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Research Experiences to Advance the Careers of HBCU Undergraduates at the University of Utah (REACH U2) in Health Disparities Research

Project description

Research Experiences to Advance the Careers of HBCU Undergraduates at the University of Utah (REACH U2) in Health Disparities Research

The purpose of REACH U2 is to provide undergraduate students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) in North Carolina with an intensive ten-week summer research experience under the mentorship of a University of Utah faculty member, with the goal of preparing participants for enrolling in competitive graduate programs. REACH U2 offers opportunities to gain hands-on research experience in disciplines at the intersection of health disparities and biomedical research, including cancer research, public health, and bioinformatics.

Co-funded by the School of Medicine (SoM) and Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI), the program is led by Dr. Kola Okuyemi, Chair of the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine and HCI Executive Director of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, and complements core research conducted by faculty in the SoM and cancer researchers at HCI. Dr. Okuyemi collaborates with a consortium of HBCUs led by Dr. Raymond Samuel, Professor at North Carolina A & T State University on recruitment and placement of student participants.


Students participating in SPUR will receive a stipend of $6,000 (less applicable taxes) over the course of the program. Participants will be hired as short-term, temporary employees. This will allow them to receive University of Utah ID cards, providing for the ability to check out books from University Libraries, use computers on campus, receive discounts, utilize public transit for free, etc.

The REACH U2 program runs from May 25 through August 4, 2022. The deadline to apply to REACH U2 is January 19, 2022. For questions, contact

Student Role: Program Expectations
    • Time Commitment: This is a full-time program. Student participants are expected to spend 35-40 hours per week on research and program-related activities for the entire duration of the program (June 5 through August 4, 2023). Details regarding expectations and/or requirements of the research will be negotiated between the student and faculty mentor.
    • Program Events and Meetings: Students are expected to attend all required program meetings and events, including: orientation, opening luncheon, Grad School Mini-Expo, individual meeting with program coordinator, closing luncheon. Events and meetings are organized by REACH U2 and SPUR (Summer Program for Undergraduate Research), which provides the framework for all undergraduate summer research and comprises several programs.
    • Undergraduate Research Education Series (URES): Student participants are required to attend weekly research and professional development events.
    • Final Presentation: Student participants are required to present their work (poster format) at the Office of Undergraduate Research Summer Symposium held on Thursday, August 4, 2023.
    • Journal Submission: Student participants are required to submit a one-page summary of their experience to the University of Utah Undergraduate Research Journal upon completion of the program.
    • Final Report: Student participants are required to submit a final report that details their REACH U2 experience. This is collected via survey format.
    • All-Programs Socials (optional): If their schedules allow, student participants are encouraged to attend socials that are planned by other formal summer UR programs on campus.
Opportunity Location Type: In Person
Is this a paid opportunity: Yes
Minimum Requirements: REACH U2 2023 Student Eligibility Admission to the program is competitive. Applicants must meet all of the following criteria:
    • be a degree-seeking undergraduate student in the Fall 2023 semester matriculated in North Carolina A & T State University or in an institution affiliated with the North Carolina HBCU Research & Education Center. Preference is given to rising sophomores and juniors. Students are expected to continue their college career in Fall 2023 and not graduate before December 2023; concurrent enrollment while in high school does not meet this eligibility requirement.
    • eligible to work in the United States:
      • If you are a Dreamer with DACA, you are eligible to participate and will be hired and paid though UU payroll. If you do not have DACA, you are able to participate and gain research experience, but we do not currently have a mechanism that allows us to compensate you.
      • If you are an international student or scholar, you must possess documentation that establishes your eligibility to work in the United States (if you hold US citizenship, it is likely you have these documents). List of acceptable documents.
    • able to commit to approximately 35-40 hours per week of employment at the University of Utah for the entire duration of the program (June 5 through August 4, 2023)
    • at least 18 years old by May 23, 2023
Students may not participate in REACH U2 more than once. Please note that no previous college coursework or previous research experience is required.