The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) Hillman Cancer Center Academy (Hillman Academy) is an NIH and Doris Duke Charitable Foundation supported research internship program run out of the University of Pittsburgh. The over ten-year-old program, which was recognized in 2014 with the Carnegie Science Center Leadership in STEM Education award, has trained and mentored nearly 500 students including over 150 underrepresented minority and disadvantaged (URM/DA) students from nearly 100 distinct high schools.
Hillman Academy students participate in a wide range of research experiences at six research sites across campus working one-on-one with over 100 faculty members and trainees who support our students as hosts and mentors. Academy alumni have won numerous scholarships and awards, coauthored manuscripts, presented at national scientific conferences, and continued research both with the academy and at the top institutions that they now attend. Ninety-three percent of academy URM/DA alumni with declared majors have matriculated into science- and healthcare-related areas of study. They also continue to support a subset of alumni by giving students paid research opportunities in leadership roles as senior students and/or resident advisors for participation in subsequent years of the academy.
The goal of the program is to increase the diversity and preparedness of the cancer workforce through immersive research experiences, mentorship, didactic training, and professional development for URM/DA high school students and through outreach efforts to our regional community.