Picture this: Your child at their college interview discussing the research on diabetes they conducted over the summer at Charles Drew University. They worked full-time for 8 – 12 weeks in the lab and got paid for it. Impressive right?
It can happen! The Short-Term Research Experience for Underrepresented Persons (STEP-UP) is an incredible opportunity for high school juniors and seniors as well as college sophomores who are thinking about pursuing a career in the biomedical, behavioral, clinical and social science research fields to earn while they learn.
Students receive a summer research stipend (couple of thousand dollars) for 8 to 12-weeks of full-time research experience. Students are paired with research mentors at institutions throughout the nation including USC, UCLA, Drew and LA BioMed in Los Angeles. The STEP-UP Coordinating Centers help coordinate and monitor their summer research experience, the Los Angeles Center is located at Charles Drew University of Science and Medicine.
Students are encouraged to choose a research institution and/or mentor near their hometown or within commuting distance of their residence. Students are not required to relocate in order to conduct their summer research. Students receive training/certification in the responsible conduct of research.
“Once they are assigned they will go to their site, the first couple of weeks is understanding the process and the research they are going to do. They come up with a hypothesis, what are they trying to answer? The mentor will work with them to make sure they are on the right path,” says Dee Caffey-Fleming, M.S., M.P.H, the program coordinator at Charles Drew.
The mentors will also help students write an abstract to submit to NIH.
If that isn’t enough, students are flown out to the Annual STEP-UP Research Symposium held on National Institute of Health’s (NIH) main campus in Bethesda, Maryland. They are given the opportunity to conduct a formal power point presentation on their research.
STEP-UP is particularly interested in increasing the participation of students from backgrounds underrepresented in biomedical research on a national basis, including individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds, individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, and individuals with disabilities.