Feb 6, 2015

2015 Aspiring Scientist Summer Internship Program (ASSIP) seeks eager high school researchers

Once again, George Mason’s Aspiring Scientists Summer Internship Program (ASSIP) is seeking high school students with a passion for science and a desire to gain “hands-on” lab experience during the summer of 2015. 

An online application  to participate in programs located in laboratories at Mason’s Prince William and Fairfax campuses is now available.  There are also select opportunities at Inova Fairfax Hospital and the VT Marion DuPont Scott Equine Medical Center in Leesburg.

And this is a fantastic program, with a great track record for student achievement. In addition to gaining lab experience, ASSIP participants have the opportunity to work alongside scientists trying to solve some of the most vexing problems in genomics, medicine, neuroscience, biodefense, bioinformatics, and bioengineering.

As a bonus, many students have the opportunity to see their names included in articles published in scientific journals or their work presented at prestigious scientific conferences.

Hundreds of prospective scientists have participated in ASSIP since 2007, and the program has become a model for similar campus-based research activities across the country.  As of last spring, 29 students co-authored scientific journal articles, 12 co-authored abstracts presented at local and national conferences, 3 co-authored a submitted book chapter, and one student was co-inventor on a patent application based on work performed during the ASSIP program.

Last summer, nearly 40 high school students from local high schools worked in different areas of GMU, including the National Center for Biodefense and Infectious Disease, the Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study, and the Volgenau School of Engineering. 

And they participated in some exciting projects including an analysis of computer models for predicting recurrence and survival in colon cancer patients, and research on genetic biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease.

ASSIP participants also explored a variety of career opportunities in the STEM fields and forged a strong network of professional contacts. 

I want the students to have an enriching scientific experience,” said Amy VanMeter Adams, a research specialist in the Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine.  When seeking STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) employment, a degree is far more valuable when it is paired with a genuine scientific research experience.”

But the experience goes far beyond resume development.  In a study of ASSIP alums, GMU researchers found that nearly 93% of the respondents said “hands-on lab experience cemented their decision to make a career in a STEM field.”

For most labs, applicants must be 16 years old as of the first day of the programs, which starts on June 25, 2015. There is no stipend offered, and students are responsible for their own housing and transportation. 

ASSIP is a highly competitive program. Science courses completed, cumulative GPA, volunteer/work experience, and personal statements will be considered. Interviews and letters of recommendation will be required for highly qualified candidates.  High school students are competing with undergrads for about 70 slots.

An application form is currently available on the ASSIP website and must be submitted no later than February 15, 2015, by 11:59 pm EST.

For more information as well as a list of mentors and departments participating in the 2015 program, visit the George Mason Website.  For a list of similar programs located in other parts of the country, check the webpage maintained for high school students by the Rochester Institute of Technology.

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