The SARE Mission 

The Summer Academic Research Experience (SARE) is a high school component of our Johns Hopkins Initiative for Careers in Science and Medicine.  SARE seeks to develop exceptional high school students from low-income (<200% of the federal poverty level) and educationally under-resourced (most commonly first-generation college or attends, or would have attended based on their home address, a high school where the majority are also low-income) backgrounds, by introducing them to biomedical research. The students who go through the program are known as “SARE Scholars”.  To date, 95% of our scholars who have reached college age have matriculated into college with nearly 100% receiving partial or full financial support.  SARE also has ≥64% college completion rate by four years post high school graduation, and a ≥77% college completion rate by six years post-high school graduation.  80% have graduated with degrees in STEM or medical-related majors (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medical-related sciences; STEMM).  These outcomes compare quite favorably to the 10-14% national college completion rate by six years post-college matriculation for students from socioeconomically under-resourced backgrounds.

SARE provides its scholars with a unique exposure to modern scientific research, combined with additional tutoring to fortify academic skills. The rationale is that many low-income youth may not have had the opportunity to be exposed to environments where creative and critical thinking skills are emphasized, where substantial academic accomplishment is celebrated, and where colleagues of all levels are ready to help when one needs it. Laboratories within academic research universities cultivate this type of environment. Therefore, we leverage this environment and utilize our science in outreach to this younger group of students. While research universities already have many outreach programs, most target the undergraduate and post-baccalaureate levels. Through SARE, Johns Hopkins targets adolescents at a critical age in an intensive manner, allowing for substantial impact that will carry on through these students’ lives.

Baltimore is an area of great need. Approximately 34% of children in Baltimore City grow up in poverty, which is nearly three times higher than the national rate (13%). Situated in East Baltimore, SARE provides a conduit for promising, socioeconomically under-resourced students to achieve the academic and professional skills as well as the network needed to succeed.

Please see Program Features to learn about the facets of SARE, including its four pillars: Mentoring, Professionalism, Research, and Academic Fortification.

For a downloadable, short description of SARE, click here.

Interested in applying? 

Eligibility requirements:

  1. Scholars must come from households with collective incomes below 200% of the federal poverty limit. This amount is normalized by household size. Please see the table in the application.
  2. Scholars must be educationally under-resourced. Scholars most frequently meet this criterion by being first generation college or went to, or would have gone to, a high school where the majority are also low income (a.k.a. Pell grant or Free And Reduced Meals (FARM) eligible). We also consider other extenuating circumstances.
  3. Scholars must super-motivated to succeed.

For new scholars, please click here to access the application for “New Scholars.”

For returning scholars, please click here to access the application for “Returning Scholars.”

Please contact Mrs. Pamela Hamm ( or Dr. Douglas Robinson ( for more information.

We thank our Supporters: 
Boys Hope Girls Hope, Baltimore
Health Resources and Services Administration
The Thomas Wilson Foundation
The Johns Hopkins University
The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
United Way of Central Maryland
Warnock Foundation
Burroughs Wellcome Fund
Toffler Family Charitable Trust
The Herbert Bearman Foundation

The Spudich Family
Joyce A. Robinson Living Trust

We thank our partnering organizations: 
Boys Hope Girls Hope, Baltimore
The SEED School of Maryland
KIPP Academy, Baltimore
Green Street Academy, Baltimore
Baltimore Polytechnic Institute
Paul Laurence Dunbar High School
Greater Grace Christian Academy
Baltimore City College
Eastern Technical High School


Dec. 19, 2023: Three SARE scholars just got accepted into the Johns Hopkins undergraduate program. Two other scholars have received full-ride scholarships to other universities too. That is 100% of 2023 SARE scholars who were rising seniors this past summer, getting great news for their next steps in their journey.

Feb. 13, 2023: We welcome our new SARE Director, Pamela Hamm!  Please read more about Pam here.  Welcome, Pam!  We are very excited to have you a part of the SARE, CSM and Robinson Lab Team!

