Binghamton University-HHMI Program: Interdisciplinary research for undergraduate majors in science and engineering

Graduate student mentors for HHMI program

Role and benefits

The role of the graduate student mentor is to assist in the assessment of the way the interdisciplinary research teams are set up and managed, with special focus on the training and development of the undergraduate student as a researcher and the graduate student as a research mentor. The research projects will be focused on a problem, question, invention or method development relating to biology or applications in biomedical, behavioral, environmental or agricultural fields. The research will require collaboration of laboratories from two complementary groups that represent the life sciences on one hand and computer science, engineering, mathematics or the physical sciences on the other hand. Research projects are for a calendar year, starting at the end of May through April.

As research is becoming more interdisciplinary, specialized training in mentoring undergraduates in interdisciplinary research will be very valuable in the graduate student’s career development. Graduate students can also expect to expand their research interests and expertise.  

How to participate

Graduate students who have ideas in line with the program goals and are interested in mentoring undergraduate students in this program should discuss ideas with their faculty research mentors. Ideas for research projects will be submitted by interested faculty, who will also name graduate students along with their specific mentoring role in the research project.    

Graduate students can also encourage undergraduate students to apply.

Graduate students who belong to groups that are underrepresented in their disciplines are highly encouraged to explore the possibility of participation.

Support provided and expectations

Graduate student mentors will receive $1,000 support for:

  • Participation in a workshop specifically designed to train graduate student as mentors for undergraduate students in interdisciplinary research across STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) disciplines. The workshop will include:
  1. training in ethical decision-making for responsible conduct of research (RCR)
  2. best practices in mentoring undergraduate research students
  3. the nature of interdisciplinary research; how to maximize the benefits and minimize the risks  
  • Contribution to the program in ways that will help arrive at best practices in mentoring undergraduates in interdisciplinary research across STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) disciplines. This will be done through reports twice in the summer, once at the end of fall semester and once at the end of the following spring semester. Graduate students will be asked to provide: 
  1. evaluation of the work of the undergraduate student they are guiding
  2. evaluation of two other students' summer research posters
  3. surveys and reflective essays on successes, problems encountered and their own development as a research mentor
  4. perceptions of the social dynamics of those involved in the research project, with the undergraduate student as the focus. 

Last Updated: 10/7/13