What is the connection between the Sparkman Scholars (faculty) & Sparkman Fellows (student) programs?

Each academic year around 15 Sparkman Scholars serve as a mentor for a Sparkman Fellow student. This mentorship opportunity is at the core of the Sparkman Fellows program. Mentorship can focus on global health research, global health practice, or leadership/career development, or a combination of these three priority areas. Each Scholar/Fellow match is different. Our goal in the Sparkman Center is to facilitate matches between faculty & students that lead to positive experiences & growth for all involved.

Who are Sparkman Fellows?

The Sparkman Fellows Program is intended for highly motivated and engaged students seeking to enhance their understanding of global issues in a stimulating learning environment. Current UAB students apply to be Sparkman Fellows mid-spring semester. Each year, the Fellows program runs for an academic year, starting in the Fall.
Around 15 students are selected each year. Fellows could be studying at the undergraduate, masters, doctoral and/or professional level. Just as global health professionals study & work in a variety of disciplines, so do Sparkman Fellows. Provided a Sparkman Fellow has demonstrated an interest and passion for global health, they can be studying in any school or track across the various schools at UAB.

How are Fellows and Scholars matched?

After their acceptance into the Sparkman Fellows program, students fill out a match form outlining their global health interests and top 2 priority areas for mentorship (research, practice, or leadership/career development). Fellows outline what skills they have and skills they look to potentially develop through mentorship. Finally, they identify a few Scholars they would be interested in being paired with and why (shared interest, previous experience, etc.)

The Sparkman Center then reviews Fellow match forms along with global health project activities reported to us from Sparkman Scholars to identify potential matches. The Sparkman Center emails a Sparkman Scholar if there’s a potential Fellow match to see if they would be willing/able to work with the Sparkman Fellow mentee.

What are the expectations of Sparkman Scholars who serve as mentors to Sparkman Fellows?

Be available throughout the school year to meet with your Sparkman Fellow mentee (minimum of 8 meetings over the academic year with the first meeting happening by the end of August)

  • Communicate with the Fellow to understand their interests and experiences in order to figure out how to engage them in your global health & development projects or activities over the course of the year. Examples of ways that students can get involved include…..
      • work on qualitative analysis of data 
      • carry out a literature review
      • develop education/training materials
      • support development of global health focused education abroad program
      • compile background research for new projects
      • contribute to project write-ups through creation of figures & graphs, paper revisions & poster design
      • assist with IRB submissions for global health research projects
  • Communicate with the Sparkman Center if there is an issue or if there is a way the Sparkman Center can support you & your Fellow mentee

What are the expectations of Sparkman Fellows?

  • Communicate with their Scholar mentor to schedule meetings, and come to each meeting with a list of topics they would like to cover
  • Provide a mid-point evaluation in December to the Sparkman Center including: number & frequency of mentor meetings, progress to program goals, changes to goals (if applicable), and support they need to meet their goals
  • Submit a final presentation by the end of Spring semester outlining: start of program interests & goals, project/program/activities engaged in with Scholar mentor, & outcomes of the mentorship (lessons learned,

Do all Sparkman Fellows want to be involved in a research project?

Many, but not all, Fellows are interested in being involved with a global health research project. If that is the case, the Sparkman Center will communicate this when we email Scholars about a potential Fellow match.

Other Fellows are more interested in mentorship on global health practice or career/leadership development. Some Fellows might be interested in a Scholar mentor advising them on a project they already have underway, while others might appreciate help networking with global health professionals or thinking through potential career paths for working in global health and development.


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