For many STEM students, joining an existing lab for a summer research position is a primary goal. However, these labs are not always extraordinarily receptive to high school students. Many stick to the idea that students in this age category often lack the critical “prior experience” to immediately demonstrate their usefulness to the lab.
Step 1: The Research
Some schools have certain resources, like records of labs that have historically accepted high school students. If your school does, that could help with the process. Nonetheless, for students whose schools do not offer extensive science research opportunities? There are still steps you can take to secure such an internship.
Step 2: The Pitch
Once you find a lab doing research you’re interested in, you may want to email them to demonstrate your interest. This email may look something like this:
Dear Dr. Smith,
I hope this message finds you well. My name is Amanda Orbuch and I am currently enrolled at Gunn High School. In my prior studies on the genetic basis of Alzheimer’s, I came across several articles of yours, namely “________”. I found the research done therein extremely compelling and in complete alignment with the sorts of questions I myself had been asking. I was wondering if you are still doing research on Alzheimer’s disease or any related fields. If so, I would truly appreciate the opportunity to get involved with such research, particularly during the summer of 2019. Given my prior experiences in similar research as well as my relevant skillset, I believe that I could prove an asset to the Research Lab X team. I’ve attached my resume for your review and would love to speak on the phone at your earliest convenience. If you’d like a formal cover letter or any additional materials, please don’t hesitate to ask. My number is (555) 111-2233. Looking forward to hearing from you. Thank you in advance for your consideration.
Step 3: Materials
Attach a PDF version of your resume, as well as any additional materials you may have. If you have a sample of prior research, attach that; alternatively (or additionally), if you have a website or LinkedIn, you may want to provide a link to those sources of information.
Hopefully the model email provided above gives you some indication of the sort of email you may want to send in pursuit of a summer research position. For more advice on summer program applications, all you have to do is ask!