So I’m a student – now what?

How to get involved as a young person in science


Illustration by Lily Xie – @lolydrows

So, you may have been wondering how high school and college students can get involved in the science going on all around Boston. Prime hunting time for summer gigs – January and February – is up, but there are still tons of opportunities for internships out there. Send your resume and a [generic] cover letter to Massachusetts Life Science Center’s Internship Challenge’s database, and you’ll be put in a pool of applicants for almost 50 local businesses and academic labs. The government reimburses institutions up to $12/hour for high schoolers and $17/hour for college kids. It’s probably more than you make washing dishes at Dunkin’ Donuts.

In the realm of traditional summer programs, Boston University offers the Greater Boston Area Research Opportunities for Young Women (GROW), an intensive, stipended summer program for high school girls, while the Dana Farber/Harvard Cancer Center runs CURE, a three-year long free biomedical research program for students in both high school and college. The Forsyth Institute, which researches dentistry, also offers paid internships to teenagers.

Never stepped foot in a lab? Biogen runs a free four-day long lab training program for high school students. Applications close on March 12th. BioBuilders, in conjunction with Mass Life Science Center, also holds an eight-week long, stipended, lab immersion program during the Spring for high school kids from economically disadvantaged or minority backgrounds. Several school systems have their own version run through the same government organization. For over-18s, the community-based nonprofit BosLab occasionally holds affordable trainings in its space in Somerville. Those who complete the class can become a member and even design, propose, and conduct their own experiments.

There’s also the traditional route. You know the ordeal – cold calling, job fairs, sending your resume to the oblivious purgatory of Applicant Tracking Systems. Consider some non-traditional options. Meetup, the anti-social media social media app, offers loads of opportunities for in-person networking. Eventbrite is a good avenue for more formal events, including hackathons, lectures, and tech fairs. Even if you don’t get a job out of these sites,  at least you’ll make some friends, right? Finding your way into a fulfilling world of science is hard. But there are resources aplenty to help you get there.

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