The application for the 2024 uSTAR Summer Scholars Program is now open!

Application deadline: February 15 at 11:59PM

Program dates: May 27-July 21, 2024

The MARC uSTAR Summer Scholars Program is an eight-week, residential research program for rising Washington University sophomores interested in scientific research.  The goal of the program is to expose students to mentored research in the context of a positive, personal, supportive, and critical scientific environment that drives student success in order to help them learn if they enjoy research.

About the Program

Program Highlights
  • 8 week program. Program dates are May 27-July 21, 2024.
  • Free housing and $3,200 summer stipend
  • Mentored full-time research in a top-notch Washington University research lab.
  • Rigorous personalized training in scientific presentation.
  • Opening and closing dinners at the program director’s house for students and their friends.
  • Weekly Evening Science talks from PhD scientists about their research and career path.
  • New: Student panels on graduate school and medical school and the MD/PhD.
  • Closing symposium for all students and their labs.
Application Requirements

Applicants must be rising sophomores (hold sophomore status by August 2024).

Application components:

  1. Personal information and short answers on previous research experience, community building, and program logistics.
  2. Statement of purpose. In an essay of 1000 words or less, describe why you want to conduct scientific research, how you will benefit from the program, and your expected career plans. Upload this essay as a .pdf file, and be sure to include your name in the file name.
  3. PDF of unofficial transcript. Your GPA is not a final indicator of acceptance to the program; it provides a history of courses you have taken. To download your unofficial transcript: WebSTAC > Academics > Unofficial Transcript (can hit “Do Not Display” on all) > Run > Printer Friendly in upper right hand corner > CTRL+P to save as PDF. If the printed PDF includes demographics (e.g., race/ethnicity, gender), this data will be blinded by the administrative coordinator prior to application review.
  4. One recommendation. This recommendation can take the form of short answer responses OR a traditional letter of recommendation (faculty can choose one approach). It should come from someone at WU who is familiar with you and your interests. It need not be a science lecturer, but can be an advisor or faculty representative whom you know. If you have already found a lab, the recommendation should come from your research mentor. Your recommender should submit their responses by February 15 via this webform:

If you have questions regarding the uSTAR program, Dr. Jim Skeath can be reached at (

Program Requirements

As part of the uSTAR Sophomore Summer Scholars Program, students will commit to the following expectations:

  • Attending a research ethics workshop held in June (date TBD).
  • Attend the weekly uSTAR seminars throughout the summer.
  • Not enroll in any other courses or accept employment during the program dates.
  • Present at the uSTAR closing symposium during the last week of the summer program and, if able, the WashU Fall Undergraduate Research Symposium (date TBD).
Finding a Mentor

Students need not identify a mentor prior to applying to the program. If selected for the program, we will work with each student to help them identify a mentor.

That said, if you would like to initiate the process of finding a mentor, we encourage you to start by visiting department websites and reading faculty biographies to identify faculty members whose academic interests align with your own.

If you need help reaching out to a specific faculty member, please contact Dr. Jim Skeath at and/or visit the Office of Undergraduate Research’s webpage on Finding a Mentor.


On-campus, apartment-style housing will be provided by the uSTAR program. Students will have access to a shared kitchen with linens (sheets, pillow, pillowcase, blanket, towels) provided. However, program participants will be responsible for purchasing their own groceries and kitchenware. We recommend arranging with your suite mates prior to move-in.

Deadline: February 15, 2024 at 11:59 PM

“I loved the community, and it helped me realize the importance of a support system when trying something new, like research.”

“As I am working in my lab in the fall, I have to thank the STAR program for this opportunity. I would have never been in the lab if I did not get into this program. This program has also opened me up to getting my PHD, something I never considered.”

“The program was absolutely fantastic and I am so very appreciative that I was able to be a part of this wonderful program. It was really such a beneficial program to be apart of as it answered basically all my questions that I had about different research programs, what research is like, the different ways to get involved in research, personal experiences from people who took different paths, and anything else I could have thought of. “

I enjoyed the Wednesday talks because it opened my eyes to a lot more career options that I was unaware of before.

I really enjoyed the student panels because I don’t usually hear a perspective on academia from students like me.

“And I especially appreciated the opening & closing dinners as I felt these were good opportunities to bond with everyone in the program (and get free food).”

“I really enjoyed the dinners: they provided a relaxed environment to connect with the other students in the program. They were also a great opportunity to connect with other washu students who also enjoy research, and allowed me to get to know Jim personally and ask him for advice about pursuing a PhD.”

The weekly Wednesday meetings helped increase my sense of belonging in research because I was listening first hand from other student who used to be in the position I am in. My self-confidence in research was improved by my lab. My mentor had an amazing approach, which allowed me to be the “conductor of my own research train”. It helped me self regulate what I was working on, my timeline, and appreciate my research.

It was really great to be together with everyone on Wednesday for the talks, and it helped remind me that we have a whole group for support. The panels were invaluable for me as I learned a lot and they helped me expand my ideas of what I may be able to do/pursue in the future, and it was great to see previous uSTAR/MARC students so successful now and have them almost as role models.