Frequently Asked Questions

CHORI Summer Student Research Program

Frequently Asked Questions


Who is eligible to apply?

· High school students in their junior or senior year, with at least one completed year in math and biology OR Undergraduate students currently enrolled in a 2-yr or 4-yr undergraduate program.

· Students in good academic standing (typically 3.0 or better GPA) with an interest in the health sciences.

· Students with background considered under-represented in the sciences as defined below (page 3).

· U.S. citizens or non-citizen nationals of the United States, or those lawfully admitted for permanent residency (i.e., in possession of the Alien Registration Receipt Card I-551 or I-151) at the time of application. Undocumented students or students on temporary visas are welcome to apply and are eligible for some of the stipend positions.

Applicants eligible to receive a stipend must meet all of the criteria above to be considered for acceptance into the program. Students who do not fulfill the eligibility requirements may still apply, using the same criteria outlined below, denoting on the application the interest in participation as a ‘Volunteer’.  Volunteer applicants are chosen based on merit and mentor availability.

How do I apply?

Students interested in the Summer Student Research Program should submit the SSRP application and other required documents by the application deadline. A link to our online application as well as applicant instructions can be found on our website: For students unable to submit applications electronically, see “Can I submit my application by mail” below.

What is required as part of my application?

  1. Completed application form
  2. School transcript. An official copy is not required, but the unofficial copy must be legible.
  3. Personal essay (500 words or less). Please address the following topics:

·       Why do you want to participate in this program?

·       What do you hope to achieve through participation in this program?

·       Why you believe you should be chosen as a candidate for this program?

  1. Two letters of recommendation. It is recommended that one letter come from a teacher, while the other may come from a counselor, research mentor, coach or other school official. These letters should address your educational achievements, potential to succeed in the sciences, and why you might stand out from others. All letters should be signed and on official letterhead. Letters are sent directly to the SSRP email: [email protected]

(See website for Reference Letter Criteria)

  1. Resume (2 pages or less)

What if I don’t have all of the application elements by the deadline?

Only completed applications will be reviewed.

When is the application due?

Applications are due in February of each year. Check our website for specific dates.  

When do I submit the application?

You may submit an application at any time before the due date; however, the applications will not be reviewed by the selection committee until the deadline.

How do I submit an application?

            Step 1.  Find the link to the online application for the summer student program at ‘How to Apply” on the website


               Step 2. Complete the application and submit with all required documents as PDF or Word documents. Do not submit Google documents.


               Step 3: Be sure your letters of recommendation are emailed directly to [email protected].

Can I submit my application by mail?

Electronic applications submitted through the online portal are strongly preferred. If electronic submission is not possible, you may submit your application and required documents by mail to the street address below. However, we cannot be responsible for applications lost in the mail.

            CHORI Summer Student Research Program

            5700 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Oakland, CA 94609

How are applicants selected?

A selection committee will review all applications that meet the eligibility requirements. The criteria for selection of awardees will include candidate qualifications, aptitude, enthusiasm for science and research, career goals, and articulation of what you hope to gain from participation in the program. The selection committee takes a holistic view of the application. Though grades are considered, the committee will take into account the rigor of courses taken and trajectory of grades, particularly for students who have experienced academic or personal barriers. Student character is also considered based on the submitted letters of recommendation. Students applying to SSRP as alumni must demonstrate leadership potential and articulate, in detail, what new skills or experiences they hope to gain from participation in the program again.

When do I hear if I was selected?

Students will be informed about the status of their application by email typically by the end of March each year. Updates regarding specific dates of intern selection will be posted on our website.  Be sure to check your email regularly during this time, including your spam filter in case notification gets delayed there.

Can I choose my research mentor?

Research mentors are carefully selected for each student by the SSRP leadership team. Students may submit preferences for specific areas of research study, or for mentors who typically participate in the program, these will be considered along with the mentor’s research focus and lab/clinic availability. Mentor availability changes each summer and there are no guarantees. To find out more about our mentors and their research interests, please visit the program website at:

Can I choose what type of research I participate in?

