The Science, Technology and Research Scholars (STARS) Program, administered by the Yale College Dean’s Office, is designed to support students who come from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds in the sciences, engineering, and mathematics. The STARS program provides undergraduates an opportunity to combine course-based study, research, mentorship, networking, and career planning in the fields of science and technology. The program seeks to improve student performance and persistence rates in all STEM disciplines.

There are currently three components to the STARS Program:

  • The STARS I Program provides seminars, networking, mentorship, and professional development tailored for first-year undergraduates.
  • The STARS Summer Research Program combines individual on-campus research with academic support and course credit.
  • The STARS II Program supports individual student research beginning in the fall semester of the junior year, through the following summer, and both semesters of the senior year. 

STARS students at all levels enjoy a number of structured enrichment activities during term time. Special dinners bring together scientists in various disciplines from Yale and other institutions, graduate and medical school panels provide guidance in career development, special study sessions and study breaks are offered, and a special year-end research symposium highlights the research of STARS students. In addition, all junior and senior scholars are provided the opportunity to attend and present their research at national and regional science conferences.

Since its inception in 1995, STARS has provided academic enrichment to first-years and sophomores. With the development of STARS II, the program provides similar support to juniors and seniors, as well as to an increasing number of summer fellows. More than 100 students each year participate in the academic year and summer STARS programs.

The STARS Program is coordinated by the Director, Sandy Chang (Associate Dean of Science Education), Graduate Student Coordinators: Alyssa Mitson-Salazar, Marina Calrson,  and a STARS Academic Team. The STARS Academic Team is comprised of Chair Dr. Kenneth Nelson (Senior Lecturer and Research Scientist in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology), Dr. Maria Moreno (Senior Lecturer and Research Scientist in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology), and Dr. Kailas Purushothaman (Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering & Material Sciences). 

Y For Humanity campaign

Inspired by Science: Jaida Morgan ES ’23

Drawn to the research opportunities at Yale, Jaida has worked in two research labs and found a community of peers and mentors through the STARS program. Yale University has announced a historic goal of raising $1.2 billion for students in an ambitious effort to make a Yale education more affordable and accessible. The fundraising initiative, focused on new giving for scholarships and fellowships, is included within Yale’s $7 billion For Humanity campaign, which continues until June 2026.

View the STARS Program 25th Anniversary Celebration held via Zoom on April 10, 2021

For further information about the STARS Program, please contact Donalee Slater at

Please view our new e-brochure (PDF). 

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