New science award urges cancer research among high school students

PBS LearningMedia, Stand Up To Cancer launch inagural Emperor Science Award to engage high school students in STEM research

science-awardStand Up To Cancer (SU2C), a program of the Entertainment Industry Foundation, and PBS LearningMedia, a media-on-demand service designed for K-12 classrooms, announced the opening of applications for the inaugural year of The Emperor Science Award program.

The Emperor Science Award program is an initiative designed to encourage high school students to explore careers in science, specifically cancer research and care, through a unique mentoring opportunity. The education initiative was first announced in spring 2015 by SU2C co-founder Katie Couric at Columbia University in connection with a new three-part film on the history of cancer that recently aired on PBS (it can be streamed online here).

The program aims to empower high school students to become the next generation of cancer and health researchers and will award 100 students each year, for at least three years, with an opportunity to work alongside an esteemed scientist on a rewarding multi-week cancer research project.

“The documentary Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies was an incredibly powerful event and its impact continues through these science awards, which will encourage students today to explore the possibility of becoming the next generation of cancer researchers,” said SU2C Co-Founder Sherry Lansing who led the committee, which conceived and implemented this plan. “From the outset, it was an important goal for the documentary not only to inform, but also to engage and empower young people to pursue scientific careers, particularly in cancer research.”

The program is open to students in the 10th and 11th grades living in the U.S. who have a strong scientific interest, especially in cancer research and care. Special emphasis will be focused on students from economically disadvantaged high schools.

Entries to apply for the program will be accepted through November 1.

In addition to the mentoring opportunity, students will also be awarded a Google Chrome Notebook to enhance their studies and to extend the reach of mentors to students living in rural and suburban communities, a $1,500 stipend for expenses, and the opportunity to continue the mentoring program, through high school, to further their academic pursuits. Students, including those who receive Emperor Science Awards, will be eligible to reapply in subsequent years.

Students, teachers, guidance counselors and parents can visit The Emperor Science Award website ( to learn more about the program and to apply. The webpage contains an overview of the program and associated resources for students. To enter, students will be asked to submit a 750 maximum word essay on the following topic:

“Cancer has been referred to as The Emperor of All Maladies and millions of people around the world are looking for a cure. In America, more than 1600 people die each day. Tell us why scientific research is so important in helping to find a cure for cancer. And if you could be a scientific researcher, what would you study and why?”

Essays will be judged on sincerity, creativity, clarity and persuasiveness.

Winning students will be connected with science mentors from a host of high-profile medical research centers, including more than 100 SU2C-affiliated institutions, universities and industry leaders in cancer diagnosis and treatment.

The Emperor Science Award Program has been made possible by generous support from Founding Donors Genentech, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Novartis. Their support will fund a total of 300 awards through the first three years.

Material from a press release was used in this report.

Laura Ascione

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