Short-Term Educational Program for Underrepresented Persons (STEP-UP)

Short-Term Educational Program for Underrepresented Persons (STEP-UP)

The STEP-UP Summer Internship Program Short-Term Research Experience for Underrepresented Persons (STEP-UP) is a federally funded program managed and supported by the Office of Minority Health Research Coordination (OMHRC) in the National Institutes of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The overall goal of NIDDK’s STEP-UP program is to build and sustain a biomedical, behavioral, clinical and social science research pipeline focused on NIDDK mission areas.

STEP-UP is particularly interested in increasing the participation of students from backgrounds underrepresented in biomedical research on a national basis, including individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds, individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, and individuals with disabilities.

Student participants in the STEP-UP Summer Undergraduate Program are seen in 2017. The large group of students are pictured in two rows, one standing behind another that is seated. The program is designed for underrepresented students.
Student participants in the STEP-UP Summer Undergraduate Program are seen in 2017.

STEP-UP provides an opportunity for students from diverse backgrounds and communities to participate in summer research in the areas of diabetes, nutrition, obesity, and digestive, kidney, and hematological diseases.

The STEP-UP program supports students for 10 full-time consecutive weeks of basic or clinical research with experienced faculty.

The research experience begins in late May and is completed by early August, culminating with an all-expense paid trip to the Annual Undergraduate STEP-UP Conference in mid-August at the NIH in Bethesda, MD. Students will present their summer research to peers, mentors, and experts from the scientific community.

This opportunity is open to undergraduate students, including African-American, Hispanic American, American Indian, Alaskan Native, Native Hawaiian, and other Pacific Islanders, who have completed at least one year of college by June of the program year. Students must be U.S. citizens, non-citizen nationals, or legal permanent residents.

Key Dates

  • Mid-November: Applications open for the following summer.
  • Mid-February: Application deadline.
  • May: Online Research Training/Orientation program.
  • Late May: Research begins.
  • Early August: Research concludes.
  • Mid-August: Students travel to the STEP-UP Annual Undergraduate Scientific Session and Research Presentations at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD.

What's Included

The program provides students with:

  • A Student Participation Allowance of $4,500 issued directly to the student
  • Access to the Online Research Training/Orientation program
  • Travel expenses to the STEP-UP Annual Undergraduate Scientific Session and Research Presentations in Bethesda, MD

Program Leadership

The Penn State STEP-UP program is headed by Dr. Brian Reeves and coordinated by Dr. Gail Matters.