Serve as a Mentor for Student Research

Provost Undergraduate Research Award (or PURA) is a yearly award for Hopkins students’ research projects. Johns Hopkins University Provost Joseph Cooper established the PURA program in 1993 with a generous endowment by the Hodson Trust. The program was created to support and encourage Hopkins undergraduate students to engage in independent research, scholarly and creative projects. Each participant can have a mentor, who is expected to provide support and guidance for the undergraduate, meeting with them at a schedule that you both agree upon. These checkpoints are intended to make sure problems or successes are addressed and next steps planned out. The mentor should also guide the student in the creation of their presentation, whether it take poster format or some other medium. The goal is for the student to have a positive and successful experience. PURA allows grad students and postdocs to be identified as the mentor because in many research groups and labs, they are the person working most closely with the undergraduate researcher. They then know the student best and have the most influence on habits, knowledge, and skill acquisition. You can become a mentor if you’re:

  • Hopkins faculty, staff, post-docs, and grad students may serve as a mentor for this program.
  • Affiliates of Hopkins (Lieber Institute, Kennedy Krieger, Carnegie Institute, and some NIH) can also serve as mentor, but must get approval of the HOUR office if they do not have a Hopkins email address as our system utilizes SSO protocols for security.
  • If the primary mentor is a grad student or post-doc, a secondary letter from the primary faculty/PI should also be provided to show they are aware of the proposed project and to comment on the undergraduate’s ability to succeed.

Your mentor letter should include the strengths and skills the undergraduate has that will enable them to successfully complete the proposed project. You should also touch on the amount of independence the student will have (a unique project conceived of by the student or a part of a larger project that they will be leading). You should also include your intent as a mentor touching on what support you will be providing. There is no page limit for this document, but it must be in PDF format. More information on PURA can be found on the Hopkins Undergraduate Office of Research website.

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