As STEM fields evolve over time and become increasingly specialized, planning for a career in STEM is no longer just about studying and scoring top marks—it's about gaining real-world experience that can shape your future.
For any high schooler serious about building their STEM knowledge and profile, internships can serve as a powerful opportunity for both enhancing your core skills and attaining experience of working in the industry.
In this vein, today’s blog post is a deep dive into the Johns Hopkins Internship in Brain Sciences (JHIBS) - a prestigious opportunity to explore a career in neurological sciences.
What is the Johns Hopkins Internship in Brain Sciences?
The Johns Hopkins Internship in Brain Sciences, or JHIBS, is a summer research internship in neurology and neuroscience for high school juniors and seniors at one of the world's most prestigious institutions. It has both residential and virtual options, and is targeted towards academically gifted students, especially those from underrepresented backgrounds.
Johns Hopkins University is renowned for its contributions to the medical field, and through this internship it aims to provide an immersive experience in neurological research to develop the pool of qualified underrepresented candidates in the field.
Since its inception, JHIBS has been dedicated to inspiring and nurturing the next generation of scientists and doctors. This program is structured in the same vein, offering a hands-on, mentored research experience that is designed to ignite a passion for a career in neurological sciences.
Is it prestigious?
The Johns Hopkins Hospital is the top ranked hospital in Neurology & Neurosurgery, making JHIBS one of the most prestigious opportunities in the field of neuroscience in the country.
The selectivity of the program is also significant, with a mere handful of 5-6 students accepted in the in-person program every year. Since all participants are paired with Johns Hopkins neurologists, the level of exposure received in this internship is unmatched.
It should come as no surprise that alumni of this program often go on to illustrious careers in neuroscience, becoming doctors, scientists and researchers themselves.
Who is eligible for JHIBS?
JHIBS aims to increase the pool of people from underrepresented backgrounds from the current 2-4% in neurological sciences to the 12-16% of their actual representation in the US population.
Accordingly, they invite rising high school juniors and seniors with a strong academic record in STEM from the following backgrounds to apply:
Blacks or African Americans.
Hispanics or Latinos.
American Indians or Alaska Natives.
Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders.
Individuals with disabilities, who are defined as those with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, as described in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended.
Individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds, defined as those who meet two or more of the criteria cited in the Notice of NIH's Interest in Diversity.
For the in-person internship, you must be attending school in Baltimore City only.
For the virtual research training, you must be attending school anywhere in the United States.
How does the application process work?
The application window for JHIBS runs from December 1 to March 1. The application involves submission of:
An application form containing basic background information and several essay questions.
Your resume which should include history of work, hobbies, research experience, etc.
A copy of your (unofficial) academic transcript.
A copy of your official transcript through your guidance counselor.
Two letters of recommendation.
These should contain a brief evaluation of your academic achievements, the key competencies you possess, and how this program would support your academic pursuits.
How is JHIBS structured?
Depending on where you live, JHIBS offers both an 8-week in-person program for local Baltimore students and a 5-week virtual program open to students across the U.S. The specifics of each are as follows:
You will be spending 8 weeks at the Johns Hopkins Department of Neurology on the East Baltimore campus.
Through the course of the program, you’ll be participating in a research project with a matched scientist and guided by faculty, staff and student mentors.
You will also have the opportunity to participate in clinical rotations with Johns Hopkins neurologists.
There are also weekly educational and professional development sessions that you can attend.
As an intern, you’ll be paid an hourly wage and receive transportation funds, though you’ll have to manage housing on your own.
You’ll be spending 5 weeks virtually attending lectures every day.
These lectures include educational presentations and professional development training.
JHIBS will also virtually teach you basic laboratory techniques and experiments, and provide mentorship training.
While you won’t get a wage, all interns who successfully complete the 5-week program will receive a $500 scholarship to support their education.
7 reasons to apply to the Johns Hopkins Internship in Brain Sciences
Here’s why we feel JHIBS is a great experience if you’re serious about a career in STEM:
You will receive mentorship from world-class scientists: JHIBS gives you the opportunity to learn directly from the best in the field. By directly being assigned to a scientist working full-time at Johns Hopkins, you will receive the kind of specialized, personalized guidance that would be impossible to attain anywhere else. Even in the virtual experience, you will still receive guidance from the same level of faculty.
You will do your own research: You’ll be pursuing your own research project, letting you gain practical experience in a real lab setting. Except that you’ll also receive guidance and mentorship along the way, enriching your research experience even further!
You will get professional development opportunities: Both the in-person and virtual experiences have plenty of workshops for participants. Through these, you’ll get to build skills that will benefit you in college and in your future career.
You’ll have excellent networking opportunities: The small batch sizes ensure that you’ll have plenty of face time and one-to-one interactions with the scientists, researchers, and mentors who will be coaching you. This makes JHIBS a great opportunity to connect with professionals and peers who share your interests.
You’ll get exposure to clinical practices: The in-person experience will also introduce you to the human aspect of neuroscience, letting you experience firsthand how patient care is managed in a top institution.
You will give your college application an edge: By having a program as selective and prestigious as JHIBS on your profile, you’ll be able to showcase your proven STEM skills and passion for the field in no uncertain terms.
You’ll be able to financially support your education: Whether through the hourly stipend from the in-person experience, or the fixed scholarship from the virtual experience, you’ll be able to make some money to further fund your passion for STEM.
The Johns Hopkins Internship in Brain Sciences is a comprehensive, selective, and enriching experience in neuroscience at one of the nation’s top institutions. If you have the academic credentials required and are from an underrepresented background but with a strong passion for STEM and an eye on a career in brain sciences, JHIBS is the opportunity of a lifetime.
Lumiere Research Scholar Program
If you’re looking for the opportunity to do in-depth research on various topics in STEM, you could also consider applying to one of the Lumiere Research Scholar Programs, selective online high school programs 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: Johns Hopkins logo