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Pre-College Program Category: STEM

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  • The STEP-UP program is designed to provide a short-term summer research experience for high school junior and senior students from racial/ethnic groups and disadvantaged backgrounds underrepresented in biomedical and behavioral research. The purpose is to expose student participants to research in the NIDDK mission areas, including diabetes, endocrinology, metabolism, nutrition, and obesity, as well as digestive, liver, urologic, kidney, and hematologic diseases. The goal of this program is to increase the number of underrepresented minority and disadvantaged students in the research pipeline who are committed to a career in biomedical, behavioral, clinical or social science research. Students are assigned to one of four High School STEP-UP Coordinating Centers to help coordinate and monitor their summer research experience. They are paired with experienced research mentors at institutes throughout the nation, and are encouraged to choose research institutes and/or mentors near their hometowns or within commuting distance of their residences. Students are not required to relocate in order to conduct their research. Students also participate in an ll-expenses paid travel to the annual High School STEP-UP Research Symposium held on the National Institute of Health’s main campus in Bethesda, Maryland. This provides students the opportunity to conduct formal oral and/or poster presentations of their research to their peers and other NIH scientists.

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  • Application Process:

    Students applying to the high school STEP-UP must submit the following materialsComplete and successfully submit the online application.Complete and successfully submit a personal statement with no more than 600 words.Contact two academic references with instructions on submitting online letters of recommendation.Past STEP-UP participants must have at least one letter from their most recent STEP-UP research mentor.Two complete letters of recommendation must be received by Feb. 15 for program consideration.Order and official academic transcript that reflects all earned credits and grades through December.Official transcripts must be postmarked and mailed by Feb. 15.Application materials (application, personal statement and letters of recommendation) must be submitted online using the STEP-UP online web portal.APPLICATION COMPONENTS The STEP-UP Application collects information pertaining to the following: contact information; eligibility information; academic profile; references; resume and/or extracurricular activities, awards and honors, experiences and activities; and personal statement.PERSONAL STATEMENT In this section you should write a personal statement of 600 words or less describing: • How a research experience through STEP-UP will positively influence your career development. • Your short and/or long-term academic and career goals • The various events or experiences that have helped shape your desire to learn more about biomedical, clinical, social or behavioral research. If you are a past STEP-UP participant, your personal statement must indicate how your experience in STEP-UP has impacted you and/or influenced your career decisions. If you are a SENIOR in high school or college, your personal statement must indicate what your plans are after graduation. RESUME (undergraduate applicants only) In this section you must copy and paste your resume. There is no particular format for the resume, however, at a minimum; the resume must contain a heading with contact information, objective, education, employment history (paid and voluntary), skills and honors/awards. EMPLOYMENT & VOLUNTEER EXPERIENCE (high school applicants only) In this section, describe any paid or voluntary positions that you were involved in during the school year or summer. Describe your specific role and responsibilities for each activity listed. HONORS & AWARDS (high school applicants only) In this section, list special recognitions, scholastic awards and honors and any scholarships you have received. Include a brief description about the award to help us understand the award, scholarship, or recognition.EXTRA-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIESIn this section, describe extracurricular activities in which you have participated in the past or are participating currently. Describe the specific role you played in the activity. RECOMMENDATIONS Two letters of recommendation from different individuals are needed to complete the STEP-UP application. Professional references (e.g. teachers, professors, employers, etc) that are familiar with your work ethic, education training and prior research experience, if applicable are preferred. If you have previously participated in STEP-UP, one of your letters of recommendation must come from your most recent research mentor.

  • Eligibility:

    high school junior or senior at time of application Applicants must:Be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national or legal permanent resident.Have a minimum overall GPA of 2.75 (on a 4.0 scale).Have personal medical/health insurance coverage throughout the duration of the program.Applicants must also meet one or more of the following criteria:Come from racial and ethnic groups that have been shown by the National Science Foundation to be underrepresented in biomedical sciences on a national basis.Come from disadvantaged backgrounds as defined by annual family income and/or be the first generation in their families to graduate from a four-year college or university.Diagnosed with a disability that substantially limits one or more major life activities.