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Exploring Engineering: 10 Research Opportunities for High School Students

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Are you a high school student with a passion for engineering and a desire to explore the dynamic world of STEM? You're in luck! There's a wealth of research programs and opportunities that cater to your interests, offering hands-on learning experiences and the chance to work alongside experienced engineers. We've compiled a list of 10 such programs to help you embark on your exciting journey in the field of engineering.

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#1 MIT’s Research Science Institute (RSI)

  • Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts

  • Cost: Free

  • Description: RSI, hosted at MIT, is an immersive pre-college program that offers high school students the opportunity to engage in cutting-edge engineering research. Participants work with leading scientists and explore various engineering disciplines, gaining hands-on research experience.

#2 MIT’s MITES (Minority Introduction to Engineering and Science)

  • Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts

  • Cost: Free

  • Description: MITES is a program tailored for high school students from underrepresented communities in STEM fields. While it covers various scientific and engineering disciplines, middle school students passionate about engineering can explore their interests and collaborate with peers from diverse backgrounds.

#3 Research Internships in Science and Engineering (RISE) in Germany

  • Location: Germany

  • Cost: Free

  • Description: RISE offers a unique international experience for high school students interested in engineering. It provides exposure to cutting-edge engineering projects in Germany and a global perspective on the field. Participants gain invaluable research skills and cultural insights.

#4 Telluride Association Summer Seminar (TASS)

  • Location: Various

  • Cost: Free

  • Description: While TASS emphasizes intellectual growth and interdisciplinary discussions, it's an excellent research opportunity for students interested in exploring the intersections of engineering with the humanities. The summer program fosters deep thinking and encourages current students to broaden their horizons.

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#5 Simons Summer Research Program

  • Location: Stony Brook, New York

  • Cost: Free

  • Description: The Simons Summer Research Program at Stony Brook University is an exciting opportunity for high school students to participate in research projects across various STEM fields, including engineering. The program combines hands-on undergraduate research experiences with academic mentorship, allowing students to make meaningful contributions to ongoing projects.

#6 Anson L. Clark Scholars Program

  • Location: Texas Tech University

  • Stipend: $750

  • Description: The Clark Scholars Program at Texas Tech University takes a multidimensional approach to engineering. High school participants not only engage in hands-on research but also explore the entrepreneurial and innovative aspects of engineering. This program provides practical experience, problem-solving skills, and a vision for engineering's real-world impact.

#7 Boston Leadership Institute: Engineering Innovation

  • Location: Boston, Massachusetts

  • Cost: $2200

  • Description: The Boston Leadership Institute's Engineering Innovation program offers high school students an opportunity to delve into the world of engineering. Participants explore a wide range of engineering concepts and principles, conducting hands-on experiments and gaining a deeper understanding of this dynamic field.

#8 Summer Science Research Program

  • Location: Rockefeller University

  • Cost: Free

  • Description: SSRP Scholars will participate in a research team designed and guided by Rockefeller trainees. SSRP teams mirror the structure of a Rockefeller laboratory, where one trainee serves as team lead with support from dedicated scientist-mentors. Each team will have its own space in the RockEDU laboratory for the entire summer session.

#9 NASA Ostem Intern

  • Location: Nationwide

  • Cost: Varies

  • Description: NASA Office of STEM Engagement (OSTEM) paid internships allow high school and college-level students to contribute to agency projects under the guidance of a NASA mentor.

#10 Summer Highschool Research Program

  • Location: University of Rochester

  • Cost: Free; Stipend provided

  • Description: The Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE) at the University of Rochester holds an annual summer research program for Rochester-area high school students who have just completed their junior year. The eight-week program provides an exceptional opportunity for highly motivated students to experience scientific research in a realistic environment. Prospective students who are accepted into the program are assigned to a research project and supervised by a staff scientist or engineer at the Laboratory. These projects form an integral part of the research program of the Laboratory and are related to the Laboratory’s 60-beam OMEGA laser, one of the world’s most powerful fusion lasers, and the OMEGA EP laser, completed in 2008.

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Making the Most of Your Engineering Research

Once you’ve participated in any of these valuable programs, you’ll want to think about what you gained from the experience and the skills you developed. Learn more about the importance of showcasing your research experience on college applications.

Middle and high school students can also create their engineering research project opportunities. Polygence has many engineering research mentors who are available to provide students with guidance and support along the way. Exploring these opportunities can be a significant step toward pursuing a rewarding career in engineering.

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