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10 Biotechnology Summer Programs for High School Students

In an era where science and innovation fuel progress, you could find yourself at the forefront of some groundbreaking discoveries. If you’re a high school student keen on exploring biotechnology, doing a summer program is one of the simplest, and most advantageous ways, to do so. A pre-college summer program will give you a brief but potent glimpse into the world of biotechnology, enriching your understanding of this budding field. Not to mention, an extracurricular program, like the ones in this article, can augment your college applications and set a foundation for your future career.

In this article, we’ve explored a combination of 11 great virtual and in-person summer programs in the field of biotechnology, offered by some of the country’s strongest institutions.

Note: Please keep in mind the following information is for 2023, though dates tend to be similar from year to year.

1. Biorocket Research Internship Program at Genspace

Application deadline: Applications typically open in the fall.

Eligibility: Students 15 years or older by July 1, 2019, who attend a NYC Public or Charter School within 45 min of Genspace, can apply.

Program dates: Spring semester (February 24, 2023 - May 26, 2023) | Summer semester (July 5, 2023 - August 18, 2023)

Location: Genspace, Brooklyn, NY

Stipend: $2,000

This internship is designed for students keen to dive into the world of biotechnology and genetic engineering. Through this research internship program, you will acquire experience in conducting cutting-edge research projects in a range of diverse topics such as DNA sequencing, genetic engineering, and bioinformatics. Expert mentors will help deepen your understanding of the intricate workings of life sciences. The program provides access to state-of-the-art laboratory facilities and technologies, encouraging you to develop essential laboratory techniques and analytical skills. A few research subjects that student interns covered in the past, as a part of this program, include the behaviors of biofilm, algal growth in relation to water purification, and Zebrafish liver cells as biosensors.

2. Biotechnology for the 21st Century at the University of Chicago’s Summer Session

Application deadline: Applications typically close by late spring.

Eligibility: Students in grades 9-11, who have taken biology in school, can apply.

Program dates: Session 1 (June 12 - 29, 2023) | Session 2 (July 5 - 21, 2023)

Location: University of Chicago, Chicago, IL

Fee/Stipend: $8,350 (this includes housing and meals)

Financial Assistance: Need-based financial aid is offered.

This course offers a comprehensive introduction to biotechnology, spanning from foundational molecular biology and genetics to applied fields like microbial biotechnology, agricultural biotechnology, biofuels, cloning, and more. During the course, you will explore topics such as bioremediation, medical biotechnology, DNA fingerprinting, and forensics, gaining insights into breakthroughs, techniques, and bioethics concerns in biotechnology. This undergraduate-level course features personalized instruction from university faculty, researchers, and professionals in the field. Through workshop discussions, research projects, and hands-on activities, you will develop a deep understanding of biotechnology's principles and applications, which will prepare you for further studies and a career in this field.

3. Biotechnology Sequencing (BTS) Camp at Mircore

Application deadline: There is no information available on this.

Eligibility: Academically motivated current high school students can apply. A preference is given to students who have attended Mircore’s Computational Biology Camp.

Program dates: Session 1 (June 19 - June 23, 2023) | Session 2 ( July 31, 2023 - August 4, 2023)

Location: Online

Fee: $770 (includes a one-year miRcore volunteer membership) | Total cost is discounted if students choose to attend more than one camp.

The BTS camp offers an opportunity for you to learn valuable skills in analyzing next-gen raw sequencing data using the Linux operating system and commands. This computational, virtual camp is a critical component of sequencing research, a highly sought-after skill in biomedical labs. As a research-focused camp, you will not only learn scientific concepts but also generate results. While it may sound intimidating, approachable group leaders will provide guidance, and no prior programming experience is necessary. Your research will focus on genome sequence variations, and you will be tasked with proposing a product using gene variations based on your research. A basic understanding of transcription and translation at a high school biology level is assumed. The camp encourages you to participate in interactive activities and games that enhance learning.

Take a look at Mircore’s other summer program offerings as well.

4. Lumiere Research Scholar Program - Biotechnology Track

Application Deadline: Applications are open throughout the year for the four cohorts - they are due in February, May, September, and December. Currently, applications for the Summer Cohort close on March 12, 2023. Apply here!

Eligibility: High school students can apply

Program Dates: Four cohorts run throughout the year, namely the spring, summer, winter, and fall cohorts.

Location: Virtual

Fee: Free (if on full financial aid), the individual research program is $2600

Lumiere was founded by researchers at Harvard and Oxford. Hundreds of ambitious high school students do research in the field of biotech and biology through the Lumiere Research Scholar Programs. Each student is paired with a top Ph.D. and works with their mentor 1-1 to produce a university-level research paper.

