Nine Things to Consider When Applying for a T35 Experience

Nine Things to Consider When Applying for a T35 Experience

September 20, 2017 SAA News

Research can be a scary word for a lot of audiology students. The thought of a PhD can be even scarier. To help combat and break down this fear, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has research training grants available to students enrolled in AuD programs. One of these grants is called the T35 grant and was created to get students interested in a future research career. This research opportunity is available at four sites across the country, and I recently completed a T35 at Boys Town National Research Hospital in Omaha, NE. This experience has changed my view of research, and I would recommend a T35 to anyone with an interest. However, there are a few things I wish I had known before applying and accepting a T35. Below are 9 things to consider before thinking about applying for a T35 summer.

Things to consider...

  • ...when you are picking a location to spend your summer
    • Consider with which population each site works. There are four locations (Vanderbilt University, Washington University School of Medicine [WUSM], Boys Town National Research Hospital [BTNRH], National Center for Rehabilitative Audiology Research [NCRAR]) that currently host a T35 program for students. Each site or lab within that site may work exclusively or predominantly with adults or pediatrics.
    • Think about where each site is. The sites are located in Nashville, TN, St. Louis, MO; Omaha, NE; and Portland, OR. Your summer will only be three months long, but find a place you’d like to live and explore!
    • Consider housing opportunities at each location. One aspect I loved about Boys Town was the California house! This furnished duplex is located right across the street from the hospital and is available for all T35 students to live in during their summer. It was easy for me to say “yes” to Boys Town knowing I didn’t have to worry about any housing logistics.
    • Don’t forget, you’ll be paying rent back home! Although the T35 experience is paid, it is important to budget summer rent both at your site and back home.
  • ...when picking a lab
    • Look for areas to which you may not have much exposure. Each application requests that you rank your top choice of lab. Personally, I chose a Vestibular and Balance Lab because I had taken an introductory course and wanted to learn more.
    • Make sure you’re interested in the topic you choose. You’re going to be spending 40+ hours a week reading, writing and running subjects. This is not the time to choose your lab based on “where you think you should be” or “where people expect you to study”.
  • ...before saying “yes” to a T35 offer
    • Talk to your program about your summer class schedule. See if and how you can incorporate the T35 into your curriculum. Lucky for me, Purdue recently changed their curriculum to allow for opportunities, such as the T35, in the summer of your second year. So unlike many of my other fellow T35s, I didn’t have to tune into classes at a certain time or do homework in the evenings. This allowed me to go “all in” on my assigned research project, as well as be able to participate in other studies.
    • Discuss using your T35 project as a fulfillment of graduation requirements. Many programs require a research capstone or evidence-based practice project. See if the T35 will count for that!
    • Make sure you have interest in research! You don’t have to be “sold” on a PhD to say yes to a T35 summer. You also don’t need previous experience with research. However, you do need to have a genuine interest, because you’ll be spending all of your time on it during your T35 summer.

Participation in the T35 experience has been the most influential aspects of my educational career. And although I am still not decided on whether I will pursue a PhD in my future, the program ignited a realistic interest in research and emphasized the importance of evidence-based care for all my future patients.

Good luck to all applying to the 2018 T35!

Liz Marler is currently a third year audiology student at Purdue University. Her audiology interests include everything, but most recently electrophysiologic tests. She is currently serving as the national President-Elect.

This article was updated on Thursday, October 26, 2017 to include information about a fourth T35 site that wasn't included in the original publication.

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