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10 Free Forensic Science Summer Programs for High School Students

If you’re a high school student interested in exploring the field of forensic science over the summer, participating in a forensic science program can be a good place to start! A summer program will offer you hands-on experience in various aspects of forensic science, including evidence collection, laboratory analysis, and crime scene reconstruction. 


These programs will allow you to network with professionals in the field, collaborate on real projects, and get a glimpse into the real-life application of scientific principles in solving crimes. Such experiences can benefit you if you're considering a career in forensic science or related fields as they will allow you to explore your interests and help you build a solid foundation for future endeavors.


Many universities and organizations offer free or fully-funded programs, some of which also offer stipends, allowing you to save up during the summer! These are usually highly selective, so getting into one of them can add considerable prestige to your portfolio and college applications.


It’s not always easy to find the program best suited to your interests and needs, so we’ve put together this list of 8 of the best free forensic science summer programs for you to choose from!


Location: Remote — you can participate in this program from anywhere in the world!

Eligibility:

  • You must be currently enrolled in high school

  • Students must demonstrate a high level of academic achievement. (Note. students have an unweighted GPA of 3.3 out of 4)

  • No previous knowledge of your field of interest is required!

Application Deadline: Varying deadlines based on cohort. The main summer deadlines are March 15, April 15, and May 15. The upcoming summer cohort deadline is June 26, 2024.

Dates: The summer cohort runs from June to August, the Fall cohort from September to December, the Winter cohort from December to February, and the Spring cohort from March to June. The upcoming summer cohort starts on July 15, 2024 (The program options range from 12 weeks to 1 year).

Cost: Full financial aid is available!


The Lumiere Research Scholar Program is a rigorous research program tailored for high school students. The program offers extensive 1-on-1 research opportunities for high school students, across a broad range of subject areas that you can explore as a high schooler. 


The program pairs high-school students with Ph.D. mentors to work 1-on-1 on an independent research project. At the end of the 12-week program, you’ll have developed an independent research paper! You can choose research topics from subjects such as psychology, physics, economics, data science, computer science, engineering, chemistry, international relations, and more. You can find more details about the application form here!


Location: Horsham, PA

Eligibility: Applicants must:

  • Be currently enrolled in high school.

  • Be sixteen years of age or older by June 24th, 2024 (no exceptions – this is required for insurance compliance).

  • Have completed or be enrolled in algebra and either biology or chemistry with passing grades.

  • Be available throughout the program (weekdays from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm)

Application Deadline: Applications typically close in April.

Dates: June 24 - August 9, 2024 (Program starts each day at 9 am and runs until 4 pm, Monday-Friday).

Cost/Stipend: None


At the Forensic Sciences Mentoring Institute (FMI), a program of the Fredric Rieders Family Foundation, high school students spend seven weeks investigating and solving a crime using actual forensic techniques and instrumentation. 


During the FMI Summer Science Program, you will get an opportunity to learn through interactive, hands-on experiences using state-of-the-art techniques in three different forensic science disciplines - Forensic Biology, Forensic Chemistry, and Forensic Toxicology. After examining evidence and analyzing the data, you will get to serve as an expert witness and present your case in front of a judge in a trial setting. You will also receive assistance in preparing for college. 


Location: In-person (George Mason University, Fairfax, VA), remote and hybrid options are offered. Housing is not provided for minors. 

Eligibility: Interns for in-person, remote, or hybrid internships in computer labs must be 15 years or older by the program's start. Interns for "wet-lab" in-person or hybrid internships must be 16 or older by the program's start.

Application Deadline: Applications typically close at the beginning of February. 

Dates: June 18 - August 9, 2024

Cost: There is a $25 application fee which can be waived based on financial need.


The nationally recognized Aspiring Scientists Summer Internship Program (ASSIP) offers strong research experiences for high school and undergraduate students. If you're selected, you'll have the chance to work one-on-one with faculty researchers at George Mason University and collaborating institutions, utilizing cutting-edge technology across various disciplines.


The program may end with participants' names published in scientific journals and their work presented at scientific conferences. The areas of focus include forensic science, astronomy, proteomics and molecular medicine, chemistry and biochemistry, bioengineering, geography, nanoscience, physics, and much more!


As an intern at ASSIP, you will:

  • Gain hands-on experience using cutting-edge sophisticated equipment and technologies

  • Develop and exercise scientific writing and communication skills

  • Explore STEM career choices through discussion forums and meetings with role models

  • Develop and exercise creative skills which are crucial to performing innovative research


Location: Purdue University Northwest’s Hammond Campus, IN

Eligibility: The camp is intended for high school juniors and seniors only. Younger high school classes may be allowed to attend with permission of the director.

Application Deadline: Applications typically close in May.

Dates: June 17 - June 21, 2024

Cost: Free


If you’re a high school junior or senior interested in a career as a forensic scientist or are interested in how science and the law intersect, this free forensic science summer camp at Purdue University Northwest is for you! Only 30 students are accepted into the camp every year.


This year’s Forensic Science Summer Camp will feature a crime that needs to be solved. During the camp, you will get to process a crime scene and collect vital evidence. Once the evidence is collected, you will learn the laboratory techniques needed to analyze the physical evidence. By the end of the week, you will have gathered enough information to solve the crime! Sessions are held from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily and students will receive lunch and snacks.


After submitting your registration for the Forensic Science Summer Camp, you also need to complete the following two forms:


Location: Washington, D.C.

Eligibility: Applicants must:

  • Be junior or senior high school students enrolled in a District of Columbia dedicated Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math (STEM) program.

  • Have a minimum 3.5 GPA.

  • Be in good academic standing with their educational institution.

