STARS (Science Technology & Research Scholars)

STEM Program for Minority Students

Staff and students in a CSHL laboratory

STARS is offered in-person at the Dolan DNALC and on the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory campus.

In-Person STARS (2021 CAMP FULL)

Cold Spring Harbor location only | This camp has a separate application form

STARS is a two-week summer research experience designed to support the next generation of minority scientists, doctors, and other health professionals. This program provides students with state-of-the-art laboratory and computer science skills needed to succeed in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) in college and beyond.

Students conduct hands-on science and computer projects and participate in enrichment activities including discussions with researchers and tours of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and Stony Brook University campuses. After the two-week program, students also have a line of communication to mentors who can provide advice on finding future research experiences and preparing for college. Students will join our alumni network which includes school-year virtual and in-person activities for mentorship, college prep, and research experiences.

Classes run Monday through Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (Stony Brook field trip day concludes at 6:00 p.m.). Parents are responsible for on-time drop-off and pickup, and we will work to accommodate students for whom transportation presents a hardship.

Students build skills in three areas:

Molecular Biology

  • Acquire basic biological/biomedical laboratory skills such as laboratory safety, DNA extraction and analysis, DNA sequencing, and other molecular biology techniques
  • Work on a complete research project using DNA barcoding to identify species of invertebrates, insects or plants in their environment

Coding and Data Science

  • Learn the basics of computer coding (in the Python language) and fundamental data science skills
  • Learn how to write code in order to analyze biological data

Science and Career Skills for Success

  • Understand how to develop science research questions
  • Communicate the results of research, including writing, speaking, and presentation skills
  • Explore career opportunities in science and understand how to prepare for success (writing a resume, finding a mentor, effective study techniques)


The STARS program is limited to students who are underrepresented minorities in STEM (defined by the National Science Foundation as Black or African American; American Indian or Native Alaskan; Hispanic or Latino; and Native Pacific Islander); eligible students have completed the 9th grade.

All accepted students have the $1,200 tuition waived. As part of their service as scholars, students have a community engagement responsibility, including a presentation at the end of their research experience and help to recruit and support future STAR scholars.

Application Requirements:

  • A personal statement on why students want to apply (500 words or less).
  • A letter of recommendation from a science, math, technology or other STEM teacher.
  • (Optional) a report card or transcript (grades from at least Fall 2020 classes).
  • Transportation: Students parents/guardians are responsible for transportation to and from the camp in Cold Spring Harbor (9:00 a.m. drop off, 4:00 p.m.pickup). If there is a hardship, funds may be available to provide transportation alternatives, including working with your Long Island school district to provide bussing.
  • Application:

Applications should be completed/postmarked by April 16, 2021. Notification of acceptance will be on or before April 30, 2021, with late applications being accepted until enrollment is full. Applications submitted after the camp fills will be waitlisted. Contact Jason Williams at the DNA Learning Center at with questions.


  • Grades: entering grades 10–12
  • Students must be underrepresented minorities in STEM
  • August 9-20, 2021, Orientation is Saturday August 7
  • Monday through Friday, from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.(Stony Brook field trip day will conclude at 6:00 p.m.)
  • Scholarships available
  • Available at:
    DNA Learning Center