Pathways Undergraduate Researchers

Pathways Undergraduate Researchers is a competitive, full-time, paid summer internship program for rising first-, second-, and third-year college students. The program is specifically designed for students from backgrounds underrepresented in biomedical science. Interns are paired and immersed in nine weeks of mentored activities in a Fred Hutch research group in Seattle. Interns also participate in a cancer biology education series, attend professional development workshops and enjoy social activities with their teams and peers. 

Program dates for 2024 will be posted in late November. 

The 2024 application portal opens on January 1 and closes on February 28.

If you are looking for other opportunities, please check out the Catalog of Biomedical Research Internships

Eligibility Requirements

The Pathways Undergraduate Researchers internship is open to rising 1st-, 2nd- and 3rd-year undergraduate students who:

  • Are or will be enrolled in a two- or four-year college/university
  • Have a strong academic background with a scientific focus
  • Are committed to the full nine-week program. 
  • Can participate in Zoom interview with selection panel

Prior research experience is not required.

Interns from previous years (in SHIP or Pathways Undergrads) may apply to return for a second summer if they meet the above eligibility requirements. See section below for application instructions for returning interns.  

Pathways Undergrads is specifically designed for students from racial and ethnic groups traditionally underrepresented in health sciences, persons with disabilities, and persons raised in economically disadvantaged areas. 

If you don't meet the eligibility requirements, you can find additional scientific research opportunities from Pathways to Science, the Fred Hutch SURP catalog, the Guide to Life Science Careers and the Fred Hutch Summer Undergraduate Research Program.

Program Components

Interns spend the majority of the nine-week session under the guidance of a mentor in a Fred Hutch research group. During the first week, interns meet as a cohort for an orientation to the program and to learn laboratory safety and hands-on research techniques. The remaining eight weeks focus on mentored research activities, which interns present to the Fred Hutch community on the final day of the program.    

During one day each week, interns participate in professional development workshops designed to advance their knowledge and competence in three areas:

  • Scientific practices and the latest advances in cancer research.
  • Professional development on different career paths within science/cancer research.
  • Social networking and building a community in science/cancer research.

Interns also attend workshops on a variety of topics, including resumes and personal statements, effective mentor/mentee relationship, oral and written communication skills and preparing for life after college.

The program sponsors social activities to develop a supportive community among the interns and their mentors and colleagues at the Hutch.



Interns receive a stipend of $4,500 for the summer and a free ORCA card for Seattle-area public transportation.

Travel & Research Expenses

Additional funding may be available for travel to/from Seattle and research-related expenses, including special research materials and supplies.

This program is supported by the NIH National Cancer Institute (R25-CA221770) and National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (U54-DK106829). For more information about becoming a program sponsor, please contact Corporate Gifts.

How to Apply

The application portal for 2024 will open on January 1 and close on February 28.

Please read the following sections carefully for details on the application.  

Due to the competitive nature of the Pathways Undergraduate Researchers program, the following suggestions should be taken into consideration when preparing an application; however, adhering to these recommendations does not guarantee acceptance into the program.

Application Process for New Interns


For your reference, a PDF of the 2023 application for new interns is available here.

The application has two online components — an applicant section that you complete and a separate online form that your references complete. We require two recommendations for your application to be considered.

Thoroughly review the application and complete your section well in advance of the deadline.  Proofread your application and essays carefully. You will not be able to go back into the system after you submit your application. Your references will not receive a recommendation request until your portion is submitted.

Applicant Component

To apply, you must:

  • Fill out the online form, which includes a number of short-response essays (see section below for essay questions) 
  • Provide email addresses for two references
  • Supply a PDF of your recent school transcript

References Component

Once you complete your part of the application, we will email a recommendation link to your references. Submit your section early so your references have time to complete their form.

All application materials, including references, are due by 11:59 pm on February 28. 



Before you begin your application, learn about Fred Hutch and our areas of research. Be able to articulate how your academic and career goals are in line with the Fred Hutch mission and research. Also prepare to describe how a summer in a Fred Hutch research group will help you specifically. This will allow you to submit a well-informed application that clearly shows how your interests align with our research.

