Contributed by Andrea Gouldy
On June 23rd, the National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN) celebrated the completion of its first cohort of the NRMN Steps Toward Academic Research (NRMN STAR) Fellowship Program, a 12-month professional development program housed at the UNT Health Science Center. NRMN STAR is one of four intensive grant writing coaching group models offered through NRMN’s Professional Development Core.
Fellows participated in a yearlong intensive grant writing program that combines on-site professional development and education with distance learning techniques including online virtual meetings and “store and forward” technology. The program is designed to enable STAR fellows to achieve greater success in securing external sponsorship of their research, and to promote their transition to independent research careers. NRMN STAR also prepares its fellows to contribute to the scientific community by encouraging their involvement in mentoring their younger counterparts.
This past year’s NRMN STAR fellows hailed from University of Colorado Denver, Texas Tech University, Morgan State University, University of Minnesota, University of California- San Francisco, Binghamton University, University of Kansas Medical Center, and Southern University. Coaches-in-training traveled from Rush University Medical Center and Cornell to coach the fellows alongside 3 UNTHSC faculty.
NRMN STAR has provided me with the fundamental skills and support I needed to write my first NIH grant. The coaches and my cohort of fellows have been invaluable in helping me gain the confidence to begin engaging in this process. My conceptualization of ideas and communication of my science has dramatically increased over the past several months.
–Brandy Piña-Watson, Ph.D.