Young Innovative Investigator Program


The aim of the Young Innovative Investigator Program (YIIP) is to provide graduate level academic training to underrepresented students pursuing biological and biomedical science careers, to foster scientific innovation among biomedical scientists and scholars, and to increase diversity among the pool of academic scientists. IMPORTANT: Current YIIP applicants must possess an interest in the field of regeneration and engineering complex tissue and organ systems through the convergence of advanced materials sciences, stem cell sciences, physics, developmental biology, and clinical translation.



YIIP is a one to two year, full-time program for college graduates comprised of graduate level coursework and supervised research in biomedical laboratories on the campus of UConn Health. This is not a post-baccalaureate program, but individualized mentorship, academic support, and career guidance is provided. YIIP Scholars are employed as Graduate Assistants and also may qualify for health insurance coverage. In addition, the tuition expense and basic fees associated with required graduate level courses are waived for YIIP Scholars.

Upon successful completion of year one, a scholar obtains a Biomedical Science Research Experience Graduate Certificate. In year two, scholars who meet the academic qualifications and successfully complete their first year may have the opportunity to pursue a Master of Science in Biomedical Science.



All applicants must:

  • Have completed a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university with a minimum overall 3.0 GPA.
  • Demonstrate high motivation and potential to become a basic scientist with a goal of attaining a the field of regeneration.
  • Meet all eligibility criteria and have a high probability of fulfilling the social and educational goals of this program.
  • Be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States.
  • Consideration will be given to those applicants traditionally underrepresented in medicine and science. More information available here.


Application Process

Submission Deadline: May 31, 2019

Applicants to the Young Innovative Investigator Program must apply online to the UConn Graduate School.  Please follow the guidelines below for your application.


Intended Program

  • Area - Health
  • Field of Study - Biomedical Science Research Experience Graduate Certificate
  • Campus - Farmington
  • Term - Fall 2019
  • NOTE: Disregard message stating deadline for applying has passed and continue.


Enrollment Details / Advisor

  • First choice for faculty advisor: Barbara Kream
  • Second choice: leave blank


Academic History

  • Transcripts: Upload a copy of an official transcript from each college or university that you have attended with the online application. Official transcripts are issued by the college/university attended and bear the impressed or colored seal of that institution. (Only upon notification of admission, you will be required to mail official transcripts to: Graduate Admissions Office, 438 Whitney Rd. Ext., Unit 1152, Storrs, CT 06269-1152)
  • Test Scores: Upload scores/reports for SAT or ACT; (MCAT or GRE are not required - Submit only if already taken)


Essays & Documents

  • Resume or Curriculum Vitae: Optional

IMPORTANT: Upload one pdf document under Personal Statement containing the following three individual documents (Personal Statement, Research Experience Essay, and Five Year Future Plan Essay).

  • Personal Statement: Describe applicant’s background, talents, motivations and other factors that have shaped career goals in the field of science and specifically in the field of regeneration. (Not to exceed one page, single spaced, 12-point font, 1 inch margins, no attachments)
  • Research Experience Essay: Write a one-page essay citing applicant’s previous biological and/or biomedical research experience or exposure, interest in pursuing career as scientist and/or scholar in the field of regeneration, and statement of how this program will assist in achievement of career goals. (Not to exceed one page, single spaced, 12-point font, 1 inch margins, no attachments). Essay containing a five-year future plan outlining the applicant’s academic pursuits, career goals, and detailed plan to reach stated career goals.
  • Five Year Future Plan Essay: Write a one-page essay containing a five-year future plan that clearly outlines the applicant’s academic pursuits and career goals including detailed plan to reach stated career goals. (Not to exceed one page, single spaced, 12-point font, 1 inch margins, no attachments).


Residency Affidavit

All applicants must complete a residence affidavit for in-state tuition status. Without this document you cannot qualify for in-state tuition rates. You can find the residence affidavit in the online application.



Provide two letters of recommendation. At least on letter of recommendation must be from a science instructor.


Application Fee Waiver

Notify Lana Angelo ( to request an application fee waiver when you begin the online application. In addition, standard terms of UConn Graduate School’s fee waiver policy can be found at


For more information, contact YIIP Program Coordinator Lana Angelo


Current YIIP Scholars

John Garcia

University of Connecticut

Graduate Lab/Research: Skeletal Biology and Regeneration

Joshua Green

Southern Connecticut State University Graduate

Lab/Research: Molecular Biology and Genetics

Anisha Lewis

Brown University Graduate

Lab/Research: Cell Biology, Vascular Biology

Jaliyah Peterson

Spelman College Graduate

Lab/Research: Molecular Biology and Biophysics

Kaussar Rahman

Mount Holyoke College Graduate

Lab/Research: Molecular Oncology

Savannah Samuel

Xavier University Of Louisiana Graduate

Lab/Research: Molecular Medicine, Endocrinology

Former YIIP Scholars

  • Aundrya Montgomery, Alabama State University , B.S., Biology/Pre-Health
  • Shania Aponte-Paris, Universidad Adventista de los Antilles, B.S., Biology
  • Aaliyah Riccardi, University of Connecticut, B.S., Biology
  • Archibald Agyekum-Yamoah, University of Ghana, B.S., Biology Southern Connecticut State University, B.S., Biochemistry, Mathematics minor
  • Melissa Carr-Reynolds, Spelman College, B.S., Biology
  • Nilse Dos Santos, University of Rhode Island, B.S., Biological Science
  • La Shondra Ellis, Oakwood College, B.S., Biology
  • Trisha Kwarko, University of Connecticut, B.S., Allied Health Sciences
  • Sandra Lopez, University of Connecticut, B.S., Biological Sciences
  • Akilah Plair, Southern Connecticut State University, B.S., Biochemistry