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Contacting Your Research Mentor

After being notified of your acceptance into the program, then contact your research mentor as soon as possible. These early discussions and emails are critical for getting to know your mentor and their research. It is also necessary to establish the critical framework necessary for your research project early on in UNC MSTAR preparation.

Familiarization with the Project

Be proactive in contacting and continuing communications with your mentor. Familiarization with your area of research and project before you arrive is highly recommended. This will help to maximize your time and working relationship with your mentor and their research team. Your mentor will likely provide you with some information and readings to help you grasp the research or research area in a more comprehensive way. These readings may also include research methods if you are unfamiliar with the research methods you will be using.

Both MSTAR mentors and past students highly recommend advanced preparation before your arrival. Primarily, this helps you hit the ground running with your research. On top of that, it will also impact your ability to communicate more effectively with your mentor and their research team.

Creating a Research Plan & Calendar

One major UNC MSTAR Program requirement is creating a plan with your mentor. By the time you arrive on campus, you should have a rough draft (at minimum). As a requirement of the UNC MSTAR preparation, you will create an Individual Development Plan with your mentor. Furthermore, we strongly advise you to have a plan and timeline (calendar) in place by the start of your internship.

Background Check

You will receive paperwork via email so the UNC MSTAR program can initiate a required background check. Firstly, you receive a emailed link to fill out information online and then sign electronically. It is important that you do this right away. For your information, the background check website has a checklist which only you can monitor for completion to prevent time consuming delays. Delays affecting your background check status may include:

  • assignment of a university identification number
  • ability to complete training modules
  • being added to your mentors IRB
  • beginning research
  • having access to needed data systems
  • receiving a paycheck

CITI and OSHA Training Modules

While we understand you may have taken similar training modules for your home institution, UNC MSTAR requires you to complete the CITI and OSHA training modules before beginning your research work at UNC. After admission into the program, the coordinator will inform you which training modules you need for CITI and UNC OSHA (you receive links to these modules). Upon completion of each of these online training sessions, you receive a certificate of completion. In turn, you must email this certificate to for the University and program records.

NC TraCS Free Online Training

The North Carolina Translational and Clinical Sciences (NC TraCS) Institute at UNC-CH is one of 60 medical research institutions in a national consortium to improve the way biomedical research is conducted across the country. NC TraCS offers free online research training modules that past students have found helpful.