During the summer, Keck Graduate Institute offers a limited number of unpaid internship opportunities to exceptionally motivated and academically strong high school students to gain hands on research experience, and learn about the pursuit of a science or engineering related college education and professional career. This internship program runs in parallel with our Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE program. High school students work under the supervision of a KGI faculty mentor, initially shadow undergraduate students and other researchers at KGI, and are then able to engage in a small, well-defined research project matched to their skills and knowledge. High school students further are able to participate in SURE program activities such as seminars and workshops.
- The number of positions is limited, depending on availability of faculty mentors plus approval by the Dean
- Program dates: June 26 –August 4, 2017. Students may work full time (40hr/week) or part time (minimum 10hr/week), for the entire period or a fraction thereof
- Application deadline: May 5, 2017
- Students have to be age 16 or older at the time of program start to qualify for this program
How to Apply
In order to be considered for this program, the following materials need to be received by the application deadline (May 5, 2017):
- The application form
- A letter of recommendation from a high school science teacher
- A current official transcript
All application materials must be submitted by the applicant in one mailing.
Please click here to download an application form in MS word format, or click here to download an application form in PDF format. Save the application form to your computer. You can fill out the MS word from electronically, or you can print out either form to fill out manually.
Letter of Recommendation
Please ask a high school science teacher if he/she would be willing to fill out a recommendation form for you. Click here to download the recommendation form in MS word format, or click here to download the recommendation form in PDF format. Save the recommendation form to your computer. You can email the MS word from to your teacher electronically, or you can print out either form and hand the form to your teacher to fill out manually. Ask your teacher to return the completed form to you in a sealed envelope (with his/her signature across the seal). Include this envelope with the rest of your application package. Optionally, you may include a second letter from another individual able to comment on your other personal strengths, but at least one letter needs to be from a high school science teacher.
Please obtain from your school a current official transcript (including grades for the fall of 2016) in a sealed envelope. Include this envelope with the rest of your application package.
Send the entire application in one mailing to:
High School Internship Program
Attn: Angelika Niemz
Keck Graduate Institute
535 Watson Drive
Claremont, CA 91711
What is it like to be a high school intern at KGI?
Deboki Chakravarti and Samena Lutfaeli from the Vivian Webb School worked as interns at KGI during the summer of 2006 as part of the FIBR outreach program. Under the mentorship of Prof. Alpan Raval, these two students learned the Python programming language and used Python to perform basic computations on biological network data. Deboki and Samena will continue to work on the project in 2007 to implement novel methods to extract topologically modular structures within biological networks.
Asmita Kumar, a former student at Claremont High School, worked as an intern at KGI during the summer of 2005 in the research group of Prof. Angelika Niemz. Her main project involved fabricating nanoporous template structures on silicon wafers, and depositing DNA-functionalized gold nanospheres into the surface nanopores through self-assembly. She presented the results of her research project in the form of a poster at the 2005 Southern California Conference of Undergradduate Research (SCCUR) at UC Irvine. As of the fall of 2006, she is now an undergraduate student at Stanford University. Asmita wrote an essay about her summer research experience. Excerpts of this essay are replicated below.
Taking the Plunge (Excerpts of an essay written by Asmita Kumar, high school intern during the KGI 2005 REU program)
Most high school students are confused about a future in science and exposure to a university setting and graduate research helps to answer their questions. Nowadays, biotechnology is a hot topic and many students are choosing to major in the field without knowing what it actually entails. Biology labs cannot hope to cover this field due to mainly its novelty and budget. Often times, students get into a program and find that it is not for them and are then stuck with the dilemma of how to get out. Pre-college experience at Keck helped to clear my confusion and show me a path. My eyes were opened to types of skills that a potential biotech major would require such as working with small volumes of easily contaminable materials, and using sophisticated instruments and computer integrated technology. Other more basic skills such as how to maintain a lab notebook, disposing of harmful waste, and interacting with other lab members were also learned and stowed away for potential use later on. In learning these skills I came closer to understanding what biotechnology is or in my case what bioengineering is. No longer was my understanding confined to GM crops, stem cell research, or cloning, but rather device technology that used biological principles. And in learning about bioengineering as a field, I was privy to the education required to work in it.
Keck gave insight on the long road of education and research awaiting science majors and gave me an advantageous research experience for college. Due to my internship being in conjunction with the REU, Research Experience for Undergraduates program, I was able to gain from the undergraduate’s experiences in college. They offered advice on what colleges offer the best research opportunities, shed light on the college applications, taught me from their knowledge, and were always willing to help me out with my research. With Keck being a graduate school, I was able to interact with graduate students, post docs, and professors alike and gain from their years of experience and knowledge. They in turn put their prejudices aside about high school students and their capability to do research and taught me what it takes to be a researcher from gathering and reading literature, to performing experiments, gathering data, and formulating conclusions. One worldly post doc who especially took me under his wing continually stressed the importance of checking details and being self sufficient, all the while maintaining a laid back style and cracking jokes. Thus my impression of research will always be that of optimism and fun meshed with occasional seriousness due to his guidance and teaching. And in return for their time, I always showed an eagerness to learn, absorb, and capture. Through my diligence I was able to be brought up to speed, despite my lack of previous lab experience, with the experiments that the undergrads were doing. I was able to rise to the challenge that Keck presented and thus received a research opportunity that will give me an edge in college.
Coming away from Keck, I am not the same person who entered. State science fairs and national science competitions do not compare to doing research amongst older and wiser people. This opportunity was not about an A, but the chance to perform research out of my reach in terms of complexity and skill. My experiences have mirrored Confucius’s old saying “I hear and I forget. I see and I believe. I do and I understand,” as I shed the layers of ignorance to find faith in my own abilities and gain new understanding of past principles and new hope of the future to come. I was brave and proactive enough to plunge into research, despite my previous misconceptions and am sure there are other students that wish they had this opportunity when they encounter their first lab in college.