Stanford University
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Stanford Earth Young Investigators

Young Investigators FAQ's

Am I qualified?

This internship is for students who have completed at least one year of high school. Most students who are accepted have completed 2 or 3 years of high school. You must live and attend school in the San Francisco Bay Area, No exceptions. This opportunity is for students of all backgrounds. There is no age limit (except for laboratory positions). Interns must be mature and confident to talk to professors. (Please do not ask if you can be an exception! the answer is NO.)

The internship is only for students who live in the San Francisco Bay Area, in 2021. We hope to invite interns to campus as soon as it is safe to do so. We have expanded the region for students this year because the primary experience will be online. 

We encourage all students who are interested in Earth, energy and environmental science to apply. We want to share our understanding of how the Earth works with all students who are curious about the world of science! This is not just for the kids who memorize everything and get straight A’s.

Is there a cost to be an intern? What is the salary?

There are no costs to participate in the programs. This is not a camp! Biodiversity interns are doing real work and contributing to ongoing research. Most interns participate on an unpaid basis and several use this experience for community service requirements for school. We do offer diversity honorarium (money) for eligible students. There are limited social events because this is a working internship.

There is no fee for the education program.  It is FREE, but we expect you to participate in at least 70% of the sessions.

What is the diversity honorarium ($)?

For the diversity honorarium, students must meet at least TWO of these criteria: (a) from a group underrepresented in science (Hispanic, African American, Native American, or Pacific Islander), (b) from a low-income household, and/or (c) plan to be the first in their family to attend college. To be eligible students must also be legally entitled to work in the US. 

For the Biodiversity Option, there will be about 5 honorariums of $1000 each. There is no honorarium for the Education Program.

To apply for the diversity honorarium, applicants must write a second essay (at least 2 paragraphs) addressing these questions:

  • How does being from a "diverse" group (underrepresented group in science or low-income household) affect your view of yourself working in science?
  • What are the challenges you foresee pursuing a career in science? How do you think your "diversity" affects your interest in our perspective of science?

Can I apply if I live outside of the San Francisco Bay Area?

No. No exceptions. This program is for local high school students only. You must live and attend school in the San Francisco Bay Area. This is not a residential program. Our interns live at home. You can find other research opportunities at this site or youth programs at theStanford Pre-Collegiate Programs.

How do I apply?

Here are some tips for you before you start your application. Each year, a new application is released by February 1 and is due on March 15, 2021. We do not accept late applications. View the questions before you begin. You will have to decide which program to apply to - read about the different options. One application for all options.

A letter of recommendation from a high school teacher is required for the Biodiversity option. No recommendation letters are required for the Education Program.

To check that your letter of recommendation was submitted, sign back into the application system and click to the reference page and look for status. You should get an email message when your reference letter is submitted.

Additional information: In the past, we have been asked about SAT scores, transcripts, and resumes. We do NOT need SAT or transcripts. The application lists all the information that we require.

All students must have adult permission to participate. Your parent/guardian will be required to electronically sign a waiver for Stanford University. The waiver information will be emailed to the person that you enter in the application from the ePOM System ( In 2021, we will not be collecting health or medical information because students will not be on campus, yet students are welcome to share private health information if you think it is necessary for us to know. 

Application workshop - Check out the application workshops and program at UC Davis for high school interns.

What are my chances of being accepted?

We receive between 175 and 275 applications every year. We accept between 6 and 30 students every year, depending on what positions are available. Stanford campus is currently closed so we have limited positions for the online Biodiversity option, and up to 150 spaces for the Education Program. 

When do I find out if I got in? When does the program begin?

The typical schedule is:

March 15: Applications Due

March 25 Letter of Recommendation Due

About May 1: Acceptance letters sent out

Third Tuesday in June: First day of Internships

First Thursday in August: Final Presentation

Is there an orientation before the program begins?

There will be an orientation for all new interns and their parents/guardians in the month of May. This evening event will provide parents the opportunity to meet program staff and science supervisors. We will discuss the expectations and projects that students will be working on. Parents will be given the chance to ask questions about the permission forms and waivers that are required for all interns to participate in the program. The invitation will be sent out to all interns who are selected. We anticipate that the orientation will be held during the last two weeks in May. 

How do I get to campus each day?

In 2021, everything will be online. You will need an internet connection and a computer/mobile device. We will be using Zoom for all synchronous programs. 

What are the different options? How do I know what is right for me?

Make sure you read the options page to learn about the programs. Be sure that you apply to the program that you are interested in and can make the commitment to.  More about different options.

What am I committing to?

Program Commitment: By submitting my application, I am making a commitment to fully participate in the Earth Sciences High School Internship - Biodiversity Option.

  • I commit to being available for the 8 week program unless I get permission from my supervisor. I will not schedule other academic or athletic programs during this period.
  • I commit to being safe and abiding by all health and safety rules (I will take the health and safety courses online before the internship begins).
  • I commit to working 20 hours per week for at least 7 weeks (depending on the program). This is a working research internship.
  • I commit to being on time.
  • I commit to participating in regular activities so that I can learn about the broad field of Earth and environmental sciences.
  • I commit to writing blog posts on time and filling out the surveys.
  • I commit to asking questions when I am unsure of directions and when I’m interested in a new subject.
Jenny Saltzman
Jennifer Saltzman
Director of Outreach Education

Parents are encouraged to let students ask their own questions. If students have further questions, high school students should contact Jennifer Saltzman via email. We want mature interns who are ready to work hard (this is not camp).

2019 Webby Award Nominee

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