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Black In Neuro

celebrating Black excellence in neuroscience-related fields


Resources for undergrads

So you want to pursue Neuro?

First, hone in on the topics that most interest you. Neuroscience is actually a relatively new field, about 50 years old, so it’s still growing! You might lean more towards psychology, medicine, engineering, cell biology, artificial intelligence, or even neuroethics. Once you have a vague idea of a field you’d like to learn more about, identify people doing research or work on these topics near you, likely at a university, hospital, or company.

Then, reach out to them for mentorship! Professors receive lots of emails a day, so make sure yours stands out by indicating what excites you most about working with them (after you’ve read some of their published work). The key to getting a research position is persistence; don’t give up if you don’t get a response.

You can also reach out to a #BlackNeuroMentor who is doing work you’re interested in, even if they aren’t located in the same area as you.
Search our profiles and reach out to folks who have agreed to be contacted!

Funding opportunities

Note: This page will continuously be updated with further opportunities, so please bookmark it and check back in periodically.


FUNDED SUMMER FELLOWSHIPS FOR UNDERGRADS

Unfortunately, it is common practice for undergraduate researchers to work as volunteers, meaning that many positions won’t be paid by default. However, there are lots of ways to make sure you earn money while doing research instead of working side jobs to pay rent. One thing you should definitely have in mind is that there are schools that will pay you thousands of dollars in stipend (varies depending on location), pay for your travel, and provide you with lodging, all so you can spend 8-10 weeks with them over the summer to get some research experience. Why? How? Well, those schools write their own big grant applications to ask federal agencies to provide them with funding to run a research program. Then they use that funding to put the program together and pay young scholars like you to visit for the summer and get research experience in their labs. In the United States, two major federal agencies that fund these kinds of programs are the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF). Typically, a program funded by the NIH is called summer undergraduate research fellowship (SURF) while programs funded by the NSF are typically called research experiences for undergraduates (REUs). It shouldn’t make a difference to you who’s funding what, though. Our goal here is to provide you with various lists of these programs. You can go through them, pick out ones that interest you, make a list, and start applying:

FUNDED FELLOWSHIPS FOR UNDERGRAD

  • 500WomenScientists - Fellowship for the Future

    This fellowship is for women of color in STEM who also have a strong background and commitment to equity, social justice, and public engagement.

  • Thermofisher - Thermo Fisher Scientific Antibody Scholarship Program.                                                                                 Offering $35,000 in scholarship funding in order to provide educational opportunities for future generations of science scholars

  • Gamma Mu Foundation - Scholarships Program

    Provides support to gay men who want to further their education at the undergraduate level. Also awards two other scholarships scholarships annually to students from the broader LGBT community

  • Point Foundation - The Point Scholarship

    Aims to promote change through scholarship funding and mentorship empowering scholars from the LGBTQ+ community (there’s also a scholarship for community college students)

  • Goldwater Foundation - Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship

    Seeks to identify and support college sophomores and juniors who show exceptional promise of becoming this Nation’s next generation of research leaders in natural sciences, mathematics and engineering

  • Masergy - STEM Scholarship

    To support the next generation of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) innovators

  • Cards Against Humanity - Science Ambassador Scholarship

    A full–tuition scholarship for a woman in science, technology, engineering, or math

  • NIH - Amgen Scholars Program

    Summer research internship at the NIH, including stipend and transportation benefits.

  • NIH - Community College Summer Enrichment Program (CCSEP)

    Full-time summer research program, aiming to increase number of community college students who transfer to four-year programs.

POST-BACCALAUREATE PROGRAMS WHICH YOU CAN APPLY TO AFTER COMPLETING UNDERGRAD

FUNDED FELLOWSHIPS FOR GRAD SCHOOL WHICH YOU CAN APPLY TO AS AN UNDERGRAD

  • Hertz Foundation - The Hertz Foundation Fellowship

    The fellowship includes up to five years of funding, valued at up to $250,000, and the freedom to pursue innovative projects wherever they may lead

  • Ford Foundation - Predoctoral Fellowship

    To increase the diversity of the nation’s college and university faculties by increasing their ethnic and racial diversity, maximize the educational benefits of diversity, and increase the number of professors who can and will use diversity as a resource for enriching the education of all students

  • DOD - National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG)

    NDSEG Fellowships last for three years and pay for full tuition and all mandatory fees, a monthly stipend, and up to $1,000 a year in medical insurance (this excludes dental and vision insurance)

  • DOD - SMART Scholarship Program

    Scholarships are awarded for a minimum of 1.5 years and a maximum of 5 years of funding. Must be willing to accept post-graduate employment with the DoD.

  • Paul and Daisy Soros - Fellowship for New Americans

    The PD Soros Fellowship for New Americans is a $90,000 merit-based fellowship exclusively for immigrants and children of immigrants who are pursuing graduate school in the United States

  • NSF - Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP)

    Five-year fellowship recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported STEM disciplines who are pursuing research-based master's and doctoral degrees at accredited US institutions

  • Tylenol - Future Care Scholars

    Scholarships ($10,000) will be awarded to students and practitioners who are seeking a degree to actively treat patients

  • GEM - The GEM Fellowship Program

    The goal of this program is to increase the number of minority students who pursue doctoral degrees in the natural science disciplines — chemistry, physics, earth sciences, mathematics, biological sciences, and computer science. Applicants to this program are accepted as early as their senior undergraduate year, as well as candidates currently enrolled in a Master’s of Engineering program and working professionals. Programs include:

    • MS Engineering Fellowship

    • PhD Engineering Fellowship

    • PhD Science Fellowship

  • Thermofisher - Thermo Fisher Scientific Antibody Scholarship Program (supports undergrad or grad)

    Offering $35,000 in scholarship funding in order to provide educational opportunities for future generations of science scholars

  • Point Foundation - The Point Scholarship (supports undergrad or grad)

    Aims to promote change through scholarship funding and mentorship empowering scholars from the LGBTQ+ community

As you start out in science, you might encounter unfamiliar terms that might be confusing. That’s okay! We’re defining some here to help with that, but remember there’s absolutely zero shame in asking someone to define something to you or explain it!

  • Abstract - short summary of a research project, usually at the beginning of a paper (see paper below) or a poster
  • Advisor - usually someone who works with you in a supervisory role, typically the faculty member overseeing your training and research
  • Dry lab - these are laboratories which use computers, modeling, and other computational tools to do research
  • Fellowship - a specific type of program that supports you financially and/or professionally while you're pursuing some scientific interests (not a loan)
  • GRA - graduate research assistant
  • Grant - not unlike scholarships, but in the context of science these are typically aimed at funding specific research projects (not a loan)
  • GTA - graduate teaching assistant
  • Journal - a journal is a place where scientific research is published, sort of like a magazine for super niche nerds
  • Paper - a paper in science is basically just an article that's published and is considered a scholarly work
  • Peer review - whenever you try to publish a research paper, the journal you're hoping to publish in will send your paper to other scientists in your field to read it and give their opinions
  • PhD - doctor of philosophy
  • PI -  principle investigator, this is basically the leader of the lab, usually a faculty member
  • REU - research experience for undergraduates (paid)
  • Scholarship - a fixed amount of money usually awarded based on either merit, financial need, or whatever criteria the program describes (not a loan)
  • Stipend - a fixed amount of money designed to fund a student's living expenses and sometimes other fees (not a loan)
  • SURF - summer undergraduate research fellowship (paid)
  • Wet lab - these are laboratories which use liquids, chemicals, and/or biological material to do research 
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