The STAR (Students Tackling Advanced Research) Scholars Program allows first-year students to work closely with a faculty mentor on a research, scholarly, or creative project. Developed by former President Constantine Papadakis and Joan McDonald, Dean of Enrollment Management, the STAR Scholars Program was inspired by Drexel’s philosophy of learning by doing and by its history as a cooperative education institution.
High-achieving applicants are invited to participate in the STAR Scholars Program during the admissions process. Current students who were not invited to participate in the program during admissions have the opportunity to apply for the STAR Scholars Program during the Winter Term of their freshman year.
Once accepted into the program, STAR Scholars participate in a number of events and meetings designed to orient them to the program and to research. STARs are also invited to take courses for credit on research and research methodology during their freshman year. During the summer term, STAR Scholars are expected to work 400 hours (i.e., 40 hours/week for 10 weeks) during the summer term while living on campus. They will be compensated at a rate of $10/hour (for a total of $4,000 in taxable income) and will be given university housing. STARs will also be given the opportunity to create and present professional research posters at the STAR Scholars Summer Showcase at the end of the summer term and potentially at other regional and national conferences.
The STAR Scholars Program provides a means for students to get to know faculty, explore a major course of study, and gain practical skills and valuable research experience for their future career or course of graduate study.
To be eligible to apply for the STAR Scholars Program, students must:
- Be a freshman
- Have a cumulative GPA of 3.6 or better
- Have an interest in research and be willing to commit to 40 hours/week of research for 10 weeks over the summer while residing in campus housing (provided by STAR)
Mid-Year Application Requirements
To apply, students must:
- Fill out the application, which can be obtained online or from the Office of Undergraduate Research.
- Write a 500-word essay describing how they will benefit from participating in the STAR Scholars Program.
- Obtain a strong letter of recommendation from a Drexel faculty member. This does NOT have to be from a faculty member in the applicant’s discipline.
- Return the completed application IN PERSON to the Office of Undergraduate Research no later than 4:00pm on Monday, February 4, 2013.
- No exceptions will be made for students who attempt to electronically submit their applications or for students who miss the deadline.
- 2013 STAR Scholars will be expected to be involved in research for the entire summer term (June 24, 2013 – September 3, 2013).
How are STAR Scholars selected?
Approximately half of each STAR Scholars cohort is chosen by Enrollment Management and the Office of Undergraduate Research during the admissions process. Accepted students who are singled out as particularly exceptional on the basis of overall high school performance, SAT/ACT scores, faculty recommendation (where available), interest or demonstrated achievement in research or creative activities, and aptitude for graduate school are offered a position in the STAR Scholars program as a recruitment incentive; approximately 20% of the offers made to this group of students are accepted.
Can students already attending the University become STAR Scholars?
Yes. The remaining spots in each STAR Scholars cohort are opened to the rest of the freshman class and are filled by way of an application process. The STAR Scholars Program is not restricted to students in the Honors Program, though the eligibility requirements for STAR are similar to those for the Honors Program. The application process begins at the start of Winter term; interested students submit an application, which includes a personal statement and a letter of recommendation from a Drexel professor. While students are selected on the basis of academic performance, we also make a concerted effort to include students from many or all disciplines across the university; this results in stiffer competition among students from particular disciplines than those from others.
How many STAR Scholars are accepted per year?
The program began with a funded cohort of 30 students during the summer of 2003. Since then, STAR has steadily grown; for the 2012-2013 academic year, a total of 150 STAR Scholars will be funded.
How are STAR Scholars matched to faculty mentors?
We begin with the STAR Scholar and his/her research interests and work to find faculty mentors who are doing research in those areas. We also encourage STAR Scholars to take the initiative in finding their own faculty mentor; we ask them to network with their current professors, “research their research” by looking up faculty research projects online, and peruse the Discover website to see the types of research positions that are already posted.
How long is the STAR Scholars Summer Experience?
The summer research internship for STAR Scholars lasts for the ten (10) weeks of the summer term between freshman and sophomore year. STAR Scholars are expected to work approximately 40 hours/week for the entirety of the summer term.
How much pay will I receive for my STAR Summer Experience?
Each STAR Scholar is provided a stipend equal to $10/hour for 40 hours/week over the course of a 10-week period. Thus, each STAR Scholar is expected to earn a total of $4,000 in taxable income over the course of the summer term. In addition, campus housing is provided at no cost to all STAR Scholars for the summer term.
Where do I go to file paperwork for my summer pay or housing?
