Stop Saying Four-Year Degree

Stop saying “Four Year Degrees,” okay?

A lot of focus has been put on the Class of 2020. For college students it meant delayed commencements, unemployment, cancelled trips, and a host of other cancellations. Now in 2022 I realize that there are other unsung heroes we’re not focused on, the game changers if you will. That is, the entering frosh and transfers from 2019 and 2020.  Hear me out, these students are the true revolutionaries!

2019 students, you started off on campus in the fall coasting along and then bam!! spring comes along and… Zoom anyone? For those of you who were frosh or transfers in 2020  “Going off to college” meant shopping for a decent pair of noise cancelling headphones. You never realized just how annoying family can be until this semester.  Maybe you went to college to make your parents proud, to be the role model for your younger siblings.  You envision that day when you walk across the stage and there they are there in the audience standing up applauding in your honor.  It’s a day you have replayed over and over in your mind but in fall 2020 your family annoyed the hell out of you.  You’re not tech support so why is your dad asking you to “just take a quick break” to help him with something.  You’re trying to study chemistry and your younger sister is whining about how you didn’t do the dishes last time.  Or maybe you’re a transfer student and your roommate is bellyaching about how the guy they met on Tinder looked nothing like his profile pic. Or maybe you’re a student parent. Not only do you have to worry about reliable internet for yourself but for your kid, too!  You had to go an entire year online!!!!  The whole year!!!  It was awful.

Suddenly fall 2021 rolls around and you’re on campus but guess what, you can’t find anything.  2020 folks you have no clue where anything is because that virtual tour was useless and 2019 folks you don’t remember where anything is? Oh and wait they changed the name of the buildings when the campus was closed. I get it those namesakes had a checkered past but can we please at least update the maps or put a name on the building????  True story, this happened to me.

Why are you the unsung heroes? Because let’s be honest for the first time it’s normalized that students might not finish college in four years and that is totally okay.  For years community college transfer students silently cringed when they heard “a four year degree.”  I mean if you started off not knowing what you wanted to major in it probably take you longer than four years. Maybe you had an undiagnosed neuro condition (not at all uncommon) and struggled a lot then guess what?  Now you’re doing amazing, sweetie! Or maybe you had undiagnosed depression (yep, that’s me) You do realize that the 2019 and 2020 folks spent their entire first and second years on campus.  You worked your butt off to get here and now you’re already a sophomore or a junior? You spent all of fall trying to adjust and getting lost in the mix.   So think about it, would it be horrible to stay an extra semester?  Would a December graduation be that bad?  Actually, you could participate in commencement in May and then officially graduate in December.  People do it all of the time and probably get double the gifts, just saying.  Like I said you entering 2019 and 2020 folks you are the revolutionaries! You are normalizing that it does not always take four years to complete your degree.  Fun fact: yours truly took seven years!! Yep, it took me seven years and that is okay. You had a worldwide pandemic, I had a kid so yeah.

Let’s normalize and stop saying “four year degree.”  Some people do take four years and some don’t.  Life happens, plans change, our interests change, our relationships change, and best of all we change.  Isn’t that what college is all about?  Discovering who we are and what impact we want to have on the world?  So while you entering 2019 and 2020 folks focus on the impacts that you would like to make on the world, ’ll tell you the impact that you’ve already made, you have normalized that not finishing college in four years is completely okay and that’s awesome

Tiffany Reardon is the founder and creator of REU Finder.  For over twenty years she has been working with STEM undergraduate students. Her book “Rose Colored Lenses” is available on



Scholarships with Upcoming Deadlines

You’ve just graduated in fall, now what? Opportunities for Recent Graduates

Hallmark really needs to step up their game.  Have you ever tried finding a graduation card in December?  In June you’ve got aisles of “Dads and Grads” merch but in December? Good luck with that.  While the holidays take center stage in winter it’s important to remember that you’re a college graduate!! You did it. Although the world is focused on the holidays, because let’s be honest folks are looking forward to getting a break, do not forget to celebrate because you’ve made it to the finish line!! 

