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Academic Initiative

Student-centered Pipeline to Advance Research in Cancer Careers

  • Sponsor: National Institutes of Health
  • National Cancer Institute

Program Overview

  • SPARCC (Student-centered Program to Advance Research in Cancer Careers) is an 8-week summer program that combines content knowledge and clinical experiences to focus on cancer care, cultural responsiveness, and research. Students will have workshop sessions in the morning and practicum rotations in the afternoon.


  • Become an expert in clinical cancer trials Academic/scholarly advising Career counseling Monetary weekly stipend to support research and learning efforts during the 8 week program Apple iPad to utilize for research efforts Access to MCW faculty and resources Cultural experiences Presentation assistance Network with nationally renowned experts Publication opportunities Daily breakfast Team Talks and Lunch & Learns Practicum rotations

Program Contact

  • Kristina Kaljo, PhD
  • sparcc@mcw.edu


  • Midwest
  • 9200 W Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53226, USA

Type Of Program


  • Collegiate


  • Medical




Research, Roles & Responsibilities

Research Components

  • Development of intellectual property

  • Funding to attend professional development sessions/coursework

  • Program sponsored (in-house) professional development sessions/ coursework

  • Stipend/compensation

Identity & Inclusion

  • Through academic enrichment, professional development - interviews, letters of interest, applications, networking, professional identity formation, research
  • Faculty teaching in SPARCC participate in NCBI training and pre-SPARCC culturally responsive teacher training.

Diversity Groups (Social Identity)

  • Disabilities

  • First-Generation

  • Foreign Born (E.G. Undocumented Immigrants; Non-Citizen Of The US)

  • Gender

  • Language Use (E.G. Bilingualism & Bidialectalism)

  • Race-Ethnicity

  • Socioeconomic Status (E.G. Low-Income)

Race/Ethnic Minority Group

  • African American/Black

  • Alaska Natives

  • Asian American

  • Hispanic/Latino

  • Native American

  • Native Hawaiians

  • Pacific Islander

Inclusionary Practices/Activities

  • Development Of Academic Sense Of Belongingness (E.G. Meetings With Doctoral Scholars, Peer Researchers, Exchanges At Academic Conferences)


  • We have a culminating graduation experience, where each SPARCC Scholar presents their research. Weekly journal clubs encourage discourse and critical analysis of published literature Weekly team building and networking opportunities are provided A team painting/wellness activity is facilitated Weekly individual reflections are written

Mentoring Components

  • Mentees Are Allowed To Attend Events With Mentors (I.E. Dinners, Social Events, Conferences, Retreats)

  • Mentees Are Shown Academic Customs, Pitfalls, Departmental Politics And Taboos

  • Mentor Recognizes The Value Of Mentee

    (I.E. Co-Authorship, Graduate School/Employment References)

  • Mentors Exchange Social Displays Of Scientific Knowledge And Practices

  • Mentors Provide Mentees With Access To Academic Resources

    (E.G. Precollegiate, Collegiate, Graduate, Postdoc, Faculty Training, Standardized Test Preparation, Writing Workshops, Research Workshops, Tenure And Promotion Information)

  • Mentors Provide Regular Scheduled Meetings With Mentees

Empowering Activities

  • Academic Recognition (I.E. Research Credibility, Prestige)

  • Feeder Pathways

    (E.G. Existing Partnerships With Programs At Similar Or Next Level Of The Academic Pipeline)

  • Knowledge Transfer To The Community (E.G., Parents, Peers, Stakeholders)

  • Mentoring Opportunities

  • Publication Opportunities

Past Participant Decision Making

  • Mentor Current Participants

  • Serve As Workshop Speakers

  • Submit Performance Evaluations Highlighting Their Successes


  • Entrance into the clinical research workforce or entrance/completion of an advanced degree.
  • Reflective writing prompts Pre- post- 6 month post- Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices survey

Evaluation Methods

  • Annual Performance Report

  • Program Survey(s)

Anticipated Outcomes

  • Attendance

  • Completing a capstone or thesis project

  • Completing Course(s)

  • Conducting Research

    (E.G. Course-Based, Laboratory-Based, Apprentice-Based, Discovery-Based)

  • Earning a degree

  • Earning acceptance to graduate school

  • Increasing academic skill area(s)

  • Mentoring program alumni

  • Moving to the next level of the pipeline

  • Obtaining employment (industry or other sector)

  • Persistence in research

    applying to other research programs, completing other mentored research experiences

  • Persisting through current degree program

  • Publishing a scholarly work as defined by an academic discipline

Key Performance Indicators

Course evaluations
Practicum evaluations
Reflective writing prompts
Pre- post- 6 month post- Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices survey
Completed research project

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