Eugene and Ruth Roberts Summer Student Academy

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

a female biomedical engineer working with a specimen inside a laboratory

Eugene and Ruth Roberts Summer Student Academy

The Eugene and Ruth Roberts Summer Student Academy offers an enriching educational experience for high school students looking for a transformative summer program, combining rigorous coursework with personal development and being part of a pre-college community. Let’s explore the program’s transformative impact, which has propelled many aspiring scientists forward. Get ready to unlock your potential and aim for a future filled with innovation, exploration, and new discoveries.

Overview of the Eugene and Ruth Roberts Summer Student Academy

Before delving into the application process and program offerings, it’s essential to understand the foundation of this transformative educational opportunity. Here’s an overview of the Eugene and Ruth Roberts Summer Student Academy.

The City of Hope, home to the Eugene and Ruth Roberts Summer Student Academy, is a renowned biomedical research and treatment center in Duarte, California. With a history spanning over a century, it has earned a global reputation for its pioneering work in cancer research, diabetes, and other life-threatening diseases.

The academy has been an integral part of City of Hope for over six decades, leaving an indelible mark on the STEM education landscape. Since its inception in 1960 with just two initial enrollees, the program has blossomed, now welcoming more than 1,500 eager young minds.

Driven by the vision of its founder, Dr. Eugene Roberts, an esteemed National Academy of Sciences member, this academy continues to be a beacon of inspiration for high school and university students.

At its core, the program’s mission is to provide aspiring researchers with hands-on experience in biomedical research. Students are not passive observers but active participants, designing and working on their research projects aligned with their specific interests. The guiding hand of City of Hope’s esteemed faculty members, who serve as mentors, ensures these young scholars receive valuable guidance while fostering their independent thinking and exploration.

View of a woman using a microscope.

What sets this academy apart is the emphasis on holistic development. Beyond conducting research, participants engage in weekly student seminar series, sharing their findings with peers and instructors.

Moreover, they hone their scientific writing skills by producing comprehensive reports, a crucial skill set in academia and research. This program, therefore, nurtures budding scientists and equips them with essential oral and written communication skills, setting them on a path to success in graduate studies and beyond.

The academy is a testament to City of Hope’s commitment to nurturing the next generation of scientists. It’s a place where the legacy of Eugene and Ruth Roberts comes alive, paving the way for future breakthroughs in biomedical sciences.

The City of Hope, in partnership with the Eugene and Ruth Roberts Summer Student Academy, continues to transform scientific discoveries into innovative treatments and compassionate care, providing hope and healing to individuals facing challenging health conditions.

How to Apply to the Academy

If you’re a budding scientist with dreams of immersing yourself in the world of biomedical research, the Eugene and Ruth Roberts Summer Student Academy is a gateway to fulfilling those aspirations.

In the previous year, the Academy received a total of 2,100 applications and accepted 82 students. The composition of the Academy was marked by a balance between 45% undergraduate students and 55% high school students, creating a diverse and dynamic cohort.

As indicated in these figures, admissions at the academy are highly competitive. Therefore, it is crucial to understand the application process and how to apply to the academy to secure your spot in this prestigious program.

While the deadline for the 2023 program has passed, understanding the eligibility requirements and application process can pave the way for your future application.

Eligibility Requirements

To be considered for this prestigious summer academy, specific eligibility criteria must be met:

  • Age Requirement: Applicants must be at least 16 years old before the commencement of their internship.
  • Educational Status: The program is open to both high school and undergraduate students, offering opportunities for many learners.
  • Citizenship Status: Applicants should be either U.S. citizens or permanent residents.
  • Application Deadline: For the 2023 program, the deadline was March 16th.

In addition to basic personal information, the application process includes questions about your career aspirations, relevant coursework, and any prior experience (though experience is not mandatory). You will also be required to provide a brief statement explaining your motivation for pursuing research and your specific area of research interest.

Many students choose to enhance their applications by including supplementary documents such as transcripts, letters of recommendation, and resumes, although these are not required. If you plan to submit additional materials, remember that they must be received by March 15th.

a resume printed on paper and a pair of glasses and pen sitting on top of the paper

Program Commitment

Participating in the Eugene and Ruth Roberts Summer Student Academy is a commitment from June 5th to August 11th, 2023. It’s essential to ensure you can fully commit to this timeframe before applying, as it’s an integral part of the program’s structure.

