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25 Research Opportunities for High School Students

25 Research Opportunities for High School Students

Participating in research opportunities for high school students is a great way to get involved with STEM fields and pursue their scientific interests. These competitions provide opportunities to gain knowledge, develop critical thinking skills, and practice problem-solving techniques. This blog will explore 25 incredible high school science research competitions that allow students to showcase their skills and become leaders in their fields. It also provides guidance on how to create strong projects that will make an impact. By participating in these events, students gain valuable experience and a deeper understanding of science, preparing them for future success.

Hosted by the National Conservation Foundation, this is one of the research opportunities that invites students from grades 9 – 12 (or ages 14-19) across the United States, Canada, and China to participate in solving environmental problems in the areas of aquatic ecology, forestry, soils, land use, wildlife, etc. Teams are made up of 5 students who are then given 6 hours to formulate a solution to a specific environmental problem and create an oral presentation. After 6 hours, students present their solutions.

2024 Topic: Renewable Energy for a Sustainable Future

Location: Hobart and William Smith Colleges (Geneva, New York)

Competition dates: July 28 – August 3, 2024

The RSI invites 100 high school juniors to participate in a five-week internship program at MIT. Students will experience the research cycle, read the most up to date literature in their field, draft and execute a detailed research plan, and deliver conference-style oral and written reports on their findings. Students will be paired with a mentor, take lessons for 1 week highlighting current research topics in biology, chemistry, engineering, mathematics, physics, and humanities. Then, they will start conducting guided research for 5 weeks. In the meantime, they will prepare papers and oral presentations at a level appropriate for an academic conference.

Cost: Free

Application Deadline: December 13, 2023, 11:59 pm E.T

University of California Santa Cruz has a summer-long (10 weeks) research internship program for high school students in STEM fields. High school students have the chance to receive one-on-one mentoring from UCSC faculty, graduate students, and post-doctoral researchers.

High school students who are interested in STEM fields and research are highly encouraged to participate in this program. Students participate in real and existing research projects at UCSC, not made-up projects.

Students are required to be at least 14 years of age on the program start date, and be currently enrolled in high school. Accepted students are normally from Bay Area high schools, but out-of-area students who have local housing are also encouraged to apply.The application will open on March 1, 2024, at 8 AM PDT and closes on March 31, 2024

The Zuckerman Institute’s Brain Research Apprenticeships in New York at Columbia (BRAINYAC) program is an NYC high school internship. The internship prepares today’s youth to become tomorrow’s scientists. Each student is matched with a Columbia neuroscientist– a mentor who guides the student through a research project. Interns come away from the experience with an enhanced understanding of how laboratory research leads to transformative discovery, exposure to a professional academic environment, and a stronger connection to science as a career. Applicants must reside in New York City, with preference given to students in upper Manhattan and South Bronx.

Application Deadline: October 2024.

JHIBS is an 8-week (in-person) or 5-week (virtual) summer program for high school juniors and seniors that helps them pursue a career in the neurological sciences. High school juniors and seniors from the Baltimore city and metro areas are allowed to apply. The internship is held at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine Department of Neurology on the East Baltimore campus. Interns will participate in a research project guided by faculty, staff, and student mentors, as well as participate in clinical rotations with Johns Hopkins neurologists.

Application Deadline: December 1, 2023 – March 1, 2024

This program is designed to serve students from populations underrepresented in biomedical and clinical research during the summer after their senior year in high school. Selected participants will be paired with a research mentor. Research projects may involve laboratory-based research, computer-based database research, or clinical research. Students will learn about research methodology and will complete a project over the summer. They will present their findings during oral presentation sessions. High school students who are applying must have completed their senior year by the program’s start date.

Program Dates: Monday, June 5 – Friday, July 28

The application deadline is February 2024, but the program suggests students apply earlier due to rolling admission.

