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The Summer Training in Academic Research (STAR) 2.0 Program provides a hands-on, high-quality research experience during the summer academic break for high school students and educators.

During the 6-week program, held June 21 to July 29, 2021, participants will get the chance to:

  • Work with Children’s Mercy faculty on an original research project.
  • Develop a research publication for submission in a peer-reviewed journal.
  • Learn about clinical and translational research methodology, writing, statistics, medical ethics, and career development.
  • Network and learn with other students/educators from across the country.

The STAR 2.0 Program is held at the Children’s Mercy Research Institute (CMRI) and will also collaborate with the STAR Program at Duke University. The CMRI integrates research into healthcare by fostering a partnership among healthcare professionals, researchers, patients and families. Together we are pursuing discoveries to improve the health and well-being of children everywhere. The CMRI is located on the Hospital Hill Campus at 2401 Gillham Road, Kansas City, Mo.

STAR 2.0 Program faculty and contributors

Under the direction of Bridgette Jones, MD, MSCR, the program capitalizes on world-renowned pediatric research programs at Children's Mercy. Other faculty and contributors in the STAR 2.0 Program are actively involved in Health Services and Outcomes Research (HSOR), infectious diseases (vaccines), neonatology, pharmacology, medical education, statistics, writing, bioethics and more.

Why you should apply

The STAR 2.0 Program gives participants:

  • An inside perspective of the world of science and medicine.
  • Hands-on experience in research that will improve the care of real patients.
  • A better understanding of what it is like to work in medical research.
  • Contacts in the local medical research community.
  • The opportunity to get their work published in peer-reviewed journals, a critical step that establishes them in the scientific community and allows them to be competitive for other opportunities.

Who can apply

  • High school students from racial/ethnic under-represented groups in medicine and science (American Indian/native Alaskan, Black or African American, Hispanic/Latino, Native Hawaiian/Pacific islander, under-represented Asian Populations (e.g. Vietnamese, Cambodian, Indonesian). No background in scientific research is necessary, but strong academic performance and an interest in medicine and/or the sciences are preferred.

  • High school and middle school teachers. Teachers are a critical part of the STAR 2.0 Program. Their primary responsibility is to create an open and collaborative learning environment, and contribute life experience, collaborative skills, problem-solving skills, and content-based knowledge.

How to apply

The STAR 2.0 Program is currently accepting applications for the Summer 2021 session. The deadline is Friday, Feb. 19, 2021.

High school student applications must include:

  • A completed informational form.
  • Two letters of support provided by non-relatives (to be emailed by the letter writers).
  • School transcript.
  • Essay (limit 2 pages) addressing the question: “What does medicine and research mean to you?”
Download the high school student application


Teacher applications must include:

  • A completed informational form.
  • A letter of support from your school principal plus one additional reference (to be emailed by the letter writers).
  • A paper (limit 2 pages) addressing the question: “How can this program help you to teach the next generation of physicians and scientists that will improve our community?”
  • Curriculum vitae
Download the teacher application


Program stipend

A stipend is provided to participants, which makes the program an option even for students who plan to work over the summer break.

  • High school students receive $2,600.
  • Teachers participating in the program are compensated $8,000 for the 6-week commitment.

Questions about the program?

Questions can be submitted via email to Vickie Yarbrough, STAR 2.0 Program Manager, at

Pediatric Allergy & Immunology

Physician; Associate Professor of Pediatrics, University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine; Education Associate Professor of Pediatrics, University of Kansas School of Medicine