The SPARK Research Mentorship Program provides high school students with unparalleled mentored research experience in world-class laboratories at the Mayo Clinic campus in Jacksonville, Florida.
SPARK scholars gain experience in basic science, the research process, critical thinking and professional conduct — and they do it all in Mayo Clinic's state-of-the-art facilities working with some of the top researchers in their fields.
SPARK, which stands for Science Program for the Advancement of Research Knowledge, started at Mayo Clinic in the summer of 2017 for students from Duval and St. Johns counties in Florida. The program provides an opportunity to gain exposure to the real world of scientific inquiry and nurtures interest and enthusiasm for science. During the program, SPARK scholars produce highly competitive projects that they enter in science fairs, and many have won regional and state awards, honors, and prize dollars for their research. Many SPARK scholars go on to prestigious colleges and universities to pursue studies in fields related to science and medicine.
Students who are enrolled as high school juniors or seniors in Duval and St. Johns counties and who are interested in the biomedical sciences can apply for SPARK. Participation requirements include spending at least 25 hours per week working in mentor laboratories during the summer break from school, plus additional arranged time during the school year.
Students are matched with professional researcher mentors who share their research interests and spend time guiding them in their projects, including hands-on time in the lab.
The SPARK program has grown in participation and success every year since its beginning in 2017. Dozens of talented Florida high school students have participated in SPARK and have gone on to pursue further education and careers in science.
The success of our program is demonstrated by the accomplishments of our scholars. Ten alumni have gone on to participate in the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF), four in the Clinical Research Internship Study Program (CRISP), and 38 have majored in chemistry or a science-related major.
Learn more about Mayo Clinic research in Florida.