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9 Winter Research Programs for High School Students

If you’re a high school student looking for research opportunities during the winter months, these research programs should be on your radar! Research programs allow you to improve your skills, gain practical experience, work on cutting-edge projects, and learn about the research process from seasoned experts.


Participating in a winter research program offers many advantages, such as reduced competition and increased chances of securing placements in the most prestigious programs. These programs take place during the academic year and provide a great opportunity to explore your interests while managing your school commitments.


Additionally, such experiences demonstrate your dedication to your chosen field and prove to admission officers that you can apply theoretical concepts in practical situations. It can also help you network with researchers at the top of their field. You can later use these connections for job opportunities or even letters of recommendation!


Here are the 9 best winter research programs for high school students!


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

Cost: USD 2800- Individual Research Program (12 weeks ), USD 5400 Premium Research & Publication Program (16–20 weeks), USD 8900 Research Fellowship (6–12 months). All programs come with need-based financial aid.

Application Deadline: Varying deadlines based on cohort. Applications for the winter cohort typically close in November. 

Dates: The winter cohort typically runs from December to February. (The program options range from 12 weeks to 1 year).

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)

  • Previous knowledge of your field of interest is optional!


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 here!


Location: University of California, San Diego, CA

Cost: Ranges between $2000 and $3000.

Application Deadline: Applications are accepted on a rolling basis till the slots are filled.

Dates: Typically runs between January and March. The 2025 winter cohort dates are TBA.

Eligibility: Students who are at least 15, in grades 9-12, and have a minimum GPA of 3.0


UC San Diego's Academic Connections Research Scholars program offers a great opportunity for you to immerse yourself in a variety of research-focused tracks. With a range of intriguing tracks, including Bioengineering, Business Research, Design Lab, Life Sciences, Marine Science, and School of Medicine, students can explore their academic interests and engage in meaningful research experiences.


For example, in the Life Sciences track, you will embark on a comprehensive journey through fundamental molecular biology topics and modern laboratory techniques. You will learn to synthesize life science fundamentals, conduct fieldwork, formulate hypotheses, design experiments, collect and process samples, execute experiments, and analyze data. This immersive experience culminates in students showcasing their research findings through poster presentations attended by local scientists and industry leaders, providing a platform for sharing their work and gaining insights into the broader scientific community. 


Location: Virtual over Webex

Cost: Free

Application Deadline: November 24, 2024

Dates: January 15 - May 28, 2025

Eligibility: Only high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors are eligible.


The Partnership for Scientific Inquiry (PSI) program introduces high school students who are interested in pursuing careers in medicine or biomedical research to the scientific process, encouraging their scientific passion and fostering a relationship between researchers and the local community.


During the program, you will have to meet for two hours on Wednesdays (January-May) for a lecture series and to learn about ongoing research projects conducted by scientists at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU). Each student will be mentored by a researcher. You’ll gain firsthand knowledge of research methods, and, with your mentor's help, will present a published research article in a journal club format and develop your research proposal. 


The program requires regular attendance and significant time commitment outside of class for course assignments. You may elect to join a scientific laboratory or perform clinical research over the summer. Research faculty and students volunteer their time and resources to mentor PSI students. As of 2023, a poster symposium is held at the end of the summer internship series to showcase the students' research and allow them to practice their presentation skills. Participation in the summer internship is optional. You’ll also be eligible for high school credit by participating in the class.


Location: Virtual

Cost: AI Scholars - $1,790 (financial aid is available); AI Fellowship - $4,900; Combination (AI Scholars + AI Fellowship) - $5,900

Application Deadline: Upcoming winter cohort deadlines TBA. You can apply here!

Dates: Upcoming winter cohort dates TBA.

Eligibility: High school students passionate about AI; Basic understanding of Python or completion of AI scholars is required for the AI Fellowship program.


Veritas AI, founded and run by Harvard graduate students, offers programs geared toward high school students who want to build their foundations in computer science and AI. In the program, students learn various concepts in data science and artificial intelligence like neural networks, image classification, natural language processing, sentiment analysis, coding using Python, and more. 


Veritas AI offers up to 100% financial aid for the 10-week AI Scholars program. Through the program, students build real-world, hands-on projects in groups of 3-5 students to showcase their interests and skills. You can also apply for the AI Fellowship where you work 1-1 with mentors from top universities to build unique machine learning projects over 12-15 weeks.


Location: Cleveland, OH

Cost: Free

Application Deadline: Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

Dates: Flexible depending on the applicant’s preference.

Eligibility: Students must be 16 years of age or older to work in a Lerner Research Institute laboratory.


Research opportunities are available in Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute laboratories for high school and undergraduate students to gain hands-on experience in laboratory techniques and explore careers in biomedical research. The Research Education and Training Center does not place students in the labs of the Lerner Research Institute. The number of laboratories with opportunities varies throughout the year. 


After identifying labs of interest to you, you can send each Principal Investigator (Faculty member) a brief and customized email to introduce yourself, your interest in the work of that particular lab, relevant science courses that you have taken, and previous research experiences (if applicable). Make sure to clearly define what you are looking to gain from the experience. Include when you would like to work in a lab (summer, during the school year, or both) and why you would like to have a research experience (school project, interest in research, etc.).


