For the first time, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is hosting Memphis and Shelby County high school and college students for an eight-week long paid summer internship program that pairs them with mentors to conduct research in multiple areas, including basic science, psychology, pharmaceutical science and data science.
The program, known as the High School and College Research Immersion Program, is an outgrowth of priorities set forth in the St. Jude 2022-27 Strategic Plan. It is designed to expand access to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education to high school and college students in Shelby County who are historically underrepresented in those fields.
“We want to make sure that the program is fostering science identity in youth, especially those from underrepresented communities, making sure that these students know that we want to create pathways for them in science,” said Kate Ayers, Director of STEMM Education and Outreach at St. Jude.
Participants in the High School and College Research Immersion Program were selected from a pool of 350 students after a carefully crafted multistep application process that was designed to eliminate unintentional biases in order to create a truly diverse group. In addition to recommendations from teachers and members of the community, the application process included short answer questions about science and diversity.
During the program, students and their mentors are conducting lab research to form the basis for a final research project within their area of interest. The students can also explore various St. Jude career paths by collaborating with different departments and labs across the institution. At the end of the program, each student will have the opportunity to present their research at a community exhibition held at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library in Midtown on July 30.
“We are doing real science in the labs,” said Trinity Fields, a rising senior at Middle College High School, who wants to be a surgical oncologist. “So, it’s really nice to have mentors that are there for you and that will show up for you, and when you make a mistake that they will tell you it’s okay.”
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats and cures childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. It is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children. Treatments developed at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20% to 80% since the hospital opened more than 60 years ago. St. Jude freely shares the breakthroughs it makes, and every child saved at St. Jude means doctors and scientists worldwide can use that knowledge to save thousands more children. To learn more, visit stjude.org or follow St. Jude on social media at @stjuderesearch.