Partnership Scholars Program

Co-Directed by:
Ricardo Zayas, Ph.D.
SDSU Professor
Biology Department
Dennis Trinidad, M.P.H., Ph.D.
UCSD Professor
Department of Family Medicine
and Public Health

The Partnership Scholars Program (PSP) from the SDSU/UCSD Cancer Partnership is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute (5U54CA132379 & U54CA132384). Our mission is to grow the next generation of underrepresented research scientists and health professionals devoted to solving cancer health disparities.

The PSP is looking for 12 SDSU students (Imperial Valley or main campus) and 2 UCSD students to join our 2022-23 cohort. We offer a unique research internship opportunity to undergraduate students preparing for careers in STEM, healthcare, clinical social work, public health, and other jobs connected to oncology. Incoming Fall 2022 SDSU and UCSD transfer students are welcome to apply.

Program Benefits:

The Partnership Scholars Program offers a paid 9-week summer internship from June 13 to August 16, 2022.  

Scholars who successfully finish the summer internship may be eligible (pending funding) for the year-long internship (paid year-long option for SDSU students only).

Scholars will:

  • Be awarded a stipend to conduct cancer research in a physical or virtual setting with SDSU or UCSD faculty. Research experience is NOT necessary.
  • Attend weekly summer seminars in cancer biology, health disparities, ethics, professional development, and responsible research.
  • Participate in summer group activities to develop a literature review on a cancer health disparity.
  • Present their research project at an end-of-summer Scholar Event and a university-sponsored research symposium (e.g., SDSU’s Student Research Symposium or UCSD’s Public Health Research Day).
  • Receive year-round coaching for preparing competitive applications to graduate programs. I.e., personal statement, resume/Curriculum Vitae development.
  • Receive funding support for graduate exams (GRE/MCAT) and graduate application fees.
  • Have the opportunity to register for the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) Review Course (Fall Semester) and receive GRE practice books and preparation

Research areas include (but are not restricted to):

  • Bench research: biochemistry, bioengineering, cancer genomics, microbiology, molecular biology, medical pharmacology, organic chemistry, immunology, structural biology
  • Statistics and Computer Science: Bioinformatics, biostatistics, computational biology modeling, computer science
  • Public health and socio-behavioral science: community health science, psychology, sociology, epidemiology, health policy and management, health promotion and education, nutrition and cancer
  • Translational Research: clinical research, immunotherapy, personalized medicine, medical oncology

Who is Eligible?

We are recruiting 12 SDSU (Imperial Valley or main campus) and 2 UCSD to join our 2022-23 cohort. Incoming Fall 2022 transfer students are welcome to apply. To be. To be eligible, you must:

  • Be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States.
  • Be available and committed to participating full-time (M-F, 40 hrs./wk.) in the 9-week summer internship.
  • Be an undergraduate student, enrolling full-time for the 2022-23 academic year, with at least 1-2 years left at SDSU before graduating (i.e., graduating on Spring 2023 and onwards).
  • Have completed at least 50 units before entering our program (i.e., complete 50+ units by Spring 2022).
  • Be an undergraduate student from one or more of the following underrepresented groups:
    • Individuals with a documented permanent disability (ies), such as physical or mental impairments, that substantially limits major life activities
    • Members from underrepresented racial and ethnic minorities in the U.S., such as African Americans, Hispanics or Latinos, American Indians or Alaskan Natives, and Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders
    • First-generation college student (i.e., parents/guardians do not hold a degree from a four-year college or university)
    • Individuals from a low-income background or grew up in a social, cultural, or educational environment where you did not have access to the knowledge, skills, or abilities that facilitate opportunities to participate in research careers.
  • Have a cumulative grade point average commensurate with acceptance to postgraduate degree programs.
  • Have an interest in cancer research and solving health disparities.
  • Have a goal of obtaining a graduate degree(s) in a research-based STEM research-based field (MS, Ph.D.), public health (MPH), pharmacology (PharmD), clinical social work (MSW), clinical psychology (PsyD), health professional degree (e.g., P.A., RN, MSN, DNP, M.D., D.O.) or other certificate programs related to oncology (i.e., Certified Genetic Counselor).

How Do I Apply?

Applications are accepted each year in the Winter season. This year, our application will open on December 17, 2021, and close on March 4, 2022, at 11:59 PM (PST).

For more information on our application, please visit our application website.


Please do one of the following:

  1. Visit our FAQ 
  2. Email your questions to our program coordinator: Mercedes Quintana-Serrano,
  3. Schedule a virtual meeting with our coordinator:
  4. Attend one of our Weekly Virtual Info Sessions on Wednesday’s at 6 pm from January 5 to February 9: