RFA: 2023 SPARK Program
Logo for the SPARK program: On the right is a stylized square star shape in green, blue, purple and yellow. To the left is the word SPARK in large, bold, capital letters, under which reads "Students Participating as Ambassadors for Research in Kentucky"


Informational Webinar:
Tuesday, August 29, 2023 from 5 to 6 p.m. EST
via Zoom: https://ukth.zoom.us/j/82169666461


Application Deadline:
Monday, September 18, 2023

WHAT: The Students Participating as Ambassadors for Research in Kentucky (SPARK) program is now accepting applications for its 2023 cohort. 

SPARK is a dynamic collaboration between the Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCTS), Center for Health Equity Transformation (CHET), the Cardiovascular Disease Research Priority Area, Aetna Better Health of Kentucky, and other university and philanthropic partners. You can read more about the program here.

Participants will be introduced to community-engaged research focused on health disparities/health equity and receive extensive mentorship. Students will identify a research topic, program leaders will assist in identifying mentors, and students will work with their mentorship team to develop a project. Students will conduct this project in their home communities over the summer, receiving funds to support this research. After implementing the project, participants will meet with their mentors, undertake data analysis and write-up, and present and publish their research in professional settings. It is expected that students will respond to any and all communication (email, calls, etc.), complete all assignments, and provide information promptly and professionally for the duration of the program.

WHO: Any undergraduate students at the University of Kentucky and Kentucky State University with at least two academic years left until graduation and a GPA of 2.8 or higher are invited to apply for SPARK.  We seek talented students interested in developing research expertise and projects in health disparities/health equity. Students from underrepresented groups or disadvantaged backgrounds, as defined by the National Institutes of Health (https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-20-031.html) are especially encouraged to apply.

RESOURCES AND BENEFITS: Students will receive excellent research training, faculty and community mentorship, a $5,000 summer stipend, ample resources for their research project, and professional development opportunities. 

WHEN: Research training will begin in January 2024, with research data collection taking place May through August of 2024. Research activities will continue throughout academic year 2024-2025. All students will present their projects at the annual CCTS conference in April 2025.

WHERE: The SPARK program will take place primarily in person. Meetings and training sessions are both anticipated to occur at the Health Kentucky Research Building at the University of Kentucky. When necessary, remote options will be made available.

APPLICATION INFORMATION: The application window is Aug. 21 to Sept. 18. Please submit your application online at the following link: https://medicine.uky.edu/centers/chet/spark-applications. The required application components include:

  1. Cover letter (limited to one page) describing your interest in health equity research
  2. Resume, including GPA and major
  3. A list of three professional references with contact information
  4. Unofficial transcript 

More information is available here.
Questions? Please contact Ariel Arthur at ariel.arthur@uky.edu.

Dates & Deadlines
  • Application Deadline: