Research Centers and Programs

Summer Scholars Program (SSSP)

About the Summer Scholars Program

In partnership with the Center for Diversity and Health Equity, the Science Education Department is excited to offer our Summer Scholars Program (SSSP).

The program goal is to provide undergraduate students with an opportunity to engage in basic, clinical and/or translational research projects during the summer at Seattle Children’s Research Institute under the mentorship of experienced researchers and principal investigators.

This program is for students from backgrounds that are historically underrepresented in the biomedical and health sciences, including those listed below. Students from these groups are highly encouraged to apply.

  • Blacks or African Americans
  • Hispanics or Latinos
  • American Indians or Alaska Natives
  • Native Hawaiians or other Pacific Islanders
  • Individuals with disabilities, who are defined as those with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, as described in the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended.
  • Individuals who meet two or more of the NIH criteria for disadvantaged backgrounds..

Summer scholars will learn to use lab equipment or software for research projects (as applicable), meet with mentors and gain valuable research experience. Students will also attend career and professional training sessions on topics such as writing abstracts, presenting a research poster and networking. Scholars engage with leaders on their career pathways taken and lessons learned. Up to 35 hours per week will be dedicated toward research. The remaining five hours per week will be dedicated to the professional development of the student, including time to attend career and professional development sessions and to prepare their research abstract and poster. The program culminates with each intern publishing an abstract of their research project, and presenting their research at the poster symposium in the program's final week.


Interns will earn $20 an hour for 40 hours per week. Because income is taxable, interns should expect tax to be withheld and not to receive the full amount listed above on their paycheck. The program will last nine weeks.

Scholars in the program will be surveyed for travel and housing needs, and program staff will work with you to understand your needs and offer assistance as possible.

Applications for summer 2024 open on December 18, 2023, and will close at 5 p.m. Pacific time on January 12, 2024. Please review eligibility and expectations prior to applying. 

Apply Online


Program Information

  • COVID-19 information

    The 2024 Summer Scholars Program will be an in-person experience.

    All scholars must comply with COVID-19 vaccine requirements at Seattle Children's.

  • Housing, travel and compensation

    Program housing will be available to those traveling to the area from beyond commuting distance, or without another local housing option. Housing support is offered as needed to partially offset costs for those paying for housing locally. Flights to and from the program can be arranged and covered through the program. All scholars are offered an ORCA card and encouraged to use public transportation during the program. While some food and meal costs are provided, scholars are expected to use their salary to cover normal living expenses.

  • How to apply

    Applications for the summer 2024 program open December 18.

    The application will be available starting December 18. Upload all required elements and submit your application by 5 p.m. Pacific time on January 12, 2024.

    In the meantime, students can review the requirements below, prepare their resume and cover letter and request a professional letter of reference.

    Choose your top three research projects

    Applicants must select their top three research projects from the list and explain how their skills and interests align with each. Responses will be used to match with a project, though you may not be matched with one of your top three.

    You will be asked to pick all three projects from either Basic Science/Bench Research or Clinical/ Behavioral Research. Review the lists, and consider the following:

    Who should apply

    • Students must have a strong background and interest in one of the following fields: biology, biochemistry, microbiology, neuroscience, mathematics, behavioral health, public health or a related scientific field.
    • Prior formal research experience is not required. Program applicants seeking their first formal research internship will be prioritized over applicants who have completed other research internship programs to optimize the program’s impact.
    • Students must be able to reside in Seattle or within commuting distance for the duration of the program.
    • Scholars must commit to participating and attending the entire duration of the internship program. The full-time program includes a robust, planned curriculum, so does not allow for time away or vacations. No late starts or early departures can be accommodated.

    Minimum job qualifications

    • Must be at least 18 years of age by the start of the program and eligible to work in the U.S.
    • Currently enrolled, or will be enrolled, in an undergraduate, community or technical college, and in good standing with your institution. Applicants currently in graduate school or medical school are not eligible to apply.
    • Must have excellent communication, interpersonal and organizational skills, including attention to detail.
    • Must follow all procedures for maintaining confidentiality and protecting privacy of any data or information related to research projects and to Seattle Children’s business operations.
    • Must conduct themselves in a manner consistent with Seattle Children's values of compassion, excellence, equity, innovation, integrity, and collaboration.

    Preferred job qualifications

    This program is for students from backgrounds that are historically underrepresented in the biomedical and health sciences, as defined by the NIH. Students from these groups are highly encouraged to apply.

  • Resume, cover letter and letter of reference


    Please prepare to submit as part of your application process a resume that includes:

    • Name
    • Contact information (address, phone number, email)
    • College and anticipated year of graduation
    • (Anticipated) major; minor (if applicable)
    • Current GPA
    • Any awards and honors received
    • Any volunteer or work experience (e.g., church activities, community service, clubs/organizations, etc.)
    • Any leadership roles
    • Relevant skills and strengths

    Cover letter/personal statement

    Things to include in your cover letter:

    • Tell us about yourself and why you are interested in this internship program.
    • Describe how you see your role in enhancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in science and medicine.
    • What are your career goals and how do you think this internship will help you achieve these goals?
    • What research background do you have, if any? (Note: a lack of research experience may not exclude you from the internship opportunity.) What types of research are you passionate about?

    Mentor letter of reference

    Applicants need to upload a professional letter of reference with their application. Be aware, a reference should be given several weeks to complete the letter.

    Your reference can be a science professor, work supervisor, coach or other mentor. It is not advised to have a friend or family member serve as your professional reference.

  • Application and selection timeline

    Proposed timeline subject to change.

    • December 18, 2023: Applications open for the summer 2024 program.
    • January 12, 2024: Applications close at 5 p.m. Pacific time. Late applications will not be accepted.
    • January 13 to March 15: Applications reviewed to determine interviews. Interviews will be conducted in February to recommend finalists for research projects.
      • Applicants will be notified of selection or rejection by March 15.
    • March 10 to June 17: Onboarding for selected interns.
    • June 18 to August 16: Paid Internship.
    • Fall: SSSP report published and distributed.

    If you'd like to help us spread the word, please do so by posting or sharing our internship flyer (PDF).

    Please note: We will notify you of the status of your application by March 15. Please do not email to inquire the status of your application.

    Also, please refrain from contacting our principal investigators directly and allow our selection and application evaluation process to progress as designed. 

  • Read our program reports

    Download our annual report from the Summer Scholars Program (formerly known as the Underrepresented Minority Students in Research Internship Program).

    Read our 2023 Summer Scholars' Profiles and Research Abstracts (PDF).


If you have any questions or concerns, please email the Summer Scholars Program team.

How You Can Support Us

If you would like to help us grow this program so more students can participate, please consider making an online donation. Simply visit our donation form, select “Other” under the “Direct my donation to:” field, and type in “Summer Scholars Program.” All donations directly support the students and program.