Year 4

Through this CIRM Creativity Award, our summer research program offered hands-on research opportunities to 10 high school students from California during the summer of 2015. During the program, the students learned how to design and carry out experiments under the direct mentorship of a graduate student or post-doctoral student within a stem cell based research lab. In addition to working in the lab for 8 weeks, the students also attended 8 lectures focused on the fundamentals of stem cell biology. They also attended 6 additional group lectures and special seminars from Faculty members on a variety of topics such as careers in science. Other seminar titles included how to write a research abstract and create a research poster. The students also had the opportunity to attend a local field trip, attend weekly lab meetings and participate in weekly social events with other students in the program. At the end of the program, the students presented an oral powerpoint presentation within their group and they also presented their research poster at a poster session held on campus. The students did a fantastic job with their research projects and their presentations. From the student responses, the internship experience had a great impact on them. For many of these students, this was the first time they had an opportunity to work in a research lab and they were able to learn many valuable lessons. As these students came from very diverse backgrounds, this experience had a big impact on their future goals. This lab experience gave them a good opportunity to think about the various 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, these students were able to contribute in a meaningful way to the labs’ research aims in the stem cell field. This internship also provided valuable mentoring experiences for the direct mentors for these students. In summary, this internship had many benefits including the creation of a pipeline of students who will be our future stem cell/medical researchers.