Students can choose the general type of research they prefer: laboratory-based research vs. clinical research vs. community health research. However, specific summer research projects are decided by the mentor: student pair after program enrollment. Laboratory research is defined as: research conducted within a basic science laboratory. Clinical research is defined as: Research in which people, or data, or samples of tissue from people, are studied to understand health and disease. Community Health or Public Health research is defined broadly as research focused on the maintenance, protection, and improvement of the health status of population groups and communities.

How long is the program?

The summer student program is 9 weeks, typically from the first week of June through the first week of August. Exact dates of the program vary and will be posted on the summer student program website as well as emailed to the students upon acceptance to the program.

How is an ‘under-represented student’ defined?

Under-representation is defined by our SSRP program and the National Science Foundation as a student who falls into at least ONE of the THREE categories below. Please review carefully.

1)Individuals from racial and ethnic groups that have been shown by the National Science Foundation to be under-represented in the health-related sciences on a national basis.  

African-American/Black: all persons having origins in any of the Black racial groups of Africa.

This definition includes Native-born Black Americans, West Indians, Africans, and Haitians.

Hispanic/Latino: all people having origins in North, Central, and South America, or in the Caribbean, Cuba, or

Puerto Rico whose language is Spanish.  This definition excludes people born in Europe whose language is Spanish or Portuguese, and people born in Brazil, French Guyana, British and Dutch Guyana.   

Native American: all persons having origins in any of the cultural people of North America, and who maintain

cultural identification through tribal affiliation or community recognition. Native Americans may include American Indians, Alaska Eskimos (Inuits), and Aleuts.

Pacific Islander: all persons having origins in the Pacific Islands.  These include Guamanians, Samoans, Fijians, Polynesians, Tongans, Micronesians, Tahitians, Marshalleses, Melanesians and Hawaiians.

Middle Eastern: persons having origins in specific Middle Eastern countries, including Algeria, Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Oman, Palestine, Pakistan, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Yemen.


2)Individuals with disabilities, who are defined as those with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. Some examples include but are not limited to sickle cell disease, thalassemia, cystic fibrosis, Type I diabetes, cerebral palsy, and autism.


3)Individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds (defined by at least 2 or more of the criteria below, documentation of eligibility may be required if accepted):

a.     Family with an annual gross income less than 130% of poverty level according to published levels.

b.     High school students eligible to receive free or reduced lunch for 2 or more years

c.      Students who were or are currently eligible for a Federal Pell Grant  

d.     Students who were or are currently experiencing homelessness as defined by the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (

e.     Students who were or are currently in the foster care system as defined by the Administration for Children and Families (

f.      Students who have had no parents or legal guardians who completed a Bachelor’s degree.

g.     Students who received support from WIC as a parent or child .

h.     Students who grew up in a US Rural area as designated by HRSA .

Is a stipend provided during the program?

Yes, all selected and eligible students will receive a stipend during their participation. Summer stipends are set at $3000 for high school students to $4300 for undergraduate students, as defined by the program granting agencies. Once a student is selected, stipend details will be sent by email, and students will have the opportunity to review the program offer prior to final acceptance.

Is housing provided during the program?

No, housing for students is not provided on site during the program, nor is funding provided for housing support.

Who funds the program?

The program is currently funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine.

What happens if I am selected?

You will receive an offer of acceptance into the program by email from the program administrator. You will have one week to accept the offer.  Upon acceptance, you will receive an enrollment packet by email. For official enrollment into the program to occur, your materials must be completed and received by the deadlines provided, or you may lose your program spot.


Are there age limitations for the program?

Students must be 16 years of age or older by June 1 of the program year to participate in the program.

There is no maximum age limit.

What is the definition of a high school student?

Any student enrolled in a high school program at the time the SSRP application is submitted.

What is the definition of an undergraduate student?

Any student enrolled in a 2-yr or 4-yr undergraduate program at the time the SSRP application is submitted.

If I have other questions about the application process, who do I contact?

For questions not addressed via this FAQ, please contact the SSRP Program Coordinator, Ms. Roialle Jennings at: