Trainee On-boarding

Congratulations and welcome to Science of Learning & Art of Communication (SLAC), a National Science Foundation grant funded interdisciplinary NRT for PhD students at UConn.  We are excited that you have decided to join us and look forward to a fun and stimulating year ahead. Learn more in the SLAC Grant proposal

You are a SLAC Trainee; now what?


  • Fellowship payments will begin in September, each installment payment is processed by the Financial Aid Office (FAO) on the first Tuesday of the first full week of each month and will be distributed up to 2-3 business days after.
  • Sign up for Direct Deposit so as to avoid having to come to the Bursar’s Office to pick up checks
  • Fellowship tax implications – This application is used to order non-compensatory fellowship payments. These payments will result in the issuance of a 1098-T.  See below ‘Fellowship Tax Implications and Resources’ for more information.

    Fee Bill and Health Insurance

    • Fall and Spring bill will be paid prior to the due date, please make sure to send the final fee bill to 1 week prior to the due date. If any changes are made to fee bill or any late fees occur, please notify Charlotte Nelson immediately and send pdf of updated bill.
    • Initial fee bills will show health insurance. This is the basic student insurance that you may waive in PeopleSoft Student Permissions.
    • Health Insurance Information:
    1) The Human Resources Benefits Specialist sends an email out to the fellows in August that includes CTPP coverage information and instructions to submit their election to enroll/waive.
    2) Human Resources posts the insurance bill to the fellow’s account in September.
    3) CLAS Grant Management Services (francesca.d’ then submits a grant advice for the total cost less the fellow’s premium.
    4) Health insurance will be active as of September 1st of the year in which you enroll.
    5) There is no need to re-enroll annually if your appointment is continued. Coverage will continue with the elections you have from the previous semester.
    6) Contact Anthem for temporary ids until you receive yours in the mail by going to or by calling 1-800-922-2232.
    7) For additional information review the CT Partnership Plan FAQ and Medical And Dental Coverage through CTPP for Graduate Fellows
    8) Benefits specialist, Joanna Smith, (P) 860-486-3034

    Trainee, first month

    • Attend SLAC classes you are registered for 
    • Attend the SLAC Fall Orientation for your cohort 
    • SLAC website is your main source of information about the program
      • Email your research interests and headshot (see below) to
      • Check your profile to ensure all information is correct
    • How to acknowledge SLAC Support
    • Github for storing your research/codes
    • Listservs
      • You will be added to the SLAC listservs.  
      • Sign up for others to stay informed about events happening in and around your home program and SLAC. We strongly urge you to sign up for the following listservs; PSYCH: BNS, PSYCH: DEV, PSYCH: L&C, LING, SLHS, ESPY, GGS, IBACS, CogSci
    • Professional headshot (required)
      • Lakeside Building (reception desk) Thursday mornings between 8:30 and 9 am for head shot.  You can email Peter, the photographer ahead of time to make sure he is there-no appointments; or call him at 860-208-3068
      • Email to set up an appointment at the UConn Center for Career Development for head shot
      • Email head-shot to for the SLAC website 

      SLAC Trainee Benefits


      • Fellows get one year of full support
      • Incentive funds, travel support, training opportunities available to fellows & associates during the fellowship year and beyond, given your participation in SLAC events.

      Unique elements of graduate training

      • Training in science communication
      • Problem-based approach
      • “Challenge teams” – Interdisciplinary research and collaboration
      • Preparation for academic as well as non-academic career paths
        • Internship/summer rotations with industry and non-profit partners
      • Extend our intellectual community in interesting directions

      SLAC Trainee Requirements

      During the year of traineeship


      • PSYC 5170 SLAC Prof Development Seminar I, Fridays 1:30-2:30, virtual – Dr. Magnuson and Dr. Coppola
      • PSYC 5570 SLAC Seminar, Fridays 9-12, virtual – Dr. Magnuson
      • LING 5010 or PSYC 5500 Research Seminar in Language and Cognition, Talk-Shop, Mondays 12:20-1:10, virtual – Dr. Theodore and Dr. Snyder


      • PSYC 5171 Special Topics in Cognitive Science (SLAC Practicum)
      • PSYCH 5170 Special Topics, 1 credit, Outreach
      • LING 5010 or PSYC 5500 Research Seminar in Language and Cognition, Talk-Shop, Mondays 12:20-1:10, Virtual

