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8 Great Research Opportunities in Mechanical Engineering for High School Students in 2024

If you're a high schooler looking for hands-on experience in mechanical engineering, consider doing a research program!

A research experience in mechanical engineering will let you contribute to important research projects and get a fair idea of the process, allowing you to learn the applications of theoretical concepts. Admissions officers are on the lookout for students that demonstrate active interest in a subject outside of the classroom, as well as possess critical research and analytical skills.

In this blog, we have highlighted 8 great research opportunities in mechanical engineering for high school students in 2024 that you can consider applying to.

Location: Virtual

Eligibility: High school students from all over the world

Application Deadline: May 12, 2024 (regular admission II for the summer cohort)

Program Dates: 12 weeks in spring, summer, fall, or winter

Cost/Stipend: $2,800 (cost). Financial aid is available, but make sure you mention your need for it in your application. No stipend is given.

The Lumiere Research Scholars Program, founded by Harvard and Oxford researchers, is a chance for high school students to work on an independent research project under the direct mentorship of a Ph.D. candidate in their field. Through such mentorship, students will learn about the opportunities in their field while also obtaining practical experience to prepare them for their careers.

The individual research program gives the student 9 sessions with their mentor, 2 sessions with a writing coach, and program oversight from a Lumiere program manager. By the end of the program, students will produce a college-level academic paper based on the process and results of their projects. Multiple project options are available, including a mechanical engineering track for the analysis, design, and execution of a mechanical system.

Location: Virtual

Eligibility: High school students (grades 9-12) from all over the world

Application Deadline: Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

Program Dates: 12-15 weeks at any time of the year

Cost/Stipend: $4,900 (cost). Financial aid is available, but make sure you mention your need for it in your application to be considered. No stipend is given.

Veritas AI’s AI Fellowship with Publication Program offers 1-on-1 mentorship to high school students to support them in making an independent AI project. The program, started by Harvard alumni, offers a comprehensive experience and requires a basic understanding of Python or a completion of Veritas AI’s AI Scholars program.

As part of this program, selected students will spend weeks 1-4 exploring and learning, weeks 5-8 analyzing data and exploring the feasibility of the project, and weeks 9-15 executing the project, troubleshooting, meeting mentors, and finally presenting the project to peers. Support is also available if you wish to submit your research project for publication. A combination of AI and mechanical engineering is something you can take up here, as past projects have included AI in combination with healthcare, mental health, gaming, sports, climate change finance, political science, education, and more.

Location: MIT, Cambridge, MA

Eligibility: High school juniors with strong academics and a U.S. citizenship or permanent residency

Application Deadline: Applications usually close in February.

Program Dates: Late June - early August (6 weeks)

Cost/Stipend: Free (including room and meals). No stipend is provided.

The MIT Introduction to Technology, Engineering, and Science (MITES) program is a selective program with an acceptance rate of around 3%. The program involves intensive courses in math, life sciences, physics, and humanities, along with a project-based elective. The project-based course can focus on any area of the student’s interest from the options available, with past options and projects including engineering design (a great option for mechanical engineering students), machine learning, architecture, and electronics.

In addition to classes, students also have access to lab tours, social events, college application support, field trips, recitations, workshops, and presentations. Each student further receives a written evaluation from their instructors at the end of the internship.

Location: New York University (NYU), New York, NY

Eligibility: NYC students completing 10th or 11th grade in June 2024

Application Deadline: Applications usually close in March.

Program Dates: June 3, 2024 - August 9, 2024 (10 weeks)

Cost/Stipend: No cost; a full scholarship is provided. A stipend of $750 is also provided.

NYU’s Applied Research Innovations in Science and Engineering (ARISE) program includes 4 weeks of remote after school workshops and 6 weeks (Monday-Friday) of in-person work.

The program provides coursework and hands-on laboratory research in various STEM fields, including mechanical engineering, with 2024’s opportunities including Composite Materials and Mechanics Laboratory, Mechatronics Lab, Applied Dynamics & Optimization Lab, Dynamical Systems Lab, and Machines in Motion Lab.