Walk this Way

I know a lot of students that participate in a spring commencement whether it’s before they actually finish (walking in May) or after (walking in June). This is a fantastic feeling because you see everyone else around you but in December it’s a little bit different. It feels rushed. You don’t have the same pomp and circumstance.  You likely have one graduation ceremony and then you’re officially finished. Spring graduates may attend many (department commencement,  major commencement, identity based commencement, college wide commencement, etc) but in fall probably just one.  On top of that it’s not uncommon for fall graduates to worry about what’s next if they don’t have something immediately lined up. Maybe you decided to take an extra semester because you wanted to add a minor or maybe you decided to study abroad for a semester? And while that trip to Japan may have been so worth postponing your graduation a semester you now find yourself wondering did I do the right thing?  Maybe you wanted to save money and you had so many AP’s that you said to yourself, why not? I’ll be a spring grad. But then now you’re thinking what’s next? For some reason people think just because you’ve graduated that you wake up the next morning knowing exactly what’s next on the horizon. Many students do not and that is 100% okay particularly as we’re still in a pandemic.  

As a fall grad you might be taking a gap year or at least a gap semester but where does that leave you? If you’ve applied to graduate school then you’ve got until next fall so what do you do now?  So my fall grads here are some opportunities for you to explore. I have curated a list of opportunities just for you: 

  1. Continue working on campus for a semester.  A lot of students may not know this but there is usually a grace period after you graduate to continue working on campus as a student assistant.  Why not work as a tutor? Or an orientation leader or a peer adviser? Share your wisdom with the next generation and get paid while you’re at it.  You’ll be helping students and building up references which will be valuable once you decide what it is you actually want to do.
  2. Work at a DOE National lab. Did you know that in the eyes of the National Lab you can still be considered a student assistant for up to two years after graduating. I once knew a student who decided to work for a national lab after graduating and based on this experience completely changed their career trajectory.  Case in point:  Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education “The Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) provides recent graduates with challenging research opportunities to help prepare motivated students for a career in STEM while providing them with laboratory knowledge to use in pursuit of an advanced degree. Recent bachelor’s and master’s degree graduates are in a position to gain invaluable research experience in one of more than a dozen STEM-related disciplines. Apply
  3. Work for NASA! I’ve never met a STEM student who didn’t want to work at NASA.
    Did you know that NASA hires plenty of recent grads?? Apply 
  4. Do a Post Baccalaureate Program. For instance the NIH Postbac program is an excellent one.  The NIH Postbac IRTA program (CRTA, Cancer Research Training Award, in the National Cancer Institute) provides recent college graduates who are planning to apply to graduate or professional (medical/dental/pharmacy/nursing/veterinary, etc.) school an opportunity to spend one or two years performing full-time research at the NIH. Postbac IRTAs/CRTAs work side-by-side with some of the leading scientists in the world, in an environment devoted exclusively to biomedical research. The NIH consists of the 240-bed Mark O. Hatfield Clinical Research Center and more than 1100 laboratories/research projects, located on the main campus in Bethesda, MD and in the surrounding area as well as in Baltimore and Frederick, MD; Research Triangle Park, NC; Hamilton, MT; Framingham, MA; Phoenix, AZ; and Detroit, MI.
    Deadline to Apply: January 12, 2022
  5. Thinking of Med School but you’ve already graduated?  No problem.  The Association of American Medical Colleges has a huge listing of Post Bac programs for students thinking of medical school.
  6. Want to get a PhD in Biomedical Science?  The University of Chicago’s PREP program which is designed to provide mentoring, research skills, coursework and a positive learning environment to recent post-baccalaureate students, who intend to pursue a PhD degree in biomedical science.  This program is a unique opportunity in particular for students belonging to groups underrepresented in the biomedical or behavioral sciences as defined by NIH to strengthen their applications to PhD Programs nation-wide by conducting research as laboratory technicians for one year at the University of Chicago and by participating in diverse academic activities that will prepare them to be successful graduate students.
    Deadline to Apply: March 31. 2022

  7. Work for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) EPA internships, fellowships, and recent graduate positions provide a great introduction to their work, and may lead to permanent employment. The EPA has opportunities available at their Washington D.C. headquarters, in one of their ten regional offices, and at our labs and research centers throughout the nation.
  8. Work at the Buck Institute
    The Buck Postbaccalaureate Research Program offers undergraduate students the opportunity to investigate insights into the critical molecular and biological drivers of aging as well as translation of that research into new therapies which will improve healthspan. Postbaccalaureate Researchers will conduct biomedical research to combat diseases of aging, such as Alzheimer?s, Parkinson?s, cancer, macular degeneration, heart disease, and diabetes. Under the guidance of a scientific mentor, each Postbaccalaureate Researchers will be responsible for his or her own research project. The Program emphasizes both laboratory and communication skills training to develop well-rounded future scientists, healthcare professionals, and policy makers.

