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  • Writer's pictureEstelle Reardon

10 Biotechnology Internships for High School Students in Chicago

Why do internships in high school?


Before we jump into a long list of biotechnology internships for high school students in Chicago, it is important to understand why these opportunities could matter for your future. According to PRISM, a consultancy, 70% of students attending a US News top 50 University have completed at least one internship while in high school. These opportunities serve as a way to distinguish yourself in the admissions process by showing that you have gone out and verified your future goals through experience. Doing internships will help you enter college with a clearer idea of the professional environments you enjoy or don’t enjoy, which will make it easier for you to recruit into a job you love after graduation. Students who have done at least one internship in high school also typically have an easier time recruiting into college internships and pre-professional organizations such as finance or pre-law clubs.


How to Find Biotechnology Internships for High School Students in Chicago


The best way to find biotechnology internships for high school students in Chicago 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


However, official programs tend to be very competitive, so if you are serious about finding a summer internship in high school, you should also prepare a cold outreach strategy. You can read more about how to form a cold outreach strategy to find a high school internship at the end of this article. We also include email templates to make finding an internship or research position through cold outreach less daunting.


10 Biotechnology Internships for High School Students in Chicago


Most of the biotechnology internships for high school students in Chicago 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 UChicago’s Polsky Center for Innovation that matches high school students with internships in their interest area. 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: Rising Senior

  • Location: Chicago

  • Timeline: Summer 

  • Deadline: February 


Each selected intern is thoughtfully matched with a Northwestern faculty member and given a hypothesis-driven or hypothesis-generating basic or clinical research project. Each intern’s project will make a meaningful contribution to their laboratory’s research and help advance our understanding of the mechanisms that drive lung disease. The research training is coupled with activities that prepare interns for the college/graduate school application process, success in college/graduate school, and development of their professional careers in science and/or medicine. The research experience culminates with a presentation at the annual Kimberly Querrey Summer Research Symposium.



  • Ages: Freshman - Senior

  • Location: Chicago

  • Timeline: Varies 

  • Deadline: Contact for Deadline


Participants work full time in the laboratories of established cancer researchers, gaining hands-on experience in areas at the forefront of the field: cancer immunology, bioengineering, experimental cancer therapeutics, cancer disparities and more. Rigorous research training is complemented by career development and skill-building workshops, a cancer-based faculty lecture series, and a network of faculty and peer mentors dedicated to students’ success. The program culminates in a research symposium for family, friends and members of the scientific community. Participants receive a taxable stipend of $3,000.



  • Ages: Sophomore - Senior

  • Location: Chicago

  • Timeline: Summer

  • Deadline: Contact for Deadline


A cancer research training program for high school and college students interested in careers in biomedicine. The program also welcomes secondary science educators. For two consecutive summers, participants work full time in the laboratories of established cancer researchers at the university. Rigorous research training is complemented with a cancer-based summer lecture series, year-round career development and skill-building workshops, and a network of faculty and peer mentors dedicated to participants’ success. The program culminates in a research symposium to showcase participants’ work across basic, translational, clinical, and population-based areas of cancer research.



  • Ages: Rising Sophomore - Junior

  • Location: Across Chicago

  • Timeline: School-year

  • Deadline: September


Participants meet year-round to tour medical and research facilities, listen to prominent figures from the medical field lecture, and engage in community service related to the medical field. Depending on the location on the participants chapter, participants may have different programs and activities.



  • Ages: Sophomore - Junior

  • Location: Chicago

  • Timeline: Summer

  • Deadline: Winter


 A six-week summer internship for high school sophomores and juniors in Illinois who have a strong interest and demonstrated aptitude for physics, mathematics, computer science, and engineering. The program is designed to encourage high school students to undertake college study and pursue careers in STEM disciplines. The program combines work and experiential learning at Fermilab, working alongside scientists and engineers.. The program is highly competitive and annually hosts approximately 15-25 interns.



  • Ages: Freshman - Senior

  • Location: Chicago

  • Timeline: Summer

  • Deadline: Contact for Deadline


A paid, 8-week summer program that trains and mentors underrepresented minority high school students interested in careers focusing on cancer research and other health professions. The students learn about cancer health disparities from researchers by attending lecture series and journal clubs, conducting research mentored by senior researchers, participating in career development and skill-building workshops, and developing scientific writing and presentation skills.



  • Ages: Freshman

  • Location: Chicago

  • Timeline: Summer

  • Deadline: Contact for Deadline


Participants will have learning and mentorship opportunities from Northwestern physicians and researchers, paid summer intensive experience that also includes course credit, college access and entrance support, and test preparation.



  • Ages: Sophomore - Senior

  • Location: Chicago

  • Timeline: Summer

  • Deadline: January


QuarkNet offers summer research opportunities in science and technology for students who have demonstrated a strong interest in and aptitude for science and mathematics. Students work with scientists for seven weeks on projects related to the Fermilab research program.



  • Ages: Freshman - Senior

  • Location: Chicago

  • Timeline: School-year

  • Deadline: April


 A pre-medical program aimed to initiate an educational pathway into medical school by investing in the preparation of high school students aspiring to become physicians. Apprentices take part in medical courses & lab sessions; higher education courses; and inter/intrapersonal activities; and career development sessions.


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 in Chicago 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 where you can help with skills such as social media, coding, content/grant writing, or graphic design. Smaller companies that need more hands on deck will be the most likely to hire high-school-aged students. 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 if you are looking for a remote research position with a professor, you should be aware that these opportunities 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 computational research, which generally requires introductory knowledge of Python or R to parse large datasets. You should be able to learn Python or R on your own for free within a few months using resources such as Coursera’s R Programming Course or Python for Everybody.


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 Students in Chicago
Biotechnology Internships for High School Students in Chicago


Conclusion


Whether you are applying to established programs or launching a cold outreach strategy, the name of the game when looking for biotechnology internships for high school students in Chicago 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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