High School Freshman Seeking Research Opportunity

Dec 22, 2013
23
1
I know that there's one other thread really similar to this, but they went off into some tangent concerning HOSA. Anyway, I was wondering how I should email professors that I'd like to learn how to do research and maybe work in his or her lab (the title is misleading...I'm not looking for an internship where I actually do something other than bench work).

BTW... I'm passed the stage where I have people telling me that you're not gonna get anything because you're only a freshman ( because I know of some that have successfully gotten research positions).

It'd be even more helpful if any of you know any researchers in the Chicagoland area that you've done research with and you know is helpful.

THANKS
 
Jan 13, 2013
263
5
Durham, NC
Status
Pre-Medical
I know that there's one other thread really similar to this, but they went off into some tangent concerning HOSA. Anyway, I was wondering how I should email professors that I'd like to learn how to do research and maybe work in his or her lab (the title is misleading...I'm not looking for an internship where I actually do something other than bench work).

BTW... I'm passed the stage where I have people telling me that you're not gonna get anything because you're only a freshman ( because I know of some that have successfully gotten research positions).

It'd be even more helpful if any of you know any researchers in the Chicagoland area that you've done research with and you know is helpful.

THANKS
If I understand correctly, you just want to do light work? (Papers, phones, etc.)

Either way, research is one of the toughest things to get in high school. Even shadowing is easy hailing in comparison to research

That being said, if you want even the slightest chance of a researcher letting you into his/her lab at your age, you need to build up a strong relationship with him/her. Just emailing them out of the blue won't get you anything but a rejection/ignore.

There will be little work you can do as a high schooler, let alone a freshman anyway. So whatever you get, you should take it and like it.

If Chicagoland is or near Chicago, I do know that there is a research program called "NIH Summer Internship Program". not sure if there is one in Chicago, but they are usually in the big cities of United States + some small ones. A good google search for "research for high school students" could give some nice results as well.

Best of luck!

Sent from my SPH-L710 using Tapatalk
 

Jpatel2018

5+ Year Member
Mar 2, 2012
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If I understand correctly, you just want to do light work? (Papers, phones, etc.)

Either way, research is one of the toughest things to get in high school. Even shadowing is easy hailing in comparison to research

That being said, if you want even the slightest chance of a researcher letting you into his/her lab at your age, you need to build up a strong relationship with him/her. Just emailing them out of the blue won't get you anything but a rejection/ignore.

There will be little work you can do as a high schooler, let alone a freshman anyway. So whatever you get, you should take it and like it.

If Chicagoland is or near Chicago, I do know that there is a research program called "NIH Summer Internship Program". not sure if there is one in Chicago, but they are usually in the big cities of United States + some small ones. A good google search for "research for high school students" could give some nice results as well.

Best of luck!

Sent from my SPH-L710 using Tapatalk
Bolded is false, I emailed a random prof from a nearby University and she replied. She offered to let me go talk to her, and near the end of our convo, she offered me a spot on her team over summer. It was a lot of dry lab work (data mining, organizing data, using algorithms to get data ect.) but most importantly built a relationship with the people in her department. Before I left, she asked me if I wanted a letter of rec for the honors college there. So technically emailing does work and OP should definitely try. Just be you and make sure you are kind in the emails. Good luck.
 
May 10, 2013
302
56
Status
Pre-Medical
Well, you are very young, but I think it may be helpful to talk to the people you know who acquired positions as HS freshmen. They may be able to give you some more specific advice.

Other than that, everyone I know has found research positions through 1. sending emails to PI's, 2. asking professors they've had class with (not really an option for you), 3. some type of formal research program.

I would look to see if there are any summer research programs that accept high school students. I highly doubt you'd be able to find a lab to work in during the school year because you'll be in school all day. You can also just email PI's and offer to work (volunteer, really) in their lab over the summer. Note that it's probably a bit too early to start asking about summer positions.

If you manage to receive an offer-- take it. If you receive more than one offer, then you can start to be a bit more picky.
 
OP
N
Dec 22, 2013
23
1
Thanks for all the replies. I wouldn't mind light work because maybe in later years if I continue with the lab, then I would be able to do more important things.

There are many research internships for high schoolers, but not for high school freshman. Would it be too early to start emailing PI's at NIH to ask if they could save me a spot for summer of 2015 (when I'll be a sophomore, and be allowed to participate in SIP)?

Jpatel2018, how did you phrase your email? Did you include anything about the professor's work and why you're interested in it, or did you just blanket mail everyone?
 
May 10, 2013
302
56
Status
Pre-Medical
There are many research internships for high schoolers, but not for high school freshman. Would it be too early to start emailing PI's at NIH to ask if they could save me a spot for summer of 2015 (when I'll be a sophomore, and be allowed to participate in SIP)?
Yes, definitely too early for summer 2015. Also, I don't think you can 'reserve' a spot. You need to apply and be admitted to the program. The summer 2015 application won't be open for a while. What you could do now is build good relationships with teachers who may be willing to write you a letter of recommendation, as often these programs require one or more letters.
 

Jpatel2018

5+ Year Member
Mar 2, 2012
1,085
41
Status
Pre-Medical
Thanks for all the replies. I wouldn't mind light work because maybe in later years if I continue with the lab, then I would be able to do more important things.

