STAR is a 9-week summer research internship for aspiring science and mathematics teachers. If you are an Undergraduate, Masters, Credential or Baccalaureate student who wants to be a middle or high school science or mathematics teacher, then this program is for you! Imagine spending your summer working in a National Laboratory, NASA Research Center, NOAA Laboratory or a private industry research setting, along-side a research mentor and getting paid $500/week. Participants work full- time on a group or independent research project, and participate in weekly education workshops focused on exploring the nature of science and transferring your experience to the classroom. Want to learn more? Read about the experiences of a few of STAR's stellar fellows and how their STAR involvement has changed their career in education!
Watch a Webcast about the STAR Program
Learn more about the STAR Program in this webcast originally broadcast in January 2012. It includes a presentation explaining what the STAR program is, as well as an informational video and a Q and A session with three STAR Program Alumni. The recording is approximately 46 minutes in length.
STAR applicants must meet all of the following eligibility requirements in order to apply for the program:
- A demonstrated interest in becoming a science or mathematics teacher at the secondary level (grades 6-12)
- Either a California State University (CSU) student OR an NSF Noyce Scholar in the United States OR a STAR Alum with two or fewer years of participation
- Major or undergraduate coursework in science, engineering or mathematics
- At least junior standing with strong science and mathematics course background
- A minimum GPA of 3.0 is preferred, applicants below 2.7 will not be considered
- U.S. citizenship or resident alien status
STAR is a highly competitive, prestigious program for pre-service science and mathematics teachers and there is a certain level of responsibility that goes along with participating in this program. Expectations for students placed in the program are as follows:
- Participate in the entire 9-week summer research internship from Monday, June 10th through Saturday, August 10th. Fellows are expected to work 40-hours per week during this period.
- Prepare and present a research (either poster or PowerPoint, depending upon lab site) at the lab site activity (TBD by site) and the STAR Closing Conference on Saturday, August 10th. Participants are also expected to submit an electronic copy of their poster to Cal Poly Digital Commons.
- Develop and submit an education deliverable, including a research connected lesson plan. Participants are expected to share their lesson plan (the lesson plan cover page) at the STAR Closing Conference on Saturday, August 10th.
- Participate in weekly half-day seminars at their assigned lab site focused on science and math teaching and education as part of a 40-hour per week commitment.
- Participate in two STAR conferences focused on topics associated with the program. The Opening Conference held on Friday,June 14th in the Bay Area will involve an orientation to the STAR program, discussion of the identity of a teacher-researcher, and breakout sessions regarding activities and resources related to science teaching. The Closing Conference, held on Saturday, August 10th in the Bay Area will involve presentations of fellows research experience and culminating reflections of the 2013 STAR program.
- Participate in teacher-researcher community building and cohort activities (in person and online).
- Participate in STAR Program evaluation activities, before, during, and after the program. Pre-program surveys will be sent to fellows no later than June 1st and must be completed prior to the first day of the program.
Following the application deadline, all STAR applications will be reviewed by a panel of readers, and determined to meet the minimum eligibility requirements as stated above. Once an applicant has met the minimum qualifications, the application materials are forwarded to the top lab site choice for placement consideration. The placement process is very selective dependent on matching skill sets, experience and qualifications with available placement opportunities. Although it is a good sign for your application to be forwarded to the lab sites, it is not a guarantee for placement.
Once your placement has been confirmed, you will receive two congratulatory email communications, 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 communication will be more detail oriented with additional information about your specific placement, points of contact at the lab site and other programmatic details. You will have two weeks to formally accept the offer by logging in to the application site.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: What does acronym STAR mean?
A:STAR stands for STEM Teacher and Researcher. STEM is an acronym that is commonly used today to represent the broad fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, and it more accurately represents the variety of backgrounds and majors that STAR serves.
Q: How many people have participated in STAR since its existence?
A: STAR began in 2007 with 16 fellows at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Since then, STAR has provided a total of 290 research opportunities at 18 research sites in Arizona, California, Colorado, Maryland, Tennessee, and Washington.
Q: What are the dates of the 2013 STAR Program?
A: All sites will begin on Monday, June 10th, and will end on Saturday, August 10th with a Closing Conference in the San Francisco Bay Area. Travel arrangements for out of state and Southern California participants will be coordinate during the summer by the STAR Program office.
Q: I am thinking about applying for the program, but cannot commit to the full program. What should I do?
A: STAR requires a commitment to the full 9-weeks of the program. Individual time off can be requested in advance and is approved on a case-by-case basis, but typically does not exceed 1-2 days during the entire program.
Q: What does the STAR Program provide in terms of housing and relocation support?
A: STAR provides a $250 stipend for relocation expenses, in addition to reimbursements up to $2000 for housing expenses (excluding deposit) for qualified applicants.
Q: What are the qualifications to receive housing support?
A: STAR participants whose current AND permanent addresses are more than 50 miles from the lab site will qualify for housing and relocation support. STAR may provide suggestions for housing accommodations available in each area, but it is the responsibility of the STAR fellow to make all arrangements and enter into any contracts that may be necessary to secure the housing accommodations. STAR will reimburse actual expenses up to $2000. Any extra expenses will be the responsibility of the STAR fellow.
Q: As a STAR participant in need of housing, what am I responsible for?
A: The participant is responsible for making their own housing arrangements, entering into a contract, paying the deposit and paying the monthly rent. Participants are encouraged to converse with others who are also searching for housing at their particular lab site to share efforts, and perhaps living expenses during the summer. In some cases, the CESaME office can provide suggestions for housing locations that have been utilized in previous years.
Q: What do I need to send to STAR in order to get reimbursed and where do I send it?
A: A copy of the signed contract along with the original payment receipt should be sent to:
STAR Program, Cal Poly
1 Grand Ave, CESaME
San Luis Obispo, CA 93407-0400
Q: How do I request and receive the relocation stipend?
A: This stipend will automatically be issued to individuals who have qualified for housing in conjunction with their first paycheck on Friday, June 21st.
Q: Who do I contact if I have any questions or concerns?
A: Kaylene Wakeman, the STAR Program Coordinator at (805) 756-2403 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The STAR Program has several goals as outlined below:
- Attract undergraduate science and mathematics majors to teaching careers by providing them with professional identities as scientists as well as educators
- Allow future science and mathematics teachers to gain first-hand experience within applied research settings
- Cultivate increased interest and prestige in the science and mathematics teaching profession to address the severe shortage of science and mathematics teachers in California.
- Anchor pre-service teachers in a community of scientific practice, they will come to better understand what it means to be a scientist and a teacher of science or mathematics.
- Foster inquiry-based science teaching and learning strategies and increase science and mathematics interest and learning among K-12 students
- Reduce science and mathematics teacher attrition
- Open the door to expanded outreach between national labs, universities and K 12 schools that will also include experiments, field trips, and guest scientists