Short Essays


The short essays are a crucial part of the application. Start early and take time to be sure your responses are thoughtful and well written.

The short essays provide an opportunity to share your experiences and perspectives. It's also the primary place where you can elaborate on the qualities and attributes that will help you succeed in this program. Use specific examples. Essays should be written in full sentences and composed paragraphs. Ask friends, teachers, and/or advisors to review your essay for content, clarity and grammar.

The short essays each have 200-word limits. The 2023 essay prompts are:

  • The Pathways Undergrads program will help me by...
  • Detail a challenge you faced and the steps you took to overcome or deal with it.
  • Is there anything else you want us to know?

Interns from previous years who are applying to return in 2023 have different essay questions, which are listed in the Returning Interns section below. 



We require two recommendations for your application to be considered. An informative recommendation should come from someone who can highlight your strengths that are relevant to the program, your quality as a student compared to other students, your accomplishments and how this program will further your academic/career goals.

When requesting a recommendation:

  • Choose your references wisely – recommendations from individuals that know your interests, personal characteristics, and abilities may be viewed more favorably than a recommendation from a person who doesn't know you as well. One recommendation from a science teacher or similar can address your interest in science. Recommendations should come from teachers, school staff, or supervisors at a volunteer or paid position. Recommendations from people who haven't seen your work in an academic or professional setting, such as coaches or family friends, are discouraged.
  • Give your references at least two weeks to submit a recommendation on your behalf. We do NOT accept late application materials or recommendations. If you ask your recommender a few days before the deadline they may not have time to submit it, and your application will be incomplete.
  • Make your request for a recommendation in writing or email, as well as in person. Give your references a copy of your resume and/or the following information:
  1.  The name of the program and a brief description of what it entails (a link to the website can be helpful)
  2.  The name of the host institution
  3.  A brief description of how the program fits in with your goals
  4.  A brief description of what you will contribute to the program and how you will benefit from participating
  5.  The due date for the recommendation

How the recommendation should be submitted:

We require a specific, easy-to-complete online recommendation form. We do not accept free-form letters. In addition to contact information, our form asks your references to:

  • Rate the applicant on his/her Academic Qualities (Intellectual Ability, Enthusiasm for Learning, Commitment to Learning, Written Expression and Verbal Expression) and Character Traits (Respect for Others, Initiative, Self-discipline, Integrity and Independence)
  • Describe anything about the applicant that sets him/her apart from others (200-word limit)

After you submit your portion of the application, your references will receive an email with a link to the recommendation form.

  • Send your references a friendly reminder, preferably one week prior to the application deadline. You will receive an email when a reference submits your recommendation.
  • Finish up by sending your references a handwritten note of thanks.

Application Process for Returning Interns


Fred Hutch interns from previous years are eligible to apply to return as Pathways Undergraduate Researchers, if they meet the eligibility requirements. In addition to engaging in research and the seminars/workshops, returning interns are expected to serve as near-peer mentors to the new undergrads during the orientation week and beyond. Returning interns should also be prepared to serve as informal mentors to the SHIP high school interns. The success of our program relies on returning interns contributing at all levels and creating a vibrant, inclusive community.

Returning applicants will apply through the same system as new applicants. Returning intern applicants have a unique set of short essay questions and each response is limited to 1000 characters.

All retuning applicants will answer the following questions:

  1. Why do you want to return to the Hutch for another summer research internship?
  2. Please detail the most difficult thing you experienced since you were last here and how you are overcoming or dealing with it. 
  3. The success of our program relies on returning interns contributing at all levels beyond individual lab research. This is part of giving back to our community. How will you give back to the program as a returning interns?

A PDF of the 2023 application for previous interns is here for your reference. 

fred hutch campus

Pathways Undergraduate Researchers


Please contact us with questions that are not addressed on this webpage.

Pathways Undergrads staff do not facilitate research internships for students outside of the 9-week summer program and will not accept unsolicited or late applications.