The programs are entirely virtual and vary in duration based on the student’s end goal with respect to how much of a deep dive they would prefer. There are various STEM subjects, such as mathematics, chemistry, and more.

Also, check out the Lumiere Research Inclusion Foundation, a non-profit research program for talented, low-income students.

5. Project SMART - Biotechnology and Society Module at the University of New Hampshire (UNH)

Application deadline: June 10, 2023

Eligibility: All high schools can apply.

Program dates: July 10-28, 2023

Location: Online

Fee: $500

Financial Assistance: Full and partial need-based scholarships are available.

Now in its 34th year, Project SMART only accepts 25 students every year. As a student in this program, you will explore the world of biotechnology and genetic engineering, their applications, and the associated ethical, social, and environmental implications. You will engage in advanced scientific discussions and research processes under the guidance of UNH faculty and graduate students. The interdisciplinary nature of biotechnology, spanning organisms from viruses to plants, is the central focus of this program. The program will also address the broader societal impact of biotechnological advancements. Subjects covered in the program include genetics, genetic engineering, DNA, RNA, proteins, GMOs, reproductive technologies, bioremediation, nanotechnology, and intellectual property. The program also features esteemed guest speakers, including Nobel Laureates and astronauts, who will provide valuable insight into cutting-edge scientific research.

6. Biotech Summer Experience at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL)

Application deadline: May 26, 2023

Eligibility: Students who are 16 years or older by the start of the workshop, with a cumulative GPA of 3.3 or higher, may apply.

Program dates: July 17 - 28, 2023 (weekdays)

Location: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) Discovery Center, Livermore, CA

Fee: There is no cost to attend this program.

This two-week, hands-on program is designed for students interested in molecular biology and bioinformatics. This program focuses on the isolation, characterization, and DNA sequence analyses of genes from the freshwater aquatic plant species Landoltia punctata, commonly known as Duckweed. As a participant, you will be expected to isolate and purify plasmid DNA and perform PCR (polymerase chain reactions), restriction digests, and gel electrophoresis. You will also analyze gene sequences with the same bioinformatic tools used by scientists worldwide. Your DNA sequences are submitted for publication in the international DNA repository, Genbank, an opportunity for individual recognition. This is a competitive program, especially considering there is no cost to attend.

7. Biotechnology for Science & Health Academy at Georgetown University

Application deadline: January 31, 2023 (Early bird deadline. No application fee for all applications submitted by this date) | May 15, 2023 (Final deadline. Applications submitted after this date will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis)

Eligibility: Students who are current or rising high school freshmen, sophomores, juniors, or seniors during the academic year prior to the summer program can apply. Those applying must have a good academic standing with at least a 2.0 GPA. For this program, students must be at least 15 years old by the date of check-in.

Program dates: June 25, 2023 - July 7, 2023

Location: Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.

Fee/Stipend: $5,500 (Estimated cost. This is for residential students, and it includes tuition, housing, and meals) | $3,835 (Estimated cost. This is for commuter students)

This program offers an immersive exploration of biotechnology's applications in health and science. It combines classroom lectures with hands-on laboratory experiments, allowing you to understand concepts and apply them practically. As a participant, you will delve into a range of topics, including cloning genes, DNA and protein diagnostics in healthcare, forensics, and biotechnology's role in various industries. The curriculum covers advanced DNA purification methods, bioinformatics, food safety applications, laboratory safety, DNA ligation and transformation, enzyme function, forensics, biotech tools, and protein purification. Renowned faculty and industry experts guide you with lab work, scientific presentations, and discussions. The program includes field trips to research laboratories and sessions with scientific professionals, adding a real-world context.

8. Stanford Pre-Collegiate Summer Institutes (Bioscience courses)

Application deadline: March 15, 2023

Eligibility: Current freshmen, sophomores, and juniors can apply. Students in 8th grade are eligible for certain courses.

Program dates: All courses will be held over the summer. Bioscience courses are typically conducted in June and July.

Location: Virtual

Fee: $3,050

Financial Assistance: Need-based financial aid is offered.

Stanford offers a range of programs for high school students seeking a challenging pre-college experience. The Pre-Collegiate Summer Institute is designed for academic, social, and extracurricular enrichment, featuring renowned instructors and engaging programs tailored to your interests. While this virtual program concentrates on intensive study in a single online course, it does not offer college credit. There is a wide array of subjects to choose from, including bioscience. Some of the courses that cover those subjects are Topics in Bioscience and Surgical Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which will give you insight into important epidemiologic and clinical research methods, clinical medicine, engineering design, and business principles. Here are all the bioscience courses offered under the program. On successfully completing the program, you will receive a certificate of completion.

