Summer Science Research Program
Summer Science Research Program (SSRP) Quick Look
- Full-Time (Monday-Friday) mentored biomedical research experience
- June 22nd-August 6th, 2020
- For high school students age 16 and older
- Applications open Monday, September 16th, 2019 and close Monday, December 2nd 2019 at midnight EST.
The Rockefeller University Summer Science Research Program (SSRP) provides high school students with a unique and personalized opportunity to conduct hands-on research under the mentorship of leading scientists at one of the world’s premier biomedical research facilities. During this rigorous 7-week program, SSRP students become immersed in scientific culture while gaining an appreciation for the process of biomedical discovery. SSRP 2020 will begin on June 22nd and end on August 6th.
Through a combination of laboratory experimentation, interactive lectures, and dynamic coursework, students will learn fundamental research techniques, become better acquainted with scientific peer-reviewed literature, and improve critical thinking. Equally as important, students will have a lot of fun—we strive to make the SSRP an inclusive and supportive environment where every student’s voice is heard and respected.
Please refer to our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for more information about SSRP.
- Phase 1: All submitted applications are reviewed by the RockEDU team. Approximately 100 applications are selected to advance to Phase 2. All applicants will be notified of the outcome of Phase 1 in early January.
- Phase 2: Applications are distributed to a screening committee consisting of Rockefeller Heads of Laboratory, postdocs, and graduate students. Each application is reviewed and scored by three independent readers. Approximately 20% of Phase 2 applications are selected to advance to Phase 3. All Phase 2 applicants will be notified of the outcome of Phase 2 by early March.
- Phase 3: The RockEDU team works to match each student with a scientist mentor. A match is determined by a number of criteria, including the personal goals of the student, project type, and mentor availability. Once a potential match has been identified, a mentor may elect to interview the applicant. These interviews may take place either in person on the Rockefeller University campus or through an online video calling service. Applicants are only officially admitted into the SSRP upon successfully matching with a scientist-mentor. Due to the highly personalized nature of the matching process, Phase 3 is often very long and some students may not receive official acceptance to the program until June.
- The completed online application form.
- Essay Questions: Choose one of the following:
- Assume that you have unlimited resources and scientific expertise to create new scientific technology, or markedly improve existing technology. What would it be and how would you apply this technology to benefit humanity?
- At the root of science fiction stories and characters is a scientific idea that has been stretched beyond what is humanly possible. Assume the constraints of reality have been removed, and you can use science to give yourself a superpower. What would this superpower be, and why would you want it?
- A commentary of 750 (or fewer) words on a Newswire article linked from The Rockefeller University’s Home Page. Please address the following questions:
- How would you explain this work to a 5th-grade student? Keep in mind that the language being used should be accessible.
- What interests you about the research discussed in this article?
- What would you do next if you were the researcher?
- What are the broader implications of this research?
- School transcript (unofficial/student copy) to be scanned and uploaded online.
- A current curriculum vitae or resume to be uploaded online.
- Two letters of recommendations, which must be from a math and/or science teacher. A third optional letter of recommendation (from an advisor, mentor, or community leader), which will be completed online by the recommenders.
Students should state a preference for working in particular areas of research (please see section 3 of the application). However, we cannot guarantee that specific preferences will be met. Students are placed through RockEDU Science Outreach, it is not the responsibility of the student to find placement. For a listing of research areas, we encourage you to visit the Research Areas section of the Rockefeller University Website.
Matched students must commit to participating for the entire seven-week program. We cannot accommodate any attendance gaps. Students should expect to spend approximately 35 hours per week conducting research and attending courses and workshops designed to complement their research experience. All SSRP participants are required to present their work in the end-of-program poster symposium. Please note that SSRP participants are prohibited from using any and all aspects of their SSRP project for submission to any and all science fair competitions.
SSRP Coursework and Events
RockEDU offers a number of opportunities for SSRP students to engage in courses, workshops, and discussions to enhance their research experience and create space for meaningful peer-to-peer socialization:
- What is Research? (WiR): In this course, SSRP students will learn about the six styles of scientific reasoning through case studies presented by practicing Rockefeller University scientists. The goal for this course is to demonstrate the nonlinear nature of the research process and reveal the strengths and limitations of modern experimental approaches.
- Science Communication (SciComm): The dissemination of scientific findings is an essential component of the research process. In this course, SSRP students are exposed to both formal and informal ways to communicate science, with a focus on building a scientific poster and honing oral presentation skills.
- “Meet the Author” Journal Club: SSRP students will participate in an academic-style journal club designed to reveal the many rounds of iteration and failure that go into publishing a peer-reviewed scientific publication. Students will be assigned a primary paper to review prior to participating in a small group discussion facilitated by the paper’s author.
- Optional Events: RockEDU also provides many optional events for students, including laboratory-focused math refresher courses, introduction to research equipment, stress management discussions, ice cream socials, college readiness preparation workshops, student interest groups, and more.