There are many research internships for high schoolers, but not for high school freshman. Would it be too early to start emailing PI's at NIH to ask if they could save me a spot for summer of 2015 (when I'll be a sophomore, and be allowed to participate in SIP)?

Jpatel2018, how did you phrase your email? Did you include anything about the professor's work and why you're interested in it, or did you just blanket mail everyone?
I'll PM you the actual email so you can get a first hand look at how it should look :)
 

Jpatel2018

5+ Year Member
Mar 2, 2012
1,085
41
Status
Pre-Medical
Jan 13, 2013
263
5
Durham, NC
Status
Pre-Medical
Bolded is false, I emailed a random prof from a nearby University and she replied. She offered to let me go talk to her, and near the end of our convo, she offered me a spot on her team over summer. It was a lot of dry lab work (data mining, organizing data, using algorithms to get data ect.) but most importantly built a relationship with the people in her department. Before I left, she asked me if I wanted a letter of rec for the honors college there. So technically emailing does work and OP should definitely try. Just be you and make sure you are kind in the emails. Good luck.
Well yes it works. I wouldn't discourage it (which may have been what it seemed to be I was implying), but from my personal experience, It had been next to impossible. I live in the most research abundant areas in the world. Tried emailing multiple labs/companies and got squat. I was lucky enough to get a rejection letter from a few

But anyway +pity+

I guess it varies depending on who you are emailing.

Thanks for all the replies. I wouldn't mind light work because maybe in later years if I continue with the lab, then I would be able to do more important things.

There are many research internships for high schoolers, but not for high school freshman. Would it be too early to start emailing PI's at NIH to ask if they could save me a spot for summer of 2015 (when I'll be a sophomore, and be allowed to participate in SIP)?

Jpatel2018, how did you phrase your email? Did you include anything about the professor's work and why you're interested in it, or did you just blanket mail everyone?
It's good that you're willing to take the light work now. BIG Payoffs in the end from that.

As for the NIH, I haven't applied since my Junior year (which seems so long ago even though it's not). But when I did, there was an application process. You had to fill out an application + get 2 recommendation letters. I got waitlisted and then rejected. I don't think you can apply yet for the summer. Check their site for the date. It'll be there somewhere.
 
OP
N
Dec 22, 2013
23
1
Oh sorry Solomon....if you don't mind why don't you think you were accepted? Did you apply too late or do you absolutely NEED contacts that are at NIH in order to have a chance in high school? By the end of senior year, my goal is to be on at least 1 publication, and I believe that NIH SIP is good with accommodating that.
 

Jpatel2018

5+ Year Member
Mar 2, 2012
1,085
41
Status
Pre-Medical
Oh sorry Solomon....if you don't mind why don't you think you were accepted? Did you apply too late or do you absolutely NEED contacts that are at NIH in order to have a chance in high school? By the end of senior year, my goal is to be on at least 1 publication, and I believe that NIH SIP is good with accommodating that.
Not putting you down of anything but rarely do college freshmen, sophomore and juniors get to be published. Don't take this wrong or anything but if a hs senior does get published, that'd be pretty dope
 
Jan 13, 2013
263
5
Durham, NC
Status
Pre-Medical
Oh sorry Solomon....if you don't mind why don't you think you were accepted? Did you apply too late or do you absolutely NEED contacts that are at NIH in order to have a chance in high school? By the end of senior year, my goal is to be on at least 1 publication, and I believe that NIH SIP is good with accommodating that.
I had assumed it was because that my CV (Curriculum Vitae) was weak seeing that I didn't have much research experience. I don't think this is a case of "who you know". I think you just have to be lucky and have a good CV and Grades. From what I've seen, Here's how it works:
  • You fill out an app
  • 2 References fill out an app about you
  • You Wait
  • Researchers will contact you about possibly working with you
I got 2 emails, but ultimately, I wasn't selected. And I was lucky. Usually, if you're rejected, you just don't get an email.

But to be honest, I'd slow down on some things. It's cool that you're ready to begin your medical journey, but publication and research is a tough business. And being credited is even tougher. High school status doubles that toughness. Eagerness is a good thing, but just don't jump the gun.

Still don't let that stop you from trying. The skies the limit for all of us.

Most of the people that I know ended up getting published...a couple got second authored in their first year of research!
These people are high school freshman?
 
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Arayh

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Jul 18, 2013
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Resident [Any Field]
If you really want to participate in research opportunities in high school, I recommend joining the Intel Science competition, I know my high school had a specific class dedicated to Intel, and taught you how to read and analyze journals, and also helped network you with researchers in the area/city. Furthermore, Intel has prestigious scholarships and getting to be a finalist or even semi-finalist, can have beneficial effects on your college applications.
 
OP
N
Dec 22, 2013
23
1
No..the people I know that got published were mostly juniors at the time, but they'd been working in the same lab for years.

I heard about the Intel thing and also Siemens, but I'm pretty sure that both are for seniors, right? Which one is generally though of as more prestigious?
 

Arayh

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Jul 18, 2013
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I believe Intel is more prestigious, but I may be wrong.