CaRES Tips for Success 2021

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 need to contact you now and then this summer,be sure to provide your email address and cell phone number and please check your messages daily!    
  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 please 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 2020 are to last from 8 – 12 weeks within the period May 4August 28. Note that this is a period of 17 weeks, allowing for early start dates and late end dates, but that CaRES will pay you for no more than 12 weeksCaRES studentsare paid for full-time effort to complete the project described on our website.  CaRES will not micro-manage your work schedule, 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 ensures that the project is completed by the agreed-upon end date. 
  4. 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 be best, or a schedule that varies daily may be preferable if it is necessary to work longer hours on some days of the week than on others. 
  5. Because CaRES is a full-time job, you cannot be paid by CaRES during the weeks when you are taking a full course load in medical school, pharmacy school, public health school, etc.  However, with the permission of your preceptor, you may take one classroom course during your CaRES internship, and online courses, if you can nevertheless complete the CaRES project by working 40 hours per week for at least 8 weeks.  
  6. 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 both agree to modify your expected work schedule or responsibilities. 
  7. In summer 2020 CaRES students will be paid $500 / week for the number of full-time weeks worked.  Pay-days are every other Friday, with a 1- or 2-week lag from the weeks you are working.  For instance, your final payment will 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.
  8. Avoid “surprise” absences that could upset your preceptor!  Ifyou wish to take time off for a vacation, family get-together, seminar or conference, orientation for incoming students, or for any other reason, inform your preceptor far in advance, and propose a plan to make up the work that you will miss.  Realize that you must work a full 8 weeks (minimum) to be paid by CaRES
  9. 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
  10. 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.  In the summer, free street parking, or parking meter parking, may be possible on or near campus, especially if you arrive early in the morning.  See additional information about parking on our CaRES website. 
  11. Your CaRES internship will be as satisfying as you make it!  It should be a learning experience.  Be “professionally aggressive” and seek challenging duties.  Your preceptor’s job is to teach you at the bedside, in the lab, in the field, or behind the computer.  To your preceptor, you are a source of free, high-quality labor because CaRES is paying you (your preceptor is not) . . . so the preceptor and his / her co-workers are expected to teach you what they know.  Also be a “team player” and pitch in whenever you are needed.  Even Deans and Professors make copies and brew the coffee now and then!
  12. 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.  All investigators (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, see further information on the CaRES website and access the IRB website to determine what options you have to become certified. 
  13. 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.  See further information on the CaRES website and contact with questions. 
  14. Some CaRES Interns will be closely supervised by their preceptor; while others will be supervised day-to-day by a junior faculty member, post-doctoral fellow, doctoral student, or 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 or assigned meaningless duties.  If you do not enjoy your work duties or think that you are being under-utilized, discuss your concerns with your preceptor (as a professional courtesy) and attempt to arrive at an acceptable solution.  If your concerns are not resolved to your satisfaction, contact Dr. Waterbor who will intervene if necessary.
  15. In past summers there have been very few complaints about CaRES.  But for a few projects, the work duties that a student was asked to perform did not match the duties described in the project description posted on our website.  Some variation in work duties from the website description may be reasonable if the research has advanced or changed direction from the date when the project was posted on the CaRES website.  If you are assigned work duties that differ greatly from the CaRES project description, and if these duties are disappointing, meet with your preceptor to request duties more to your liking. 
  16. You are required to attend our CaRES Orientation Luncheon, Seminar Series and Poster Session.  Please see thetentative schedule posted on our website and circle these dates on your calendar!   The seminar series includes lectures on professional development and the responsible conduct of research (RCR).  Additional RCR material must be completed online. At the CaRES Poster Session each student will present his or her research goals, methods, and preliminary results.  All preceptors are invited to attend.  One or more travel awards, to attend a professional meeting of your choice within one year, will be presented to the students who display the “best” posters.  CaRES will pay for poster printing and students may keep their posters for later presentations at other venues. 

IN CLOSING . . . at any time during your CaRES internship please contact me, my fellow Program Director Dr. Peter Smith (, Evaluation Director Dr. C. Michael Brooks ( or Internship Coordinator Ms. Judy Baker ( with questions or concerns about your internship experience.  We are here to solve problems and help you succeed.  We hope that your CaRES internship will be professionally rewarding and enjoyable.  Make the most of it!

John W. Waterbor, MD, DrPH
CaRES Program Director
February 13, 2020