Info for Coordinators

Overall Responsibilities

Lab Site Coordinators (listed here) are the primary point of contact between a partner lab site, STAR Program staff, and STAR Fellows at a lab site. They perform several key services, and are also known at their lab sites as Education and Public Outreach (EPO) Staff. 

Their role is to: 

  1. Identify Research Mentors able and willing to support STAR Fellows during the summer and provide project descriptions for STAR Applicants. 
    • September - January each year
  2. Coordinate STAR Fellow interviews with Research Mentors and coordinate summer placement between Fellows, Research Mentors, and Program staff.
    • February 18 - April each year
  3. Provide Fellows with lab space, supplies, equipment, access credentials, and safety training needed to participate in the research.
    • Mid-June each year
  4. Educate Research Mentors about STAR Program goals, expectations, and deadlines (some tips here).
  5. Coordinate site activities and evaluations with Workshop Leaders
    • June - August each year as required
  6. Coordinate STAR Fellow orientations, presentations, and seminars on site.
  7. Whenever possible, participate in STAR Program conferences and events.


Connecting Fellows and Research Mentors/Projects

Each site may have its own requirements for Research Mentors and Fellows. Several years of increasing efficiency and success, however, has prompted us to offer the following model.

Selecting Fellows

The STAR Program will provide each Lab Site Coordinator with access to application digests from December to mid-February each year (see Key Dates Tab). These applications have been screened for eligibility and teaching interest. In addition, key information is collected and organized to help you identify Fellows suitable for your site. STAR staff will recommend some applicants for consideration based upon your past needs, but all applicants are available for your review and placement. Applicants may receive multiple offers, but they tend to take the earliest offer. If a particular applicant suits your project well, it is advantageous to start the placement process as early as possible since we have more lab placement opportunities than we have fully-funded fellowships. It is beneficial to identify a preferred applicant and an alternate for each available project. For sites with a large number of projects you may wish to use a process established by some of our NASA partners who schedule potential Fellows for a half-day of general video or telephone conferences and interested mentors join in with questions important to them during specific applicant time slots.

Placing Fellows (Making an Offer)

Click on the graphic below to download a .pdf version of the quick guide.

After Lab Site Coordinators and Research Mentors have determined their preferred and alternate applicant they'd like to invite to work on a specific project, the Coordinator must notify the STAR Program Director of:

  1. Applicant's name (and alternate), 
  2. Research Mentor's name, 
  3. A project title,
  4. a brief project description, 
  5. and any special arrangements or conditions that arose in the interview process (agreed absences, different start dates, etc.). 

The project description only needs to be a few bullet points or sentences reflecting the aims of the project and the primary tasks. If STAR can identify suitable funding, it will send your offer and project description to the Applicant. If the Applicant accepts your offer, STAR will send both the Applicant and the Coordinator a message indicating if funds are available and the offer has been accepted. At this stage the Coordinator sends a specific acceptance message to the applicant welcoming them to their site and providing further contact details, arrival dates, times, locations, and other logistics considerations. Communications continue between the Coordinator and the Fellow regarding their summer experience. If two sites wish to make an offer STAR will resolve any conflicts and then inform the Coordinators of the outcome. A flow chart of this process is presented below. Please do contact the STAR Program if any further questions arise about the placement process.

Working with Workshop Leaders

Workshop leaders spend a lot of time in one-on-one interactions with STAR Fellows and the STAR program relies on close cooperation between Lab Site Coordinators and Workshop Leaders. Workshop Leaders are usually engaged in coordination with Lab Site Coordinators, and you will receive contact details well in advance of the program summer to aid communication. Workshop Leaders will arrange a visit with Fellows at their lab location early in the program (within the first month). Procedures will vary from site to site, but coordination on activities including surveys, research/teaching journals, workshops, and field-trips has often identified constructive synergies and removed redundancies which helped Coordinators and Workshop Leaders alike while improving the overall experience for the STAR Fellow and their students. Workshop Leaders are in control of the content of their sessions, but the Program encourages inclusion of the valuable skills and perspectives offerred by Coordinators as time and the seminar topic schedule permits. There are typically two Workshop Leaders per cohort and these often consist of one K-12 Master Teacher and another Educator with additional research experience.

STAR Conference Travel

Lab Site Coordinators are strongly encouraged to join our Research Conference! The Conference is an excellent opportunity to see each Fellow's research presentation and appreciate what you've made possible. We do not have sufficient funds allocated in advance to support the travel of all Lab Site Coordinators, but the STAR Staff will be happy to help facilitate your travel wherever possible. Please contact us if you'd like to attend. If travel assistance in your vehicle is approved by STAR in advance we are unable to provide reimbursement based on petrol receipts. In such cases, please fill out this Travel form (PDF versionExcel Version) and submit to star@calpoly.eduwhen requested. If you are able to attend, even if you don't require our assistance, please contact us at so that we can ensure that your registration materials are properly prepared for you. 

Just for Fun Photos

Many STAR Fellow projects produce some gorgeous graphs and delicious videos and every project involves a lot of great people. We'd like to share a bit of your STAR summer at the closing conference. To do that we invite everyone involved in STAR to share photos and/or videos of their summer experience on Facebook (STAR.Program) or via email to We'll share a selection (as many as we can really) in the Closing Conference program and presentations. This is completely voluntary. Don't wait until the end, upload whenever you get something you like!