Eligibility, Application, and Selection

The 2022 application will be available on November 23rd. Stay tuned!

Final Deadline: January 17th, 2023


Our funding from the National Institutes of Health sets certain eligibility criteria to participate in the program.

  • Applicants to the program must be currently enrolled in an undergraduate institution or community college. Rising Sophomores, Juniors, Seniors, in addition to Seniors who graduate Spring of 2023 are all eligible.
  • Applicants must either be a U.S. citizen, Permanent Resident, or an individual granted deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA) status by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
  • Consistent with NIH's goal for this program to increase diversity in the research workforce on aging, NIH funding guidelines additionally requires that participants must be from one or more of the following groups in order to be eligible to apply: 
    • Individuals from racial and ethnic groups that have been shown by the National Science Foundation to be underrepresented in health related sciences on a national basis (see data and the report Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering). The following racial and ethnic groups have been shown to be underrepresented in biomedical research: Blacks or African Americans, Hispanics or Latinos, American Indians or Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders. In addition, it is recognized that underrepresentation can vary from setting to setting; individuals from racial or ethnic groups that can be demonstrated convincingly to be underrepresented by the grantee institution should be encouraged to participate in this program. For more information on racial and ethnic categories and definitions, see NOT-OD-15-089.
    • Individuals with disabilities, who are defined as those with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, as described in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended. See NSF data here,
    • Individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds, defined as:
      • Were or currently are homeless, as defined by the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (definition);
      • Were or currently are in the foster care system, as defined by the Administration for Children and Families (definition);
      • Were eligible for the Federal Free and Reduced Lunch Program for two or more years (definition);
      • Have/had no parents or legal guardians who completed a bachelor’s degree (see more information);
      • Were or currently are eligible for Federal Pell grants (definition);
      • Received support from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) as a parent or child (definition);
      • Grew up in one of the following areas: a) a U.S. rural area, as designated by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Rural Health Grants Eligibility Analyzer, or b) a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services-designated Low-Income and Health Professional Shortage Areas (qualifying zipcodes are included in the file). Only one of the two possibilities in #7 can be used as a criterion for the disadvantaged background definition
  • Retrieved from: National Institutes of Health (NIH). NOT-OD-18-210: Updated Notice of NIH's Interest in Diversity. (2019, November 22). Accessed December 6, 2019.

Application Requirements

  • Completed application form submitted electronically by January 17, 2023@ 11:59 PM EST
    • Application form consists of demographic questions, uploading your personal statement/resume/academic transcript, ranking your top 5 faculty mentor choices, and one short answer question.
    • All applications must be submitted electronically in the online application form. 
  • Personal Statement (600 word maximum, save in PDF form):
    • Reasons for your interest in brain aging
    • Your academic and career goals
    • What has inspired or motivated you to pursue these goals? (Expand on community involvement, volunteer experiences, previous research, personal life experiences, etc.)
    • How will participating in STAR U help you reach your goals?
    • Any other information about yourself that you would like to share
  • Resume/CV (in PDF form)
  • Academic transcript (in PDF form; official or unofficial)
  • Visitor Registration Form (in PDF format) 
    • Top section of page 1, non-electronic signature, and date ("To Be Completed by Visitor") and page 6 (name, date, and non-electronic signature) 
    • Scan as one PDF and attach to online application  
    • Please find this form in the "Documents" section of the main page.
  • 2 letters of reference from undergraduate professors or other relevant parties on official letterhead and sent directly to the STAR U Program Coordinator, Aine Montgomery (am5364@cumc.columbia.edu). Letters of recommendation are due by February 1st, 2023.
  • Please note: your application is not considered complete unless we have received your completed application form, which should include your demographic information, personal statement, short essay, resume/CV, and academic transcript, short term visitor form, personal information form, and two letters of recommendation by the deadline of January 17, 2023.

Selection Process

  • Only complete applications, which include submission of all documents and online forms, submitted by the deadline will be reviewed.
  • Once the application deadline has passed, the STAR U Review Committee will begin review of complete applications.
  • If selected for an interview, applicants will be notified by February 2022.
  • If selected to participate in the 2022 STAR U Cohort, applicants will be notified by March 2022.


  • November 23, 2022: STAR U Applications released
  • Application Deadline: January 17, 2023
  • Letters of Recommendations Deadline: February 1, 2023 (sent to am5364@cumc.columbia.edu)
  • Notification if selected for phone interview: February 2023
  • Program Starts: June 12, 2023
  • Program Ends: August 11, 202

Apply: STAR U 2023 is NOW Accepting Applications!

Note on COVID-19:
Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the summer 2023 STAR U Program will take place in person.

Please visit the COVID-19 Resource Guide for the Columbia Community for details and updates regarding returning to campus.

Apply Now