PER Application Information

Program for Early Researchers (PER)   

 

Description

The Program for Early Researchers (PER) is for current BSP students who have little to no prior research experience who are interested in gaining research experience in a biology, or a biology-related STEM-based lab.

If you are currently not placed in a research laboratory, the BSP PER will “match” you with a UCB research lab and mentor(s) based on mutual interest. If you have secured a research position in a laboratory, great! Both parties are eligible for the PER. Individuals who apply to the PER will either be matched with a campus-based research laboratory, or will independently secure a research position in a laboratory (on or off-campus). Importantly, PER applicants must have little to no prior research experience. 

The purpose of the Program for Early Researchers is to provide independent research opportunities for early and first-time researchers in the BSP, particularly those for whom financial support would significantly enhance their ability to participate in research. 

This research experience is not designed to simply provide technical training. It is intended to involve curious undergraduates who are interested in exploring biological and related STEM-based questions. Importantly, top candidates will demonstrate why research is important to their overall development, convey passion for discovery in a select research area, and will possess a willingness to share their research experience with the BSP community and others.


PER participants have the opportunity to:

  • Engage in a paid year-long, academic-year and summer research experience (pending PI and BSP review and approval at the end of each semester)

  • Receive mentoring by a UC Berkeley faculty, post-doctoral, and/or graduate student researcher

  • Attend a series of co-curricular research and professional development workshops and seminars

  • Expand one’s personal and professional community network among peer  undergraduate researchers

  • Present at the BSP Undergraduate Research Symposium


Selection Process

Whether the BSP PER will match you with a lab and mentor(s) based on mutual interest, or you have/will independently secure a position in a research laboratory, individuals who apply to the PER are early in their research journey and have little to no undergraduate research experience.

Process For Applicants Who Will Be Matched:

  1. Students Apply to BSP’s PER. Applicants will select 3 mentors of interest in their application. Submit your application. (Deadline: Thursday, August 2, 2018 by 8 a.m.)

  2. Applications reviewed by program committee.

  3. Applications of selected candidates will be forwarded to potential mentors.

  4. Mentor(s) will set up interviews with applicants.  (Approximate: month of August 2018)

  5. Mentors and applicants will submit rankings to BSP.

  6. BSP will match students with mentors based on rankings. (Approximate: end of August - early September 2018)

  7. PER student orientation meeting. (Approximate: early September 2018) 

Process For Applicants Who Have/Will Independently Secured a Lab Position:

  1. Students Apply to BSP’s PER. (Deadline: Thursday, August 2, 2018 by 8 a.m.)

  2. Applications reviewed by program committee.

  3. BSP staff or program committee will set up interviews with selected candidates. (Approximate: early to mid August 2018)

  4. Decision notifications will be distributed (Approximate: mid to late August 2018)

  5. PER student orientation meeting. (Approximate: early September 2018)


Funding 

Through generous funding from the Hellman Foundation, the BSP will support PER participants with a research stipend in the Fall 2018 (10 hrs/wk), Spring 2019 (10 hrs/wk), and Summer 2019 (30-40 hrs/wk) semesters, pending PI and BSP review and approval at the end of each semester, to conduct research in a lab. 

Students who are selected to participate in the program will be required to meet with a financial aid advisor to understand how, if at all, this funding may impact your financial aid package. 


Stipend

Fall 2018 @ 10 hrs/wk

Spring 2019 @ 10 hrs/wk

Summer 2019 @ 30-40 hrs/wk

Total/Yr

PER Stipend

$2000

$2000

$4000

$8,000

Travel Stipend

$500

$500

$500

$1500

Supplies Stipend

$150

$150

$150

$450

Total

$2,650

$2,650

$4,650

$9,950

PER Program Dates:

The PER is a one-year research program, and will span across Fall 2018-Summer 2019. Students are expected to work 10 hrs/week during the academic year, and full-time during summer months. The PER dates are as follows (subject to change): 

  • Fall 2018: September 10, 2018 – December 7, 2018 (10 hours/wk)

  • Spring 2019: January 22, 2019 – May 10, 2019 (10 hours/wk)

  • Summer 2019: May 28, 2019 – August 16, 2019 (at least 30 hours/wk) 

Student Eligibility

  1. Currently enrolled BSP student.

  2. Overall GPA of at least 2.7.

  3. You must not be receiving any other funding or payment for this research, unless the hours you are working as part of PER are over and above the hours you will get paid to conduct this same research (will be verified).

  4. Ability to commit to a year-long program (Fall 2018, Spring 2019, and Summer 2019).

  5. Ability to work 10 hrs/wk in Fall 2018 and Spring 2019, and at least 30 hrs/wk in Summer 2019.

  6. Must not take Summer 2019 classes while participating in PER. Participants are expected to commit full-time to the undergraduate research program in Summer 2019.

IMPORTANT: PER is a one-year long program, encompassing the academic-year and the summer (Fall 2018, Spring 2019, and Summer 2019). However, good standing in the PER program and continuous stipend award is dependent upon PI and BSP review and approval at the end of each semester. 

