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15 Medical Research Opportunities for High School Students

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

forensic science student examining a sample in microscope

15 Medical Research Opportunities for High School Students

Getting into your dream college requires more than good grades and extracurricular activities. It demands practical experience and a deep understanding of your field of interest. For those interested in the medical field, medical research programs offer invaluable opportunities to gain hands-on experience and insight into the world of healthcare.

You might be wondering, why are these programs so important? Well, let me tell you. Medical research programs allow you to explore your passion for science and medicine in a real-world setting. Instead of just reading about theories in textbooks, you’ll have the chance to roll up your sleeves and actively contribute to cutting-edge research projects.

Here are 15 medical research programs that could lead to prestigious colleges and future career opportunities:

1. UPenn Biomedical Research Academy

  • Location: Penn’s School of Medicine
  • Cost: $9,700
  • Program Date: July 6 – July 27, 2024
  • Application Deadline: February 15, 2024
  • Eligibility: High school students

The UPenn Biomedical Research Academy is a comprehensive program for high school students interested in exploring the experimental basis of cellular, molecular, and genetic aspects of biology, particularly focusing on their relevance to diseases. The course content includes a wide range of topics such as genome sequencing, CRISPR/Cas-9, vaccines, antibiotic resistance, and bioethics, delivered by scientists, clinicians, and faculty from the Department of Biology and Penn’s School of Medicine.

The program also includes journal clubs where you’ll engage in discussions on peer-reviewed research articles, learning how to read, interpret, analyze, and critique primary research under the guidance of Penn researchers or faculty members. This setup not only offers deep insights into the core of medical research but also equips you with valuable skills and knowledge for your future academic or professional endeavors in the field of biology​​​​​​.

Medical Research Laboratory

2. Stanford Institutes of Medicine Summer Research Program

  • Location: Stanford University’s Institutes of Medicine
  • Cost: Free
  • Program Date: June 10 – August 1, 2024
  • Application Deadline: February 24, 2024
  • Eligibility: High school juniors and seniors

The Stanford Institutes of Medicine Summer Research Program (SIMR) is an eight-week summer internship designed for high school juniors and seniors interested in biomedical research. The program offers hands-on research experience under the guidance of mentors at Stanford University’s Institutes of Medicine and select departments. 

Applicants to SIMR can choose from eight research areas, including Immunology, Neurobiology, Cancer Biology, Bioengineering, Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine, Cardiovascular Biology, Bioinformatics, and Genetics and Genomics. The program also offers a bioengineering bootcamp as an alternative to the lab research component​​​​.

3. Summer Student Research Program at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland

  • Location: MLK. Research Building in Oakland, UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital
  • Cost: $3000–$4300
  • Program Date: Early June to early August (specific dates unspecified)
  • Application Deadline: February 16, 2024
  • Eligibility: Students over 16 years of age

The Summer Student Research Program at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland is a remarkable opportunity for high school and college students, especially those from diverse and under-represented backgrounds, to engage in medical research. 

This program, with a history spanning over 40 years, integrates students into local clinics and basic science labs, where they participate in active research projects. As a participant, you’ll be paired with a mentor for one-on-one guidance through clinical or basic science research projects, which vary greatly depending on the mentor you’re assigned.

To be eligible, you need to be a high school junior or senior with at least one completed year in math and biology, or an undergraduate student. It’s important to be at least 16 years of age by June 1st of the program year. A key focus of the program is to encourage students from under-represented groups in sciences to pursue STEM careers by providing them with professional skills and confidence. Participants also receive a stipend, which varies based on student status and the granting agency​​​​​​.

4. High School Summer Research Experience at Roswell Park

  • Location: Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, Buffalo, New York
  • Cost: Free
  • Program Date: June 24 – August 9, 2024
  • Application Deadline: February 21, 2024
  • Eligibility: Students at least 15 years of age

The High School Summer Research Experience at Roswell Park offers an invaluable opportunity for high school juniors to delve into the world of scientific research, specifically focused on cancer science. Set to run from June 24 to August 9, 2024, this program allows you to work alongside experts on your own independent research project. 

