A National Science Foundation Funded Program, Award #2150298
What is TRAINS?
TRAINS is an intense, 15-month research program to transition Rio Hondo Students to earning STEM degrees at baccalaureate-granting institutions. The students selected to participate in the program will begin May 2022 and will end in August 2023.
- The application period for the Summer 2022 program will open the weekend of March 18th, 2022.
- UPDATED: The student portion of the application will be due April 15th, 2022 at 5:00 PM PST. Application Links at the Bottom of the page.
- UPDATED: The recommendation letter(s) for the student will be due April 22nd, 2022 at 5:00 PM PST.
- UPDATED: Offers will be made by April 25th and will have to be accepted by April 29th, 2022.
TRAINS student scientists will conduct paid research ($10k per student, to be paid throughout the program) in the cutting-edge fields of biophysics and biological engineering under faculty mentors at USC.
TRAINS student scientists will have their own graduate student/post-doctoral mentors at USC dedicated to advancing their STEM careers.
TRAINS student scientists are assumed to be completely new to STEM research (and applications from such candidates are highly encouraged!)
TRAINS is intended to assist Rio Hondo students transfer to highly competitive baccalaureate-granting institutions by providing them access to courses and research opportunities normally not found at the community college and is meant for students approximately 1 year from transferring to a four-year institution in a STEM degree program.
For more information contact Professor Chris Vaca, TRAINS Project Manager at Rio Hondo College.
Thanks you for attending the TRAINS kickoff talk! If you were not able to make it, here is a link to the recording of the meeting: Link
Application Requirements for TRAINS
- Currently enrolled at Rio Hondo College in at least 9 units/semester in Fall 2022 and Spring 2023 and have >90% of your units at the community college.
- Calculus-Based STEM major for transfer:
- Biological sciences (except medicine and other clinical fields)
- Physical sciences (including physics, chemistry, and materials science)
- Mathematical sciences
- Computer and information sciences
- Will have taken/Will take Physics 211 (or equivalent) by Fall 2022.
- 2.80 cumulative grade point average or higher.
- Must be a United States citizen, national, or permanent resident to apply. International students are NOT eligible for this program.
- No prior research experience required.
- Available for the duration of the entire program: May 2022 – August 2023.
TRAINS Application Checklist
- Fill out the online application form with demographic information as soon as possible. Application Link
- Submit your answers to the Statement of Interest Prompts. TRAINS Statement of Interest Prompts
- Upload your resume/CV. Resume Template
- Upload your unofficial transcripts from all community colleges/universities you have attended.
Items 1-4 Due April 15th, 2022.
- 1 or 2 recommendation letters (you can remind your recommenders to submit their letters through the online application form). Recommenders cannot submit recommendations until the online application form is done.
Item 5 Due April 22nd, 2022.
Missed our Application Workshop? No problem! Here is a recording of the meeting below with all the relevant information.
Application Workshop Meeting: Link
Commonly Asked Questions about TRAINS
- How much work is TRAINS? TRAINS is intended to be two typical summer research experiences for undergrads i.e. 10 weeks of full-time work over two summers as well as 1.5-2 days per week during the academic year. (See TRAINS timeline graphic below)
- What are the expectations of me besides research? You are expected to take a seminar course: Physics 299B and Physics 299C at Rio Hondo College throughout the academic year as well as go to a scientific conference to present your work (For example SACNAS or SCCUR in October/November 2022; Travel costs will be covered). In addition, you will be expected to help contribute to the writing of a scientific paper with regards to your research and complete the transfer boot camp.
- Why the name TRAINS? The actual name of the program is: Transitions and Research Across INterfaceS (or TRAINS for short). The reason this name was chosen was that this program was meant to transition students from the community college to the 4-year university system through academic research and work not typically available at the community college level. The need for this program comes from current scientific research that shows that community college STEM students are not as successful as their 4-year counterparts when they transfer i.e. the 4-year university is acting as a gate keeper to future STEM careers for community college students. TRAINS wants to change this 4-year university gate into a welcoming interface where students are actively made into members of the 4-year university community; We believe by starting this process BEFORE students transfer, we will reduce the culture shock (“transfer shock”) that students experience when they transfer and that they will be just as successful as their 4-year university counterparts in their upper-division courses. Furthermore, we emphasize the name TRAINS as there are multiple parties being trained in the process. We believe we can help community college students best to pursue a career in STEM by training them in academic and professional scientific work as well as by training their mentors at the 4-year university to be accommodating to the unique challenges faced by community college students in their success i.e. we want to change both the community college student culture as well as the 4-year university culture to promote the success and talents of the community college student. As such, TRAINS students should expect to have highly supportive mentors at USC who will be dedicated to their success and will understand them and support them throughout the entire TRAINS program and beyond.
- Do you have to be “super smart” to be successful in TRAINS? The TRAINS leadership and faculty believe that good students are “made” and not “born”; We believe that by providing the appropriate guidance and leadership to any student, we will be able to transform a Rio Hondo College student to a student that is capable of transferring to USC, a globally recognized, elite university. As long as the student is willing to put in the work and has a demonstrated record of grit and hard work, that student will be highly successful in TRAINS. We know you do not know everything; That is the point of the program, to give you the rest.