Knight Scholars Program

Knight Scholars | Community Programs | Knight Cancer Institute

Explore careers in cancer research, treatment and prevention

The Knight Scholars program offers high school students whose communities are underrepresented in cancer research, healthcare and public health—including those of diverse races and ethnicities and those from rural areas—an opportunity to explore careers in the fields of cancer research, treatment and prevention. Students are paid a stipend and housed in residence halls while at OHSU each summer.

Our program is part of a national effort to increase diversity in cancer professions

Knight Scholars offers students an introduction to careers in cancer for up to three years. 

Please note: Applications for the summer of 2023 have closed.

Program Duration Description
Introduction 1 week Students spend one week at OHSU touring labs and meeting scientists who represent a range of cancer-related careers. Only students who complete the Introduction Program are eligible to apply for the Immersion and Intensive Programs.
Immersion 10 weeks Students spend two weeks at OHSU engaging with scientists who represent a range of cancer-related careers and an additional six weeks shadowing clinical, public health and community organization professionals in their own communities. Students also complete and present a community research project. Only students who completed the Introduction Program are eligible to apply for the Immersion Program.
Intensive 10 weeks Students spend six weeks at OHSU working in a cancer research lab and four weeks in their local communities. At the end of this summer, students present their research work and community projects to community members. Only students who completed the Immersion Program are eligible to apply for the Intensive Program.
Knight Scholars students standing together at the Knight Cancer Research Building in July of 2019.
Knight Scholars at the Knight Cancer Research Building in Portland, July 2019.

Student safety is our priority

Public health emergencies, such as COVID-19, may impact the format of the programs at any time. Enrolled students will be directly notified of any changes. 

In compliance with Oregon law, OHSU’s COVID-19 Immunization and Education policy went into effect Oct. 18, 2021. Visitors and volunteers who have an in-person experience at OHSU must be fully vaccinated (14 days after last dose). Exception requests from visitors and volunteers will not be accepted. Please be prepared to provide proof of vaccination, or to receive a COVID-19 vaccination, as a requirement for onboarding for your in-person experience at OHSU. You will not be allowed to participate within OHSU if you are not compliant with this policy.

While most program activities occur in-person, some program activities involve virtual (web-based, on-line) meetings. Students should be comfortable with both in-person and remote learning

We want more youth to know working in cancer-related fields is within reach

“Many people think working in cancer means being an oncologist, but cancer research and cancer education through public health outreach are also part of the larger cancer professional picture. This program will expose a diverse group of high school students to all of those as real, tangible opportunities for their futures. We want kids to get excited about this.”

-  Jackilen Shannon, Ph.D., R.D.
    Professor, OHSU-PSU School of Public Health
    Knight Scholars director

Oregon high school students are part of the Knight Cancer Institute’s efforts to end cancer as we know it

Launched in 2019, the Knight Scholars program includes students from the following schools: 

  • Chiloquin High School
  • Culver High School
  • Henley High School
  • Jefferson High School Middle College for Advanced Studies
  • Klamath Falls City School District and Klamath County School District high schools and members of the Klamath Tribes
  • Madras High School, including members of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs
  • Mazama High School
  • McLoughlin High School
  • Nixya’awii Community School
  • Parkrose High School
  • Pendleton High School
  • Redmond Proficiency Academy
  • Umatilla High School
  • Woodburn High Schools: WeBSS, WACA, AIS and WAAST

This program is supported by the Knight Scholars Program - Building STEM Interest and Capacity for Cancer Research Careers among Underrepresented and Rural High School Students, National Institute of Health (NIH) grant R25 CA221741, and a generous donation from the Kuni Foundation.

Learn more about the NIH research and education grants. 

Read about the generous donation from the Kuni Foundation.