For any questions about the STAR Scholars Program, please contact either Dr. Suzanne Rocheleau, Director of the Office of Undergraduate Research, at 215-895-5805 (email@example.com) or Jaya Mohan, Assistant Director of the Office of Undergraduate Research, at 215-895-6216 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
What is expected of STAR Mentors?
STAR Mentors are expected to define appropriate research activities within the chosen discipline, provide academic and career guidance to their assigned STAR scholars, and monitor the research being conducted under their tutelage. We expect Mentors to provide a research/creative environment that is conducive to learning, as well as feedback to students as their research/creative activity progresses.
What specific deliverables are expected of all STAR Scholars?
Presentation skills are critically important to all professionals, and it is expected that all STAR Scholars will present their projects in a public forum. Research and/or creative projects should result in the development of a research poster or presentation. STAR Scholars are expected to present their posters at the STAR Scholars Summer Showcase, held at the end of the summer term for friends, family, and the Drexel community. STAR Scholars are also required to write and submit an abstract of their research to be published in the STAR Scholars Summer Showcase program. Additionally, STAR Scholars will have the opportunity to participate in other public presentations of their work, such as in regional and national undergraduate research conferences.
May I take classes during the summer of my STAR Experience?
Yes. The work schedule of STAR Scholars is individually negotiated between the Scholar and his/her faculty advisor. If the nature of the research permits a flexible schedule, students may be able to take one class subject to the guidelines set by the University. However, payment for summer courses is NOT included in the stipend for STAR Scholars.
The elements of the STAR Scholars Application include:
- Written paper application
- 500-word personal statement
- One (1) letter of recommendation from a Drexel faculty member
We will begin accepting applications on the first day of Winter Term - January 7, 2013. All application materials must be submitted TOGETHER and in person to the Office of Undergraduate Research (3019 MacAlister Hall) no later than 4:00pm on Monday, February 4, 2013. The application is available for download here.
- Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) staff available to speak at freshman seminars (UNIV101, Honors 200, etc.) about the STAR Program and the application process; also available to speak at faculty/department meetings about the STAR Scholars Program
- Students pre-enrolled as STAR Scholars meet with STAR alumni for informal mentoring
- OUR Staff meet individually with pre-enrolled STAR Scholars to begin the matching process
- Faculty interested in serving as STAR mentors post STAR projects on DISCOVER (www.drexel.edu/discover)
- January 7, 2013: STAR Application is open to entire freshman class (not limited to Honors students)
- Requirements: Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.6; recommendation letter from Drexel faculty; personal statement
- January 2013: OUR staff host informational luncheon in the University Club for prospective STAR Faculty Mentors to answer any questions about the STAR Scholars Program
- January 24-26, 2013: STAR Alumni and other undergraduates to present research at Harvard University's National Collegiate Research Conference
- February 4, 2013: STAR Applications due to OUR
- Week of February 25, 2013: Decisions sent out to all STAR applicants
- Those not accepted are automatically placed on a waiting list
- OUR Staff meet individually with all accepted STARs to secure faculty mentor and project
- STARs in COE and LeBow eligible to register for Introduction to Research Methods courses
- April 2013: OUR staff accompany STAR Alumni and other undergraduates to undergraduate research conferences
- Faculty members can contact OUR staff (email@example.com) to be matched with STAR Scholars or to advertise open research positions that are appropriate for STAR Scholars
- Some STARs begin working with Mentors on a volunteer, part-time basis toward end of Spring term to become familiar with research projects, graduate students, lab safety (if applicable), and methods
- OUR staff arrange for STAR Summer housing, personnel, and payment
- OUR staff monitor academic progress of all STAR Scholars to ensure program compliance
- June 24, 2013: First day of STAR Summer term
- All STAR Scholars expected to work 400 hours over ten-week period
- OUR staff and other departments on campus host informational sessions for STAR Scholars
- Study Abroad Info session
- Fellowships and Research Conferences session
- Poster Design and Presentation session
- OUR staff schedule site visits with all STAR Scholars and Mentors
- OUR staff recruit faculty evaluators for poster session
- August 15, 2013: STAR Scholars Abstracts due to OUR staff to be included in program booklet for STAR Scholars Summer Showcase
- August 21, 2013: STAR Scholars Posters due to OUR staff for printing
- August 29, 2013: STAR Scholars Summer Showcase
- STAR poster session
- Faculty/student awards
- Celebration luncheon
- September 3, 2013: Last day of STAR Scholars Summer term