Simons Summer Research Program

July 1, 2020
By AdmissionSight

Simons Summer Research Program – An unmatched opportunity for the enthusiastic scientific researcher in you

Summer breaks are all about fun, lazy mornings, unlimited playtime, and watching favorite series on Netflix. Or, so you thought. But for highschoolers, summer breaks are far from ‘laid back’. Even before summer sets in, every highschooler’s mind is set on the mission to make the most out of their summer break. If you are a highschooler you do realize that summer breaks are the best opportunity to build on your interests and skills which will also enable you to pursue these as you plan for college. Simons Summer Research Program does that for you.

Regular school days don’t leave you with enough time at hand to pursue your real passion. And, summer breaks can be that perfect time of the year when you can prove yourself beyond test scores and grades. Thankfully, college admission applications aren’t just scouting for top test scorers. The best colleges in the U.S., such as Harvard, Yale, Princeton, etc., look for well-rounded students with extraordinary passion and demonstrated caliber in their subject of interest.

If you are considering specializing in a science subject you could possibly be spending a lot of time thinking about how to make your college application shine through the very competitive admission process. Needless to say, you are anxious and feel the stress a little more than the rest. The college that you get through will act as a cornerstone of your career. Undoubtedly, you want to build your professional life on a solid foundation. The bottom line is, your application should come out as really impressive to the admission team.

So the key question is, how do you utilize your summertime such that it brings out the best ‘scientist’ or ‘engineer’ or ‘medicine expert’ in you? How do you prove your love for this subject beyond grades and AP classes? Here’s where research that you take up now can really prove handy.

But most students find themselves confused about where to start with their research. For example, you might have a brilliant idea but not sufficient resources to bring that idea to fruitation. Or, you might have started your project but are stuck at a point with challenges you knew little about. No one around can guide you because none of your peers is a science graduate or expert. If you don’t want to see yourself suffering because of any such reason the best way out is to enrol with an institute like the Simons Summer Research Program.

Platforms like the Simons Summer research program bring classroom learnings to real life. The research and activities that you take up at this summer research program will not only prepare you for college but open an unexplored world of ideas and innovation.

It makes the utmost sense to enrol for a platform like the Simons Summer research program if taking on challenging research in a subject of interest is close to your heart. If you are looking for four clear reasons why you must think about pursuing research at this research program, read on.

High School students at the Simons Summer Research Program

Pursuing research at the Simons Summer Research Program – 4 benefits

Of course, the kind of experience you gain is going to help you craft an exceptional essay for your college application – the type that outshines others. But, more importantly, the kind environment and learning that Simons Summer Research program fosters will prove to be extremely enriching. This specialized summer program offers a great deal of benefits to students who are curious to unlearn, learn, experiment, and grow. Four such key benefits are explained ahead.:

#1 — Learning by Doing

A platform like the Simons Summer Research Program offers ample exposure to the world of science. Here, you can break free from the four walls of the classroom. Learning by doing takes the forefront. In high school, you can only give limited time to lab-based learning. When enrolled in a summer research program like the one offered by the Simons Summer Research Program, your very basis of learning is being hands-on with it. Experimentation, data collection, observation, developing a scientific viewpoint, challenging existing theories, and bringing innovation to life – that’s the kind of exposure you should be looking forward to at this research program.

#2 — Easy accessibility to resources

It can be tough to find a lab to pursue your research or experiment. To avail one, you might have to request professors or find someone who is connected with a university to help you use a lab. This ‘hunting’ for resources can be time-consuming. It might actually end up eating a valuable chunk of your summer break leaving you with only a week or two to finish the actual work. Even if you do manage to get a lab arranged to work in, what about help and guidance? For students whose parents or siblings with limited knowledge or resources in their area of expertise, this entire exercise can be truly daunting.

Having enrolled with Simons Summer Research program, you’ll not have to spend a single day worrying about finding a lab or a mentor. As a program research participant, you will gain easy access to the best of resources. The Simons Summer Research Program, for example, carefully matches each student with their mentor. The idea is to help students make the best out of the brilliant ideas under the guidance of experts of repute in their field of study.

