HERE Center

Training Undergraduate Students

As a student researcher on an NICHD grant during my doctoral years, I recognized the value of hands-on training on a funded research environment.

Striving to support others as I have been supported, I have written and completed many grants that support students, most from the NIH: MBRS, M-RISP, COR, RIMI, and now BUILD. These programs have built upon one another, become increasingly interdisciplinary, and increasingly built on Critical Race Theory and social justice.

This privilege has extended to faculty members (below) and cannot be taken out of its sustainable, institutionalized context – NIH has been funding highly successful programs that have both changed our institution’s curriculum and practices, and generated a campus discussion about the role of research and teaching at a comprehensive institution.

An example of this work is NIMH Career Opportunities in Research, funded in 2001 after Saetermoe had 9 years of interacting with CSUN’s rich student body. Ultimately, COR was highly successful in training undergraduates who moved on to doctoral programs (59.6%) or other degrees (36.5%) in psychology or allied fields. Students from the program are now neuroscientists, professors, social workers, researchers, and graduate students.

COR honors courses laid the foundation for subsequent NIH-funded initiatives (RIMI, BUILD) and provide hundreds of students beyond NIH-funded programs with extraordinary educational opportunities that bolster the likelihood of doctoral admissions. Other courses, spaces, and resources (libraries, podcasts of training, equipment) remain available for students in our network. As an extension of COR, students worked with local nonprofits, donating their time as data analysts for My Friend’s Place, a day center for homeless youth, the San Fernando Valley Child Guidance Center, LA Koreatown Youth and Community Center, among others.


  • Plunkett, S., Saetermoe, C. L., & Quilici, J. L. (2014). An Evaluation of the Undergraduate Career Opportunities in Research (COR) Program. Council on Undergraduate Research Quarterly, 35(1), 36-42.