SMARTS

            THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT EL PASO

NOTE: This program is no longer active.

This site is for archival purposes only.

Q: Who is eligible to apply?

A: Undergraduate students must:

  • Be considered need-based
  • Be a US citizen or permanent resident
  • Have a 3.20 minimum cumulative GPA
  • Be a rising Junior or rising Senior 
  • Have submitted a FAFSA for the 2014-2015 academic year
  • Have an area of study within the College of Science
  • Be recommended by a graduate student who is interested in becoming your mentor
  • Plan to enroll full time (at least 12 credit hours per semester)
  • Seniors must enroll for 3 credit hours in a capstone course (undergraduate research or independent studies)
 
 

A: Graduate students must:

  • Be considered need-based
  • Be US citizens or permanent residents
  • Have a 3.20 minimum cumulative GPA
  • Have submitted a FAFSA for the 2014-2015 academic year
  • Have an area of study within the College of Science
  • Have selected a faculty mentor and an undergraduate student who would be willing to participate in SMARTS workshops, meetings, and activities
  • Plan to enroll during the fall and spring semester
  •  
  • Have at least one full year before graduation if applying to mentor a senior undergraduate and 2 years before graduation if applying to mentor a junior undergraduate
 

Q: What do I need to apply?

 Before you apply, contact your UTEP Financial Aid Officer in order to determine if you are considered a need-based student.

A: Graduate students must submit: 

  • An unofficial copy of transcripts 
  • A resume 
  • A statement indicating interest in mentoring an undergraduate student and commitment to participate in the program 
  • A letter of support from your faculty advisor 

A: Undergraduates must submit: 

  • An unofficial copy of transcripts 
  • A resume 
  • A statement indicating their interest in participating in the program, pursuing an advanced degree 
  • A letter of recommendation from a faculty
 

Q: What would my responsibilities be if selected to serve as a mentor?

A: The graduate student will have to commit to mentor the undergraduate in research and offer assistance for the undergraduate to achieve success in her/his undergraduate degree plan (coaching) so the student graduates in time. This may entail helping the student make the right choices. Everyone (grad student, undergrad and faculty advisors) will also attend a mentoring workshop at the beginning of the program.

A: The grad student mentor is expected to maintain a GPA above 3.20, make progress in research, and keep us informed of any issues that arise that may require intervention or negotiation. If the student happens to be a full time TA, we are hoping that they can reduce the number of hours on TA so they can truly mentor the undergrad, but we understand this is not always possible. The approach to this varies depending on the grad student-specific situation, the TA or RA status, the type of research, family issues, etc.

Q: How does the application process work?

A: The graduate student must apply first, to indicate the undergraduate student they are interested in mentoring on their application. Once the graduate student submits their online application, the undergraduate students listed will receive a notification requesting they submit their application and supporting documentation. If the graduate student plans on nominating a junior UG student, the graduate student must graduate either at the same time or after your UG mentee.

Q: Can I as an undergraduate apply without a graduate student?

A: The process only allows for graduate students to apply first, and recommend the undergraduate students of their choosing within their application. However, junior and senior students can also actively seek out a graduate student to team with if they are interested in applying for the program and have them serve as their graduate mentor.

Q: When is the deadline to apply?

A: The deadline is July 18, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. MST for the undergraduate and graduate students to apply. The complete packet, which also includes the faculty recommendation forms and letters of recommendation, need to be submitted by the deadline as well.

Q: What if I already participate in an undergraduate research program? Can I still apply?

A: Those students who are participating in other programs that require students doing 19 hours a week of lab work will not be eligible based on the fact that you will have exhausted all of your available funding and unable to be awarded the scholarship. It is also important to note the time commitment required of both programs, and one will inevitably conflict with the other.

Q: Do I need to submit a FAFSA if I am a graduate student?

A: Yes, the FAFSA is required for both undergraduate and graduate students. Please contact your UTEP Financial Aid Officer at (915) 747-5204 in order to determine if you are considered a need-based student.

Q: How long is the program?

A: Those students selected will participate and receive scholarship support during the 2014-2015 academic year. Juniors in the program can be renewed for their senior year if they meet all the renewal criteria, however, renewal is not guaranteed.

Q: The requirement for juniors is to continue the research during the summer. What if I am selected for an REU somewhere else during the summer?

A: We encourage all of our undergraduates to apply for research programs out of town during the summer. If you are selected for the SMARTS program and are accepted into a summer REU at another campus, part of the award you would have received from the SMARTS Program in June, July, and August  will be carried over and added to your senior year SMARTS award for the upcoming academic year.

Q: I am a senior who will graduate in May 2015. Are my requirements the same as a junior SMARTS participant?

A: Your requirements are similar, however, undergraduate students who will be graduating in the spring will be required to register for a capstone/independent study course for the fall and spring semesters- which will be covered by the SMARTS Program. You will also be provided with funding for GRE preparation during your senior year.

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This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Number DUE-1153832.

Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.