Info & Frequently Asked Questions

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Program Information 2018

Opening Ceremony: June 20, 2018

Closing Ceremony: July 26, 2018

Poster Session: July 27, 2018

All participants are expected to stay for the poster session.  Participants traveling by plane should not schedule a return flight before 1:30 PM on July 27.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does SSTP stand for?

SSTP is the Secondary Student Training Program, and was started at the University of Iowa in 1953.  There are over 1,000 SSTP Alumni from across the country and around the globe!

When is the application deadline?

Applications for the 2018 program open November 1st, 2017.

All application materials, including the $50 application fee, must be submitted no later than February 1st, 2018.

What are the Summer 2018 program dates?

Students will move in to the dorms on Wednesday, June 20.  The first day of lab work is Monday, June 25.  The program ends July 27 at noon with a poster session.

How many students are accepted to SSTP each year?

The number of students enrolled fluctuates between years due to differences in available lab spaces and student interests.

How much time do students spend in the labs?

Each day, students work in the lab from 9 to 4, with an hour lunch break. Sometimes during lab time students will also attend lectures on campus, meet with other labs their faculty mentor may be partnering with, or spend time in their lab’s library doing research.  Some labs also do field work a few times during the summer, in which the student travels with their lab off site.  During previous summers, SSTP participants have traveled with lab mentors to give presentations to community groups about current research, go on mammoth digs, and collect samples from research participants for community health-related research.

What do students do on the nights and weekends?

During the week students attend a weekly night class lead by the program director, Dr. Lori Ihrig.  Students also attend a weekly lecture series and lab tours, hosted by professors on The University of Iowa campus and surrounding areas.  A few nights a week students will be given time to finish up homework from their faculty mentor and the weekly night class.  On the weekends students take many day trips.  Students visit state parks, amusement parks, malls, ice rinks, attend minor league baseball games, visit museums, and other interesting places in the area.

Learn more about what goes on outside the lab!

What do I need to do when I apply to SSTP?

Students applying to SSTP will be asked to write two essays, one for potential faculty mentors to read and one for the acceptance committee to read.  Both essays should be well-written and should reflect both your previous research experience (if any) and your expectations for the summer.  Students will also be asked to provide a complete high school transcript (not a report card), scores on the PSAT, SAT, ACT, or PLAN, and a $50 non-refundable application fee. Click here for more information and click here to apply

Do I need to apply to the Belin-Blank Center and The University of Iowa?

Each applicant needs to apply to the Belin-Blank Center with the appropriate information for SSTP. Once the student is accepted into the program and has accepted their acceptance, they will be automatically admitted for admission to The University of Iowa. You will receive an email confirmation of your enrollment at The University of Iowa.

Is the 3 credit course required?

Yes, all students must are enrolled in the 3 semester hour class component of SSTP. Upon completion of SSTP, each student will have three college level credits which are generally be transferred to other Universities and applied to a plan of study as elective credit.

How do I register for the credits?

Participating SSTP students are automatically enrolled into the 3 s.h. SSTP class.

How is the course component graded?

The course component is graded according to the syllabus which is distributed to students when they arrive in Iowa City. Students will write a scientific abstract as well as create an academic poster.

I am flying to SSTP, which airport should I fly to?

Please book flights to the Eastern Iowa Airport (CID) located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

How can my family wire me money?

The University of Iowa has partnered with Flywire for a more cost-effective method for international students to wire funds from their home country from any bank. You will be offered excellent exchange rates allowing you to pay in your home currency (in most cases) and save a significant amount of money compared to traditional bank methods. The posting of your payment to the University will be faster, you will have the ability to track your payment and Flywire will notify you when the University has received your funds. Go to: to register and then follow the instructions to make a payment.

  • To get started, select the country from which your funds will be coming from and the payment amount (in US dollars) you wish to make to your student U-bill.
  • In most cases, the US dollar amount will be converted into your home currency at preferential exchange rates, which will translate into savings for you.
  • After providing some basic information, you will visit your bank (via phone, online or in person) to send funds from your local bank to Flywire.
  • Flywire will then convert the funds to US dollars and forward the US dollar amount to the University of Iowa where it will be directly credited to your account.
  • Through the Flywire dashboard you will be able to track where your payment is in the transfer process.
  • You will receive an email confirmation when your payment is deposited into the University’s bank account.
  • No matter your time zone, you will have a dedicated multilingual customer support team available to you, reachable 24/7 via live chat, Skype, email and phone to answer any of your questions.
  • VIDEO: Paying with FlyWire’s International Payment Solution –

If that doesn’t work out, please e-mail or call the Billing Office directly ( 319-335-0771 or 800-943-4557) and they can help you with wiring the money.

Will there be someone to pick me up from the airport?

Yes! A member of the summer staff will be at the airport to pick you up. They will be wearing their staff shirt and holding a sign that says, “SSTP, Belin-Blank Center”. The Cedar Rapids airport is fairly small, so do not worry about finding our staff members!

Do I need a form of ID at SSTP?

All students must bring a government issued ID  in order to receive their University of Iowa ID card. A high school ID card will not be sufficient to receive the Iowa ID card.

Where do students live while at SSTP?

Students stay in Burge Residence Hall at The University of Iowa.

Will students have roommates?

Yes, all students will have at least one roommate. This is a great opportunity to make new friends!  (Check out our post on living with your roommate!)

What kind of lab work will I be doing?

Work in the labs in SSTP varies widely!  Some students work on research projects that are on-going; other students work on pilot projects that may be used in designing future research.  The faculty mentor you are assigned to will select the project you work on.  Through the SSTP experience you will get to see what laboratory research consists of at a Division I Research Institution.  Almost all lab work will consist of working with data on a computer and reading many research articles to prepare for work in the lab.  In some cases, students must undergo safety or Human Subjects Research training before they are able to work in the lab.  This is all part of the research experience!

Will I work with my professor every day of SSTP?

There are many, many undergraduate students, graduate students and support personnel that work in research labs on campus.  It is unlikely that your SSTP mentor will work in the lab with you directly every day.  In many cases SSTP students work with graduate and undergraduate students daily.  This is a great chance to see what type of work college students interested in research have the opportunity to work on while in school.  Although you probably will not be working with your mentor daily, you will have regular contact with your faculty mentor.  Many of our SSTP students attend weekly lab meetings with their mentors, as well as lunch meetings and other lab events around campus.  We pride ourselves on matching students with great mentors who have a strong interest in developing talent among participants in our program.

I have a science fair project I’m working on. Can the faculty mentor I work with help me with this project?

You will learn many great research techniques that may help you to improve a research project you are currently working on at home. However, SSTP is designed so that you participate in a research project currently being worked on in a University lab.

Can I publish my SSTP research and present my research in competitions?

This will be something for you to discuss with your faculty mentor.  In some cases the data you are working on is preliminary and your mentor will not want the data to be shared.  All SSTP participants will sign a research agreement with their faculty mentor and the terms of sharing the data in the form of publications and competitions will be agreed upon by the mentor and student.  That being said, many of our students go on to co-author publications with their faculty mentors and other lab personnel.

Can I request a specific lab?

As part of your application you should highlight specific research interests and research experience that may help us pair you with a faculty mentor.  However, requests for specific labs are not accepted.  We work to pair you with the best lab match available!



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