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COVID-19 vaccination requirement: Children’s Mercy requires employees, volunteers and certain non-employees (including students) to either be vaccinated or receive an approved medical or religious accommodation. Vaccinated means having received the primary series of an FDA/CDC emergency use authorized or approved vaccine.

The 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 program, participants get the chance to:

  • Work with a 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.

Who can apply

We are seeking current freshmen, sophomore and junior high school students who identify from racial and ethnic groups which are currently underrepresented in medicine and science (American Indian/native Alaskan, Black, or African American, Hispanic/Latino, Native Hawaiian/Pacific islander, underrepresented Asian populations (e.g., Vietnamese, Cambodian, Indonesian).

No background in scientific research is necessary, but solid academic performance and an interest in medicine and/or science is preferred. We will further consider preference for students who are from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Students must attend public or charter schools to be eligible; in addition, preference will be given to students who attend schools in the urban metropolitan Kansas City, Missouri and Kansas, school districts.

When and where

The program begins on Monday, June 17, 2024, with the last day being Thursday, July 25, 2024. Students will convene daily over six weeks from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Students accepted into the program must commit to full participation during this entire period.

The program is held at the Children’s Mercy Research Institute (CMRI) on the Children’s Mercy campus at 2401 Gillham Road, Kansas City, Missouri. The CMRI fosters an integrated research environment where no boundaries exist between science and medicine, uniting physicians, scientists, academic colleagues and partners in the pursuit of discoveries to improve the health and wellbeing of children everywhere.

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.
  • PLUS, the program provides a stipend ($2,600) to attend, which allows students to participate who were planning to work over summer break.

How to apply

Applications will be accepted from Dec. 18, 2023 to Jan. 12, 2024.  Please click on the button below to apply.

STAR 2.0 Program Student Application


STAR 2.0 Program Teacher Application

Download a fact sheet for teachers.

Download a fact sheet for students.

View application examples

Our partners


We are grateful for our program funders:

  • Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies
  • EMD Millipore Corporation
  • Abe and Anna Bograd Memorial Trust, UMB Bank, trustee
  • Bluescope Foundation
  • American Century Investments Foundation
  • Children’s Mercy Research Institute

Contact us

Contact with any questions.

Bridgette Jones, MD, MSCR
Medical Director, STAR 2.0 Program
Professor of Pediatrics, UMKC SOM

Vickie Yarbrough, MA, BA
Program Director, STAR 2.0 Program