CaRES Tips for Success

A Guide for Students Selected to Participate in the CaRES Program

  1. First . . . before you start your CaRES Internship you must complete all paperwork given to you or emailed to you by Ms. Judy Baker (CaRES Internship Coordinator,, 205-934-7128).  Because we may need to contact you this summer, be sure to give us your email address and cell phone number, and check your messages daily!  Judy will contact you a month or two prior to your start date.  
  2. As your first day of CaRES work approaches, please contact your preceptor to review and confirm your start date and to remind your preceptor to have work ready for you on your first day on the job.  Once a routine has been established you will have plenty of work to do!
  3. All CaRES projects in summer 2017 should last from 8 to 15 weeks within the period May 8 - August 31, 2017CaRES students are paid to complete the project described on our website, and this requires full-time effortCaRES will not micro-manage work days and hours, which could vary day-to-day or week-to-week, but instead we will leave it to each preceptor – student pair to negotiate a reasonable schedule that will insure that the project is completed by the agreed-upon end date.  To avoid misunderstandings, CaRES suggests that you and your preceptor post your work schedule in a convenient location (bulletin board, lab refrigerator, etc.) so that both of you will know exactly when you will be at work.  A simple schedule (e.g., 9 AM - 5 PM Monday-Friday) may work for you, or a schedule that varies daily may be preferable if it makes sense to work longer hours on some days than on others.  
  4. Because CaRES students are to work full-time, you will not be paid by CaRES for any work that you do during the weeks when you are enrolled as a full-time student.  However, with the permission of your preceptor, you may be able to take one course during your CaRES work period, if the course is scheduled on days and times that do not conflict with your CaRES project.  
  5. Prior to starting your project, please meet with your preceptor to complete the CaRES Mentoring Contract (found on this website) and submit it to CaRES Program Director Dr. John Waterbor (, 205-934-7146).  The purpose of this contract is for student and preceptor to agree on what must be done to complete the CaRES project.  You and your preceptor may revise the Mentoring Contract at any time if you agree to modify your expected work schedule or work responsibilities.  
  6. Students will be paid $400 per week for the number of weeks worked, in bi-weekly installments of $800.  Note that the payment schedule may not correspond exactly to the period of weeks when you are working.  For instance, the final bi-weekly payment may be made a week or two after you complete your project.  Any student who resigns from his / her CaRES position before the project is completed, or who is dismissed before the project is completed, will be paid only for the number of weeks worked.
  7. Avoid “surprise” absences that could upset your preceptor!  If you wish to take time off for vacation, to attend a family get-together, to attend a seminar or conference, to orient incoming students, or for any other reason, inform your preceptor far in advance, and propose a plan to make up the work that you missed.  Realize that you must work a full 8 weeks (minimum) to be paid by CaRES.  
  8. Because CaRES is a training grant federally funded by the NCI (National Cancer Institute) you may not earn other federal funds while paid by CaRES.  However, it is possible that you can earn money from non-federal sources while doing CaRES.  Contact Dr. Waterbor with questions. 
  9. Parking on the UAB campus can be challenging.  CaRES has no authority over parking.  We suggest that you retain your UAB parking space if you already have one.  If you do not have UAB parking, you may want to visit UAB Transportation Services ( to purchase a parking pass as an incoming student or as a temporary employee.  Free street parking, or parking meter parking, may be possible on campus or right near campus, during the summer if you arrive early in the morning.
  10. Your summer internship should be a learning experience and should include only minimal clerical work or “scut” work.  But please be a “team player” and pitch in whenever you are needed.  Even Deans and Professors photocopy and make coffee on occasion!  We recommend that you seek challenging duties from your preceptors.  Their job is to teach you at the bedside, in the lab, in the field, or behind the computer.  To the CaRES Preceptors you are free, high-quality labor . . . so the Preceptors (and their faculty colleagues and staff) are expected to teach you what they know.  Your CaRES experience will be what you make it, so be “professionally aggressive” and volunteer to take on important responsibilities!  But in addition, volunteer to make the coffee now and then!
  11. If your CaRES project involves human subjects, the project must be approved by UAB’s Institutional Review Board (IRB), with such approval being the responsibility of your preceptor.  Also, all investigators (possibly including you!) must be certified by the IRB to work on the project.  Please speak with your preceptor to determine whether you need IRB certification, and if so, access the IRB website to determine what options you have for becoming certified.  
  12. If your CaRES project involves animal experimentation, the project must be approved by UAB’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) that oversees the appropriate handling of animals for research purposes.  If your project involves animals, please check with your preceptor to be sure that IACUC approval has been obtained.  Contact with questions.  
  13. Some CaRES Interns will be closely supervised by the preceptor who posted the project on our website; while other CaRES interns will be supervised day-to-day by a junior faculty member, a doctoral student, or a trusted research assistant.  Any reasonable arrangement is acceptable to CaRES if you are satisfied that you are learning what you intended to learn.  You should not be abandoned and you should not be assigned meaningless duties.  If you have concerns about your work duties or think that you are being under-utilized, discuss your concerns directly with the responsible individual (as a professional courtesy) and attempt to arrive at an acceptable solution between the two of you.  If your concern is not resolved to your satisfaction, contact Dr. Waterbor who will intervene if necessary.
  14. In past summers, there have been very few complaints about CaRES.  But on occasion the work duties that a student is asked to perform do not match the duties described in the project description posted on the website.  Some variation in work duties from the web page description may be reasonable if the research has advanced or changed from the time when the project was posted on the CaRES website, several months prior to your start date.
  15. You are required to attend our “CaRES Seminar Series” which will be held on a few selected Monday afternoons this summer.  Other Seminar requirements can be completed online.  This seminar series will include lectures on professional development and on the responsible conduct of research.  In addition, each CaRES intern will present his or her research via an oral presentation or a poster presentation.  
  16. We encourage you to work with your preceptor to present your CaRES research at UAB Medical Student Research Day, Public Health Research Day, Graduate Student Research Day, the UAB Minority Health and Health Disparities Research Conference, or at the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center (CCC) Annual Research Retreat.  A travel award, to be used to attend a professional meeting of your choice, will be made to the CaRES Intern who presents the best poster in the CaRES poster category at the CCC Retreat.  Tentative dates for these conferences are posted on this website.  We also encourage presentations at regional or national conferences that your preceptor recommends.  A limited amount of travel money is available for CaRES students to present their research at national meetings.  
  17. In summer 2016 CaRES expanded its eligibility pool to include students from the University of South Alabama, Auburn University, and Samford University; and we began to fund a few CaRES projects at HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology in Huntsville, Alabama.  If you are a member of this new pool of students, or if your CaRES project is based at HudsonAlpha, at the end of your internship you may receive an additional questionnaire to complete that relates to these new aspects of the CaRES program.  We need your input so that any problems or issues that have arisen can be resolved by summer 2018.  
  18. IN CLOSING . . . at any time during your CaRES internship please contact me if you have any questions or concerns.  We are here to solve problems and to help you succeed.  We hope that you will find your CaRES internship to be professionally rewarding and enjoyable.  Make the most of it! 


John W. Waterbor, MD, DrPH
CaRES Program Director
February 21, 2017