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12 Paid Research Internships for High School Students

Engaging in a research internship in high school is a wise choice if you are looking to build your resume and improve your chances for your college applications. Getting some practical experience in research will provide clarity about your field while also making it easier to understand and apply theoretical concepts.

Admissions officers view research internships that are fully-funded and/or provide a stipend quite positively - applications to these internships are quite very competitive, and getting in is a sign of your skills and dedication towards the subjects!

To help you get started, we’ve compiled a list of 12 paid research internships for high school students, allowing you to earn some money for your efforts and cover associated costs.

Location: Stanford School of Medicine (Stanford University), Stanford, CA

Eligibility: Juniors and seniors of high school who are at least 16 years old can apply. Students must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Local Bay Area students are favored.

Application Deadline: February 24, 2024

Dates: June 10, 2024 - August 1, 2024 (8 weeks)

Stipend: All students receive a minimum of $500 for the program. However, students from underrepresented groups will receive a minimum of $1,500. Housing and meals are not provided.

A selective program with an acceptance rate of 3% (around 50 students), the SIMR program offers one-on-one mentorship with the faculty of Stanford’s Institutes of Medicine and other departments. Students can choose from multiple research areas while applying, such as immunology, bioengineering, neurobiology, cancer biology, stem cell and regenerative medicine, genetics and genomics, bioinformatics, and cardiovascular biology.

Students will also work with postdoctoral fellows, undergraduate and graduate students, peers, and established researchers.

Location: NIH campuses

Eligibility: Juniors and seniors of high school who are at least 16 years old can apply. Students should live within 40 miles of their respective NIH campus.

Application Deadline: February 16, 2024

Dates: July 2, 2024 - August 1, 2024 (8 weeks)

Stipend: $2,300 per month. No housing is provided, but there is free parking on campuses. Some campuses also offer a Transhare program.

The HS-SIP at the NIH is a chance for 11th and 12th graders to conduct full-time research and data analysis in a designated research group under professional and renowned mentors. Research opportunities are available in areas like biomedical, social, and behavioral sciences. The program additionally offers two cohort options, namely HiSTEP (for rising 12th graders) and HiSTEP 2.0 (for current high school seniors).

HS-SIP is competitive, with an acceptance rate of 15%.

Location: Fermilab, Batavia, IL. Fermilab does not provide housing, transportation, or meals, but it provides a list of local hotels with discounted rates.

Eligibility: High school sophomores, juniors, and seniors enrolled in Illinois high schools and are U.S. citizens or permanent residents can apply. Students under 16 should have work authorization.

Application Deadline: January 15, 2024

Dates: June 17, 2024 - August 2, 2024 (7 weeks)

Stipend: $17.20 per hour

The QuarkNet Summer Research Program at Fermilab falls under the U.S. Department of Energy, giving students the chance to work on research projects with scientists. The projects may vary, but Fermilab typically works on areas in particle physics, particle accelerators, quantum science, computing, and detectors.

Oral presentations and data collection are some other tasks students should expect.

Location: Nationwide; depends on where you are assigned

Eligibility: High school students in 10th, 11th, and 12th grades (including graduating seniors) are eligible. Students must be U.S. citizens and at least 16 years old.

Application Deadline: Applications for 2024 are closed. Applications open on August 1, 2024 for 2025.

Dates: June-August (8 weeks)

Stipend: $4,000 for new participants and $4,500 for returning participants paid bi-weekly. Housing, food, and transportation are not provided.

SEAP selects around 300 students every year and places them in one of its 38 laboratories in the country, although acceptance rates can vary.

Selected students learn about naval research and technology from scientists and engineers. Depending on the labs students choose and get assigned to, they can focus their research on subject areas like algebra, earth science, computer science, chemistry, civil engineering, biology, marine biology, oceanography, statistics, physiology, and more.

Location: California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, CA

Eligibility: All 9th to 12th graders enrolled in San Francisco high schools can apply. Students should be able to commute to the location themselves.

Application Deadline: April 1, 2024

Dates: Multi-year, year-round starting from June

Stipend: A stipend is provided, but the exact amount is not specified.

The CiS Intern Program at California Academy of Sciences is an afterschool and weekend internship where roughly 50 students conduct outdoor fieldwork and guide visitors of the Academy. Interactive training sessions are held twice a month to improve science communication and receive career and college application guidance.

Students also participate in project groups, receive one-on-one mentorships, attend college tours, give presentations at STEM festivals and conferences, and help design exhibits and educational materials.

Location: One of the U.S. Army Research Laboratories and Centers in the country

Eligibility: Current high school students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents can apply.

Application Deadline: Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

Dates: May-August (6-10 weeks)

Stipend: Students receive a stipend based on a centralized stipend policy. The exact rates are not available. Note that AEOP doesn’t provide food, transportation, and housing.

