The Young Empowered Scientists for ContinUed Research Engagement (YES for CURE) Program is a three-year training initiative for highly motivated high school and undergraduate students interested in pursuing a career in scientific research. Through engagement in mentored summer research projects, participation in an advanced scientific curriculum during the academic year, and year-round professional skills training, students will acquire scientific knowledge and technical skills, and increase their understanding of how to conduct biomedical research.  This initiative is funded through an R25 grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI CA221738).

Program Features:

  • Extensive program orientation and scientific skills training
  • Two summers of mentored cancer research experiences at Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center
  • Experience in composing an abstract and delivering an oral or poster presentation of your research
  • Networking with students in other research programs, and with research scientists
  • Seminars on research and professional development topics
  • Journal club meetings focused on understanding scientific articles
  • Mentoring and curriculum development experience with middle school students in Boston Public Schools
  • Opportunity to present research at local and/or national conferences
  • Summer stipends

Program Start Date: February 20, 2024

Program Highlights

Prior to their first summer research experience, YES for CURE Scholars take part in Skills and Solutions, a series of Wednesday evening and Saturday morning training sessions during the academic year designed to teach essential research skills and scientific concepts. The goal is to ensure that students have a foundation of knowledge and familiarity upon which they can build during their summer experience. Skills and Solutions includes interactive classroom and hands-on laboratory instruction on topics ranging from molecular biology techniques, cancer biology and genetics, public health research, cancer epidemiology, bioinformatics, research professionalism, reading and interpreting scientific papers, and responsible conduct of research.

With the guidance and support of program leadership, YES for CURE Scholars work together to design and implement a science curriculum for middle school students during their second and third year of program participation.  Scholars engage Boston Public Schools rising 6th , 7th and 8th graders attending a summer program administered by the Talent Search Boston/Project REACH program at UMass Boston. YES for CURE Scholars visit these students two to three times during the summer to share their experiences doing research at the cancer center and some of the science they have learned.  

Historically, many students in DF/HCC training programs have been the first in their families to pursue postsecondary degrees. Many have grown up in non-English speaking households and/or have been economically disadvantaged. Due to these and other factors, most of our students have had no prior experience with biomedical research or researchers at home or in their communities. The YES for CURE Program engage the family members of our students in program activities and planning conversation with the goal of assisting them to provide meaningful support for and to achieve understanding of the significance of their students’ research experiences.

Program staff work with students and family members to schedule periodic one-on-one conversations crafting and tracking students’ academic and professional plans.  Families are also invited and encouraged to attend selected YES for CURE Program activities, including the initial January program kick-off meeting and other social and educational events throughout the year. 

During the academic years between their summer research experiences, YES for CURE Scholars meet twice a month at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute for a series of Wednesday evening seminars and workshops.  These workshops are a combination of journal club meetings, in which students read and discuss recent scientific articles with DF/HCC postdoctoral fellows and graduate students; professional development workshops and seminars, in which students interact with mid-career professionals working in STEM, learning and practice soft skills such as networking, informational interviewing, and developing their brand; and build their middle school curriculum for the summer.