This program aims to provide high school students with exposure to cutting-edge research in an academic environment, and introduce them to the diversity of research topics pursued in engineering. Projects will be mentored by students, faculty, and staff of the Stanford Compression Forum and its affiliated organizations. Themes will span and combine the science of information and communication, engineering, the arts, linguistics, psychology, biology, neuroscience, computer science, technology, philosophy, and design, among other areas. High school students must be current high school juniors or seniors by the time of their application. The program is 8 weeks long, starting from June 13 to August 15, 2022.

Application Deadline: February 2024

The Laboratory Learning Program at Princeton University is a program for high school students that provides hands-on training in various scientific research fields such as biology, chemistry, physics, computer science, and engineering. The program offers students an opportunity to work with Princeton researchers and graduate students in state-of-the-art labs and research centers. For this year’s program, students can participate in engineering and natural science opportunities.

Application Deadline: February 15 to March 15, 2024

Rising seniors will conduct research for 40 hours per week under the guidance of a faculty member, postdoctoral fellow, or graduate student mentor. Students have the opportunity to choose from multiple research fields– from astronomy, and chemistry to psychology and public health. In addition to research, students participate in weekly workshops that provide insight into the scientific process, research ethics, reading a research paper, making a poster, and networking in the scientific community.

Applicants must be rising seniors and US citizens or legal permanent residents

Program Fee: $5,570 (Commuter) or $8,558 (Residential)

Deadline: February 14, 2024

Hosted by the Society for Science, the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair is an annual science fair in the United States. More than 1500 students from roughly 70 countries and territories compete in the fair for scholarships, tuition grants, internships, scientific field trips, and grand prizes.

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Date: May 11-17, 2024

High school or home-schooled students from the United States and Canada are invited to participate in different challenges (local, national, and international). There are three challenges: The Global Healthcare Challenge, The Global Sustainability Challenge, and The Global Environment Challenge. All project submissions must utilize and apply biotechnology. Students must be enrolled in high school-level biology, or science-related courses at their high school or in their home-school curriculum to participate.

Date: Varies from state to state

Hosted by the Department of Energy, the National Science Bowl is a competitive science education and academic event for middle and high school students. Students are asked to solve scientific and mathematical problems in teams of four. Regional science bowl championship teams receive an all-expenses-paid trip to compete at the national event in Washington, D.C. in April.

National Finals Date: April 25 – 29, 2024

The THINK Scholars Program is a STEM program run by undergraduate students at MIT, sponsored by tech companies and educational organizations. High school students participating in the program must write a project proposal that, if accepted, they will work on for one semester. Projects can be completed by an individual or in a team of two during the Spring semester with a $1,000 budget.

Project Completion Date: June 2024

Deadline: January 1, 2024

eCYBERMISSION is a virtual STEM competition for students in grades 6-9. Students are invited to participate in one of seven challenges – ‘alternative sources of energy’, ‘environment’, ‘food, health, and fitness’, ‘forces and motion’, ‘national security and safety’, ‘robotics’, or ‘technology’. Each team includes 2-4 students, who must choose one of two paths: Science – Asking a question/exploring a problem, or Engineering – Solving a problem. After identifying the problem, teams will apply scientific principles and methods to develop solutions.

Registration Deadline: February 28, 2024

During the Junior Science and Humanities Symposium, high school students from grades 9-12 can participate in competitions for various major disciplines including Environmental Science, Biomedical Sciences, Cell/Molecular Biology, Life Sciences, Medicine & Health/Behavioral Sciences, Engineering and Technology, Math and Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Physical Sciences, Chemistry, etc. Students are invited to compete in an affiliated JSHS regional symposium, and may win the opportunity to advance to the National JSHS. Participating students are required to write an original research paper 5-20 pages in length, and present their findings to a group of judges and peers.

National Event Date: April 12-15, 2023

The ARISE program is a dynamic and opportunity-driven initiative offered by New York University (NYU), designed to immerse students in a comprehensive 7-week summer experience. The program provides participants with rigorous lab experience and mentorship from NYU’s esteemed research faculty. Students will be trained to do college-level research and will have the opportunity to present their research at the end of the program.