Letter of Recommendation

For applicants who wish to strengthen their application with a letter of recommendation, it’s vital to provide ample time for your recommender to write and submit their letter. Upon submitting your application, you will receive a URL via email that can be shared with your recommender(s). This URL allows them to upload their letter of support directly to your application file, maintaining confidentiality. Additionally, you can use this URL to submit any extra materials if necessary.

Additional Opportunities

City of Hope has created a program called YES2SUCCESS (Youth Enjoy Science: Seeking Useful Comprehensive Cancer Education Strategies for Students) to offer research education and training opportunities to students from underrepresented backgrounds.

This initiative aims to engage middle school students in cancer research laboratories, fostering their interest in STEM careers. Participants in the YES2SUCCESS program are awarded a $4,800 stipend.

This program is open to underrepresented populations, including African American, Hispanic, Native American, and Pacific Islander students. During the program, students collaborate with City of Hope scientists on challenging research projects for two consecutive summers, with each summer session spanning 12 weeks.

Moreover, the City of Hope’s CIRM/TEAMS program is integral to the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) SPARK Awards initiative, which supports SPARK programs (Summer Program to Accelerate Regenerative Medicine Knowledge) statewide. These programs introduce high school students to stem cell biology and regenerative medicine research.

As an essential component of the broader Eugene and Ruth Roberts Summer Student Academy, the CIRM/TEAMS program offers a ten-week internship within the City of Hope’s established stem cell laboratories. During this internship, participants collaborate with City of Hope faculty members and undertake independent summer projects while receiving training in cutting-edge stem cell techniques.

In addition to hands-on research, program participants attend lectures featuring prominent experts in the fields of stem cell biology and regenerative medicine. They can share their research findings informally and formally with peers and mentors, and they are encouraged to communicate their research experiences through various mediums like blogs, social media, and poster presentations.

The CIRM/TEAMS program at City of Hope is designed to provide participants with valuable laboratory skills, enhance their critical thinking abilities, and impart real-world knowledge to empower them to pursue STEM careers. It also offers a unique glimpse into the field of regenerative medicine within the setting of a renowned research institution.

For those interested in the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) SPARK or Youth Enjoy Science: Seeking Useful Comprehensive Cancer Education Strategies for Students (YES2SUCCESS) programs, they must fill out the main application and check the respective boxes to indicate their interest.

It’s important to note that only students who apply to the Roberts Academy are considered for these supplementary programs, which offer unique avenues for further exploration in the field of biomedical research.

Selection Process

The Eugene and Ruth Roberts Summer Student Academy employs a two-stage selection process. In the initial stage, a committee meticulously reviews and scores all online applications to identify students demonstrating exceptional potential. Those selected will progress to the second stage, either as accepted into the program or placed on a waitlist.

a female student reading a letter

Due to program capacity constraints, only the exact number of students that can be accommodated will be admitted. If an accepted student declines their invitation, the program reaches out to students on the waitlist to fill the vacancy. This waitlist provides an additional opportunity for accomplished applicants who were not initially admitted. However, it’s essential to note that the program cannot predict its response to waitlisted students.

While the 2023 application deadline has passed, gaining insights into the application process and eligibility criteria is valuable for those aspiring to participate in future Eugene and Ruth Roberts Summer Student Academy cohorts.

What Is It Like to Attend the Academy?

The Eugene and Ruth Roberts Summer Student Academy at City of Hope offers a unique opportunity for students to dive into the world of science through hands-on research.

Now, what is it like to attend the academy? Let’s delve into the program structure, the learning environment, and the unique experiences that await the participants.

Unlike conventional high school or college courses, where instructors dictate the curriculum, students in this program have the autonomy to select their research projects based on their individual interests.

Over the course of 10 intensive weeks, these budding scientists become part of a laboratory team and actively engage in experiments linked to the lab’s ongoing projects. They delve into lab notebooks and scholarly articles, engaging in discussions with lab professionals such as technicians, postdocs, graduate students, or the principal investigator.

To enrich their internship experience, each student is expected to deliver a brief presentation or create a poster and craft a research paper of approximately 3-4 pages summarizing their research findings.

Beyond the research aspect, the program includes a rich array of meetings and seminars featuring faculty speakers who delve into diverse scientific topics and career-focused discussions. Students can present their research projects, enhancing their skills in articulating their work’s objectives, significance, methods, results, conclusions, and future directions.

