2009 STAR Program alumni


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Thank you for your your interest. Online applications for summer 2015 are now closed.

Applications for summer 2016 will open in October 2015.

Email star@calpoly.edu if you wish to be emailed a reminder when apps open.

To be eligible for the STAR Program, you must be:

  • at least 18 years old by the start of the program;
  • will have completed at least your junior undergraduate year by the start of the program;
  • a student or alum of the California State University and/or a current or former member of the NSF Robert Noyce Scholarship Program;
  • a US Citizen, Permanent Resident Alien, or DACA grant holder and,
  • a pre-service teacher or a STAR alumnus with two or fewer years of participation in STAR and two or fewer years of teaching experience.

To clarify, first time participants must be pre-service teachers, i.e., future teachers who have not yet worked as a paid, full-time teacher. STAR Alumni are encouraged to participate in up to three STAR experiences, provided they have not been teaching for more than two years. If you have already been employed as a teacher and can't apply for STAR, make sure you check out the RETnework and IISME programs!

Successful applicants will have:

  • a demonstrated interest in K-12 STEM teaching;
  • a strong record of undergraduate coursework in STEM fields; and,
  • a minimum GPA of 2.7 (3.0 or higher preferred);
  • a willingness to challenge themselves and the ability to work independently on complex tasks within a research team;

Program Expectations and Requirements

STAR is a competitive program for pre-service STEM teachers and there is high level of responsibility that goes along with being a STAR Fellow. Our lab sites will expect you to work diligently and often independently on complex problem-solving tasks while communicating effectively with the rest of your research team. If you are offered a placement at one of our lab sites, you will also be entering into a contract with the lab site and with the STAR Program with the requirements listed below.

  1. Participate in the entire 9-week summer research fellowship. Fellows are expected to work 40-hours per week during this period. Please check the Key Program Date to be certain that you can participate for the entire period.
  2. Prepare and present a research product (either poster or PowerPoint as directed) at the lab site and the STAR Closing Conference. Participants are also expected to submit an electronic copy of their research piece to Cal Poly Digital Commons. 
  3. Develop and submit an education product, including a research-connected lesson plan. Participants are expected to share their lesson plan.
  4. Participate in weekly half-day workshops focused on STEM teaching as part of a 40-hour per week commitment.
  5. Participate in two STAR conferences. The Opening Conference provides an orientation to the STAR program, discussions of the teacher-researcher identity, and workshops related to STEM teaching. The Closing Conference will involve research presentations and culminating reflections of the STAR program.
  6. Participate in teacher-researcher community building and cohort activities (in person and online).
  7. Participate in STAR Program evaluation activities, before, during, and after the program.

The Application Process

BEFORE you start filling out your online application we strongly recommend that you carefully examine the sample PDF version or use the word processor version to collect all of the information we require. Once you have all of the information you need, including your short essays in a simple text format, the online application will take about 45 minutes to complete. Do NOT email or mail your application, only online submissions will be accepted.

Essay Questions

The application requires you to complete four 250-word essays on each of the following topics: (1) Teaching, (2) Research, (3) Complementary Soft Skills, and (4) Challenges / Barriers you've faced. For each topic, you are given three options for your essay prompt, and we encourage you to choose the prompt that best highlights your strengths.

Resumes and Transcripts

To complete the online application, please be prepared to upload the following documents:

  1. Transcripts – copies of your transcripts (unofficial are fine, just be sure they are legible) from any college or university in which you have enrolled in courses. You can upload up to three files (undergraduate, graduate, and credential transcripts) with a maximum size of 10 MB each in .pdf, .jpg, or .png format. It is your responsibility to make sure that the files are legible.
  2. Resume – If you do not have a resume, you can use the sample resume template (Word) to create one. If you already have a resume, be sure it addresses each of the items from the sample resume template. You can upload your resume in .pdf, .txt, or .doc format (1 MB maximum size).

A Professional Reference

You will be asked to provide an email address for a professional referee who can speak to your interests in teaching and research. To help you select an appropriate referee, you can preview the online Referee Form as a PDF. Do NOT email this PDF to your referee; we will send them an email asking them to submit their recommendation using our online form. We would like to receive their recommendation prior to the application deadline, so please be sure to get your referee's permission to use them as a reference in time. It is common courtesy to provide a minimum of two weeks notice to your referee and it can be helpful to them if you provide some information about the program you are applying for. It is not appropriate to have family members, close personal friends, or significant others provide your recommendation.

The Selection Process

Following the application deadline, all STAR applications will be reviewed by a panel of readers. Once an applicant has met the minimum program qualifications, STAR will match your skills, experience, interests, and preferences with the requirements of our lab sites. STAR will then coordinate communications between you and lab sites interested in working with you. The placement process is very selective with respect to the available opportunities. Many well-qualified applicants will not be offered a placement simply because an appropriate project is not available. You may be invited to one or more phone interviews or engage in email conversations with a lab site liaison or researcher, but placement is not guaranteed until a formal offer has been made by the lab site. Some lab sites may further require you to apply via their own particular application procedure to meet federal requirements.

Once your placement has been confirmed, you will receive two congratulatory emails, one from the STAR Program and a second from your lab site. The STAR email will contain information about program expectations, housing needs, stipend payment schedules, and your project description. The lab site email will provide details about your points of contact at the lab site, key dates, and procedures. You will normally have two weeks to formally accept the offer by logging in to the application site.

Final Notes

After you have completed the first section of the application you can save your progress on the application at any point, logout, and return later. We recommend bookmarking this page so you can click the link to the login page to continue your application. You can also review all parts of the application before submitting. Once you submit a recommender's email, that person will receive an automated invitation to provide a recommendation. After you have completed all steps of the application, you must click the "final submit" button and you will receive an email confirmation that we have received your completed application. If you do not receive this email within 24 hours, please return to your online application and ensure that you have completed all required fields and pressed the submission button. Please contact star@calpoly.edu in the unlikely event that you have further submission difficulties.

Download the PDF or Word97 2015 Application Sample to help you prepare.
Download the 2015 PDF Reference Form to help you decide on a referee.
Download a Word template to help you build your resume'.