High School Explorers Program

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 systemically excluded from careers in biomedical 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 plans to open 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. 

All students participating in a summer program or internship at Fred Hutch must be fully vaccinated* against COVID-19, and agree to follow all COVID-19 safety guidelines while on campus. Proof of vaccination will be required.

*Please note that only the primary series of a COVID-19 vaccine is required; booster vaccines are not required at this time. 

The application for the 2023 Pathways Research Explorers Program is now closed. Please check back next year. 

High School Explorers Program Description


Join us for a fun, two-week introduction to Fred Hutchinson Cancer 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.

2023 Program Dates 
  • Orientation Day: June 2023, Date TBD, 6-8pm
  • Session 1:  July 31 - August 11, 2023
  • Session 2: August 14 - 25, 2023

Check out the Blog Posts from our previous Explorers students!



2022 Application Timeline
  • Application opens January 2023
  • Application closes 11:59 pm PST March 17th, 2023
  • Recommendation form is due by 11:59 pm PST March 31st, 2023
  • Notification of applicant status will go out late-April 2023




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 

This program is specifically designed for students from backgrounds systemically excluded from careers in biomedical science. This includes individuals from underrepresented races/ethnicities, individuals with disabilities, and individuals from economically disadvantaged backgrounds



Applications for the 2023 Pathways Research Explorers Program is now open. 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 before 11:59 pm PST on March 17th, 2023. To view a preview of the application download this PDF. The PDF is the preview of the application and not the actual application. Please DO NOT fill out the preview and submit it in place of the online application. 

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. 

After successful completion of the program, students will receive a $500 award to offset lost work opportunities. 

2023 National Minority Health Month Op-Eds by the Explorers Virtual Interns

These op-eds were written by the Science Education Partnership Virtual Explorers High School interns for the April Minority Health Month Programming held by the Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) at the Fred Hutch (the Community of Employees for Racial Equity, Fred Hutch Rainbow Employees for Equity, and Hutch United) in partnership with different departments (Government and Community Relations and Science Education). Each op-ed focuses on the groups and communities that are the focus of each week.

The Virtual Explorers Internship at Fred Hutch is made possible by Pathways to Cancer Research (R25CA221770), a Youth Enjoy Science Award (YES/CURE), from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) at the National Institutes of Health. The contents are solely the responsibility of the author(s) and the Fred Hutch Science Education Partnership and do not necessarily represent the official views of the NCI or NIH. 

Week 0: Health Inequities: Attacking Health Disparities Through Social Determinants by Melodie Duran, Chloe Sow, and Ikran Abshir

Week 1 - Indigenous and Alaska Native Health Week: Indigenous and Alaskan Native Mental Health by Taylor Neil and Raihan Hakim

Week 2 - Latinx and Hispanic Health Week: Multilingual Practices in Healthcare by Andy M, Aaliyah B, and Lalitha C

Week 3 - Black/African American Health Week: The Generational Scar by Faduma Yusuf and Mahelat Alamerew

Week 4 - Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Health Week: Diabetes in Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Groups in the US by Benjamin Pham, Etasha Thareja, and Sebastian Gurrero

Other Pathways to Cancer Research Programs

Fellowship Teacher Kari Bradwisch working in her mentor research lab.

Hutch Teacher Fellowship

Hutch Teacher Fellowship

The fellowship provides a two-year professional development research experience for secondary science teachers.

Interns work with DNA in their mentor research lab.

Pathways Undergraduate Researchers

Pathways Undergraduate Researchers

Pathways Undergraduate Researchers is an individualized, mentored, summer internship program for rising first-, second-, and third-year college students. The program aims to prepare students for upper-level undergraduate research training 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.

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center Campus

Contact Science Education Partnership