With funding from CIRM, six high school students pursued a summer research project in stem cell or developmental biology at UC San Francisco. For eight weeks, these students conducted research under the guidance of a mentor scientist. In addition, they met weekly to learn to: 1) successfully apply to college and for financial aid, 2) communicate in writing about their research, and 3) give a poster presentation and a scientific talk. The program culminated with a Poster Session and Celebration with a keynote address by UCSF Chancellor Sue Desmond-Hellman. Over 200 families, friends, and UCSF community members attended. The six high school interns also traveled to Stanford University to participate in the CIRM Creativity Awards Poster Session.
Past alumni from this program have been shown to pursue careers in the sciences in significant percentages; thus, many of these students will likely continue working in stem cell research in their undergraduate years and beyond. These six students developed a deeper understanding of scientific research generally and stem cell biology specifically, thereby becoming “science ambassadors” who can help others in California better understand the importance of this work.