FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions
What is the purpose of this program?
The Florida Veterinary Scholars Program provides an opportunity for veterinary students to engage in hypothesis-driven research over a 10-12 week period from mid-May to mid-August. Our primary goals are to stimulate interest in the scientific process and expose students to veterinary career options other than clinical practice. Many students will conduct work that will lead to a scientific publication. All summer scholars are required to complete VEM 5991 (Individualized Investigation).
Veterinary students who have completed their first year in good academic standing. For UF students, the timing of the program limits participations to students in the summer between the first and second years. For students applying from other veterinary schools, first or second year students are eligible to apply.
Yes, students from all North American Veterinary schools are welcome to apply. International students are welcome if selected by Merial. Secure slots are not reserved for students from other schools – this is a merit-based program. Travel or housing expenses are not provided.
The student stipend is $5000, paid in two $2500 installments. Fringe (required for social security) rate is covered by the Office of Research and Graduate Studies. Students must be active participants (i.e. show up to do lab work and attend the Tuesday seminars) in order to receive the second payment. Limited funding is available to support travel to the NIH-Merial National Veterinary Scholars Symposium at the end of the summer. Support for housing is not included in the stipend.
The application is a two-step process. Faculty members submit abstracts describing available projects, and students apply for funding. Faculty and students then rank individuals with whom they would like to work. Application information is available for faculty and students. Funding decisions are made by the advisory committee based upon the following criteria:
- Faculty: Available funding, strength of proposed project, history of mentorship (or willingness to serve as a strong mentor for new/young faculty)
- Students: Academic credentials (undergraduate and first semester GPA), personal statement of career goals and why you want to participate in the program
Here are a few suggested steps:
- What are your interests? Pick an area that you would like to explore – something that you want to learn more of and that you will enjoy. Think about what you would like to investigate – whether it be something that might have been touched on in class, or something you will be studying in the future.
- If you do not know, look through the list of faculty, when available, and their web pages and see if something interests you.
- If you already know what area you would like to pursue a project in, your next step is to see what mentors are available in that area.
- Set up a time to meet with several faculty mentors to see who you would feel comfortable working on a project. It needs to be a mutual working relationship in order to get the most out of the experience. If you cannot find a mentor from the lists provided or have contacted them with no response (email and calling), then contact Dr. Sanchez and she can help you make contact.
- Think about the available projects/mentors and decide which one(s) would be a good fit. Those are the ones you should rank!
Mainly, students work in their mentor’s laboratory to complete the proposed work. On Tuesday afternoons (3-5 pm), students attend seminars on a variety of research-related topics. Some presentations are made by researchers describing how they ended up doing what they are doing, others introduce students to aspects of the research method such as project design, or statistical analysis. Others are hands-on topics such as how to use reference manager software. At least one field trip will be planned – prior locations include the Whitney Marine Laboratory, the UF Innovation Hub and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. At the end of the summer, all students present their work in a 3-minute “Data Blitz” to each other, faculty and mentors available to attend. For those students able to attend, the NIH-Merial National Veterinary Scholars Symposium is a great experience. For 2016, the symposium will be hosted by The Ohio State University.
Support for student stipends is provided by the Merial Veterinary Scholars Program, the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine Office of Research and Graduate Studies, and individual faculty laboratory funds and research grants, along with other sources which vary by year. Due to the disparity between available funds (few) and interested students (many), priority will be given to faculty able to support half ($2500) of the student stipend. Funding to conduct the research is not provided, thus projects proposed by faculty for students to complete must be currently funded.
Absolutely!! Due to funding limits, we cannot support all students wanting to participate in the program. But, if a faculty member is willing to mentor your project, you are still welcome to participate in the seminar series, get help with manuscript preparation, and present your work at the end of the summer.
- FSVP Information Session for Students: 11/28/16
- Faculty express interest to department board members: 12/2/16
- Students contact potential mentors: 12/3/15-2/3/17
- Faculty application (except student ranking) due: 1/13/17
- Student applications and student ranking of faculty projects due: 2/3/17
- Ranking of students by faculty due: 2/3/17
- Results released: 2/24/17
- Summer research program dates: 5/22/16-7/25/17
- Data blitz: 7/25/17
- National Veterinary Scholars Symposium: 8/3/17-8/6/17 at the National Institutes of Health
For those projects involving animal work, IACUC approval must be documented. Mentors are responsible for ensuring IACUC compliance as well as student training in hazardous materials and registration with Environmental Health and Safety.