Chicago EYES on Cancer
Formerly the Continuing Umbrella of Research Experience (CURE) program
Chicago EYES (Educators and Youth Enjoy Science) on Cancer is a cancer research training program for high school and college students interested in careers in biomedicine. The program also welcomes secondary science educators.
For two consecutive summers, participants work full-time in the laboratories of established cancer researchers at the University. Rigorous research training is complemented with a cancer-based lecture series, skill-building workshops, and a network of faculty and peer mentors dedicated to participants’ success. The program culminates in a research symposium to showcase participants’ work across basic, translational, clinical, and population-based areas of cancer research.
Chicago EYES on Cancer is funded by a grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in addition to generous donations. Programming is provided in part through a partnership with Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry.
June 17-August 9, 2019
**Chicago Public School students and teachers are encouraged to apply. Arrangements will be made to accommodate the program’s conflict with the school district’s calendar**
High School and College Students
[download printable flier for STUDENT APPLICANTS]
- Hands-on experience in a cutting-edge laboratory or research group
- Year-round career development and skill-building workshops
- Ongoing mentorship from network of university faculty, research professionals, program personnel and peers
- Taxable stipend of $2,600 (high school students) or $3,500 (college students) per year
- High school sophomore, junior or senior, OR college freshman or sophomore at time of application
- At least 16 years of age at start of program
- United States citizen or permanent resident
- Strong interest in a career in scientific research or medicine
- Strong academic record, particularly in math and science
- Ability to commit to the full two-year program, including 8-week research experiences (40 hours/week) for two consecutive summers and monthly enrichment activities during the academic year
- Individuals from groups underrepresented in biomedicine, encompassing all relevant social, behavioral as well as health sciences, are strongly encouraged to apply. Applications are encouraged from any individuals with a demonstrated commitment to increase the full participation of underrepresented groups in biomedicine. (https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-18-129.html)
Please note that students are responsible for their own housing and transportation to and from the University of Chicago during their summer research experiences.
How to Apply
Admission to Chicago EYES on Cancer is highly competitive. Approximately ten new students are selected each year. Selection is based on applicants’ stated interest in the program, academic record, and letters of recommendation. To apply:
Secondary Science Educators
[download printable flier for TEACHER APPLICANTS]
- Hands-on experience in a cutting-edge laboratory or research group
- Mentored curriculum development focused on project-based scientific inquiry
- Access to network of university faculty, research professionals, program personnel and peers for ongoing support
- Access to state-of-the-art laboratory equipment, supplies, and scientific literature for classroom use
- Taxable stipend of $6,400 (Year 1) or $7,200 (Year 2)
- Strong commitment to advancing students’ capacity for inquiry-driven, project-based science learning
- Familiarity with basic principles in cell and molecular biology and/or basic chemistry
- Ability to commit to the full two-year program, including 8-week research experiences (40 hours/week) for two consecutive summers
- Teachers of those underrepresented in biomedicine, encompassing all relevant social, behavioral as well as health sciences, are strongly encouraged to apply. Applications are encouraged from any individuals with a demonstrated commitment to increase the full participation of underrepresented groups in biomedicine. (https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-18-129.html)
Please note that teacher research fellows are responsible for their own housing and transportation to and from the University of Chicago during their summer research experiences.
How to Apply
Admission to Chicago EYES on Cancer is highly competitive. Approximately three new teacher research fellows are selected each year. Selection is based on applicants’ stated interest in the program, their capacity to impact the science learning experiences of underrepresented youth, and letters of recommendation. To apply:
Conflict of Interest Policy: The selection of applicants is managed by the program leadership team. Immediate family members of the leadership team, UChicago faculty, or the Chicago EYES on Cancer Advisory Committee are ineligible for the program. All applications will be subject to the Conflict of Interest Policy.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Q: I turn 16 a few days/weeks after the start of the program. Can I still participate?
A: No. Please apply next year!
- Q: Do I have to be a Chicago Public School student/teacher to apply?
A: No. We welcome students and teachers from any school or district.
- Q: Do I have to be a Chicago/Illinois resident to apply?
A: No. As long as you are a US citizen or permanent resident, and you can provide your own housing and transportation, you are welcome to apply.
- Q: I’m an out-of-state student and won’t be in Chicago during the academic year. Will I still be able to participate in the required academic year activities?
A: Yes. All academic year activities can be modified for out-of-state students.
- Q: I participated in the program once before. Am I eligible to apply again?
A: No, but let us know you’re looking for a summer research experience. We are always eager to help alumni find new training opportunities!
- Q: I have a scheduling conflict over the summer. Can I still participate if I have to miss a few days of programming?
A: Daily attendance is crucial to complete research projects within the eight weeks of the program. Participants may be absent for just two days, and only for exceptional circumstances (e.g., illness, emergency, unavoidable school or family conflict).
- Q: What qualities do you look for in an applicant?
A: For high school and college students, we prioritize applicants with a strong academic record (particularly in math and science) and the interpersonal skills required for a professional work environment. Those admitted to the program demonstrate a passion for science and careful consideration of how the program will help them achieve their education and career goals.
For secondary science teachers, we prioritize applicants who demonstrate strong potential to enrich science learners from underrepresented backgrounds. Those admitted to the program demonstrate a passion for inquiry-driven, project-based instruction and careful consideration of how the program will help them achieve their goals as educators and advocates for the newest generation of biomedical professionals.
Tip for ALL applicants: Spend time on your application essays! We weigh them HEAVILY!
- Q: Does my transcript have to be official?
A: No. However, please make sure that your name and the name of your school are clearly visible on the document. It should include courses and grades from the beginning of your freshman year.
- Q: I won’t have my fall semester grades until AFTER the application deadline. What should I do?
A: Submit your most recent transcript with the application. If you like, you can send updated grades to Dr. Mekinda (firstname.lastname@example.org
) when they become available, and she will add them to your file.
- Q: I am a high school junior/senior. Can I apply to Chicago EYES on Cancer AND researcHStart?
A: Yes. Given the similarities between programs, we expect both to be a great fit for many students.
- Q: I am a high school junior/senior. I would like to be considered for BOTH Chicago EYES on Cancer and researcHStart. Do I have to fill out separate applications?
A: No. Please complete the application for EITHER Chicago EYES on Cancer or researcHStart, and when prompted, mark that you would also like to be considered for the other program. Your application and recommendation forms will be automatically copied and reviewed by the leadership teams of both programs. If you have a preference for one of the programs, please make a note in the section of the application that asks, “Is there anything else important for us to know about you?”
- Q: I’m not eligible for the program this year, and I want to find a summer research opportunity. Do you have any suggestions?
- Q: Do you accept late applications?
- Q: When and how will I be notified whether I’ve been accepted to the program?
A: You will receive an email in early February if you have been selected for an interview. All applicants will be notified via email by March 1st of our final admissions decision.
- Q: I am not available on the scheduled interview day. Can I still apply for the program?
A: Yes. You can request alternative arrangements after you’ve received the interview invitation.
- Q: Who should I choose as recommenders?
A: High school and college students: Consider individuals who can speak compellingly about your academic performance, personal qualities, and interest in biomedicine. At least one recommender MUST be a teacher/professor. Other possibilities include a school counselor, coach, employer, or community leader. Please do NOT ask a close relative (e.g., parent, sibling, aunt).
Secondary science educators: You must request a letter from your principal or department chair. This individual should be prepared to discuss not only your qualities as an educator, but also what your participation in the program means for the greater school community.
The University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center
Megan Mekinda, PhD