What We Are Looking For

  • Students for whom financial support would significantly enhance their ability to participate in research.

  • Individuals who possess a commitment and willingness to share their research experience with the BSP community and others.

  • Those who clearly demonstrate why research is important to their overall development.

  • Researchers who convey their passion for discovery in their selected area of interest. 

Eligible Laboratories

All UC Berkeley faculty, post-doctoral, graduate student research mentors, and local area research organizations in the field of biology or in a related STEM area are invited to mentor first-time or early undergraduate researchers from the BSP by completing this form

Please note: Submission of a form does not guarantee student placement. BSP students will be selected and “matched” with a host UCB lab based on the alignment of the research opportunity with student background and interest. We will solicit your input during the final matching process and will send out notifications of the final matches by or before August 2018. 

Student Expectations if Selected:

Please read carefully before applying.

If selected, PER student participants will be expected to:

  • Attend designated workshops/seminars throughout the semester.

  • Meet with the Research Coordinator x2/semester.

  • Complete program evaluations.

  • Present at the BSP Undergraduate Summer Research Symposium on Friday, August 9, 2019.

  • Work 10 hrs/wk during the academic year, and at least 30 hrs/wk in the summer.

  • Actively engage in scientific discovery, ask questions, and embrace your research and curiosity!

Apply Today!

Applications are due Thursday, August 2, 2018 by 8 a.m.

There are exciting research projects to explore, ranging from the ecology of intermittent streams to understanding how host gene expression machinery is affected by viral infection. 

(Step 1): Review the project summaries below.

Start by exploring the short project summaries, make note of THREE labs that pique your interest. If you find a project/lab that interests you, go to the faculty member’s website to learn more about their research.Be sure to keep track of the project name. You will need this information for the application (Step 3). 

Click Here To Review the PER 2018-2019 Project Summaries

**DO NOT CONTACT THESE MENTORS DIRECTLY ABOUT THE PROGRAM**

Having a hard time deciding what interests you? Come speak to the BSP staff for assistance. 

(Step 2): Create a ranked list of 3 projects that interest you.

(Step 3): Complete the electronic application here by 8 am August 2, 2018. Follow all instructions. Be prepared to submit, or upload in PDF format:

  • Resume (1 page maximum)

  • Unofficial Transcripts

  • List of planned or potential Fall 2018, Spring 2018, and Summer 2019 activities, if any (e.g., employment, internship, volunteer, program, etc)

  • One letter of recommendation from individuals familiar with your interests, abilities, and career goals (1-2 pages maximum). See below for instructions.

  • Statement of Purpose

  • Statement of Financial Need

  • Financial Aid Information

(Step 4): Awardees will be notified by or before the end of August 2018. Laboratory mentors of awardees will also be notified once the award is accepted. 

Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Letters of Recommendation

Letters of Recommendation are due August 2, 2018 by 8 a.m. (no exceptions) 

For ALL PER Applicants:

One, 1-2 page letter of recommendation is required for students applying to the BSP’s Program for Early Researchers. 

The letter of recommendation should come from an individual who can speak to your abilities, careers goals, motivation to conduct research,  and address why you would be a good candidate for the PER. The best letters will come from individuals who know you well and can speak to your academic preparation, capacity to conduct research, and interest in research. Recommenders' letters should address how they know you. 

For Applicants Who Will Be Matched:

The letters can be from any individual in or outside of the University and might include, but is not limited to, a current or former professor, GSI, research supervisor, employer, teacher, higher education administrator, or volunteer supervisor. Letters should be addressed to the Biology Scholars Program, Program for Early Researchers (BSP PER) Selection Committee. 

For Applicants Who Have Independently Secured a Lab Position:

The letter must come from the PI/Research Supervisor of your host lab (e.g., a letter written by your direct mentor (graduate student, postdoctoral researcher, research assistant) that is co-signed by your lab's PI. A confirmation of your good standing in the lab, and/or confirmation of an offer to host a mentored research project experience with you must be included in the letter. Letters of recommendation should be addressed to the Biology Scholars Program, Program for Early Researchers (BSP PER) Selection Committee.

Suggestions for Requesting Letters of Recommendation 

Contact your recommenders well in advance and ask them if they will write you a letter. Tell them about the program and why you are applying. Include information about the submission deadline, who to address the letter to, how/where to submit the letters, what the letter should address, program contact information for questions, and include this website for their reference. You may also want to email a copy of your resume and statement of purpose to give recommenders an idea of what you plan to submit as part of your application. 

How to Submit Letters of Recommendation 

Recommenders can email letters directly from the letter writer's email to m.soto@berkeley.edu. The email subject line should read: Student First Name, Last Name_ PER LOR (e.g., Jane Doe_PER LOR). 

Alternatively, recommenders may provide the letter of recommendation to the student, and the student can upload it as part of their application. In all cases: (1) letters are due by August 2, 2018 at 8 a.m., and (b) letters must be sent as a PDF attachment. 

Questions?

For further information, please see the FAQs or contact Dr. Missy Soto, BSP Deputy Director m.soto@berkeley.edu, 510-642-6227.