To be eligible for this program, you must be enrolled as a junior in high school at the time of your application and be a resident of Western New York. The program is a commuter-based one, which means you’ll need to travel to the facility daily, as there are no accommodations for staying on-site. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent residents and at least 15 years old by the start of the program. 

5. Institute On Neuroscience

  • Location: Emory University
  • Cost: $25 application fee
  • Program Date: Exact dates for 2024 not specified
  • Application Deadline: Unspecified
  • Eligibility: High school juniors or seniors

The Institute on Neuroscience at Emory University, in collaboration with the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, The Marcus Autism Center, and Georgia State University’s Center for Behavioral Neuroscience, offers an enriching eight-week summer program for high school students. This program is designed for students who excel in science and have a keen interest in medical research. 

The ION program begins with a Meet-the-Mentor Luncheon in the spring, followed by a one-week introductory curriculum in early June. Then, you’ll engage in Friday Workshops focusing on scientific communication, science and society, scientific ethics, and special topics in neuroscience.

After the introductory week, you will conduct a seven-week mentored laboratory research project at one of the participating institutions. The summer concludes with a comprehensive Closing Research Symposium, where you will be required to present your research findings in a 10-minute slide presentation to an audience including family, friends, peers, program mentors, and others in the neuroscience community.

A researcher working on a object

6. Summer Scholars Program (SSSP)

  • Location: Seattle Children’s Research Institute
  • Cost: Unspecified
  • Program Date: June 18 – August 16, 2024
  • Application Deadline: January 12, 2024
  • Eligibility: Undergraduate students

The Summer Scholars Program (SSSP) at Seattle Children’s Research Institute is an enriching opportunity for undergraduate students and recent graduates, especially those from backgrounds historically underrepresented in biomedical and health sciences. This 10-week program allows you to engage in basic, clinical, or translational research projects under experienced mentorship. You can earn $20 per hour for a 40-hour week, though taxes will be withheld from this income. The program, slated to run from June 18 to August 16, 2024, requires your full-time commitment, including additional hours for professional development activities.

If you’re interested in applying, ensure you have a strong background in fields like biology, biochemistry, microbiology, neuroscience, mathematics, behavioral health, public health, or a related scientific field. The program prioritizes applicants seeking their first formal research internship. The application process involves selecting your top three research projects from a list and explaining how your skills and interests align with each. A professional reference letter, along with a resume and cover letter, is also required.

7. Biomedical Research and Global Health at Seattle Children’s Institute

  • Location: Seattle Children’s Institute
  • Cost: Free
  • Program Date: 2023-2024 school year
  • Application Deadline: March 8, 2024
  • Eligibility: 11th and 12th-grade students

The Biomedical Research and Global Health program at Seattle Children’s Institute, in partnership with the Highline School District, offers an immersive year-long academic experience for high school students. This program is tailored to prepare you for a variety of career opportunities in biomedical research and healthcare. Throughout the program, you will engage in hands-on lab experiences, providing an authentic introduction to the research process. 

These experiences include learning lab safety, practicing essential lab skills, and using state-of-the-art equipment for experiments related to disease prevention and treatment. Additionally, guest lectures from scientists and field trips to local research organizations will give you an inside look into careers in this rapidly evolving field.

The program is designed to build a robust foundation in biological sciences and research, integrating modern advancements in technology, such as gene editing and immunotherapy. You will be exposed to real-world scenarios and have opportunities for professional development and career planning. 

8. Research Training Program for High School Students

  • Location: Seattle Children’s Research Institute
  • Cost: Free
  • Program Date: July 8 – August 2, 2024
  • Application Deadline: March 10, 2024
  • Eligibility: Rising high school juniors and seniors

The Research Training Program for High School Students at Seattle Children’s Research Institute offers a mix of educational lectures, hands-on laboratory experiences, and career workshops. You’ll be engaged in activities like microscopy, agarose gel electrophoresis, and gene editing, among others. Additionally, the program includes tours of the facility and a group research project, culminating in a presentation. This experience is not only about gaining laboratory skills but also about understanding the application process for college and exploring various career paths in biomedical fields.