Jun 7, 2021: Multi-year SARE scholar Shantika Bhat is College Bound Foundation’s Scholar of the Year!  Shantika will begin her college journey at Johns Hopkins this fall.  Awesome, Shantika!

Jun 7, 2021: Multi-year SARE scholar Kristiana Smith just got her publication on “The shifting shape of the genomes: dynamics of heterochromatin interactions at the nuclear lamina” published.  Kristiana is a rising freshman at Johns Hopkins.  You are rockin’ it, Kristiana!

Jul 24, 2020: Thinzar Htwe, SARE Scholar 2019 and rising Stanford freshman, published her excellent Op-Ed piece on the importance of socioeconomic and racial/ethnic diversity in STEM and healthcare.  Her Op-Ed was published in the Stanford Daily: Preparing Future Generations: BIPOC and FLI representation in science, research, and medicine.

Jan 20, 2020: Doctoral Diversity Program Scholar and now 2nd-yr medical student Michelle Colbert and I got to share the story of the Johns Hopkins Initiative for Careers in Science and Medicine on “Midday with Tom Hall on WYPR (88.1) in Baltimore.  Michelle was awesome in this interview!  Here is the link: MLK Jr. Day of Service, Pt 2: Hopkins’ Careers in Science & Medicine Initiative

Dec 2, 2019: Here is our write up for the Americal Society for Cell Biology on the CSM Initiative: The Johns Hopkins Initiative for Careers in Science and Medicine

Nov 29, 2019: Q&A: The Next Generation of Scientific Researchers – check out the discussion with SARE alums, Thinzar Htwe, Jasmine Burrell, and Dwayne Thomas.

Jul 16, 2019: SARE Scholar Thinzar Htwe received the CARES Symposium Scholarship!  Congratulations, Thinzar!

Jul 16, 2019: Congrats to Kristiana Smith and Thinzar Htwe for being selected to share their stories at this year’s CARES Symposium!  In addition, Kristiana and Thinzar will present their research at the CARES event, which will be held on Thursday, July 25, 2019.

Jul 5, 2018: SARE Scholars become movers and shakers in their communities.  See what emerging leader Stephanie Keyaka is up too – Penn State Student Fights for Change in Charm City

Jul 21, 2017: SARE Scholar Jasmine Burrell was the CollegeBound Foundation (CBF) Scholar of the Year and gave the keynote speech at the CBF’s Luncheon (Jasmine presented right before Under Armour founder Kevin Plank gave his talk).  Jasmine is matriculating into University of Maryland College Park where she will major in biochemistry.  Kudos also to Erin Goley who was Jasmine’s research mentor PI!

And while we are at it, SARE had two scholars recognized by the CollegeBound Foundation at the luncheon.  In addition to Jasmine, current SARE Scholar Kalila Holley was a CollegeBound Foundation Scholar of the Week.

The CBF recognizes 12 Scholars of the Week each year for their academic achievements, leadership, and community service, and they develop a 30-s commercial highlighting the scholar, which airs on Fox-45 for a week.  In addition, the Scholar of the Year receives a $1000 scholarship from the CBF.

Jul 19, 2017: The Careers in Science and Medicine went to the Hill to advocate for the Health Careers Opportunity Program, which supports the CSM and SARE.  DDP Director Deidra Crews, SARE scholar Tori Gillam, DDP scholar Ricardo Perez Dulzaides, SARE Director Doug Robinson, and Kristen Reek of Johns Hopkins Governmental Affairs participated.  We had terrific meetings with the Representative Antony Brown, Suzanne Brown (Representative Elizah Cummings’ office), Ziky Ababiya (Senator Van Hollen’s office), Arnold Solamillos (Senator Cardin’s office), and Tara Oursler (Representative Ruppersberger’s office).  See our photo with Representative Antony Brown in the slider.  Tori and Ricardo were outstanding advocates for HCOP!

Jul 14, 2017: SARE welcomes back 2013 SARE Scholar Milan Dower.  Milan is now a biomedical engineering major at University of Miami (3.7 GPA – Go Milan! – though we aren’t surprised! .  Milan will share her college experience with the current SARE scholars.  Can’t wait to see you, Milan!

