T35 Q&A

This is a page that we constantly update with common questions about the program. If you don’t see the answer to your question here or need more clarification on what’s listed here, please reach out to Dr. Banky Olatosi at olatosi@mailbox.sc.edu or Ms. Audrey Auen at akkuhn@email.sc.edu, and we will answer your question and update this page accordingly.

"Can you explain more what you are looking for in the 1-2 page essay describing our research interests and career objectives?"

The essay is what we will use in the matching process to get a clearer understanding of how you see yourself participating in the research, as we want you to be able to get the most out of this experience. It will also give us an idea of what research activities you feel comfortable participating in and where you hope to grow both professionally and experientially. This will also be helpful when it comes time to solidify your mentoring plan in the learning contract, which will be a mutual agreement of what you and your mentor will accomplish throughout your time with us. We encourage you to write the paper specifically for the health problems you hope to address using Big Data Science in this program, as this program is geared towards Big Data in infectious disease research.

"I am currently working towards my master's degree, but will graduate before the program starts. Will I still be eligible?"

The program is open to pre-dissertation Master’s and Doctoral students with at least one year of experience in their degree. As long as you are still in your master’s program at the time of application review (February before start of the program), you will still qualify for acceptance.

"I'm currently working on obtaining citizenship, and believe I will have it before the program starts. Will I still qualify?"

As long as your citizenship status is confirmed upon review of the applications, you will qualify. If this is your situation, we will reach out to you to confirm whether your status has changed before we review applications. Please also know that permanent residents (or Green card holders) also qualify for the program. You have to either be a citizen or a permanent resident to qualify.

"I am in the second year of my doctoral program and I will be taking the written qualifying exam at the end of June. I then will likely be taking the oral qualifying exam during the fall after the program. Would I still be eligible for this training program given that I believe I am close to the end of the pre-dissertation phase of my doctoral program?"
Yes, you would.
"Should the the 'letter confirming the home institutional support for you to participate' be from my home department, the person who I currently work for as a research assistant, or both?"

Either one would suffice. The letter from the department is just for courtesy and to make sure they are aware that you will be taking the program in the summer. It could be as simple as a one-line sentence below, or more.

 The department of XXX supports (student name) completing the T35 data science scholars’ program in infectious disease.

"I saw that housing is provided on the program website, do we have to locate and secure housing or is that the responsibility of program personnel? Also, if provided, are there single-occupancy rooms available? "

Housing choice is the responsibility of program personnel. We normally choose a nearby apartment-style residence hall that features single bedrooms with shared common-spaces, and we group students based on their gender-identity and which group they are more comfortable living with (Women/Non-Binary, Men/Non-Binary). Once trainees are selected, we send out a logistics form that will cover gender-based housing preferences.

"Is it possible for me to keep my own car in Columbia for the duration of the summer, or is parking services not equipped to allow this sort of short-term parking pass?"

We will provide parking for you, bringing your car is absolutely allowed!

"Do most trainees usually stay enrolled at their home institutions over the summer to maintain health insurance via the student mechanism or are we not permitted to stay enrolled?"

Yes, you will remain enrolled in your home institution! T35 trainees enroll to our university as transient students in order to receive credit for the courses, but this will not impact your enrollment status at your home-institution.

"Do I also need to provide in the application form the names and addresses of 3 professional references?"

No, we do not ask for this. All we ask is for your home advisor to send confirmation of their support.

"Please advise about the personal statement essay, in terms of experiences contributing to future goals, as my research and career objectives essay may have similar descriptions."
The goal of the personal statement is to get an understanding of what your overall professional brand is and who you are as a person. This is where you can write about who you are, where your interests lie, and where you see yourself going in your career. This will help us understand you a little better beyond the numbers when making our selection, and it will help us know how to help you achieve your overall professional development goals in the program.