the Short Course on Systems Genetics at the Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, ME, and a year later fondly recalled that the “hands-on sessions were invaluable, and allowed me the opportunity to work with, and visualize these data sets in ways that were previously unfamiliar to me.” 
For the application and other examples of previous awards, visit the STEP webpage as well as the Communique blog entries for the STEP Program.