Applications for the program open in early January and close in March. You will need to submit an application form and a letter of recommendation. Keep in mind that the program is competitive, and being within commuting distance of downtown Seattle is necessary, as housing is not provided. Importantly, participants will receive a stipend, and thus a Social Security Number is required for tax purposes.

Medical interns

9. Eugene And Ruth Roberts Summer Student Academy

  • Location: City of Hope, Duarte CA
  • Cost: Unspecified
  • Program Date: June 3 – August 9, 2024
  • Application Deadline: March 13, 2024
  • Eligibility: High school and undergraduate students

The Eugene and Ruth Roberts Summer Student Academy at City of Hope offers you a chance to gain hands-on research experience in biomedical science. This program, aimed at high school and undergraduate students, provides a unique opportunity to work on real-world research projects. 

You must be at least 16 years old to participate, and while it’s beneficial to submit additional materials like transcripts and recommendation letters, these are not strictly required. The program spans ten weeks and requires you to contact the program administrator for specific time period details. This academy is a great way to immerse yourself in the world of scientific research, especially if you have a keen interest in biomedical fields. 

10. Health and Society Institute at Barnard College

  • Location: Barnard College
  • Cost: $7,772 – $9,687
  • Program Date: July 22 – August 10, 2024
  • Application Deadline: May 26, 2024
  • Eligibility: Rising juniors and seniors in high school

The Health and Society Institute at Barnard College offers an insightful and immersive program that investigates the intricate relationship between health, society, and science. This program stands out for its dedication to exploring the cultural, historical, and economic underpinnings of the U.S. healthcare system. You’ll delve into how scientific knowledge interacts with other forms of knowledge representation and evaluate the credibility and influence of experts in various fields. 

A unique aspect of the program is its emphasis on qualitative research. You will gain foundational knowledge and techniques related to qualitative research, including conceptualizing, planning, and implementing research projects. This experience is not just about learning; it’s about applying these skills to real-world scenarios, particularly in the context of working with human subjects.

11. Arthritis Foundation Summer Science Internship Program

  • Location: University of California, San Francisco
  • Cost: Unspecified
  • Program Date: May 28 – August 30, 2024
  • Application Deadline: March 4, 2024
  • Eligibility: Students over 17 years old

The Arthritis Foundation Summer Science Internship Program offers a dynamic opportunity for high school juniors, seniors, and college undergraduates interested in exploring the fields of rheumatology and immunology, with a particular focus on arthritis and related autoimmune diseases. Hosted by the prestigious University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), and Stanford University, this 8-week program, running from May 28 to August 30, 2024, immerses you in cutting-edge research environments​​​​​​​​.

During the internship, you will engage in hands-on experiences in either basic laboratory (bench) research, clinical translational/epidemiological (patient-oriented) research, or bioinformatics (computational) research. This program is a great opportunity to delve into the intricacies of conditions like arthritis, understand the body’s immune responses, and contribute to the development of effective treatments. 

Not only will you gain valuable insights from world-renowned physicians and scientists, but you will also receive a stipend of $2,500 for your participation. To be eligible, you must be at least 17 years old by the start of the program and a citizen or permanent resident of the USA​​​​​​​​.

Research project of medical team

12. Summer Program In Neuroscience

  • Location: Boston University
  • Cost: $4,000
  • Program Date: June 3 – July 25, 2024
  • Application Deadline: March 18, 2024
  • Eligibility: Rising junior and senior undergraduate students

The Summer Program in Neuroscience (SPIN) at Boston University is an eight-week program designed for undergraduates with an interest in neuroscience, biomedical engineering, computer science, and medicine. SPIN combines research activities with clinical and didactic experiences to provide a comprehensive understanding of neuroscience. Students participate in hands-on neuroanatomy labs, attend small group lectures, and are involved in clinical rotations that include observing neurosurgical procedures and neurological assessments. 

