SpHERES High School Research Program

Sparking High Schoolers' Excitement for Research in Engineering & Science

SpHERES  is a dynamic research program designed for Champaign-Urbana high school students interested in pursuing STEM majors in higher education, hosted by the Carle Illinois College of Medicine.

SpHERES students, hosted by participating laboratories, work together under the mentorship and guidance of a research faculty member and additional mentors (graduate or undergraduate students in the lab). Multiple layers of mentoring provide students with a richer, more fulfilling research experience.

SpHERES is part of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering Program, which partners with engineering departments across campus to share programming and broaden the experiences for participants.

The SpHERES Program

Program Goals

  • Introduce students to clinically-focused science and engineering research and promote career opportunities
  • Help students gain knowledge in a variety of STEM applications
  • Help students gain an understanding of the intersection of medicine, science, and engineering
  • To grow the presence of students underrepresented in the field of medicine

Student Benefits

  • Work in a cutting-edge research laboratory
  • Pursue higher education goals
  • Build your resume
  • Get a taste of college life
  • Gain professional development skills
  • $2,400 summer stipend!  

As a SpHERES student, you will:

  • Participate in an authentic research experience at a world-class research university using methods to make learning virtually come to life.
  • Participate in weekly seminars on various topics including research projects, college readiness, and scientific communication.
  • Become acclimated to a university setting, form a science identity by conducting basic and applied research in labs, and gain confidence in attending college.
  • Receive multiple layers of mentorship, through faculty, graduate and undergraduate students.

What is the difference between the various summer high school programs? (SpHERES, POETS, GEnYuS)

All programs have the same goals and program structure. The difference is the research you will be doing in each program.

  • SpHERES: If you are interested in merging your biology and engineering interests, then the SPHERES program may be right for you!  Our laboratories come from Molecular and Integrative Physiology, Neuroscience, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Bioengineering and Micro & Nanotechnology Laboratory.
  • POETS: Their research is in the space of electrical engineering, computer engineering and mechanical engineering. We work on electric airplanes, electric cars and electric manufacturing equipment. If you are interested in circuits, hands-on projects, building, or programming then the POETS program is right for you. We also require all students to participate in a year-long program.
  • GEnYuS – This program focuses on physics research. If you are interested in dark matter, lasers, or materials, then the GEnYuS program may be right for you.

Regardless of the program in which you are interested, you will be applying through the same application system. In your essay, you can discuss which program you prefer to attend. Be sure to mention “SpHERES” if you would like to be considered for our summer high school program.


  • Two short essays that address the following:
    • Please explain your interest in this program and describe how you have recently explored or developed this interest inside and/or outside the classroom. Describe the impact that this program will have on your future. (500 words max)
    • Where do you see yourself 5-10 years from now / What would you like to be doing for a career? (300 words)
  • Include a brief introduction about yourself and your background
  • Discuss science interests and experiences

Learn more about SpHERES and other WYSE Summer Programs for 2024, including when applications go live!


Contact us to learn more:

Program Sponsors

Carle Illinois College of Medicine