  • Submit and pass a Criminal Background Check and Drug/Alcohol Testing.

Application Deadline: For the summer session, applications typically close in March.

Dates: June 3 – August 2, 2024 (Summer Session)

Cost/Stipend: None


The Department of Forensic Sciences provides opportunities to interns, fellows, and volunteers from a variety of programs, including Forensic Science, Public Health, Quality Assurance, Information Technology, Social Sciences, Business and Economics. The Department of Forensic Sciences High School STEM Internship is available to high school students who are enrolled in a District of Columbia dedicated Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math program. The internship opportunity is available in 3 sessions - summer, fall, and spring.


During the program, you’ll have an option to work in the field of your choice. There are several subject areas to choose from such as Crime Scene Sciences, Forensic Science Laboratory, Public Health Laboratory, and more. You must be able to commit to working a minimum of 12 hours per week. The Department of Forensic Sciences does not offer housing to students in the program. If selected, you will be responsible for your housing. 


Location: Fullerton College campus, CA

Eligibility: High school students entering 9th-12th grade for the respective school year are eligible. 

Application Deadline: Applications typically close in April.

Dates: The camp is typically conducted in June. The 2024 summer camp took place between June 10 and June 13. 

Cost: Free; a $25 application and materials fee is charged.


Fullerton College holds a Forensic Science Summer Camp every year for high school students to learn and engage with various techniques used by forensic scientists. The summer camp will be a hands-on, forensic/CSI-themed experience where you will have the opportunity to collect and examine trace evidence including hair and fibers, lift and evaluate fingerprints, perform microscopy, and extract and analyze DNA samples! 


This experience is designed to engage students in critical thinking, laboratory skills, teamwork, exposure to college-level equipment, and interaction with peer mentors. Please note that attendance is mandatory from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on all days of the program. 


Location: Tarrant County College Northeast campus, TX

Eligibility: Students entering grades 9-12 can apply.

Application Deadline: Applications typically close in May.

Dates: July 8 - July 15, 2024

Cost: Free for 16 eligible middle and/or high school students.


Tarrant County College offers a forensic science camp for talented high school students where they will have the opportunity to discuss career fields in Forensic Science, Forensic Psychology, Law, and Criminal Justice.


During the camp, you will get to learn how to collect evidence at a mock murder scene (including fingerprints), file evidence requests and analyze the results, interview witnesses and persons of interest, and prepare a case for a criminal mock murder trial. This camp also includes a field trip to the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealy Plaza. The camp will be conducted Monday-Thursday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.


Location: White Plains, NY

Eligibility: Open to all high school students.

Application Deadline: Applications are accepted on a rolling basis per the needs of the lab.

Dates: The dates and timings are flexible and can be tailored according to the schedules of the laboratory mentor and the student.

Cost/Stipend: None


Westchester County Forensic Laboratory’s Shadow Opportunity is a short-term experience designed for students at the High School level or above to spend time observing the analysis of physical evidence in the Forensic Biology (DNA), Trace Evidence, Forensic Chemistry, and Forensic Imaging sections of the Division of Forensic Science Services. The goal of the program is to provide you with an introduction to forensic cases in a working laboratory.


You will be required to submit an elimination buccal sample if you are accepted for a shadow experience. This is required for you to be able to observe analysts during the examination process and the DNA analysis of evidence. In addition, you will also be required to sign a Confidentiality & Conflict of Interest Policy Agreement.


School advisors can contact the laboratory at finc@westchestercountyny.gov if they have any questions or if additional information is required regarding the shadow experience.


Location: Stony Brook, NY 

Eligibility: Students must have completed 9th grade and not yet taken a formal Forensics course.

Application Deadline: Applications typically close in May.

Dates: July 8 - July 12, 2024

Cost: $700 (full and partial scholarships are available).


The Stony Brook University Explorations in Forensics program is a week-long workshop to give students a glimpse into the inner workings of the forensic science industry. The focus is on the development of skills and techniques that will be utilized to process a mock crime scene(s) as the culmination of a week full of hard work, learning, and fun. 


The program will start with an introduction to forensics science and lead to a mock crime scene investigation. The investigations throughout the 5 days will be interactive, hands-on, and build upon prior knowledge. As a participant, you will also see how forensic science was used to solve noteworthy criminal cases in history. A maximum of 24 students are accepted into the program. 


Other goals and objectives students will be familiar with by the end of the program include branches of forensics, lie detecting, memory exercises, anthropology, logic problem solving, crime scene processing, blood typing, blood splatter, toxicology, DNA fingerprinting, and more!


Location: Virtual

Eligibility: Students entering 9th-12th grade can apply. They are encouraged (but not required) to have completed at least one advanced math or science course before the camp.

Application Deadline: Applications typically close in April.

Dates: June 24 - June 28, 2024

Cost: $215 (includes access to the entire week of activities, webinars, lectures, and a camp crate filled with activities to do at home). Scholarships are available. 


Bowling Green State University (BGSU) offers a virtual Forensic Science Summer Camp that gives students a glimpse into how science is applied to legal investigations. This is a cutting-edge forensic science program that offers classroom, laboratory, and field experience. The camp is led by experienced professionals who have even been featured in the TV series Forensic Files.


This online camp will allow you to attend college-style lectures delivered by top forensic specialists, learn about laboratory work related to DNA analysis, fingerprinting, and blood stain analysis, and even complete your home labs such as print casting, blood typing, and more! The camp materials sent to you as a camp crate will include a camp workbook, a BGSU Forensic Science T-shirt, and all lab materials needed to complete the mock crime scene will be sent as part of the camp crate.


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: Fullerton College seal

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