Click here to view the 2021 ReTOOL Webinar Presentation

General Program Questions

Do I have to have research experience to apply to ReTOOL?

No, many students have successfully completed ReTOOL without prior research experience. This is a training program so you can gain research experience. Applicants who have prior research experience are still able to apply.

What is the difference between the Basic and Advanced ReTOOL Program?

Basic ReTOOL refers to the trainees who have no research experience and/or their only research experience is their lab courses at their university. Advanced ReTOOL refers to trainees who have completed Basic ReTOOL or have completed a research program comparable to ReTOOL. Examples of comparable programs are CaRE2 REC, SURF, REU, or being a lab assistant on a study under the leadership of a Principle Investigator. Applicants and the ReTOOL staff will discuss previous research experience during the interview process and will determine which fits best.

Do I have to be a science, technology, engineering, or medicine (STEM) major to apply to ReTOOL?

We welcome students with a variety of backgrounds. Students studying in the social sciences are welcomed, as are students whose major is not science related, but their minor is.

I want to attend medical school – can I still apply to ReTOOL?

Yes, understanding research and how research is conducted may make you a better doctor. Being an MD with extensive knowledge about research may recommend studies to their patients, which will help researchers in their enrollment efforts. Doctors work in research too — they contribute their medical knowledge to a grant submission and are key personnel on studies.

What does Underrepresented Minority (URM) mean?

The National Institute of Health defines underrepresented minority as “as individuals belonging to a particular ethnic or racial group that has been determined by the applicant institution to be underrepresented in biomedical or behavioral research.” Being an underrepresented minority is not necessarily the same as being a minority. The racial/ethnic makeup of society is not the same as the racial/ethnic makeup of research. Underrepresented minorities who are welcomed to apply to ReTOOL include students who identify as Black/African American, Hispanic/Latinx, and/or Native American/Alaskan Native/Hawaiian Native/Pacific Islander.

I am not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident – can I still apply?

Since the ReTOOL Program is funded by the federal government, only U.S. citizens and permanent residents (also known as having a green card) are able to apply. This is a requirement of our grant. International or DACA/DREAMer students are unfortunately unable to apply to this program.

May I meet with the ReTOOL staff to ask more questions?

Yes, please email p.fathi@cop.ufl.edu to schedule a Zoom meeting. Face to face meetings are not available. Offering to buy – i.e. lunch, a watch, tickets – is strictly prohibited. Doing so will cause an application to be rejected.


My GPA isn’t too high – can I still apply to ReTOOL?

The ReTOOL staff takes a holistic approach when selecting trainees for each cohort. Interviews and application materials weigh in on their final decision. The purpose of the program is to provide students with an opportunity in the sciences.

I attended community college before I transferred to my university. Do I need transcripts from both schools?

Yes, both transcripts are needed. Applicants may submit an unofficial or official copy of their transcript(s). Both transcripts must be in one combined document.

Where do I send my transcript?

You will submit it to the application portal. Any transcripts emailed or mailed to the ReTOOL staff will not be accepted.

Is the application portal open? When does it open?

The application will open on November 1, 2020.

When will I know if my application has been accepted or rejected?

The ReTOOL staff will review applications in early January. Notifications about application status will go out in mid-January.

Do I have to interview for this program?

Yes, students with strong application packages will be notified via email with an invitation to schedule an interview.

Can the ReTOOL Program staff check to see if I submitted all of my application materials?

No, this is the sole responsibility of the applicant.

Summer Program Questions

Will ReTOOL be face-to-face or online for Summer 2021?

At the moment, there is too much uncertainty regarding COVID-19. Applicants should be prepared to participate in either version of the program.

Does the ReTOOL Program provide housing?

No, trainees will need to find their own housing. Trainees are allowed to live with family or friends during the program.

How much is the stipend worth?

It is $6,000, and it will disburse 4 times.

Do I get to choose who is my mentor?

The ReTOOL staff will match trainees to research mentors based on interest, discipline, personality, and work style. The ReTOOL staff does their best to match trainees based on their preferences.

Do I get to choose which campus I will be at?

The ReTOOL staff takes location preferences into account when assigning mentors. Students who have expressed a need to be placed in a specific campus in order to live with family or friends will be accommodated as best as possible.

What is the IOM Discussion Week?

Trainees will be paired to lead a chapter of the Institute of Medicine’s Genes, Behavior, and the Social Environment textbook during the first week of the program. Trainees will come up with questions based on the content of their chapter to ask their peers. Reading the entire textbook is required as it provides a strong foundation for Didactic Week. The textbook will be provided.

What is Didactic Week?

This is the second week of the program. Trainees will meet to listen to lectures from professionals on topics relevant to cancer research. Recruiters from the UF Health Science Colleges will also present information about their respective programs and admission requirements. Trainees who are placed with a research mentor in Orlando or Jacksonville will have hotel accommodations provided for the week.

What is the Weekly Seminar series?

The Weekly Seminars take place for one hour every Friday. This series is similar to the Didactic Week – trainees will listen to lectures from professionals on topics relevant to cancer research. All research mentors know about this requirement. The time of this has yet to be determined.

What is Service Learning?

Service Learning is a hands-on opportunity related to research. This can be anything ranging from volunteering with families at the American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge; active study recruitment in the community; assisting a research program like AORTIC; or developing and hosting a summit. Service Learning is assigned to each trainee by the ReTOOL staff. Again, the ReTOOL staff matches students based on interest, discipline, personality, and work style.