The AEOP high school internships give students the chance to work one-on-one with university researchers and defense scientists. Throughout the internship, students will receive access to high-tech equipment and advanced facilities. You will work on research in areas like neuroscience, nanotechnology, regenerative medicine, and chemical defense and submit a research abstract for publication at the end.

The program is selective, although the acceptance rate mostly depends on the funding available at each laboratory.

Location: John Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD / virtual

Eligibility: Rising high school juniors and seniors can apply. Students applying for an in-person internship need to be from a high school in Baltimore city as housing is not available.

Application Deadline: March 1, 2024

Dates: June-August (8 weeks in person); July-August (5 weeks of virtual experiences)

Stipend: Hourly wages and transportation funds are provided for in-person interns whereas virtual interns are paid a fixed stipend of $500.

JHIBS offers high school students a chance to conduct research and understand clinical practices in neurological sciences under experienced faculty, staff, and student mentors.

Students can choose between in-person and virtual programs, depending on which they will perform various types of activities related to professional development, mentorship training, educational presentations, and laboratory techniques. In-person interns will also attend scientific seminars and have regular meetings with their mentors. Note that only 5-6 students are selected for the in-person internship.

Location: University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Princess Anne, MD

Eligibility: High school seniors entering their first year of an undergraduate degree program in geoscience are eligible. Students must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents and have a minimum 2.7 GPA.

Application Deadline: The exact deadline is currently unavailable, but applications are usually due in spring.

Dates: June-August (6 weeks). Exact dates are forthcoming.

Stipend: $500 per week, free housing, meals, and transportation are all provided.

The Geosciences Bridge Program is a good way for high school students to obtain experience in ocean sciences, biogeochemistry, marine chemistry and biology, atmospheric sciences, and geographic information systems (GIS) or remote sensing techniques. The program comprises lectures, activities, field trips, and two college courses (with credit).

Funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the NOAA Living Marine Resources Cooperative Science Center, this program is considered highly prestigious.

Location: Idaho National Laboratory, Idaho Falls, ID

Eligibility: High school students who are at least 16 years old and are U.S. citizens or permanent residents are eligible to apply.

Application Deadline: Summer internships usually have a spring deadline.

Dates: May-August (10-16 weeks)

Stipend: The exact amount is not mentioned, but the INL pays a competitive wage while also offering a housing stipend and transportation reimbursements.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory offers very few internship opportunities to high school students, making this a highly selective program. Selected students will intern with experienced scientists and engineers, providing support to them in the three main areas of nuclear energy, energy and the environment, and national and homeland security.

Interns spend 80% of their time in labs with their mentors and the remaining 20% in enrichment activities.

Location: Center for Astrophysics, Harvard & Smithsonian and MIT, Cambridge, MA

Eligibility: Local high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors

Application Deadline: May 2024 (tentative)

Dates: September-May (throughout the school year)

Stipend: A stipend is paid from multiple sources, including the City of Cambridge. Laptops and research equipment are provided but not housing and transportation.

With an acceptance rate of under 5%, this program offers students the chance to work on a year-long project in astrophysics under a scientist from Harvard or MIT. 10-15 students are selected and organized into 5-6 groups. Interns are to attend monthly workshops and lectures.

At the end, students will attend a symposium where they will present their research through posters and presentations.

Location: Any NASA center in the country

Eligibility: Students aged at least 16 years old who have a 3.0 CGPA and are U.S. citizens are eligible to apply.

Application Deadline: February 2, 2024 (for summer internships). Spring and fall internships are also available.

Dates: May-August (10 weeks)

Stipend: A stipend is paid based on academic level and session duration.

NASA’s Office of STEM Engagement provides paid internships to high school students that you can search for here (remember to filter the results to those only for high school). With an acceptance rate of 4-6%, NASA’s high school internships are highly sought after and provide mentoring, training, and career development advice.

Students will work with state-of-the-art facilities and technology at NASA’s centers to conduct research in space exploration, aerospace engineering, robotics, satellites, and robotics.

Location: California, Illinois, Texas

Eligibility: High school seniors and undergraduate students can apply.

Application Deadline: January 12, 2024

Dates: June-August (6 weeks minimum)

Stipend: $2,000 (paid at the end of the internship). Housing and transportation costs are not covered.

The JIOP provides internships to students who are traditionally underrepresented in law. Its high school internships are highly selective, but once selected, students will get to work with state or federal judges and undertake judicial research and writing for them.

Participating cities host orientations and receptions for interns, with many local law firms conducting networking activities and events as well. Students may also get to observe court proceedings in select cases.

If you wish to explore some more paid research opportunities, here’s a bonus list you can check out:

One other option – Lumiere Research Scholar Program

If you are passionate about research, you could also consider applying to the Lumiere Research Scholar Program, a selective online high school program for students that 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.

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

Stephen is one of the founders of Lumiere and a Harvard College graduate. He founded Lumiere as a Ph.D. 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: Careers in Science (CiS) Intern Program at California Academy of Sciences logo

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