#3 — Unparalleled networking opportunities

When in the Stony Brook’s campus, you’ll meet students from all across the country. Few may share a similar fondness for a subject that you are also passionate about and could be your life long allies. You’ll get to learn a lot from them and with them. Similarly, at the Simons Summer Research Program you will be introduced to mentors and professionals who will not only help you with your research completion at the summer program but who’ll be there to guide you throughout your life. When you take on a challenging career in science it will be these friends and peers who you can look up to for expert advice. They will be the ones who stand like your unparalleled support network.

#4 — Expert  guidance on research feasibility

Undertaking research in the presence of peers who are interested in the same subject will prove to be an extremely fruitful exercise in understanding your research idea’s feasibility. Mentors at the Simons Summer Research Program will help you analyze the strengths, weaknesses, opportunity areas, and threats (or barriers) of the research you are willing to undertake.

For example, you may wish to apply your grasp on organic chemistry to your research topic. However, while working with peers and mentors you might realize that it probably won’t make the best research choice. There could be barriers or threats that might hinder your research work. Your idea may require you to devote time to research beyond the duration of the summer program you’ve enrolled for. And, it is quite possible that with too many other things at hand post-summer break, you may not be able to give the needed time to complete the project. With guidance from the mentors, you’ll be able to pick the right research topic, perform study and conclude in a time-boxed manner.

Now that you understand how pursuing research clearly gives you an edge over others you would be eager to apply. And, if you are thinking that this would be an ordeal similar to applying for TASP or some other highly selective summer programs, take a breather. Applying to the Simons Summer Research Program is a simple process that we’ve detailed on in the upcoming section. Although you do have to work on your summer program application for it isn’t something you need to fret.

Emily Pang at the Simons Summer Research Program

Applying to the Simons Summer Research Program – The Pre-requisites

We’ll keep this really short and simple. These following steps will help you apply for the Simons Summer Research Program:

  1. You must currently be in your junior year of high school when applying for this program. You must also be a US citizen and/or a permanent resident.
  2. You must seek a nomination from your high school for participating in the current year’s Simon Summer Research Program. Additionally, your nominator who typically is a science research coordinator/director, may ask you to select up to two nominees from the school for the program.
  3. Before filling your online application you must confirm with your school’s authorized nominator that you are one of the school’s nominees for the current year’s summer program.
  4. You will be required to upload your transcript/grade report (PDF) at the time of submitting your online application form.
  5. You may be required to obtain and submit recommendation letters from two of your school teachers.

Note that you don’t need any prior research experience to apply for the Simons Summer Research Program. You are free to indicate a preferred area of research interest while filling your online application. As a part of the selection process, you may be required to go through screening such as telephonic or in-person interviews, just like the ones that you will need to face when applying for college admission.

We hope you recognize this is a great platform to carry out your research. But, how do you make sure that your desired colleges like the kind of research you pursued at the Simons Summer Research Program? It’s a critical question that you need to think through. Taking on a project that’s close to your heart is a good idea. However, what you also must understand is that colleges are looking for research ideas that are futuristic and take a problem-solving approach.

Be it developing an app or designing a virtual reality tool, it should have a defined goal or purpose to it. What is the driving force behind your research? What problem/s does it aim to solve? Those questions should be the propellers of your research ideas. Passionate about coding? Show them that you aren’t just fluid with Logo, Pascal, Python, Ruby on Rails, and ‘n’ such other languages but that you have the knack of using them to create a fantastic Payroll tool using any of these languages. That’s the kind of zeal and curiosity college admission officers are looking for in students. And, your research at the Simons Summer Research Program should reflect this passion towards science in your college application. So, work on something that’s different and shows your real passion for the subject.

For budding scientists and research enthusiasts, the Simons Summer Research Program is an unmatched opportunity. Sure, there are a number of other programs too that you can consider enrolling for such as the Research Science Institute or Summer Science Program. Each comes with its unique advantages.

However, the pedigree of the mentors at  Stony Brook summer research programs is unparalleled. The kind of faculty that mentors students undertaking research at Stony Brook is unquestionably the best. What more could you ask for when you have mentors like Dr Jessica C. Seeliger, Ph.D., Stanford University, or Dr Brian Sheridan, Ph.D., Immunology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, by your side guiding you with your research work!

You may also like to know about other programs conducted at Stony Brook, details are shared below.

Undergraduate Research Program

Summer research programs at Stony Brook (Other than Simons Summer Research Program)

All programs mentioned below match students with the best of Stony Brook faculty members in their endeavour to carry out exceptional research.

