STARS II Program

The STARS II program is a highly selective program. Like STARS I, STARS Summer Research Program is designed for Yale College women, minorities, socioeconomically disadvantaged, and other historically underrepresented students to pursue studies and careers in the sciences and engineering. 

STARS II provides an intensive research experience for juniors and seniors. Beginning in the fall semester of their junior year and continuing through the senior year, STARS II scholars receive a stipend to support up to ten hours per week of laboratory research under the supervision of a faculty mentor and graduate student(s). *If you are taking research for credit, you cannot receive a stipend and credit simultaneously for the same hours of work.  However, you may receive the STARS stipend for up to 10 additional hours beyond those received for credit.  During the intervening summer, the program provides stipend support for students to continue their research full-time for up to ten weeks. In the spring semesters of their junior and senior years, STARS II scholars conduct a formal presentation of their research, in the form of a poster or a talk, at the STARS II Research Symposium. STARS II students participate in workshops designed to develop their scientific skills. They are encouraged to present their research at regional and national scientific conferences/meetings, and submitting their research for publication.

If you are accepted into the STARS II Program, you must participate in at least 75% of the workshops and activities offered each semester. Failure to do so will result in your dismissal from the program.

STARS II Highlights
  • Welcome Reception in September for the STARS II juniors and their mentors

  • Academic Year Stipend Support for up to 10 hours per week (up to 13 weeks per semester) of laboratory research during the junior and senior years 

  • Summer Stipend Support (if required) for full-time laboratory research for up to ten weeks during the summer between the junior and senior years

  • STARS II Research Symposium for STARS II junior and senior scholars to present their final research projects to their colleagues and mentors

  • Abstract Writing and Presentation Workshops designed to prepare scholars for the STARS II Research Symposium and other scientific conferences/meetings

  • Group Activities designed to increase the feeling of community and support among the STARS II junior and senior scholars
Application Information
stars ii graduate coordinators 2021-2022 

Alyssa Mitson-Salazar is a seventh-year MD/PhD student at the Yale School of Medicine. Originally from the rural farm town of Manassa, Colorado, she attended Yale College as a QuestBridge Scholar and studied molecular, cellular, and developmental biology. Thanks to the STARS I summer program, Alyssa spent three years studying DNA damage repair as an undergraduate in the laboratory of Dr. Gary Kupfer. Outside of lab, she choreographed for her dance group, tutored for STARS I, and was a Freshman Counselor. Upon graduating, Alyssa worked as an IRTA postbaccalaureate fellow at the National Institutes of Health for two years, where she studied human Th2 cells in allergic disease. She returned to Yale in 2014 to pursue an MD/PhD. Now in the PhD phase of her training, Alyssa studies the mechanisms of allergic inflammation in the laboratory of Dr. Ruslan Medzhitov. She otherwise spends her time mentoring undergraduates, both as a JE graduate affiliate and peer mentor for the BioMed Amgen Scholars Program, and on undergraduate outreach efforts for the Yale MD/PhD program. Alyssa is excited to be a STARS II graduate coordinator this year. Email her anytime to meet up at

Marina Carlson earned her Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry at California State University Fresno in 2019. During her undergraduate degree, she worked in Dr. Joy Goto’s lab studying neurodegenerative disease in human neuroglioma cell culture and Drosophila. She also participated in the Harvard Amgen Scholars Program, conducting research in Dr. Amar Sahay’s lab at Massachusetts General Hospital. There she studied the differences in hippocampal neurogenesis in young and aged mice. She is currently a second year Yale PhD student affiliated with the Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program. She is most interested in performing comprehensive functional analyses of high confidence autism risk genes to identify underlying molecular mechanisms at play in early neurodevelopment. Outside of lab she serves as Secretary for the Yale SACNAS chapter and spent this summer as a coordinator for STARS Summer Research Program. Beyond science, Marina loves dinosaurs, zombie movies, musicals, and reading terrible romance novels. Feel free to reach out to her at

Meet the current STARS II Seniors!
Meet the current STARS II Juniors! (TBA)






STARS II Senior Graduation Dinner May 19, 2019

Congratulations on your Graduation STARS II Seniors: Amy Chan, Tran Dang, Byron Daniel, Mindy Le, Oscar Perales, Jared Peralta, Alanna Pyke, Carlos Rivera, Jannet Rivera, Kevin Salinas, Stephanie Spear, Pablo Suarez, and Shannon Teaw. Pictured here at the STARS II dinner with Dean Sandy Chang and Graduate Coordinator Rob Fernandez.

SACNAS 2018 
Eight Yale STARS II students, Carlos Rivera, Mindy Le,  Jannet Rivera, Jared Peralta, Oscar Perales, Pablo Suarez, Alanna Pike and Kevin Salinas, were selected to present their research findings at the 2018 Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) Conference. Kevin, Jannet and Alana won travel awards to this conference, and the Yale College Dean’s Office funded the other students’ registration, travel and accommodation costs. Jannet, Kevin and Jared won the 2018 SACNAS Student Presentation Awards for Poster presentations. Congrats to all for a job well done! Graduate Coordinator, Rob Fernandez, was able to capture the excitement of the 2018 SACNAS experience in this short movie (MP4), please take a look.

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