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Student-Centered Pipeline to Advance Research in Cancer Careers

SPARCC is recruiting underrepresented minority undergraduate students for an 8-week (40 hours a week) intensive summer research program focused on developing a career in clinical cancer prevention, treatment and care. The program runs from June 13th—August 9th.

This will include:

  • Face-to-face workshops at the Medical College of Wisconsin
  • Practicum rotations in various cancer-related specialties
  • Work and learn alongside recognized researchers and physicians
  • Professional development opportunities to seek advanced graduate degrees and employment
  • A stipend to support research and learning efforts

Applications are due February 1, 2019


The goal of SPARCC is to improve and advance diversity and culturally responsive care in the field of clinical cancer research.

The clinical research professional has the unique responsibility of educating others about clinical research, and recruiting and enrolling participants to clinical research studies while protecting participants’ rights.


Eligible SPARCC students are:

  • US citizens or permanent residents
  • Juniors, seniors, or recent graduates from a 4-year college -OR- in the final year of completing an associate’s degree
  • Cumulative GPA of 2.5 or above
  • From minority groups underrepresented in biomedical research: American Indians or Alaska Natives, Blacks or African Americans, Hispanics or Latinos, Native Hawaiians or Other Pacific Islanders
  • Health insurance
  • Passionate about: cancer prevention, treatment and care, biomedical research, healthcare disparities, community engagement, collaboration and leadership!

Program Benefits

  • Become an expert in clinical cancer trials
  • Academic/scholarly advising
  • Career counseling
  • Stipend to support research and learning efforts during the 8 week program
  • Access to MCW faculty and resources
  • Cultural experiences
  • Presentation assistance
  • Network with nationally renowned experts
  • Publication opportunities
  • Daily breakfast Team Talks and Lunch & Learns
  • Practicum rotations
  • And so much more!

After being selected for the program, students will:

  • Expect to dedicate 40 hours per week for workshop sessions and practicum rotations
  • Attend and actively participate in scholarly activities
  • Prepare and present experiences at the SPARCC Cancer Networking and Research Summit
  • Collaborate with SPARCC colleagues
  • Work alongside assigned student champions
  • Engage in follow-up programmatic development

SPARCC Curriculum:

SPARCC faculty will conduct face-to-face classroom workshops to provide students a deep understanding of clinical research and the Clinical Research Professional’s (CRP) role and responsibilities. The workshops will also review current cancer research, cancer disparities and promote awareness of culturally responsive care for diverse patient populations. Workshop sessions will follow Malcolm Knowles’ Principles of Adult Learning Theory, which emphasizes:

  • An effective learning environment where learners feel safe participating and expressing perspectives
  • Support for learners to be cognizant of their own needs, which will strengthen their self-motivation
  • Encouragement for learners to engage in critical reflection and evaluate their own experiences
  • Guidance to particular resources and strategies that may assist in reaching target education goals

SPARCC Core Curriculum:

  • Cancer Care and Clinical Trials Operations
  • Culturally Responsive Care
  • Leadership and Professionalism
  • Ethical and Participant Safety Considerations
  • Study and Site Management
  • Cancer Medicines, Development and Regulation
  • Data Management and Informatics
  • Scientific Concepts and Research Design specific to Cancer Research

SPARCC Research Practicums:

  • Interventional Radiology
  • Solid Tumor Oncology
  • Leukemia/Lymphoma
  • Radiation Oncology
  • Pediatric Oncology
  • Palliative Care
  • Genetics and Diagnostic Imaging
  • Pharmacy

Required Application Materials:

Final Online Application due February 1, 2019
Please Note: This application cannot be saved and continued, all materials noted below are needed upon submission. Specifically, responses and required documentation need to be completed before beginning this online application.

PDF Version

Letter of Interest addressing four question areas:
Given your personal background, describe what you would bring to enhance the diversity of the SPARCC program.
List your three most significant interests or activities, including any employment or volunteer work experience. Describe why these interests and activities are so important to you. Explain how you became involved in the activities, and explain how these activities have affected you to this day.
What distinguishes you from your classmates, colleagues, and/or peers?
How has your diversity (cultural heritage, race, gender, socio-economic background, family, etc.) contributed to who you are today and your pursuit of a career or advanced degree in the biomedical sciences?
Unofficial transcript from your undergraduate program or associate’s program demonstrating academic success.
One letter of recommendation from an employer or academic teacher.
Resume, which highlights education, skills, and involvement with on-campus or local community organizations. See resume template:
Resume templateResume template
Apply Now →

Application and Program Timeline:

November 2018Call for Applications
February 1, 2019Online Applications Due
March 4, 2019Applicants Notified
June 13, 2019Orientation
June 13 - August 9, 2019SPARCC 8-week Program
August 9, 2019SPARCC Cancer Networking and Research Summit

SPARCC Administration

Janet S. Rader, MD
Jack A. & Elaine D. Klieger Professor and Chair
SPARCC Program Director

Kristina Kaljo, PhD
Assistant Professor, Curriculum & Instruction
SPARCC Program Director

Michelle Malicki, MPH
SPARCC Project Administrator

SPARCC is funded by the National Cancer Institute, a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and accepts students from underrepresented backgrounds.


Medical College of Wisconsin,
Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology
9200 West Wisconsin Ave.,
Milwaukee, WI 53226-3522
Phone: (414) 805-6600
24-Hour Emergency Line: (414) 805-6700

Children's Hospital of Wisconsin

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