ResearcHStart welcomes high school students from the Chicago and Urbana-Champaign areas to explore exciting careers in cancer research. Participants work full time in the laboratories of established cancer researchers, gaining hands-on experience in areas at the forefront of the field: cancer immunology, pharmacogenomics of anticancer agents, bioengineering, experimental cancer therapeutics, cancer disparities, and more. Rigorous research training is complemented by career development and skill-building workshops, a cancer-based faculty lecture series, and a network of faculty and peer mentors dedicated to students’ success. The program culminates in a research symposium for family, friends, and members of the scientific community. Participants receive a taxable stipend of $2,000.
[download printable researcHStart flier]
- Introduce students to scientific research (specifically, cancer research) to promote career opportunities in the field
- Help students gain knowledge in biophysics, biochemistry, immunology, and pharmacology
- Help students gain an understanding of cancer and its impact on Illinois residents
Benefits to Students
- Hands-on experience in a cutting-edge laboratory or research group
- Targeted career development and skill-building workshops
- Ongoing mentorship from network of university faculty, research professionals, program personnel and peers
- Exposure to Illinois’s top universities
- Taxable stipend of $2,000
June 17 – August 9, 2019
**Chicago Public School students are encouraged to apply. Arrangements will be made to accommodate the program’s conflict with the school district’s calendar.**
- High school junior or senior at time of application
- 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 8 full weeks of programming, 40 hours/week
Admission to researcHStart is highly competitive. Only 24 participants will be selected, based on their stated interest in the program, academic record, and letters of recommendation. To apply:
- Review the applicant information packet: Instructions for Applicants
- Submit the online application form: Accessible HERE
- Identify two individuals (at least one teacher) to complete the online applicant recommendation form: Instructions for Recommenders
- Applicants who advance to the second round: Complete an in-person interview with the program leadership team at your chosen site, scheduled for February.
Conflict of Interest Policy: The selection of applicants is managed by the site leadership teams. Immediate family members of the site leadership teams or of the researcHStart Advisory Committee are ineligible for the program. Immediate family members of faculty from a given site are ineligible for that site. 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 to apply?
A: No. We welcome students 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 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: 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. Tip: 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 (email@example.com
) when they become available, and she will add them to your file.
- Q: I am a high school junior/senior. Can I apply to researcHStart AND Chicago EYES on Cancer?
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 researcHStart and Chicago EYES on Cancer. Do I have to fill out separate applications?
A: No. Please complete the application for EITHER researcHStart or Chicago EYES on Cancer, 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: 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).
Megan Mekinda, PhD