A New SOT GIFT for Graduate Student Internships


By Aaron Bowman posted 01-10-2019 14:18


Knowing the value of diverse experiences during graduate school to gain confidence and insight into future career paths, support from the SOT Endowment Mission Funds has been earmarked to enable SOT member graduate students to participate in a meaningful, student-identified internship experience. The new Graduate Intern Fellowship in Toxicology (GIFT), administered by the Graduate Education Subcommittee of the SOT Education Committee, is designed to offset financial barriers for graduate students to obtain experience not normally included in graduate training. Immersion in internships provides students unique appreciation of the day-to-day activities of toxicologists and diverse paths for success in industry, government, and nonprofit organizations. Such opportunities may help students establish their professional network, build confidence in career choices, and ultimately better prepare for transitioning into these sectors upon graduation. 

The deadline for applications is February 1, 2019, though internship details do not need to be finalized by this date. GIFT awards will be for a maximum of $3,000 each, with a total budget of $9,000 available this year. Awards require applicants to identify an internship experience for summer 2019 outside the trainee’s academic institution. Priority will be given to students proposing a toxicology-related internship that clearly states the intended internship objectives, as well as the project goals, career development-related activities, and/or methodologies to be learned by the intern. The experience can be in an established internship program or one that is arranged by the applicant; applicants will provide details for one experience but include other options, if available, should acceptance to the first option not occur. Evidence of acceptance for the internship will be required before the award is finalized by March 15, 2019.

The SOT funds are to be used to close gaps in available funds to facilitate participation by graduate trainees. Requests for funding at levels less than $3,000 are welcomed, if this is all that is needed to facilitate the student’s internship experience. Funding might provide travel to the internship site, local housing, and/or stipend (if not provided by the internship host). The level of requested funds should take full advantage of any stipend or funding offered by the internship host and home institute. For example, if housing and a stipend are provided by the experience but travel funding to and from the site is needed, then a GIFT application for just travel funds would be appropriate. Applications must include letters of support from the internship host, graduate advisor, and director of graduate studies to validate and ensure success of the opportunity. All internships should last at least six consecutive weeks between May and August 2019. These must occur during the degree program (for example, cannot be an add-on at the end of a degree program to help a student stay funded) and must be outside the available resources of the applicant’s graduate training or research program. 

This is an excellent opportunity for graduate students to find or create an experience that will have a major impact on their future career paths. For more details, see the GIFT and award web pages. Also, members of the Graduate Education Subcommittee can provide feedback and advice on the award process. If this would be helpful, please contact Betty Eidemiller.