      Each academic year until graduation, trainees are expected to attend/join

      • J-Term Primers (last week of winter break)
      • Interdisciplinary research – participate in at least one of the Challenge Team research group
      • Join at least one, preferably two committees each year
      • Stay actively involved in the program throughout your time at UConn
      • Continue to make good progress toward your degree completion in your home Ph.D program
      • Diversity Events (The attendance at 3 events are required for faculty and students)
        • Attend Talk Shop sessions on diversity (one per semester)
        • Attend a J-Term primer workshop on diversity / antiracism
        • Attend at least one other event sponsored by the DEI Committee (likely offerings this summer/fall: a reading group that will hold multiple discussions of Ibram X. Kendi’s “How to Be an Antiracist” [])


      See SLAC Curriculum for detailed information

      Talk Shop

      Trainees are expected to attend and participate in a weekly gathering where students/faculty share their research, etc. See the current Talk Shop schedule here


      Trainees are expected to join at least two committees each year-sign ups will be in September;

      • Internship
      • curriculum
      • diversity
      • outreach
      • J Term (at least once in your SLAC tenure)
      • publicity/social media
      • OH/events/speaker series
      • Science Communication and Evaluation

      Travel Award

      See Travel Awards for detailed information on applying for a travel award and booking travel

      Innovation Funds  

      See Innovation Funds for detailed information on the award application process

      SLAC+ Funding  

      See SLAC+Funding to request 10 hours of funding in the fall/spring or 15 hours in the summer.


      • Orientation meeting for new SLAC Trainees each year early fall semester
      • SLAC monthly themed socials
      • SLAC sponsored speaker events
      • J Term workshops organized by the trainees on topics of their interest.
      • SLAC themed workshop/symposium

      Guidelines for remaining active

      Active participation for trainees includes

      • Attending Talk Shop every semester (or proactively notifying the executive committee via Charlotte Nelson of a valid reason for not being able to attend, if you will miss more than a few weeks)
      • Attending J-Term Primers every year (or proactively notifying the executive committee via Charlotte Nelson of a valid reason for not being able to attend)
      • Serving on at least one committee each year
      • Attending SLAC-supported events (including diversity and work climate sessions)
      • Participating in semi-annual trainee check-ins.
      • Participate in at least 3 diversity related events

      Fellowship Tax Implications and Resources

      Fellowship payments are subject to federal and state income taxes unless the payment is used to pay for qualified tuition and required enrollment fees. Fellows will be personally responsible for any income taxes resulting from the receipt of this fellowship payment. You should be advised that fellowship payments used to pay for travel, supplies or equipment used in your independent research are not exempt from taxation. Consistent with IRS guidance, fellowship payments, although taxable, are not subject to income tax withholding if paid to a U.S. citizen or resident alien. It is the sole responsibility of the student to report and pay taxes on the taxable portion of any fellowship, stipend, award or grant that he/she receives. Fellowship recipients may wish to consider making estimated federal and state income tax payments.

      • Additional details, and answers to many frequently asked questions, may be found here
      • The Office of Tax and Compliance at UConn has published a “Student Tax FAQ” document that will answer many personal income tax questions UConn students encounter.  This document can be found here
      • The IRS’s published guidance regarding student tax matters is “Publication 970 – Tax Benefits for Education.”  This document can be found at: here
      • The University operates a “Volunteer Income Tax Assistance” program, which may be able to provide free personal income tax preparation services.  Additional information can be found here
      • Helpful information from Hannah Morrow, SLAC Trainee:  This google folder currently has a document that explains how to file your income taxes (to the best of my understanding).  As I say in the document, this is by no means expert advice. I specifically use TurboTax because of their services to help you if you are audited, but I think the general assumption is that we make so little that auditing is unlikely. The advice I write in those google docs is purely based on what I heard from a previous Director of Taxation and Compliance, and lots of googling. Thankfully, there are now youtube videos, some reddit channels, and several articles on how to deal with taxes while on a GRFP, and more resources are coming out all the time.


      Email a pdf of your publications and the citation in APA format to for display on the publication bulletin board outside Arjona 323 and here

      NSF NRT Annual Report

      Each spring you will be asked to submit citations in APA format of all your publications to date, any funding you have received related to the SLAC program and any interdisciplinary collaborations with faculty and students you have been a part of.


      Contact the Program Coordinator, or (c) 860-480-5154