High School Explorers Program

High school summer programs

Pathways Research Explorers

The Pathways Research Explorers Program, funded by the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health, supports rising 10th and 11th grade students (especially those from backgrounds traditionally underrepresented in science) in a two-week introductory summer program at Fred Hutch. We run two sessions in August of approximately 16 students each. Students must have completed a high school biology course to participate.

COVID-19 Contingency Notice
SEP has opened the application for Explorers Program, with the understanding that the final format of the program will depend upon evidenced-based understanding of the risk posed by COVID-19. If possible, the program will run as expected and described. However, given the pandemic, the program's format may be virtual, or a hybrid of virtual and on-campus. The program’s duration may also be impacted. We will provide updates as more information becomes available closer to the program start date. 

The student portion of the application for the 2021 Explorers Program is now closed. 

Student applications will close at 11:59 PM PST on March 17th 2021. Requests for letters of recommendation will be sent to recomenders as soon as the student portion of the application is submitted. Recommendations must be submitted by 11:59 PM PST on March 31st, 2021. 

High School Explorers Program Description


Join us for a fun, two-week introduction to Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (Fred Hutch) and the research being conducted here. Fred Hutch has an international reputation for its pioneering research in bone marrow and stem cell transplantation and other immune-based cancer therapies. We also are well-known for our work in many other areas of biomedical research, including cancer prevention, public health, epidemiology, and biostatistics. Participants will conduct hands-on activities in Fred Hutch's training labs, tour working labs, meet students and scientists at different stages of their careers, and talk about next steps you can take if you are interested in biomedical research.

Please note that there are two sessions offered. Each two-week program meets from 9-4 p.m., Monday - Friday.

2021 Program Dates 
  • Orientation Day: June 2021, Date TBD, 6-8pm
  • Session 1:  August 2 - 13, 2021
  • Session 2: August 16 - 27, 2021

Check out the Blog Posts from our previous Explorers students!



Students should...

  • Be starting 10th or 11th grade in the fall
  • Have completed introductory biology
  • Be interested in learning more about cancer research and related careers 

Students from racial and ethnic groups traditionally underrepresented in health sciences, persons with disabilities, and persons raised in economically disadvantaged backgrounds are especially encouraged to apply.



Applicants must complete an application, obtain a recommendation from a teacher who can speak to the student's science interest, and submit an unofficial transcript.

Please note that you cannot save an application that you have partially completed. Therefore, we recommend you draft your short answers in a word processing application such as Word or Google Docs before starting the application, and then copy them into the form when you are ready.

Notification of applicant status will be sent out late-April.

Financial Support


There is no cost to attend although students will need to bring/buy their own lunch and make their own travel/lodging arrangements. ORCA cards are provided for the duration of the program for each student.

After successful completion of the program, students will receive a $500 award to offset lost work opportunities. Explorers participants will also be eligible to apply for $500 of education-related funding, including, but not limited to: textbooks, school supplies, college application costs, or test prep courses.

Other Pathways to Cancer Research Programs

The High School Pathways Research Explorer Program is a part of Pathways to Cancer Research and is funded by a Youth Enjoy Science (YES) grant from the National Cancer Institute (grant number R25CA221770). Funded by the National Cancer Institute, Pathways to Cancer Research provides education and training programs for teachers, high school students, and undergraduates. This builds on the long-standing efforts and institutional commitment by Fred Hutch to support the development of a more diverse next generation of biomedical scientists. Pathways to Cancer Research materials are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the NCI or NIH.

Contact Science Education Partnership