Supplemental Training for Education Program (STEP)
The SOT recognizes that supplemental training experiences facilitate the successful entry of graduate students into the modern toxicology workforce. The Supplemental Training for Education Program (STEP) provides funding up to $1,000 to cover costs associated with additional training related to toxicology that addresses the student’s identified skill gap. Closing the skill gap will enhance the student’s career opportunities. Applicants will identify professional development workshops, short courses, or events that would help with this unmet need (see SOT website for suggestions and previously funded experiences). This supplemental training must be outside the available resources of the applicant’s graduate training and research program. STEP funding should not be requested to refine a dissertation project-related technique, to attend a professional society or scientific conference, or to supplement an internship—as there are alternative award opportunities within the Education Career Development Committee and the broader SOT to apply for such funding. The toxicology skill gap desired to be fulfilled via STEP may be related to the student’s field of study, but it must be a training opportunity or activity that cannot be met by their home institution and is not primarily intended to contribute to the completion of the student's thesis project. The activities may be virtual or in-person workshops, courses, or other relevant activities.
Three awards of up to $1,000 per recipient may be given at each deadline (deadlines are May 15 and October 15).
Awardees will be selected based on academic achievement, relevance of the proposed professional activity to career goals in the field of toxicology, quality of proposed experience, and recommendation by their graduate mentor.
Awardees are required to provide a brief follow-up blog post on the funded experience, highlighting their receipt of the award and benefits of the experience to their graduate education. This blog post is mutually beneficial, as it highlights the success of STEP and provides visibility of the student’s award and dedication to the field.
The applicant must
- Be enrolled in a PhD program in toxicology or related field at the time of application and have a) completed at least 4 semesters or 6 quarters in the program and b) successfully passed the comprehensive examination (or equivalent) to reach PhD candidacy.
- Be a SOT graduate student member at the time of application and a SOT student or postdoctoral member at the time of the experience (note that members may retain student member status for twelve months after completing their PhD).
- Designate an activity that begins no sooner than a month following the application deadline.
- Complete the experience no later than a year after the deadline for which the application was submitted.
- Applicant should submit the completed application and include evidence of commitment of institutional, personal, or other funds to cover costs exceeding $1,000. If the experience is expected to occur after completion of the PhD, address whether the funds to cover excess costs would still be available.
- The applicant’s PhD advisor must upload a supporting letter directly to the Award system indicating approval of the applicant’s participation in the defined professional development activity and describing the relevance and value to the applicant’s career goals. This letter must also indicate the date the applicant passed the comprehensive exam and anticipated defense date. Further, if applicable, the letter should confirm the availability of funds (e.g., institutional commitment) proposed to cover costs in excess of $1,000.
- A letter of support from the host/organizer of the supplemental training experience describing the availability and details of the training. This letter is not needed if the experience is organized by an established organization for which specific detailed information is available online describing the experience (i.e., a formal course/program that has open admission/enrollment or an experience that has a dedicated webpage describing the training experience).
- The applicant will provide feedback on the value of the experience to the SOT Education and Career Development Committee in the form of a Communiqué Blog Post.
- CV and graduate transcripts (unofficial)