Katies for Aging Research and Equity

Katies for Aging Research and Equity (KARE) is an integrated, multi-year research education program that supports underrepresented minority students to study, challenge, and reimagine systems to promote healthy aging and longevity for all. First-year students who join KARE will be supported within this small community of scholars and faculty mentors throughout their entire undergraduate experience. Through wrap-around student support, interdisciplinary education in longevity and aging, and mentored research opportunities, KARE scholars will be well prepared to be the next generation of leaders in health disparities research across the lifespan.

Benefits to Student Participants

KARE scholars will receive holistic support through community building activities, career development programming, academic and research mentorship, and networking events within the larger aging and health disparities research community. Scholars will also remain connected to the program beyond graduation as part of an active community of KARE alumni. Throughout their time at St. Kate's, KARE scholars will have access to many student supports, including

  • Access to a Living and Learning Community for those students living on campus

  • Study advocates for support in coursework

  • Dine-and-learn events with local and national experts

  • One-on-one mentorship with a faculty member 


In total, each KARE scholar will receive over $10,000 in the form of paid internships and career development. Specifically, scholars will receive stipend support for all research internships, transportation funds for off-campus internships, and housing support for non-local internships. Each scholar will also receive funds to support national travel to conferences within the broad fields of aging and health disparities research. 

Research and careers for KARE scholars may be in the fields of:

  • Behavioral science

  • Biomedical science

  • Clinical and translational science

  • Occupational therapy

  • Physical therapy

  • Public health

  • Social work

  • And more!

KARE scholars will also receive a cross-disciplinary education in longevity and aging with a focus on age-related health disparities and interprofessional collaboration. Coursework will focus on the environmental, sociocultural, behavioral, and biological factors that underlie age-related health disparities among diverse populations of older adults, and may include the following:

  • Foundations of Longevity and Aging

  • Family Identity and Inequality

  • Biological Perspectives in Longevity and Aging

  • Navigating Evidence: From Basic Research to Clinical Practice

  • Capstone Course in Longevity and Aging

Each KARE scholar will be engaged in mentored research through paid internships in on- or off-campus research settings. As a complement to ongoing health disparities research at St. Kate's, external partnerships have been developed for KARE internships. Please review the following research pipelines available to KARE Scholars:


Summer Scholars Program at St. Catherine University: This 10-week interdisciplinary program at St. Kate’s allows students to conduct collaborative research with faculty mentors. Professional development workshops throughout the summer and the following academic year support students to be part of a scholarly community across different disciplines.


Recent KARE Scholar projects include:

  • Editing genes important for spermatogenesis in a cell culture system

  • Gender disparities in Healthy Aging: A cross-national comparative study in the United States and  South Korea

  • Sociocultural study of how age, race, sex/gender, SES, and sexuality intersect with physical activity constructions of older adults in the media

  • Prenatal telehealth - Product testing and evaluation of outcomes


Mayo Clinic Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) Program: This biomedical research program is a 10-week summer internship located in Rochester, MN and intended for PhD-seeking students. Students receive a housing allowance in addition to their KARE stipend to relocate to Rochester for the summer.


Recent KARE Scholar projects include:

  • GLI-2 Collagen I signaling in stromal fibroblasts induces proliferative pathways in pancreatic cancer through the activation of EGR1

  • Application of extracellular vesicles derived from olfactory ensheathing cells to modulate neurogenesis

  • Exploring brain health in early onset lung cancer

  • Investigating the Effects of Phosphorylation Residues Tyrosine-701 and Serine-727 on STAT 1 in Ovarian Cancer


HealthPartners Neuroscience Center: This summer internship program is available to KARE scholars interested in clinical research with an older adult population. These 10-week summer internships often focus on neurodegenerative diseases from an interdisciplinary lens, ranging from basic biology research to clinical trials with older adults. 


Recent KARE Scholar projects include:

  • Clinical psychology research: a longitudinal clinical trial utilizing neuropsychological tests 

  • Health service research: improving the quality of care in a clinical and hospital setting

  • Biology research: utilizing advanced lab techniques to investigate neural biology

Increasing Healthspan, Mobility, and Vitality – This physiological, biomechanical, and behavioral research opportunity is primarily located within the Women’s Health Integrative Research Center at St. Kate’s and will involve interdisciplinary research led by Dr. Josh Guggenheimer and Dr. Marcie Myers. Human subjects research opportunities involve investigating a variety of metabolic, thermoregulatory, balance, and mobility-related research questions related to longevity and vitality.

Recent KARE Scholar projects include:

  • Wise women walking well: Gait variables in two age cohorts of older women living independently

  • The Impact of Far-Infrared Technology on Quality of Life in Older Adults 

Housing Inequities and Health across the Lifespan: This is an opportunity to be a part of an interprofessional team of faculty, staff, and students examining the impact of historic racial housing covenants on health and well-being. Racial covenants were written into housing deeds that created white spaces and forced segregation in the Twin Cities. Projects may include examining food insecurity and food deserts, neighborhood school funding, green spaces, and/or environmental pollutants and their impact on health. 