The Academy also hosts an annual Poster Session, where students showcase their research accomplishments. This event allows them to refine their networking and presentation skills and reinforces their sense of personal accomplishment.

Additionally, students are encouraged to participate in the Southern California Conference for Undergraduate Research (SCCUR), where they can present their research findings to a broader audience. This platform promotes knowledge sharing and hones their ability to communicate their findings effectively.

A conference speaker presenting to youth leaders

Furthermore, various social activities are organized to foster a sense of community among Summer Academy students. These include the Summer Student BBQ Petribowl, Movie Nights, the Summer Academy Banquet, and Field Trips to explore the rich science and art culture of Los Angeles and Orange County.

The Eugene and Ruth Roberts Summer Student Academy offers a transformative experience where scientific curiosity meets hands-on research, leading to personal growth, professional development, and lasting memories.

Benefits of Attending the Eugene and Ruth Roberts Summer Student Academy

The Eugene and Ruth Roberts Summer Student Academy at City of Hope isn’t just an educational program; it’s a life-changing experience that offers many benefits for those fortunate enough to attend.

Whether you’re a high school student or an undergraduate, this program opens doors to a world of opportunities that extend far beyond the classroom. Here’s a glimpse of the incredible benefits of attending the Eugene and Ruth Roberts Summer Student Academy.

Guidance from Renowned Mentors

One of the standout features of the program is the guidance provided by City of Hope’s world-renowned physicians and scientists who serve as mentors. These mentors not only assist students in their research endeavors but also nurture their critical thinking skills, encouraging them to explore new horizons in the world of science.

Cultivating Collaboration and Learning

The program fosters a culture of collaboration and learning through weekly seminars, where students can present their research findings to their peers. This experience serves as an excellent primer for the kind of work graduate and postdoctoral students engage in regularly.

Additionally, the program offers workshops on various subjects, including creating research presentation posters and exploring biomedical ethics, equipping students with a well-rounded understanding of the scientific landscape.

Building Valuable Relationships

Interactions between students and their research mentors are not limited to the laboratory; they extend beyond, facilitating the development of valuable relationships that can shape future academic and professional pursuits.

Impact and Achievements

What truly sets this program apart is its profound impact on its participants. Many students are pleasantly surprised by the depth of knowledge they gain and their tangible contributions to scientific research. It’s not uncommon for their names to appear in published research papers, and some have even patented and commercialized inventions born from their collaborative efforts with mentors.

Presentation and Communication Skills

Effective communication is a critical skill in any field. Students in the program have the chance to present their research findings to peers and mentors, honing their ability to communicate complex scientific concepts clearly and persuasively. These skills are transferable and valuable in various academic and professional contexts.

Personal Growth and Confidence

Participating in the academy is more than just a learning experience; it’s a journey of personal growth and self-discovery. Students often develop increased confidence, independence, and a greater sense of their potential.

A woman with her headset and notebook

Financial Support

While the primary focus is education and research, the program provides financial support. Students receive a stipend of $4,000 for their dedicated work during the program, helping to offset some of the associated costs.

The benefits of attending the Eugene and Ruth Roberts Summer Student Academy are vast and far-reaching. From hands-on research experience to mentorship by experts and skill development, this program equips students with the tools they need to succeed in academia and their future careers.

The academy is more than just an educational program; it’s a transformative experience that empowers young minds to become future biomedical research leaders. With its unique approach to hands-on learning, mentorship by world-renowned scientists, and a supportive community of like-minded peers, this program equips students with invaluable skills, knowledge, and confidence.

As they embark on their scientific journeys, participants make tangible contributions to the field and gain a deeper understanding of their work’s profound impact on society.

For students aspiring to be a part of this exceptional program, AdmissionSight offers invaluable assistance. With a team of experienced mentors and advisors, AdmissionSight guides in navigating the competitive application process, refining personal statements, and showcasing individual strengths and passions.

Their expertise in college and program admissions can significantly enhance your chances of securing a coveted spot at the Eugene and Ruth Roberts Summer Student Academy.

Through personalized support and a commitment to your academic and professional success, AdmissionSight can help you realize your dream of being a part of this prestigious program and take your first steps toward a future in biomedical research.


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