Now that it's getting close to Thanksgiving, we're running a contest to hear advice you've received that you're most thankful for! This can be any type of advice and the advice with the most reactions will win!
It may be hard to get lab experience if you don't have the necessary classes for sufficient background. Many labs prefer to have students who have taken molecular biology or organic chemistry. At least, that is how it is around here in Central Florida Research Park. If you are in college, this fall and spring (if you have the prereqs) sign up for molecular biology or microbiology classes if you have not taken them already. That way next summer you can put on your lab volunteer application that you have some background knowledge.
If you are still in high school, I say relax a bit! There is no need to jump into labwork without starting college. A lot of the information you will be working with may be over your head relative to the classes you are taking in high school. I am just starting labwork this fall and I am a junior in college. Try looking into other things besides working with stem cells. It is best to have background knowledge so you can better understand what the study is about, and it will be more enjoyable. Perhaps you can look into volunteering in a hospital laboratory to start. That way you can become familiar with the equipment and materials used in research and tests. Or you can see if there are any lab programs for high school students. They may require an application and acceptance but it is worth a shot!
Harvard and Stanford (or is standford a school?) are on opposite sides of the country from each other. Would you really be willing to pay thousands of dollars to uproot and scrub test tubes at one of them? My advice is focus locally. You don't have to go to Harvard and Stanford to get research experience, most universities are going to find some. You should also be more specific in your goals than wanting to work with stem cells. There are a number of types and a very wide range of goals associated with their use.
High school students will not be competitive for those sort of internships. To be competitive, you need to have a research background, a strong basic science background etc. Also applying in May is way too late, most are gone at this point, most people applied for competitive internships in August-December of last year. If you want to do this work, go to a competitive college, get great grades take Bio I and II, Anatomy and Physiology, Microbio and cell-molec and then apply. Also it seems that you are only naming "famous schools", these aren't necessarily the best places in stem cell research. You're in high school have fun, don't be a gunner. There are great PIs at no name universities as well as the ones you've mentioned.