Photograph showing a group of SPARK students and mentors Create lasting connections

During SPARK, you develop many relationships with lab mentors, advisers, personnel, and other students from schools in and around Jacksonville, Florida. This network of colleagues can provide 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.

Application instructions

Applications will be accepted November 1 through December 31.

Complete the following steps to apply:

  1. Create an account to begin the online Application for Admission
    • Select — Office of Non-Clinical Education Programs
    • Select — Science Program for the Advancement of Research Knowledge (SPARK)
    • Select — Jacksonville, FL
    • Select — Corresponding Start Date
    • Select — Corresponding Entry Term
  2. Complete each section of the application and submit
  3. After submission, view the required Supplemental Items and Documents
    • Upload each required item in the Supplemental Items section

Additional required items

  • Essay. Include the following and upload 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?
    • Which labs or faculty mentors are you selecting? Note: Students are encouraged to select two or three mentors.
    • What can you offer during your mentorship?
    • What do you expect to gain from this mentorship?
  • Unofficial or official high school transcripts. Upload in the Supplemental Items area. Must cover grades 9 and up.
  • Science teacher letter of recommendation. Enter the science teacher's name into the online application, which will initiate an email to the teacher with a link to for the teacher to complete the letter of recommendation and submit online. The letter of recommendation should NOT be submitted to the SPARK mailbox.
  • Program Abstract form. Upload in the Supplemental Items area.

Eligibility criteria

A student must meet these criteria to apply for SPARK:

  • Be enrolled as a junior or senior at a school in Duval County or St. Johns County in Florida for the upcoming academic year
  • Have a minimum 3.5 unweighted grade-point average
  • Provide a letter of recommendation from the current high school science teacher

In addition, applicants must complete a one-page research abstract, using the program abstract form, for the original research they wish to pursue.

A Mayo Clinic committee selects highly qualified candidates for interviews based on the availability of research mentors. The final screening includes an interview with the student's potential faculty mentor.

Submission into the program is contingent upon the completion, not limited to, the following onboarding documents:

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