Mar 7, 2017: DDP scholars Uriel Sanchez and Mobolanle Adebesin have multiple acceptances into MD and MD/PhD programs.  Uriel has acceptances into several MD programs, including at Johns Hopkins, Stanford and Harvard.  Mobolanle has acceptances into MD/PhD programs, including at Emory, Vanderbilt, Washington University St. Louis, and University of Chicago.  This is very exciting!  Congrats, Bola and Uriel!

Feb 19, 2017: Check out our video describing our outreach program, the Johns Hopkins Initiative for Careers in Science and Medicine.

Dec 12, 2016:  Check out our Op-Ed piece in support of the federal Health Careers Opportunity Program: Don’t cut a federal program that helps disadvantaged students enter health careers.  Please remind your senators and representatives how much impact we can have for a pretty small investment!

Nov 22, 2016: The Johns Hopkins Initiative for Careers in Science and Medicine: Helping Scholars Overcome Socioeconomic Barriers may now receive support through the United Way of Central Maryland and may be identified as JH Careers in Science and Medicine: Overcoming Socioeconomic Barriers with designation code 2994. 

Nov 21, 2016:  Our pipeline initiative, which includes SARE, Biophysics Research for Baltimore Teens (BRBT), Summer Internship Program (SIP), and the Doctoral Diversity Program (DDP), will now be identified as the Johns Hopkins Initiative for Careers in Science and Medicine: Helping Scholars Overcome Socioeconomic Barriers (CSM for short).

​Nov 21, 2016: Doctoral Diversity Program Scholar Mobolanle Adebesin was just accepted into the Emory University MD-PhD program. Congratulations, Bola!

​Nov 21, 2016: We learned last week that several more of our SARE scholars have returned to school and are now realizing a 1.5 or greater increase in their GPAs as compared to last spring before they came to SARE.

June 21, 2016: We were awarded a grant from the Thomas Wilson Foundation for the Children of Baltimore.  Thank you, TWF!

Aug 17, 2015: We received word today that we were awarded a ~$2M Health Careers Opportunity Program (HCOP) grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).   With this grant, we will now double our number of students at the high school level (to >25 students/yr between SARE and our partnering program BRBT, which is another Hopkins high school program that shares our goals and values).  We will also expand to include undergraduates (~17/yr) from disadvantaged backgrounds as part of the Summer Internship Program (SIP).  We will also create a new program, the Doctoral Diversity Program (DDP), which will provide a 1-year mentored research and career development opportunity to 5 postbaccalaureate students annually.  To accomplish this, we have assembled a wonderful team of Johns Hopkins Faculty and Staff who will help make this happen.  Our overall goal is to establish a pipeline program to prepare students from disadvantaged backgrounds to be able to pursue advanced degrees in medical and STEM fields.  Overall, this is a massive, comprehensive effort in which we will be impacting 48, 52, and 56 students in 2016, 2017, and 2018, respectively.

Jul 30, 2015: Check out Assefa Akinwole’s CARES Symposium Talk.

Four more scholars will matriculate into college this fall (2015).
1. Christopher Miller will attend Allegheny College as a mathematics major and on a full-ride scholarship from the National Science Foundation.
2. Stephanie Keyaka will attend Penn State, majoring in political science, and will be in the Schreyer Honors Program.
3. Diana Bobb will major in chemistry or biology at the University of Dayton and received scholarship and grant support from the university.
4. De’Sean Markley will attend Furman University and major in chemistry or biology.  De’Sean also received considerable financial support.

Please get involved:
If you are interested in helping support SARE, please contact Doug Robinson ( or Kevin McGuire, Senior Associate Director of Development Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences (

Program Feature


Mentoring plays a primary role in SARE. SARE scholars work in research labs with a doctoral student or postdoctoral fellow. This mentor-mentee relationship is formative for scholars as they learn how to work in a professional environment, learn good work and study habits, and how…

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