Computer science and informatics

If you have skills in programming and are drawn towards the world of computer sciences, this research program is for you. For your research, you’ll be closely mentored by a faculty or PhD student in this field. Trying to figure out what topic of research will generate interest? There’s no dearth!

Biometrics could be one such subject, for example, where you could propose to work on an app that identifies fraudsters using biometrics. Another interesting research topic could be Blockchain. Narrow down your research topic based on the problem you are trying to solve using this technology. For example, if a lack of transparency in government entities seems like a pressing modern-day problem to you, it would be great to propose a blockchain-based solution for it, in your research paper idea.

Sneha Ramshanker Completes Simons Program


If you are keen to pursue higher studies in Engineering, there is a short term, a one-week research program at Stony Brook that you can enrol for. The objective of this program is to introduce students to electrical engineering and also to computer programming. Thankfully, a background in programming, physics, or advanced mathematics is not mandatory.

The program will familiarize you with basic engineering concepts that can be applied to real-life environments. You will also learn about recent developments and innovations in the fields of electrical engineering and computer programming. From building circuits to microprocessors to complex electronic devices, you will get hands-on with experiments you’ve only till date read about in books. This research-based approach is by far the best in boosting a solid academic profile with real-life experience.


Does the phenomenon of bioluminescence intrigue you? Do you find yourself spending late nights pondering over how to solve the world fuel crisis with plant enzymes? If so, this four-week program in Biotechnology is for students like you.

In this program, you will be required to explore topics from three areas of science: microbiology, biochemistry and molecular biology. This exploratory stage will cover activities like studying growth, isolation and characterization of microbes, protein chemistry, chromatography, enzymology, regulation of gene expression, DNA isolation analysis, amplification (PCR) and genetic modification using standard laboratory model organisms (bacteria, yeast, Dictyostelium, Euglena, C. elegans), etc. The first two weeks of your research will also cover basic laboratory techniques, experimental design, and data analysis.

Optical physics and technology (Laser teaching)

This research program is hands down, the best program for students who wish to pursue research in optical physics and technology. At Stony Brook, the Laser Teaching Center is a permanent facility. And, your research in Optical physics is going to be a work that you take up under the guidance and mentorship of the best talent across the globe in this field.

Be it ARP Simulation, Holography, Laser Diodes, or even Single Quantum Interference – gear up to study and research some of the most fascinating areas of optical physics in this summer program.


If math happens to be a subject of interest, in spite of the contrary evidence on your academic grades, you can still pursue your inclination on this topic for research. And as previously emphasized, college admission officers aren’t just looking for grades on your transcripts. Even if you manage an average score in mathematics but can complement it with some brilliant research, you have a great chance of making it to a top college of your choice.

Dump the idea that just because you’ve never been able to get a top score in this subject you can’t make it to Stanford or Brown, which happen to be one of the most prestigious Ivy League institutes. Instead, start looking forward to completing your summer research in mathematics at either Stony Brook’s Mathematics Summer Program or at Simons Summer Research Program.

The Mathematics Summer Program is a one-week program you will explore several branches of mathematics, including but not limited to the Knot Theory, the Number Theory, Cryptography – how public-key cryptography works and how to create your own codes, and Statistics for the Biological Sciences. Breaking free from boring book-based learning, all these concepts will be taught in a fun way through games and quizzes.

Not only will you get to be part of lectures from experts on these topics but also get to collaborate with them on your research topic.

Additionally, you’ll be introduced to advanced subjects that you may have never had a chance to study at school. Application of mathematics to real-life – something that’s rarely talked about or dealt with in high school, is what will get you closer to the subject you are passionate about when pursuing research.

Other than the subject areas listed above, this research program also offers research programs in Forensic Science, I-STEM biotechnology, Advanced Computational Science, etc.  You can also undertake independent research at Stony Brook, more information regarding which has been shared on their website.

Go Set Go for the orthopedic students

Get Set Go

Hopefully, by now you understand why it is so critical to apply for a research program during your summer break. And by choosing the Simons Summer Research Program, you have made the right decision. However, if you haven’t been able to decide which program you should enrol for, we at AdmissionSight would be glad to be of help. Be it Telluride, RSI, or Simons Summer Research we are in your journey from selecting the right summer program to drafting an application that will leave a lasting impression.

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