This program not only enhances understanding of the brain and neuroscience research but also supports career development with sessions on application processes for medical and graduate schools and interview skills. Admission is based on academic performance, letters of recommendation, and a personal statement. The program runs from June 3 to July 25, 2024, with a tuition cost of $4,000, not including room and board. The application deadline for 2024 is March 18th. 

13. Stanford Medical Youth Science Program

  • Location: Stanford University
  • Cost: Free
  • Program Date: June 24 – July 26, 2024
  • Application Deadline: March 15, 2024
  • Eligibility: Low-income and/or underrepresented minority high school sophomores and juniors

The Stanford Medical Youth Science Program (SMYSP) offers a dynamic and immersive five-week enrichment experience for high school juniors who are first-generation and from low-income backgrounds in Northern California. As a participant, you will delve into a comprehensive curriculum that includes hospital internships at Stanford Hospital and a public health research project. The hospital internships provide you with hands-on experience in various aspects of healthcare delivery. 

In addition to these practical experiences, the program emphasizes mentorship and community building. You’ll receive guidance and support from faculty, health professionals, and college students, fostering a network that extends beyond the summer. The program also includes academic seminars and lectures covering public health, research methodology, and human anatomy, conducted by Stanford medical students. These sessions are designed to prepare you for your research project and provide insights into college and medical school preparation.

14. Health Career Institute at Dartmouth

  • Location: Dartmouth College
  • Cost: $2,800 – $3,600
  • Program Date: June 24-29, 2024
  • Application Deadline: March 16, 2024
  • Eligibility: Students entering 11th and 12th grades

The Health Careers Institute at Dartmouth is a unique and enriching opportunity for high school students interested in exploring a variety of disciplines within the healthcare sector. Scheduled for June 24-29, 2024, this program is specifically designed for students entering 11th and 12th grades who are keen on delving into healthcare careers and eager to learn about both clinical and non-clinical health professions​​​​.

The program’s structure includes classroom instruction, a team-based research project, and dialogues with faculty and health profession students, ensuring a comprehensive learning experience. Importantly, you’ll also get a taste of college life, living in a dorm on the Dartmouth College campus, and engaging in discussions about the college application process, which can be particularly beneficial for your future academic pursuits​​.

Medical students sitting and talking at the university

15. NIH Summer Internship Program

  • Location: Bethesda, Maryland and Framingham, Massachusetts
  • Cost: Unspecified
  • Program Date: Between May and September 2024
  • Application Deadline: February 16, 2024
  • Eligibility: Students at least 17 years of age

The NIH Summer Internship Program (SIP) is an exceptional opportunity for college, graduate, and professional students who are keen on exploring careers in research and healthcare. As a participant, you’ll be working full-time within one of the NIH Institutes and Centers in the Intramural Research Program. The research groups are spread across NIH campuses, including the main campus in Bethesda, MD. 

Eligibility for the program is fairly broad. You must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, 17 years or older by June 15, 2024, and enrolled at least half-time in an accredited educational institution. This includes community colleges, colleges, universities, or professional schools. The application process for the SIP is comprehensive, requiring a detailed profile, a list of coursework and grades, a CV or resume, references, and a cover letter. The selection process is thorough, with a focus on aligning applicants’ research interests with ongoing projects​​​​.

Final Thoughts

As you work toward getting into your dream college, keep in mind that internships in medical research can really improve your chances of success. By gaining hands-on experience, you not only enhance your understanding of the medical field but also demonstrate your commitment and passion to admissions committees. At AdmissionSight, we specialize in guiding students like you through the intricacies of college admissions, including identifying and securing impactful internships. 

With our expertise and support, you can confidently pursue these opportunities and position yourself as a standout candidate in the competitive admissions landscape. As you look ahead, seize every chance to learn, grow, and make your mark on the path to achieving your academic and professional goals.

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