CU Science Discovery will begin accepting applications for the summer 2024 STEM Research Experience in early spring. In this 4-week program, CU Boulder and CU Anschutz faculty and graduate students act as mentors to highly motivated high school students interested in gaining real world laboratory experience. Each mentor works with 2 students based on research interest.

Students are expected to work in their Mentor's lab on assigned research projects approximately 25-30 hours a week (Monday-Friday). Work schedules may vary among different labs. Readings and assignments may be assigned prior to the start of the program.

As part of the STEM Research Experience program, participants will be taking part in a Research Methods class which will prepare them to be productive members of the research community. This course will focus on research topics such as how to find and read scientific articles, how to determine the validity of data and good writing techniques.

Program participants will learn: 

  • What it's like to be a scientific researcher 
  • How to become a research scientist 
  • The process by which research is conducted
  • How to probe data for answers to important questions

Course details:
(Note: Details for the summer 2024 programs will be announced in early winter.)

  • Dates: 
    • July 7 - August 3, 2023 (CU Boulder campus); Poster Session: August 3, 2023 
    • July 10 - August 4, 2023 (CU Anschutz Medical campus); Poster Session: August 4, 2023
  • Cost: $1,995 and includes the following:
    • Daily parking permit or bus pass (CU Anschutz Medical campus only)
    • A materials fee to offset all lab materials used by participants
    • The cost of a research quality poster to present at the culminating poster session
    • Research Methods class
    • Note: This is a commuter program and does not offer residential accommodations. 
  • Course participants will be grouped by research interest and assigned a mentor that will guide them through the learning experience. Outside of class time, students will meet with mentors in the research lab to discuss research topics, learn techniques and perform research.
  • Between live class time, Mentor + Student group meetings and completing independent research, this course will require approximately 25-30 hours each week.
  • The course will conclude with a STEM Research Expo where each student will prepare a poster presentation for family, friends and fellow researchers to enjoy. As an added bonus, participants will be encouraged to publish their work in scientific journals focused on High School researchers.

Examples of past research topics include:

(Note: This list is provided to give applicants an idea of what topics have been offered in past years. Updated research topics will be provided as program mentors are solidified.):

  • Aerospace Engineering Sciences
  • Bioengineering
  • Biology
  • Biophysics and Biochemistry
  • Chemistry
  • Computational Biology
  • Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
  • Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering
  • Engineering 
  • Geological Sciences
  • Hydrology 
  • Immunology 
  • Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Medicine 
  • Microbiology 
  • Neuroscience
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Pulmonary Science and Critical Medicine
  • Renal

Application process: 
(Note: Details for the summer 2024 programs will be announced in early winter.)

Applications will be accepted until the application link is removed, and applicants will be notified of their status by April 14, 2023. If you are not selected in the first round, you may be placed on a waitlist. Waitlisted students will be informed as soon as possible if a spot becomes available.

Admission to the STEM Research Experience is through a competitive application process, and admission decisions are made by CU Science Discovery. Payment will be required upon admittance to the program.

Important note for CU Boulder campus participants: Unlike in previous years, 2023 participants will not be permitted to select specific research projects, mentors, or topics in advance and should be open to doing a project with any of our mentors - regardless of background or area of research. It will be necessary for all applicants to enter this program with an open mind and a willingness to explore any number of STEM research fields. This year's program will start with a Meet the Mentors event on July 7 - an event designed to give participants a chance to meet the mentors and learn about their research before expressing a preference. 

Science Discovery will do its best to match applicants with preferred mentors, but specific projects or mentors cannot be guaranteed. 

To reiterate, this is NOT a residential program.

For additional information, contact Kathryn Penzkover via email.