You can take a look at our detailed review of Stanford’s summer opportunities.

9. Biotechnology Courses at Brown Pre-College Programs

Application deadline: Applications open on January 18, 2023, and are accepted on a rolling basis. The last date to apply is May 12, 2023.

Eligibility: Some courses are open to all high school students, while some are open only to rising 9th and 10th graders.

Program dates: Courses are conducted as part of a program, and each program has several session dates. It’s advisable you check the dates for your preferred courses.

Location: Most courses are held on campus at Brown University, Providence, RI, with the exception of a few that are conducted in a hybrid mode or online.

Fee: Costs vary based on the program and teaching mode, starting at $2,707.

Financial Assistance: Brown Pre-college offers a few need-based scholarships.

Brown University’s Pre-College programs are designed for students keen to explore the challenges and opportunities of college, including academics and social life. While Brown Pre-College currently offers over 300 programs, 17 of them focus on biotechnology and independent research-related fields. These include Cancer Biology, Research Techniques in Molecular Biology, Reverse Genetics, Genetics and Epigenetics, Regenerative Medicine Techniques, and more. To see all the available courses, click here. You can choose the Biotechnology and Independent Research filter when viewing the courses. These courses will either be part of the Summer@Brown, Summer@Brown Online, or STEM for Rising 9th and 10th Graders programs, all under the Brown Pre-College umbrella. While all these are non-credit programs, they offer an insight into college academics, and a chance to deep dive into a subject before you pursue it further in college.

10. Work Based Learning Summer Internships at San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD)

Application deadline: Interest forms open in early February, and close by mid-spring.

Eligibility: Internships are intended for sophomores and juniors, priority will be given to students in the 11th grade.

Program dates: 6 weeks (20 hours a week) in the summer, dates will be decided based on the student’s choice of industry.

Location: Depends on the student’s choice of industry.

Stipend: Students will be paid for their work during the internship, but information on the exact amount is not available.

These internships offer valuable hands-on experience and professional development opportunities, a chance to explore career fields and gain practical skills in a real-world work environment. For your internship, you can choose an industry sector from a range of choices available, including biotechnology. You will work alongside industry mentors in your chosen field, and explore careers in that field. The internship will also help you develop skills that come in handy during college and in the future.

If you’re interested in pursuing health and medicine, consider the Health Education Outreach Internship at SFUSD.

11. Biotech Research at the Boston Leadership Institute

Application deadline: There is no deadline for applications, but the institute recommends students submit their applications early.

Eligibility: All high school students are eligible to apply.

Program dates: July 3-14, 2023

Location: Online

Fee: $1,200

Financial Assistance: Selective scholarships are offered to a limited number of rising seniors whose combined yearly family income is $60,000 or less. You can apply here.

This unique program is an opportunity to engage in hands-on biotechnology and genetic engineering experiences from the comfort of your home. The program is conducted under the guidance of Dr. Maria Lazebnik, who holds a PhD in Genetics from Tufts School of Medicine. As part of the program, the institute loans you their own state-of-the-art lab equipment, which will be shipped to you for at-home experiments. The program introduces you to the fundamental principles of molecular biology and covers subjects including genetic engineering, designer proteins, and bacterial transformation. You will also gain valuable skills in micropipetting, a critical technique in biotech and molecular biology research. Additionally, the program addresses current topics, such as antibody-based detection techniques to identify anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. A standout feature of this program is the genetic disease research project, where you choose a genetic disease of interest and conduct in-depth research.

You can also take a look at the institute’s Intro to Biotech program.

If you have questions about Boston Leadership Institute’s standing, read through our review here.

Bonus: If you’re a student interested in biotechnology and research, you can participate in the BioGENEius Challenge conducted by the Biotechnology Institute. This is an opportunity to compete and be recognized for outstanding research in biotechnology. Top finalists will showcase their research at the BIO International Convention to over 16,000 attendees and a panel of judges composed of industry and academic subject matter experts.

One other option – Lumiere Research Scholar Program

If you are passionate about research in biology, you could also consider applying to the Lumiere Research Scholar Program, a selective online high school program for students I founded with researchers at Harvard and Oxford. Last year, we had over 4000 students apply for 500 spots in the program! You can find the application form here.

Stephen is one of the founders of Lumiere and a Harvard College graduate. He founded Lumiere as a PhD student at Harvard Business School. Lumiere is a selective research program where students work 1-1 with a research mentor to develop an independent research paper.

Image Source: Genspace logo

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