Science Education Programs

Students and Teachers As Research Scientists


What are the dates of the STARS program?

The STARS program runs for six weeks from the second week of June through the third week of July. It begins at 8:00 a.m. and ends at 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. There are also some evening and weekend social activities.

Who can apply?

STARS is for academically-talented high school students.  You must be currently in your sophomore or junior year.  We do not take seniors who are graduating prior to the summer program.

When is the deadline for submitting an application package?

Complete application packages must be postmarked by March 26 or hand-delivered by 5 p.m. on March 27.  They will not be accepted prior to March 1. 

When will I be notified if I am accepted?

All applicants (accepted and not accepted) will receive an e-mail sent to the address on their application form before April 16.

How many students do you accept?

We accept approximately 80 students to participate in the program.

How many applications do you normally receive?

Approximately 120-130.

What is your criteria for selection?

Selection is determined based on a student's GPA, test scores (PSAT, SAT, PACT, ACT, etc.), interest in science, student essay, and letter(s) of recommendation.

Is there a cost?

There is a non-refundable application fee and a tuition fee.  Tuition is due by June 1.  Refer to the Financial Information Section for details. 

Are there scholarships?

Yes, you will need to fill out a financial aid application (available on this site) and submit it with your student application package.  If sufficient need is detailed on this application, you may receive a partial scholarship.

What will I be doing during the six-week program?

Activities include doing research with a mentor, preparing a research paper (presented at the end of the program), lectures by nationally-known scientists, career confabs, communications, and social activities. You can look at last year's schedule (posted on this site) for an example of daily activities.

How am I assigned a mentor?

You will submit a mentor selection form (available on this site) with your application package, ranking your eight top choices.  We do our best to assign you to your first or second choice but that is not always possible.

Where will I be working?

You will be assigned to a campus based on the selection of your mentor.  You could be working at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, Saint Louis University, Washington University in St. Louis, or the University of Missouri-St. Louis.  You will be at UMSL two mornings a week and the rest of the week at whatever campus or institution you have been assigned to.

What areas of science are represented?

More than 60 scientists who work in fields such as biology, chemistry, computer science, earth science, engineering, environmental science, mathematics, medicine, physics, and psychology act as mentors.

Should out-of-area or out-of state students apply?

Superior, out-of-area or out-of-state students are given consideration, however, housing is not provided.  There is a similar program in Florida that you might consider.

Do I need to provide my own transportation?

Yes, you will need to have access to a car or purchase a Metrolink pass.  If you do not have a driver's license, you will need to coordinate a ride.  Metrolink has north and south campus stations.  Refer to the Parking and Transportation information on this website. 

Is lunch provided?

There will be a student/mentor luncheon at UMSL on the first day of the program.  Lunch is provided at the UMSL Student Center on Mondays and Wednesdays. The other days you will need to provide your own.  On the sixth week of the program, lunch will be provided on Monday and Friday at UMSL. 

Who may I contact if I have more questions?

Dr. Kenneth R. Mares, STARS Director - or (314) 516-6155