The SPARK Research Mentorship Program is extremely competitive, and the number of high school students selected depends on faculty mentor availability. See About the Program for a list of participating labs and an overview of the research and techniques available for students to pursue.
The following criteria must be met to apply:
- Enrolled as a junior or senior at a Duval or St. Johns County High School for the upcoming school year or a member of the Joe Berg Seminar Series
- Minimum of 3.5 unweighted GPA
- Letter of Recommendation from current high school science teacher
- Letter of Recommendation from current high school guidance counselor or other personnel as determined by school district
Using the Mayo Clinic Program Abstract Form, students are required to write a one-page research abstract for the original research that they wish to pursue, and another one for a second choice, in case the first one is filled. These abstracts must follow the guidelines of the International Science and Engineering Fair and also identify a laboratory in which to work.
Use the SPARK Student Checklist for more details on required forms and the process.
A Mayo Clinic committee then selects highly qualified candidates for interviews based on the number of faculty mentors. The final screening includes an interview with the student's potential faculty mentor.
- Prior to beginning work in the lab, students will be required to complete online lab safety training modules.
- Lab notebooks will be maintained as documentation of experiments.
- A minimum of 20 lab hours per week (weekdays and weekends) will be required during the summer for a successful project to be completed for entry in a science fair. When school resumes, a flexible schedule will be set up between the faculty mentor and student.
- Student must compete in either the Northeast Florida Regional Science Fair or the St. Johns County Science Fair. If the student attends a DCPS school, then the student also needs to submit to the DCPS Secondary Science Fair in January.
- Students are expected to compete in the state and international science fairs, if their projects are selected.
- Students are responsible for their own transportation.