Other areas include machine learning and AI, bio- and molecular engineering, chemical engineering, and computer science. Throughout the program, students will learn about scientific ethics, data collection and analysis, research practices, lab safety, and contemporary issues in science alongside receiving access to tours, trips, social activities, and college application support. Students will present their research findings at a concluding colloquium.

Location: Varies according to lab locations

Eligibility: High school sophomores, juniors, and seniors who are at least 16 years old and are U.S. citizens

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

Program Dates: June-August (8 weeks)

Cost/Stipend: No cost. Stipend: $4,000 (new participants) | $4,500 (returning participants). You can use this stipend to pay for housing, meals, and transport.

The Department of Navy annually hosts around 300 interns at one of its 38+ laboratories in the country as part of its Science and Engineering Apprentice Program (SEAP). Students learn about Naval research and technology (such as intelligence and surveillance technology and sensors) under the mentorship of professional researchers and scientists.

Through the hands-on experience of working on real-world projects, students will get a chance to obtain numerous practical skills and knowledge in the field. If you are interested in mechanical engineering, make sure to confirm which labs offer relevant or related project work. Some project areas offered include mechanics, robotics, aerospace engineering, mechanical engineering, programming, materials science, and physical science.

Location: Princeton University, Princeton, NJ

Eligibility: U.S. high school students who are at least 16 by June 15, 2024

Application Deadline: Applications usually close in March.

Program Dates: June-August (5-6 weeks)

Cost/Stipend: Free of cost, but you might need to arrange and pay for your own housing, meals, and transport. This is an unpaid internship.

Princeton University’s Laboratory Learning Program is a prestigious research opportunity for students interested in engineering and the natural sciences. Selected students will be matched with Princeton faculty and staff’s ongoing research projects, following which they will learn about and work on different research processes under mentor supervision. Schedules are flexible and usually decided in tandem with the people involved in the research project.

Project areas in engineering include multiple mechanical engineering options, such as the development of a Piezoelectric Soft Robot or a Bio-Inspired Soft Robot, kirigami sheets, materials characterization of cathodes for lithium-ion batteries, safe robotics for coral reef conservations, and many more. Following laboratory work, students must submit a 2-page research summary report.

Location: Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI

Eligibility: Rising high school seniors from across the U.S.

Application Deadline: Applications usually close in March.

Program Dates: June 16, 2024 - August 3, 2024

Cost/Stipend: $4,000 (cost of instruction, room, and board). No stipend is offered, although need-based financial aid is available.

Michigan State University’s High School Honors Science, Math, and Engineering Program (HSHSP) is a highly selective program for students interested in conducting hands-on STEM research. Selected students will get the chance to work on a research project under the mentorship of a university researcher. Students can indicate their preference for a research area (which includes mechanical engineering projects), following which they will get matched and begin working on their projects.

Additional program activities include record-keeping, writing research proposals and final reports, tours, field trips, social events, workshops, library work, career guidance, and conference-style research presentations. Students can also prepare their projects for a local or national science fair.

Location: MIT, Cambridge, MA

Eligibility: Rising high school seniors (women and underrepresented students) from the U.S.

Application Deadline: Applications typically close in January.

Program Dates: June 29, 2024 - July 26, 2024 (housing is available till the morning of July 27, 2024)

Cost/Stipend: No cost if family-adjusted gross income is $120,000 or less. For higher income slabs, fees range between $2,000-$6,000. Housing, food, and program materials will be provided throughout the program. Financial aid is available in case of need.

MIT’s Women’s Technology Program in Mechanical Engineering is an introductory program to mechanical engineering involving hands-on projects and learning activities. The program curriculum focuses on teaching engineering design to students and provides a chance to explore college-level learning opportunities in an intensive but grade-free manner. Some topics covered here include heat transfer, materials, fluid mechanics, statistics, and thermodynamics.

Hands-on work, coding for numerical modeling and computer-aided design, and analytical calculations are some other skills that students will learn. Note that this program only selects 20 students, with daily and final projects being done in groups of 2-4. You can also expect field trips, tours, evening homework, and social activities.

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: MIT WTP logo


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