1. What is the structure of the GATORAADE program?  

GATORAADE is a postbacc training program. Postbacc is short for “post baccalaureate” which means the program is tailored to trainees that just finished a bachelor’s degree (1-year master’s degree program could also be considered if the curriculum was not research based, more details on this in the following sections).  

Broadly, our area of expertise is neurobiology of aging and neurodegenerative disorders and therefore, trainees interested in these topics are invited to apply. We have a list of potential research labs that trainees can choose from to work on for the duration of the program (up to 2 years). In addition, we offer to cover the cost of our Neuroscience Online Certificate, which can be completed during the first year of the Postbacc.  

This is the structure of the program, starting in Year 1 (Y1) and continuing through Year 2 (Y2):  

  1. Why is there a citizenship requirement to apply for GATORAADE? 

Our program is funded by an R25 grant from the National Institute of Health (NIH) and thus can only fund trainees that are US citizens or Permanent Residents (i.e., green card holders). These are NIH requirements. 

  1. Is the $30k annual stipend the total pay for this position? 

Yes, the stipend is $30k per year based on the NIH grant that will provide funding (that is the amount that the trainee will receive, divided per month). Our program will also cover the cost of the Neuroscience Online certificate offered by our department.  

  1. I am already working as a research assistant in one of the research labs at UF. If accepted as postbacc trainee, would I be able to stay in my current lab? 

If accepted, you can choose to continue in the lab you are already in if the Principal Investigator (PI) or mentor of that lab is listed as a potential host for our program (access the list of mentors here). Alternatively, you can choose to work with someone else from the list and during the application submission you will need to select 3 possible PIs that you are interested in working with.  

  1. What are the professional development activities planned for the program? 

GATORAADE program will provide a mentoring committee formed by the PI of the lab the trainee is in, one of the Program PIs, and one near peer mentor (a current PhD student in our Neuroscience Graduate Program). This committee will meet regularly with trainees to help them devise a professional development plan that fits their career goals and will ensure that the plan is being implemented.  

During the summer of year 1 trainees will also attend weekly workshops covering diverse professional development topics and during year 2 they will receive tailored coaching to help them achieve their career goals. 

  1. Can someone that is currently pursuing a 1-year master’s degree apply for this program? 

Technically, yes. While our program was created as a 2-year program (see next question for more details on this), we understand that there are special cases and circumstances. That is why when reviewing applications, we will look at these different situations in a holistic way and then decide. We want to ensure that all deserving trainees are given a chance. If this is your case, try to address these circumstances in your personal statement and explain why you are applying for our research-based program after completing a master’s degree, especially if you are coming from a different field and have limited experience in research (for example, if you completed a Public Health Master’s degree).  

  1. The duration of the program is stated as “up to two years”. What does that mean?  

Considering the goals of our program, we think that 2 years would give maximum benefits to our trainees. During the first year, trainees will take classes required to complete the Neuroscience Online Certificate and will develop their research project. During the second year, maximum effort should be placed on completing their project and preparing for graduate school applications.  

  1. Do you have to have completed your Bachelor’s degree at UF to qualify for this program? 

No, anyone with a recently completed Bachelor’s degree can apply. 

  1. I am not available to start in the Fall semester; can I start the program in the spring? 

No. The GATORAADE program is designed to start in the Fall semester, as with most of our graduate programs. Trainees will be taking classes the first two semesters (fall and spring), followed by a year of full-time lab work (research). You are more than welcome to apply for the following Fall semester in which you are available to start. 

  1. Could I choose a project, or would the mentor choose one for me? If I’m interested in multiple projects, could I work on multiple projects simultaneously? 

The project, and generally, the work GATORAAADE trainees will be doing in the lab, is up to the PI/mentor. Applicants are welcome to reach out to individual PIs listed as potential mentors to inquire about these and other lab specific questions.  

  1. Would it be possible to volunteer or have a part-time job outside of this program if I were to be chosen as a mentee? 

This position is considered a full-time training opportunity. Anything that trainees might want to do outside of their time in the lab will need to be discussed with their lab PI/mentor and approved by them.  

    12. Who should write your letters of recommendation (LOR)? LOR writers should be people that know you well in a professional/academic setting and that can provide details of your qualifications for our program. The LORs should also speak of your interest in research in the field of aging/neurodegenerative disorders and how our program could benefit your career goals.

  13. What should I write in my personal statement? Your personal statement should explain your motivation to participate in this program (why do you want to go into aging research? How does a postbacc help you achieve your goals?) what do you expect to gain from it in terms of professional development and career goals (where do you want to go from here?  and how can our program help you achieve those goals?). If you have some relevant previous experience, in research or healthcare, briefly describe it and explain how this experience has influenced your plans for your professional future.