A virtual platform that serves to connect medical students with the medical community through mentorship and scholarship!

Register for the 2022 Cycle

Student Accounts Will Be Approved After 8/10/2022

The Short Talks by Aspiring Residents (STAR) Initiative

STAR is a virtual platform that provides medical students with an opportunity to create and share short talks that highlight their unique qualities and intangible traits with the medical community. Volunteer faculty members from across the country are selected by participating students for brief virtual sessions focused on the development of quality video content.


The STAR Initiative’s mission is to create equitable opportunities for medical students to showcase their unique abilities while providing valuable mentorship connections geared towards professional development.

Providing Mentorship

Volunteer faculty members from across the country are selected by students for virtual micro-mentorship sessions— brief (30-60mins) task-specific sessions (2 or more) focused on interactive feedback pertaining to the presentation content.


Fostering Scholarship

Medical students have the opportunity to prepare a short five-minute virtual presentation on an academic topic that interests them(controversial topics, interesting cases, innovative research, etc.). Presentations should incorporate existing literature to support content.

Showcasing Diversity

Our goal is to ensure key talent and potential is recognized by the medical community. STAR enables medical students to showcase what makes them unique and their intangible skills that may not be easily highlighted in the traditional residency application.


Get Involved

Medical Students

  • Brainstorm Topic Ideas
  • Select a Mentor
  • Interactive Feedback Sessions
  • Submit a Video
  • Access Video Library


  • Access Video Library by logging in or providing basic information
  • Connect with Students


2021 Pilot Testimonials 

“The STAR initiative captured the energy of people wanting to connect and energize each other.   It decentralized the traditional dynamics in the sometimes byzantine and inequitable aspects of applying to and successfully matching into a surgical specialty such as Otolaryngology - HNS. It served all the participants - not just the students - in making a better community for the next chapters of our history together.”
Albert Merati, M.D. ~ Former President of American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery ~        Professor, University of Washington ~ Seattle, Washington

"STAR-OTO was an excellent experience as a medical student applying in a very abnormal year. I found otolaryngology relatively late in my third year of medical school and was eager to establish connections within the field. STAR-OTO provided me a unique opportunity to share some of my personal and research interests within medical education and establish relationships with faculty members at programs across the country. In previous years, such an opportunity may have required me to perform an away rotation or rely on faculty members at my medical school to make these connections for me. Unfortunately, not all medical students have the financial resources to complete away rotations or access to well-connected faculty members to establish these relationships. STAR-OTO streamlined this mentorship process, gave me a platform to showcase unique aspects of my academic portfolio, and strengthened my community of mentors within Otolaryngology.

Taylor Standiford, M.D. ~ Resident Physician, UCSF~ San Francisco, CA

"Being a mentor was meaningful because of the opportunity to coach someone starting with something tangible. Learning about my mentee by having them show me their research and other interests was much more engaging than the usual small talk. I also enjoyed seeing how presentations and thought processes matured over time.”

Jennifer Villwock, M.D. ~ Associate Professor, Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Kansas University ~ Chief of Otolaryngology, Kansas City Veterans Affairs Hospital~ Kansas City, KS

“The STAR platform encourages relationships beyond the bounds of one’s home institution and offers the capacity for valuable feedback and mentorship for medical students. It also allows students to concisely present elements of their personal stories and important academic achievements, empowering them with a tool to display their personalities and abilities. As qualitative metrics are just as important as quantitative measures in assessing students, STAR offers a unique additional element of the evaluation process – one that students have immense control over. “

Priyesh Patel, M.D. ~ Associate Program Director, Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Vanderbilt University Medical Center~ Nashville, TN 

Ready to Participate in the STAR Program?