SPARK Program hosting undergrad research informational webinar Aug. 29

Collage of SPARK participants, a diverse group of undergraduate students
SPARK program participants. Photos provided.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 29, 2023)  The Students Participating as Ambassadors for Research in Kentucky (SPARK) Program is hosting an informational webinar today, Aug. 29, for University of Kentucky and Kentucky State University undergraduates who are interested in applying. The webinar will be held from 5-6 p.m. via Zoom. Applications are due Sept. 18. 

The purpose of the SPARK Program is to train a diverse cohort of undergraduate students at the University of Kentucky and Kentucky State University from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds and communities to conduct impactful research to improve health disparities.

Participating students (called SPARKlers) will receive excellent research training, faculty and community mentorship, a $5,000 summer stipend, ample resources for their research project, and professional development opportunities. They will be introduced to community-engaged research focused on health disparities/health equity, identify a research topic, and will work with their mentorship team to develop a project to conduct this project in their home communities over the summer. After implementing the project, participants will meet with their mentors, undertake data analysis and write-up, and present and publish their research in professional settings. It is expected that students will respond to any and all communication (email, calls, etc.), complete all assignments, and provide information promptly and professionally for the duration of the program. 

Any undergraduate students at the University of Kentucky and Kentucky State University with at least two academic years left until graduation and a GPA of 2.8 or higher are invited to apply for SPARK. The program seeks talented students interested in developing research expertise and projects in health disparities/health equity.

Research training will begin in January 2024, with research data collection taking place May through August of 2024. Research activities will continue throughout academic year 2024-2025. All students will present their projects at the annual CCTS conference in April 2025. The SPARK program will take place primarily in person. Meetings and training sessions are both anticipated to occur at the Health Kentucky Research Building at the University of Kentucky. When necessary, remote options will be made available.

Please submit your application online here. The required application components include:

  • Cover letter (limited to one page) describing your interest in health equity research
  • Resume, including GPA and major
  • A list of three professional references with contact information
  • Unofficial transcript 

More information is available here. Questions? Please contact Ariel Arthur at

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.