Esinam Ekpeh and Nia Atcherson at 2022 SPARK Mini Science Fair at Mayo Clinic Create lasting connections

During SPARK, you develop relationships with lab mentors, advisers, personnel, and students from schools in and around Jacksonville, Florida. This network of colleagues provides guidance, feedback and advice through critical stages of your college and career development.

Application Process

High school juniors and seniors in participating Florida school districts who are interested in joining the SPARK Research Mentorship Program must apply through an application process. The process is extremely competitive, and the number of high school students selected depends on the availability of Mayo Clinic research faculty mentors.

Program timeline

  • Nov. 1 — Online application window opens.
  • Dec. 31 — Last day for candidates to apply.
  • June 4 — First day of SPARK begins with orientation.
  • August — SPARK program presentations.
  • December — SPARK Mini Science Fair.
  • January to May — Scholars compete at regional, state and international science fairs.

Application instructions

Complete the following steps to apply:

  1. Create an account to begin the online Application for Admission. Select the following when creating your account:
    • School of Study — Office of Non-Clinical Education Programs.
    • Area of Interest — Science Program for the Advancement of Research Knowledge (SPARK).
  2. Once logged in, select — Create a New Application.
  3. Select — Start a Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science Experience Application.
  4. Complete each section of the application and submit.
  5. After submission, select the:
    • View button next to your application.
    • Supplemental Items and Documents tab.
      • Upload your supplemental items listed in the section below.
      • Complete the Recommendation Request section.

Additional required items

  • Essay. Upload the following essay in the Supplemental Items section. In 500 words or less, answer the following questions in essay form:
    • Why would you like to be a research scholar at Mayo Clinic?
    • Why would you be a good candidate for the program?
    • What do you expect to gain from this mentorship?
    • What are your specific research interests — cancer, neuroscience, immunology, artificial intelligence, cardiology, stem cell biology, drug development or epidemiology — and why? Review Mayo Clinic Research in Florida to learn about researchers and focus areas.
  • Unofficial or official high school transcripts. Upload your transcripts covering grades 9 and up in the Supplemental Items area.
  • Science teacher letter of recommendation. Complete the Recommendation Request section of the online application, and your teacher will receive an email with a link to upload a letter.
  • Program Official Abstract form. Upload in the Supplemental Items area.

Admission into the program is contingent on completing, but not limited to, the following onboarding documents:

  • Drug test.
  • Student Vaccination Attestation and Authorization Form.
  • Student Tuberculosis (TB) Attestation and Authorization Form.