Year 1

During the summer of 2012, our summer research program offered exciting hands-on research opportunities to 10 high school students. The high school students were placed in various stem cell research labs and they were each paired with a one-on-one mentor. The main focus of the program was for these students to learn how to design and carry out experiments under the mentorship of a graduate student, fellow or Faculty member. In addition to carrying out research experiments, these students also had the unique opportunity to participate in 10-12 specialized lectures in the stem cell research area which gave them a strong grasp of the fundamentals of stem cell biology and the techniques involved. They also attended 8 joint lectures and special seminars on topics such as careers in science and how to write a research abstract and make a research poster. Students also had the opportunity to attend weekly lab meetings, peer interactive social events and to attend a local field trip. At the end of the program, these students had the opportunity to present an oral powerpoint presentation within their group and they also presented their research poster at a poster session held on campus. All the students did an outstanding job on their research projects and their presentations. Because of this internship program, there were many benefits for the students, mentors and for the future of stem cell research in California. For many of these students, this was the first time they had an opportunity to work in a research lab. As these students came from very diverse backgrounds, this experience had a profound impact on how they viewed scientific research and the many career options that they could explore in the future. This experience also taught them valuable techniques and skills that they will be able to use in future lab experiences in college and graduate school. The students had the opportunity to meet other students who were excited about science research and through the many small group sessions, they were also able to build strong peer relationships within the group. These students were also able to learn the value of what it means to work collaboratively as part of a lab and to have interactions with other trained scientists within the lab. Furthermore, because of this opportunity, one of the major benefits was the self confidence that could be built in these students as they were able to contribute in a meaningful way to the labs’ research aims. This internship also provided valuable mentoring experiences for the direct mentors for these students. In summary, this internship had many benefits for all involved. It provided students from various backgrounds the opportunity to engage in cutting edge research in stem cell biology, and to be part of the pipeline of students who will be our future researchers.