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Regeneron's High School Mentorship Program - Our Review

If you’re a highly ambitious high school student interested in pharmaceutical research and drug development, then a mentorship under a working professional could be a great way to learn more about the intricacies of this field, gain hands-on lab experience, and understand the different stages of drug development. A strong mentorship on your CV can boost your student profile and show prior experience and demonstrated interest in a subject.


Regeneron, a biotechnology company, offers a mentorship program for highly motivated high school students who are interested in drug discovery and research. If this sounds like you, then you should definitely consider applying! In this blog, we will review Regeneron’s High School Mentorship program to help you decide if it fits you well.


What is Regeneron?

Founded in 1988, Regeneron is a multinational biotech company that focuses on drug development and commercialization for serious medical conditions. Its fields of focus include oncology, immunology, neurology, infectious diseases, and rare diseases. Its antibody treatment, REGN-COV2, was used in many countries worldwide as a treatment against COVID-19. The company was founded by — and continues to be led by — physician-scientists. It has 12 FDA-approved medicines, develops all its drug candidates in-house, and employs over 13k people worldwide.


Regeneron offers multiple programs for middle and high school students: the BioBus Internship program, the Science Talent Search competition, the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), and the High School Mentorship program, which we will discuss in this blog.


What is the Regeneron High School Mentorship program all about?

Regeneron created its High School Mentorship program to introduce young learners to drug development and scientific research and to identify and train the next generation of scientists. The program is a multi-year commitment open to high school sophomores and juniors. Regeneron accepts sophomores for a two-year program while juniors can access a concentrated one-year program. 


As a student researcher, you are matched with a Regeneron researcher and work in one of the company’s fields of focus, based on your interest and researcher availability.  The program includes six to seven weeks of full-time research during the summer at a Regeneron lab, followed by weekly meetings with their assigned mentor and other participating students during the year. Through the program, you must independently work on a research question that you have formulated with your mentor. 


Is the program prestigious?

The Regeneron High School Mentorship program is among the most selective and highly prestigious science research programs in the U.S. Regeneron accepts less than 100 students annually after receiving thousands of applicants nationwide. Furthermore, the program is completely paid for.


What are the important dates?

Applications for the 2024 cohort have shut. Based on previous years’ deadlines, applications for the 2025 cohort will close by December 10, 2024. This will be followed by a multi-stage application process; the program begins in late June/early July 2025.


How do I apply for the program?

To apply, your high school science coordinator/ school counselor needs to nominate you for the program. Usually, a high school can nominate up to two students. The entire application process is split up into the following stages:


Application review (Dec 2024 - Jan 2025): Once you’ve been selected to apply from your high school and submitted your application, Regeneron scientists review applications and select students to interview. 


Interviews (Jan-Feb 2025): Selected students sit for interviews conducted by Regeneron scientists and attend a program information session.


Matching stage (Post-interviews): Program staff begin matching students with their mentors based on feedback received from scientists and students.


Acceptance status (Late Feb 2025): Regeneron informs you if you’ve been selected for the program. If successful, you will be informed of your mentor at this time.


Once selected, you can begin to prepare for the program, which will commence with an intensive summer research experience that lasts up to seven weeks in July-August.


What documents do I need to submit?

A complete application includes a signed parental consent form, a CV, two short essays detailing your interest and motivation for joining the program, and a pre-recorded video presentation of yourself.


What will my experience of the program be like?

Your experience of the program can vary greatly depending on your chosen field of focus and assigned mentor. In general, the summer research component will include hands-on lab work and attending lectures led by Regeneron scientists. You will get to witness the drug development process, starting from target population identification, the lab development stage, and clinical trials. You will also attend workshops and sit for guest lectures by Regeneron founders and senior leadership. 


Program alumni include Alex Klainbard, who worked on preclinical antibodies and assay development. Emily Rebholz, part of the 2023 cohort, was integrated into Regeneron’s early clinical development and experimental sciences division. Ella E. conducted research in metabolic and muscular diseases and her research question related to studying genetics to reduce the occurrence of obesity. Stella O’Connell worked on immunology and inflammation research. 


What are the pros and cons of applying to the program?


Pros:


  1. You join a highly selective and prestigious program Regeneron’s High School Mentorship program is among the best science research programs, with thousands of applicants nationwide and less than 100 being accepted. 

  2. You stand out as among the brightest in your cohort The application is rigorous — you need to be nominated and must then get through an intensive interview selection process. Being selected means you have an extremely inquisitive mind, have strong analytical and problem-solving skills, and show the most potential among some of the brightest students in the country.

  3. You get to work at a company conducting cutting-edge research Regeneron has 12 FDA-approved drugs and its inventions have proved effective in combating pandemics. What’s more, its subdivisions like the Genetics Research Center conduct groundbreaking research using human genetics to create new, effective medicines.

  4. The program is fully funded The entire program, which includes the summer research experience and the year(s)-long mentorship, is completely free of cost, and thus, quite prestigious!

  5. You get to work alongside a Regeneron researcher Regeneron researchers are scientific leaders at the forefront of their fields, which include responding to infectious diseases, antibody science, genetics, oncology, experimental sciences, pharmacometrics, and more. Working with them would be an incredibly rewarding opportunity. Not to mention, do a good job and a letter of recommendation would help you get into a top college!

  6. You undertake an independent research project As part of the program, you must develop a research question with your mentor and work on it during the year. At the end of the program, you present your findings to the public.


Cons:


  1. You do not receive a stipend during the summer While the program is free, the lack of a stipend while working in Regeneron laboratories could dissuade some students from applying, especially talented learners who come from low-income households. Other prestigious summer research opportunities offer a stipend, making them more attractive opportunities (for example, the Navy’s SEAP internship offers $4,000-4,500).


Our review — should you apply for the program?

Regeneron’s High School Mentorship program is an excellent option if you’re interested in drug development and research. You get to work with some of the brightest scientists and develop an independent research project. The program is free, and there could even be opportunities to work at the company in the future. The only drawback we find is that you do not receive a stipend during the summer, which could lead to some students looking elsewhere for paid opportunities.  



If you’re a high school student interested in conducting research, you may want to consider the Lumiere Research Scholar Program, a selective online high school program for students founded by 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. You can also reach out to us at contact@lumiere.education to know more, or to have a chat about possible collaborations!


Also check out the Lumiere Research Inclusion Foundation, a non-profit research program for talented, low-income students. Last year, we had 150 students on full need-based financial aid!


Kieran Lobo is a freelance writer from India, who currently teaches English in Spain. 


Image Source: Regeneron logo


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