You may need to email multiple Principal Investigators to find a lab as not all labs can accommodate a high school student. If an Investigator has not answered your first email, you may reach out again in 7-10 days. You can find labs that interest you using the lab search tool or through the Science page.


Location: Online via webinars

Cost: $500 (Full scholarship available).

Application Deadline: Applications typically close in February.

Dates: The 2024 program ran from February 6 to March 28 on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Eligibility: All high school students who have completed the NYS Regents Living Environment or equivalent Biology class can apply.


The Burke Neurological Institute's Introduction to Neuroscience Course is an enriching experience for students interested in neuroscience. This course offers a comprehensive overview of fundamental neuroscience concepts, from the structure and function of neurons to the complexities of neural circuits and behavior. 


Through a combination of interactive lectures, hands-on laboratory experiments, and engaging discussions, you'll gain a deep understanding of the principles that underlie neurological function. You will conduct experiments on state-of-the-art equipment, exploring topics such as neurophysiology, neuropharmacology, and neuroanatomy. The course extends beyond the classroom, providing opportunities for collaborative projects and exposure to the latest advancements in neuroscience research. 


Location: Penn State College of Medicine (PSCOM), Hershey, PA.

Cost/Stipend: No cost; Internships may or may not provide a stipend. 

Application Deadline: Applications are currently being accepted. No deadline has been specified.

Dates: Flexible dates, based on which research mentor you select while applying for the internship opportunity.

Eligibility: Applicants must:

  • Be a high school student.

  • Be residents of the United States.

  • Be sponsored/supervised by a member of the College of Medicine faculty. This faculty laboratory supervisor is responsible for ensuring this procedure is completed and that the student's activities are closely supervised at all times.


Penn State College of Medicine provides high school students with the opportunity to explore immersive biomedical research internships and observation opportunities. You can choose brief 1-2 day shadowing experiences or extended internships spanning weeks or months. As an intern, you will dive into hands-on learning in the laboratory. Your role will involve shadowing and observing the daily activities of a research mentor, gaining insight into their methodologies, experiments, and approaches to biomedical research. This hands-on observation will also allow interns to witness laboratory procedures, experimental setups, data collection methods, and analysis techniques firsthand.


Note: Before applying, students should seek a potential research supervisor. To explore faculty research interests at Penn State College of Medicine, students can browse the Penn State Research Database. This involves entering a topic of interest in the search bar or exploring departments for faculty profiles and research areas.


Location: Farmington, CT or Bar Harbor, ME

Cost: Free

Application Deadline: July 7, 2024 (Bar Harbor, ME) | September 15, 2024 (Farmington, CT)

Dates: Academic year 2024-2025 (All fellows must spend a minimum of 180 hours at the Laboratory as part of the fellowship).

Eligibility: High school students aged at least 16 years and enrolled as a junior or senior in good standing at a high school within commuting distance of the Jackson Laboratory campus in either Farmington, CT, or Bar Harbor, ME.


The Jackson Laboratory offers a limited number of in-person, hybrid, and fully remote research opportunities with researchers at their Maine and Connecticut campuses. During the program, you’ll get to join a JAX research group and learn and practice the technical skills necessary to become a productive member of the research team. You’ll also develop personal skills including, problem-solving, effective scientific communication, time management, and teamwork. 


Working with your mentor, you’ll get to design an independent research project within the scope of the lab’s ongoing research program. Mentors include JAX faculty, postdoctoral associates, graduate students, and other biomedical research professionals. Throughout the fellowship, you will experience all aspects of research, from experimental design to data analysis to reporting results. You’ll also get to meet with lab members and program staff to share results, learn new skills, and build your community of student scientists.


Location: Online (this includes live sessions and offline work)

Cost: $1,750 per credit (3 credit course)

Application Deadline: Applications typically close in December.

Dates: Vary for different courses but typically runs in January.

Eligibility: All high school students are eligible. Different courses may have different criteria, do check before you apply. 


The Cornell Pre-college Program's winter session offers high school students a unique opportunity to engage in enriching academic experiences during January. With a diverse range of course options, students can choose from subjects in biomedicine, economics, ethics, and more. These courses provide a valuable introduction to college-level academics while letting you dive into subjects that interest you.


For instance, Biomedical Terminology introduces students to the intricate language of the biomedical field, equipping them with the vocabulary necessary to navigate the complex world of medicine and healthcare. Introductory Microeconomics offers a foundational understanding of economic principles, helping students comprehend the dynamics of supply and demand, market behavior, and consumer choices. In Ethics in New Media, Technology, and Communication, students delve into the ethical considerations surrounding modern media and technology, exploring critical topics like privacy, information dissemination, and digital ethics. These courses can not only deepen your knowledge in subjects of interest but also provide a glimpse into college-level academics, preparing you for the academic challenges you will face in college.



Jessica attends Harvard University where she studies Neuroscience and Computer Science as a Coca-Cola, Elks, and Albert Shankar Scholar. She is passionate about educational equity and hopes to one day combine this with her academic interests via social entrepreneurship. Outside of academics, she enjoys taking walks, listening to music, and running her jewelry business! 


Image Source: Burke Neurological Institute logo


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