Secondary Student Training Program (SSTP)
Every summer, the Secondary Student Training Program (SSTP) brings talented and gifted 10th and 11th graders from all over the world to the University of Iowa a five week research residency. Dozens of labs throughout the university host SSTP students each year, and in 2018, the Belin Blank Center hopes to expand the program by bringing in new faculty mentors.
For faculty members seeking new outreach strategies, SSTP is an ideal way to expand their avenues. SSTP is a highly selective program, and admitted students bring enthusiasm, hard work, and an enduring sense of wonder each year. This last August, for example, an 2015 alumna published a paper in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society with her former SSTP mentor. Alumnae regularly build lasting relationships with their mentors that continue long after the program ends.
So what does it mean to host SSTP students? Faculty and their lab assistants mentor one or more SSTP students in their research group and oversee their research experience. To cover incidental expenses, the Belin-Blank Center provide a $500.00 stipend per mentee. At the end of the five weeks, the mentees present their research at a final poster session and close out the whole program with a final banquet dinner, to which faculty mentors and their lab assistants are all invited.
ICRU began matching groups of SSTP students with undergraduate mentors in 2016. ICRU mentors helping SSTP students transition into and learn about lab life and teach skills like making posters or giving talks.