Eligibility: Students living in New York City completing 10th or 11th grade in June 2024

Application Deadline: March 1, 2024

Program Date: June 17 – August 9, 2024

The National Science Olympiad is a national science competition for high school students. In teams of 15, students compete in various scientific fields, such as Forensics, Anatomy, Physiology, and more in three categories: Study, Build, and Lab. During the National tournament event, students can participate in social media contests, STEM Expo, and Science Olympiad $50K Founders’ Scholarships.

Exam Date: October 17, 2023 / November 21, 2023 / December 5, 2023

The Davidson Fellows Scholarship invites students under the age of 18 years old residing in the United States to participate. Categories include Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, Literature, Music, Philosophy, and Outside the Box. Students may be in teams of no more than 2 people. To be considered, the project must be “an exceptionally creative application of existing knowledge, a new idea with high impact, an innovative solution with broad-range implications, an important advancement that can be replicated and built upon, an interdisciplinary discovery, or another demonstration of extraordinary accomplishment.”

Deadline: February 14, 2024

Hosted by the American Psychological Association, the TOPSS Competition invites students to submit an essay of up to 1,500 words addressing the role of psychology in tackling societal systemic problems. Students should cite research from at least two peer-reviewed journal articles in their essays. Up to three students will receive $300 scholarships for their winning essays.

Deadline: April 10, 2023 

The Scripps Research High School Competition invites high school students from grades 9-12 to write a 1- to 2-page essay answering the following question: “What topic would you want to investigate/research and why?” Students are expected to know information about their topic of interest, have a hypothesis, and explain the results of their research. While showing an in-depth understanding of scientific research, students should also have clear and concisely written communication and proper citations of literature in their bibliography. The internship runs from June 3 – August 9, 2024, OR June 17 – August 23, 2024, or students can write specific dates on the application form (10 weeks).

Deadline: March 30, 2024

SSRP (Summer Science Research Program) Scholars participate in a structured research experience led by trainees at the Rockefeller University. The program emulates the laboratory structure at Rockefeller, with one trainee serving as the team lead and scientist-mentors providing support. High school juniors and seniors will follow a weekly schedule to conduct research while attending elective scientific courses, guest lectures, and social events.

Program Date: Monday, June 24 – Thursday, August 8, 2024

Application Deadline: January 5, 2024

Careers in Science is a comprehensive year-round internship and youth development program for high school students. As interns progress in the program, they have the chance to join project groups led by Academy researchers or partners. These small groups of students collaborate on science research or environmental action projects. Interns may also become members of the CiS Leadership Council and have the opportunity to receive personalized mentorship from experts at the Academy.

Eligibility: 9th or 10th-grade students in a San Francisco Public School who belong to underrepresented communities in the field of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), including girls and students of color.

Deadline: February 2, 2024, through April 5, 2024.

This program seeks to find students possessing exceptional potential for performing biomedical research. Students will design and work on their own research projects in their specific areas of interest. In addition to research, students also communicate their results and findings to their peers and instructors during a weekly student seminar series. Students will produce a written report at the end of their project.

Eligibility: High school students who are at latest 16 years old before the internship begins

Program Date: June 5 – August 11, 2023

Application Deadline: March 16, 2023

This internship aims to give students an early introduction to research that crosses traditional boundaries. Participants will be divided into projects that will use their current interests and abilities while introducing them to new subjects. The projects will be supervised by students, faculty, and staff from the Stanford Compression Forum and its associated organizations. The themes will include a combination of information and communication science, engineering, arts, linguistics, psychology, biology, neuroscience, computer science, technology, philosophy, and design, among other fields.

Application Deadline: February 24, 2023

The Aralia Research Program is designed to provide high school students with a unique opportunity to delve into the world of research, encouraging them to explore their interests in-depth and contribute meaningfully to their chosen fields. This unique program transcends disciplinary boundaries, extending its reach to every subject.

Under the mentorship of experienced and dedicated instructors, students in the Aralia Research Program embark on a journey of discovery, developing critical research skills and gaining insights that extend beyond the boundaries of traditional classroom learning. This hands-on experience not only enriches their academic profile but also instills a sense of confidence and independence in their pursuit of knowledge.


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