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  • Writer's pictureEstelle Reardon

10 Biotechnology Internships for High School Students

Updated: 20 hours ago

Why do internships in high school?


Exploring internships in biotechnology during your high school years offers invaluable benefits for both your future college. Research by PRISM consultancy reveals that a significant 70% of students accepted into top 50 universities listed by US News have engaged in at least one high school internship. These experiences serve as powerful tools to help set you apart during the college admissions process, showcasing your proactive approach towards shaping your career goals. 


Furthermore, biotechnology has been a rapidly growing industry which has fostered a particularly competitive environment.  Participating in internships provides insight into various professional settings and in building the necessary skills and knowledge to pursue a career in biotechnology - data analysis, advanced laboratory techniques, and the complexities of regulatory compliance - which will make it easier for recruiting in future internships, pre-professional organizations in college, and jobs.


How to Find Biotechnology Internships for High School Students


The best way to find biotechnology internships for high school students is through online search tools and lists; the StandOutSearch database provides the largest free resource that lists almost every internship program for the high school age group and allows you to search by interest area. MIT Admissions also provides a helpful list of High School Internships


These official programs, however, tend to be very competitive, so if you are serious about finding a summer internship in high school, you should think about building some skills beforehand to set yourself apart - particularly knowledge of R (learn R: Coursera’s R Programming Course), Python (learn Python Python for Everybody), Excel, biology, and chemistry. You should also reach out to organizations and professors yourself by preparing a cold outreach strategy: read more about how to form a cold outreach strategy to find a high school internship at the end of this article where we include email templates to make finding an internship or research position through cold outreach less daunting.


10 Biotechnology Internships for High School Students


Most of the biotechnology internships for high school students below have an acceptance rate of 20% or lower, given that there are many more high school students looking for internships relative to official programs that provide them. We recommend choosing at least five opportunities to apply to. If you see an opportunity that excites you, take a moment to write the deadline on your calendar!



  • Ages: 15-19

  • Location: Virtual 

  • Timeline: Summer, Spring, Fall, or Winter

  • Deadline: Various Deadlines


StandOut Connect is a program created thanks to investment from The University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Innovation that matches high school students with internships. Students interview with potential mentors who are leaders and innovators within their area of interest until they are hired for a two-month internship. Many students then receive optional return offers to continue with their internship for as long as they would like.



  • Ages: 16 - 18

  • Location: Massachusetts

  • Timeline: Spring

  • Deadline: TBD


The High School Apprenticeship Challenge facilitates and funds paid internships for underrepresented and low-income high school students throughout Massachusetts. The program creates more than 100 new internship opportunities each year by subsidizing intern wages for small life sciences companies and research institutions enabling them to hire paid interns. The program also offers a pre-internship lab training program for some school districts that provides rigorous biotechnology/biomedical and professional skills development.



  • Ages: Rising Senior

  • Location: New Mexico

  • Timeline: Summer

  • Deadline: April 11, 2024, at 11:59PM


The High School Internship Program (HS) provides qualified northern New Mexico high school seniors the opportunity to develop skills and gain work experience, while receiving exposure to a variety of career fields. Interns are connected to various projects that include biomedical engineering and biotechnology.



  • Ages: Rising Senior 

  • Location: Boston University

  • Timeline: Summer

  • Deadline: February 14


At the Research in Science & Engineering (RISE) program you will spend six weeks at BU conducting university laboratory research under the mentorship of distinguished faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students. Students can opt for the Internship track where students are placed into various research projects to work on or the Practicum track which is focused more on learning about and researching computational neurobiology.



  • Ages: 15 - 19

  • Location:  Emeryville, CA

  • Timeline: June 10 – July 26

  • Deadline: March 17


The Introductory College Level Experience in Microbiology (iCLEM) is a paid summer science intensive program for economically disadvantaged high school sophomores and juniors. The program seeks to broaden students’ understanding of biotechnology, microbiology, and biofuels. In addition to completing a research project, the program also exposes students to career exploration and preparation for the college application process. 



  • Ages: 15 - 19

  • Location: Washington, DC

  • Timeline:  Summer

  • Deadline: May 15


The Biotechnology for Science & Health Academy is designed to provide students with a scientific background the opportunity to conduct experiments to illuminate the role that Biotechnology plays in the fields of Health and Science. Background information and concepts are presented in a lecture format and students then conduct hands-on laboratory exercises to demonstrate the concepts. Students will experience cloning a gene and analyzing the resulting product, examining the role of DNA and protein diagnostics in modern healthcare, how DNA is used in forensics and several other applications of Biotechnology in a variety of industries. This course will also include applications of Biotechnology in current industries including Medicine and Health, Forensics, Agriculture and Food Science, and Basic Scientific Research. 



  • Ages: Rising Senior

  • Location: Houston, TX

  • Timeline: Summer

  • Deadline: March 31


Rising high school seniors interested in biomedical, bioengineering, and health-oriented professions will want to check out this competitive summer internship. Participants are instructed in basic lab techniques and undertake a research project led by a scientist or graduate student. At the end of the program, students present their research, some of which may contribute to research publications. 