Recent KARE Scholar projects include:

  • Housing and Health Review

  • Interactive Teaching Tool: How Neighborhood Disparities Impact Health


Previous projects:

2021 Mayo Clinic Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship 

  • Yamillie (Millie) Ortiz - “Investigating the Effects of Phosphorylation Residues Tyrosine-701 and Serine-727 on STAT1 in Ovarian Cancer”
  • Litsi Ocampo Sorto - “Transduction of the rat spinal cord using the novel adeno-associated virus serotype 2.5”

2021 HealthPartners Neuroscience Center Internship - 

  • Nathaly (Nat) Romero Jara - “The effect of acupuncture on mild traumatic head injury”

2021 St. Catherine University Summer Scholars - 

  • Rebecca Benvie - “Insulin Signaling Pathway Gene Annotations in Newly Sequenced Drosophila Species”
  • McKenna Paluck - “Prenatal Telehealth - Product Testing and Evaluation of Outcomes”
  • Anchee Nitschke Durben - “Critical Analysis: Barriers and Opportunities for Addressing Oral Health Care”
  • Juliette (Jj) Kline - “Critical Analysis: Barriers and Opportunities for Addressing Oral Health Care”

2021 St. Catherine University Faculty Mentored Research

  • Anjelynt (Angie) Lor - “Gender Disparities in Healthy Aging in Korea compared with the United States” 
  • Tara Huber - “Gait stability changes in older adults using a novel gait trainer for 3 weeks

2020 St. Catherine University Faculty Mentored Research -

  • Litsi Ocampo Sorto - “Examining the Quality of Prenatal and Postnatal Care Received by Student-Parents” 
  • McKenna Paluck - "Layers of Invisibility: The News Media's Story Around Health for Older Adults"

Health Span, Vitality, and Mobility pipeline

Improving Balance in Women 50 and Older Through Immersive Virtual Reality Training
JJ Kline & Skylar Mattson
Mentor: Marcie Myers, Ph.D.

HealthPartners Neuroscience Center pipeline

Treatment of Moderate TBI Using a Novel Drug in Mice
Kenzi Marrone-Lloyd
Mentor: Jared Fine, Ph.D.

Acupuncture Treatment for Individuals with Myasthenia Gravis
Bo Podgorski
Mentor: Amanda Herrmann, Ph.D.

The Effect of an Adaptive Exercise Program on Chronic Inflammation in Spinal Cord Injury
Bo Podgorski
Mentor: Amanda Herrmann, Ph.D.

Mayo Clinic SURF Program

Evaluating the Effect of Endocannabinoid Metabolism on Zebrafish Behavior
Cassandra Norbeck
Mentor: Karl Clark, Ph.D.

PH Domain-Leucine Rich Phosphatases in Osteoarthritis
Leslie Victoria-Sanchez
Mentor: Haydee Torres, Ph.D. & Jennifer Westendorf, Ph.D.

Differences in Cannabis Usage and Clinical Outcomes Based on Fibromyalgia Severity
Kat Zamarripa
Mentors: Arya Mohabbat, M.D. & Dr. Lindsey Philpot, Ph.D., M.P.H

St. Catherine University Summer Scholars

Food, Greenspace, and Mental Health in Covenanted and Uncovenanted Neighborhoods
Salma Ali and Abbey Haveman
Mentor: Liz Allen, Ph.D.

Narratives of Mental Health in Professional Male Athletes as Constructed by the Media
JJ Kline
Mentor: Rebecca Busanich, Ph.D.

Utilizing the Existing Literature on Psychosocial Vital Signs to Design an Interprofessional Training Program
Valerye Peterson
Mentor: Dr. Stephanie de Sam Lazaro OTD, MA, OTR/L

Editing CDKN1A and RASD1 in a Cell Culture System
Hope Vue
Mentor: Kellie Agrimson, Ph.D

Addressing the Longevity of Positive Health Status in Immigrant, Hispanic/ Latin Communities Using the PROMIS Scale- Global Health Instrument
Kat Zamarripa
Mentor: Ambria Crusan, Ph.D.

Applications closed - apply in 2024!

First- and second-year students pursuing studies within a STEM or health-related discipline are invited to apply for KARE. Application decisions will be communicated to students in mid-October.

Students begin the application process by meeting with the program manager to discuss your goals, program components, and the written application. You will have an opportunity during this meeting to work one-on-one to initiate your application essays. Applications will involve several short essays about your research interests and professional goals. Interested students are encouraged to contact the KARE team ( Katie Campbell, Josh Guggenheimer, or Marcie Myers) with any questions about KARE or the application process.

Preview our application form>>


Eligible students may include 1st or 2nd year CFW students from any of the following groups:

  • Individuals from racial and ethnic groups that have been shown by the National Science Foundation to be underrepresented in health-related sciences on a national basis. 

  • Individuals with disabilities--a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.

  • Individuals who have/have experienced certain disadvantages (e.g. first-gen students, rural or urban education, Pell grant recipients, free/reduced lunch, and more).

For more information and to explore your eligibility for this program please reach out to kare@stkate.edu. We're happy to work with you and answer questions!

Priority given to: CFW students, students with clear research-career interests, and students with graduate school ambitions


The KARE Program is funded by the National Institute on Aging through the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R25AG060892.