Dec 10, 2011

Two Deadlines for Two Science & Engineering Apprenticeship Programs

This is really a tale of two “SEAP’s. Once upon a time there was a single Science & Engineering Apprenticeship Program (SEAP) offered to high school students interested in exciting STEM-related research. But somewhere along the line, the single program divided into two—one administered by George Washington University and the Department of Defense and the other run solely by the Department of Navy.

Here is what they have in common: both programs provide high school students with amazing mentorships in participating defense-oriented laboratories. Students apprentice for eight weeks with assigned mentors on mutually agreed upon projects and are awarded impressive educational stipends for their efforts.

Both share basic eligibility requirements for applicants, who must be

  • High school students completing at least 9th grade (graduating seniors are also eligible to apply)
  • 16 years of age for most laboratories (some accept 15-year olds so it’s worth reading the fine print in lab descriptions)
  • US citizens. Participation by Permanent Resident Aliens is extremely limited and students with dual citizenship are only accepted by some labs.

Either program will provide a college-bound high school student with exposure to cutting-edge research as well as the chance to engage in scientific practice not ordinarily available in a high school environment. Projects can provide the basis for science competition entries, and the credential is worth its weight in gold on college applications.

But here is where the programs part ways. The Department of the Navy requires students to submit their online applications and all references no later than January 6, 2012, at 5:30 EST. After the application is received, it is submitted to the Navy laboratory selected on the application. The lab research staff reviews the application and makes a decision based on academic background, research interests, personal interests, personal statement, and recommendations.

The GW/DoD SEAP program will accept applications until February 24, 2012 (students applying after the deadline will be placed on a wait list). Again, it is an online process requiring teacher recommendations in science and mathematics as well as transcripts, a list of science activities in which the student has participated, an essay, and an indication of major academic and career interests.

The pay is also slightly different. First year participants in the GW program receive an educational stipend of $2000, while those in the Navy program receive $3,150 ($3,680 for returning participants).

Labs in the Navy program are found in DC, Maryland, Virginia, Texas, California, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Florida, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Arizona, and Colorado. The GW/DoD program is based in Army labs located in Maryland, Virginia, and Alabama.

Neither SEAP provides transportation or housing for the duration of the apprenticeship. Although in some cases lab coordinators may be able to assist in locating suitable housing, it is ultimately the responsibility of the student. Students either residing in or who have friends/relatives residing in the DC area have a clear location advantage for both programs.

Talented high school students with interest in STEM fields will find participating in SEAP—either military branch—key to refining career goals and building a solid resume for future research opportunities. Both programs are very competitive.

For more information, visit both the Navy and GW/DoD websites.

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