U*NEXT Program


  • Are you a rising sophomore or junior that may be interested in pursuing a career in research?
  • Do you want to get paid to learn what it would take to transition to a Ph.D program in a STEM field?
  • Would you add to a diverse pool of undergraduates performing research within CBAS or CBHS?

The goal of the Undergraduate Experiential Training (U*NEXT) program is to increase the representation and diversity of students on a path towards obtaining a doctoral degree by offering a 10-week immersive summer training experience.

Program highlights
U*NEXT trainees will be selected based on a competitive application process and then matched with a host laboratory based on interests of the trainee. Over the summer program, all trainees will develop a set of interdisciplinary research and laboratory skills through faculty mentored research experiences, weekly professional development sessions, and specialized research-oriented workshops that expose the trainees to interdisciplinary research approaches. Trainees can expect to present their research at the end of the summer program in front of faculty and students.

The current stipend for each U*NEXT trainee is $5,000, with an additional $500 for supplies provided to the faculty mentor that hosts the trainee.

Eligibility of applicants

  • Pursuing a program of study that falls within the College of Basic and Applied Sciences or the College of Behavioral and Health Sciences
  • Have a GPA of 3.2 or greater
  • Are a rising sophomore or junior at the time of application
  • Have a genuine interest in pursuing a doctoral degree within a STEM field
  • Are from a traditionally underrepresented background in STEM including but not limited to certain race/ethnicities, being from a low-income family, or being first-generation to college*
  • Able to commit to full-time (40 hr/week) participation for the duration of the program dates

 *For a detailed list of underrepresented populations across various research areas see the National Institutes of Health Notice of Interest in Diversity (https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-20-031.html)

Application process and important dates
Application deadline: April 2, 2023 
Notification of selection for in-person interviews: April 2023
Tentative program dates: May 29 – August 4, 2023

U*NEXT Application: Register Here

As part of the application, please be prepared to have the following information:

  1. Description of your activities within the last 5 years such as volunteer work, research experience, employment, club memberships, and honors/ awards. Inclusion of high school activities is acceptable
  2. One paragraph summary of your background and how you became interested in science.
  3. One paragraph to describe a challenge you have faced and how you overcame it.
  4. A unofficial transcript that can be uploaded (Use PipelineMT > Select Registration & Student Records > Transcript icon)

If you have questions, email U*NEXT program contacts Dr. April Weissmiller (April.Weissmiller@mtsu.edu) or Dr. Tiffany Rogers (Tiffany.Rogers@mtsu.edu).

April Weissmiller (Biology)
Tiffany Rogers (Psychology)
Rafet Al-Tobasei (Computer Science)
Souvik Banerjee (Chemistry)
Dong Ye (Mathematics)


Potential participating faculty mentors and their departments:
Hanna Terletska (Physics and Astronomy)
Emmanuel Rowe (Engineering)
Justin Miller (Chemistry)
Souvik Banerjee (Chemistry)
Kevin Bicker (Chemistry)
Katy Hosbein (Chemistry, Chemistry Education Research)
April Weissmiller (Biology)
Dave Nelson (Biology)
Mary Farone (Biology)
Liz Barnes (Biology, Biology Education Research)
Rafet Al-Tobasei (Computer Science)
Joshua Phillips (Computer Science)
Dong Ye (Mathematical Sciences)
J.C. Saunders (Mathematical Sciences)
Ramchandra Rimal (Mathematical Sciences, Data Science)
Sarah Bleiler-Baxter (Mathematical Sciences, Math Education Research)
Tiffany Rogers (Psychology)
Jim Houston (Psychology)
Cyrille Magne (Psychology)
Racha El Kadiri (Geosciences)