  • Ages: 15 - 17

  • Location: Massachusetts 

  • Timeline: Summer

  • Deadline: March 1


The High School Health Careers Program (HSHCP) is a four week, tuition-free, residential program. It offers current sophomore and junior high school students unique opportunities to learn about the broad spectrum of careers in Biomedical Research, Biotechnology and the health professions (BBHP). It is designed to improve academic study and communication skills of the participants. The program targets Massachusetts high school sophomores and juniors from groups that are under-represented in BBHP and/or disadvantaged backgrounds. The program is open to Massachusetts residents who are sophomores or juniors in a Massachusetts high school.



  • Ages: 17 - 19

  • Location: Cincinnati, OH

  • Timeline: Summer

  • Deadline: February 15


BRIMS provides minority students in the Cincinnati area who are graduating high school seniors or college freshmen with an excellent opportunity for scientific training. Its objective is to involve students who are underrepresented in biomedical careers in cutting-edge scientific research that takes place in an academic medical center. The program aims to spark their interest in pursuing careers in biomedical research. 



  • Ages: 16 - 19

  • Location: Missouri

  • Timeline: Summer

  • Deadline: March 1


The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center offers various K-12 STEM education opportunities through its Education and Outreach Lab. The center provides STEAM+Ag (science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics + agriculture) curriculum with authentic research experiences in genetics, molecular biology, and image analytics for K-12 students. Additionally, high school students can apply for a summer internship program in which they work in a plant and agricultural research center.


Cold Outreach Strategy for High School Internships 


If the opportunities listed above don’t turn out to be a fit, the next step to finding biotechnology internships for high school students is to launch a cold outreach strategy. This may seem intimidating at first, but the guide below should make it much more simple. As an added note, please exercise caution when reaching out to professionals you don’t know. It is always safest to interview or meet virtually. 


How to Find Companies to Reach Out to for a High School Internship 


Use LinkedIn to find small companies and labs where you can help with lab work, research, and even some smaller tasks - any experience is useful for both yourself and your resume. Smaller companies that need more hands on deck will be the most likely to hire high-school-aged students. Make sure to indicate your interest and knowledge in biotechnology - do some research to find what fields of biotechnology  you may be interested in (Nanobiotechnology, Medical, Genetic Engineering, etc.) or the latest news in biotech. Also try to find personal connections with the professionals you reach out to, such as being from the same state originally or liking the same sports team.


How to Find Professors to Reach Out to for a High School Research Position 


You can use online university staff directories to find professors to reach out to for research positions. Note that remote research positions with professors tend to be harder to come by. Professors typically have high school students help with more manual laboratory tasks such as washing beakers or running equipment and usually do not have very much use for interns at a high school education level within a remote setting. The exception is if you are doing more computational research related to bioinformatics.


How to Structure and Send Outreach Emails 


For a successful cold-outreach strategy, aim to send at least 50 emails to potential internship providers. Be sure to include a link to your resume, which should be no more than one page while you are in high school.  UChicago provides a helpful free resume template and guide. We recommend including your resume as a Google Drive link because including it as a PDF will sometimes negatively impact the deliverability of your email. However, be sure to check that the sharing settings on the document allow anyone with the link to view its contents. It can also be a good idea to include work samples in your resume, such as the link to a website you designed, a social media account you manage, or your GitHub profile.


Email Template for Finding a High School Internship 


If you are unsure how to structure your outreach emails to potential internship providers, here are some basic templates you can customize to your needs. 


Template for Finding an Internship


Subject: Student Reaching Out


Dear Mr./Ms.____,


I hope you are having a great day! My name is [your name], and I am a rising [grade] at [your school]. I read about your company on LinkedIn and found the concept quite interesting. For context, [briefly state how the company relates to your interests or experience]. 


I was wondering if you might be looking for interns. I know I would have a great deal to learn from working with you, and I would love to contribute in any way I can. I have included my resume here. Thanks so much!


Sincerely, 


[Your name]


Template for Finding a Research Position


Subject: Student Reaching Out


Dear Professor/Dr. ____,


I hope you are having a great day! My name is [your name], and I am a rising [grade] at [your school]. I recently read your paper on [restate the abstract] in [name of publication] and was quite intrigued by [part you found interesting]. I was wondering if I might be able to intern for you over this summer. [Elaborate on your relevant skills and experience and why you are passionate about the field]. 

I have included my resume here. Thanks so much! 


Sincerely,


[Your name]



Biotechnology Internships for High School
Biotechnology Internships for High School Students


Conclusion


Whether you are applying to established programs or launching a cold outreach strategy, the name of the game when looking for a biotechnology high school internship or research position is perseverance. These opportunities can be extremely difficult to secure, but most high school students find it worth it in the end to get a head start on building their careers. If you found this article helpful, don’t forget to save it for later or share it with a friend. Good luck on your internship search journey!

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