Jul 11, 2011

National Competitions Translate into Great Experience and Big Money for STEM Students

This summer, thousands of high school students across the country are getting hands-on research experience in programs sponsored by a variety of government, academic, and nonprofit organizations.

Local students may be found working in George Mason’s Aspiring Scientists Summer Internship Program or in one of the two Science & Engineering Apprenticeship Programs (SEAP’s) sponsored by George Washington University, the Department of the Army and the Department of the Navy. They may also be found at NASA or one of several summer programs offered by the National Institutes of Health.

These internships provide incomparable opportunities to gain knowledge in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. Students meet and interact with scientists, learn lab skills, conduct research, and possibly publish or patent findings.

“I am hopeful this experience will help me focus in on what I want to pursue in college and beyond,” said Alexa Corso, a rising senior from Oakton High School working at the GMU Krasnow Institute. “It’s wonderful to be able to do scientific research during the summer when I don’t have to balance the competing demands of school.”

Some student researchers will be given the opportunity to present their work at poster sessions or similar scientific forums where they will gain self-confidence, hone writing skills, and potentially earn credentials important to colleges and universities as well as future employers.

And many students will also be able to turn their summer experiences into competitive science projects and vie for hundreds of thousands in scholarship dollars offered annually by organizations supporting the goals of STEM education:

  1. Siemens Competition in Math, Science, and Technology. Since 1998, the Siemens Foundation, now in partnership with the College Board, has provided young scientists with opportunities to win scholarships ranging up to $100,000 for original research in team and individual categories. Registration is now open for the 2011 competition and the deadline for entries is October 3, 2011.

  2. Intel Science Talent Search. Intel STS invite the nation’s best and brightest young scientists to present original research to nationally recognized professional scientists. Open only to high school seniors, 40 finalists are selected to come to Washington DC and compete for the top award of $100,000. This year’s competition will open on July 15, 2011.

  3. National Junior Science and Humanities Symposium. Individual students compete for scholarships and recognition by presenting the results of their original research before a panel of judges and an audience of their peers. Regional scholarships as well as seven national top awards of up to $12,000 and an all-expense paid trip to London are among the prizes available.

  4. Davidson Fellows. This scholarship annually awards up to $50,000 to students, 18 and under, who have completed a “significant” piece of work in one of seven categories including Mathematics, Science, Literature, Music, Technology, Philosophy, and Outside the Box. The 2012 application requirements have already been posted and are due by February 1, 2012.

  5. Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. The Intel ISEF is the world’s largest international pre-college science competition, providing an annual forum for over 1,500 high school students from countries all over the world who compete for over $4 million in awards.

  6. International BioGENEius Challenge. This competition is designed to recognize outstanding research in biotechnology. Finalists showcase their talent and research before a prestigious panel of expert biotech judges and have the opportunity to win up to $7,500 in cash awards.

  7. Google Science Fair. Conducted entirely online, this competition invites young scientists from all over the world to compete for up to $50,000 in scholarships as well as a trip to the Galapagos Islands sponsored by National Geographic. A $10,000 “Peoples Choice” scholarship is also awarded to one finalist chosen through an online voting process. Students may compete individually or in teams. This year’s competition will wind to a close in July.

  8. DuPont Challenge. This competition is designed for science students at least 13 years of age who can craft an original 700 to 1000 word science-related essay. Students are judged on their ideas, as well as on writing style, organization, style and creativity, as well as voice. Essays are due in January.

The opportunities are amazing for high school students willing to trade time at the pool for time in a lab!

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