    Who’s eligible: Recent graduates two years or less
    Minimum GPA 2.0
    All majors accepted but preference is given to those with prior biological or computational research experience.
  9. Work for Americorps Through three program thrusts Americorps (AmeriCorps NCCC, AmeriCorps State & National, AmeriCorps VISTA) offers participants the opportunity to use their skills to better the lives of others. Want to work on a team and travel across the US? Are you taking a gap year and you’ve always want to work with Habitat for Humanity? Do you need help with paying off federal loans? If you answered yes to any of these then Americorps might be a good fit for you. 
  10. Apply to an REU? Wait, doesn’t the U stand for Undergraduate?  Technically yes, however, there are a number of programs that are willing accept recent grads. So with that in mind go ahead and apply to one!While Hallmark may not be making as a big deal as they might if this were June we at REUFinder are ecstatic and are so happy for you.  Congratulations Grad!!!!

    Like REUFinder? Support us by clicking on any of our sponsorsThe Perfect Gift for a New Grad? Read the book written by the founder and creator of  Order your copy today! 


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A Familia Affair: Why HSI’s Rock!

Did you know that the second week of September is National Hispanic Serving Institution Week?  Hispanic Serving Institutions are institutions that have a full-time equivalent of at least 25% of enrolled Hispanic students.  The Hispanic Association of Colleges & Universities is an organization that began in 1986 with 18 founding member institutions. According to HACU there are 569 colleges and universities that are members of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities.  HACU’s history is important because it predates the US Congress decision to formally recognize schools as HSI’s.  HACU is also important because it has paved the way for advocacy efforts that resulted in schools receiving designated funding for having an HSI Status.

Logo for Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities

If you are already attending an HSI then you know how awesome they are. If you are a high school student applying to colleges or a community college student thinking about which schools to transfer to then you might consider an HSI. Why? Because there are several benefits of attending these institutions.

Benefits of attending an HSI

  • Scholarships specifically for HSI students. For instance, companies such as Deloitte, Coca Cola, and Sherwin Williams all have scholarships specifically for undergraduates attending HSI’s
  • Internship programs specifically for students of HSI’s.
    For example, the HACU National Internship is available to all students who are attending HACU member institutions.  Internships are a combination of corporate and government organizations that are interested in hosting interns
  • Leadership development programs for HSI students. Events such as the Annual HACU iAdelante! Leadership Institute provide leadership and development for students as they embark on career exploration and job services.
  • Alumni Networks. In addition to opportunities for students the HACU affiliation has benefits beyond the time as undergrads.  The HACU Alumni Association offers graduates a number of ways to expand their professional networks via leadership opportunities, job networks and an opportunity to connect with other HACU Alums.   
  • Culturally relevant curriculum which, in tern, deepens the level of engagement of students.
  • Specific efforts to recruit Latino Faculty and Staff. HSI’s are known for aiming to reflect the populations of the students they serve which means more diverse faculty and staff. Research has continued to prove that more diverse faculty have benefits for all students.
  • Greater emphasis on programs that support student success for Latino students.  For example, the University of Texas at El Paso’s (UTEP) School of Engineering is the top producer of Hispanic Engineers with graduate degrees.

    If you attend an HSI tell us about your experience! We’d love to feature you in a future article!

From the founder and creator or REUFinder

Overcome Imposter Syndrome and Excel in your virtual REU

I’ve seen a lot of students ask about how they should prepare for a virtual REU. I’ve also seen a lot of students say that they are scared and feel intimidated about their REU’s. As someone who has run REU programs, I know that once in a while we’ll get that student who thinks this is a paid vacation. Not often but it does happen which is why you’ll often find that the language associated with the structure and the guidelines sometimes seems a bit stern. This is by design because there’s sometimes that person who doesn’t go to anything. Don’t be that person. After reading the structure and format and the policies you might read and think, “Wow, this sounds really intense.” Am I ready for this? Yes, you are. Here some tips to overcome imposter syndrome and excel in your virtual REU.

  1. Do not be Intimidated. Did you know that approximately 70% of people suffer from imposter syndrome? When I first learned this I thought there’s no way but yes, it is true. Some people are just really good actors. Okay now that you know this it might help somewhat but when good old imposter syndrome starts creeping in here are some good mantras to tell yourself:

    “Feel scared but do it anyway.” Fun fact: I use this one ALL OF THE TIME!
    “They chose me for this summer program for a reason because I’m amazing.” YOU ARE!
    “It’s research, we don’t have all of the answers and I’m not expected to know everything.” Exactly! It’s Research Experience for Undergraduates not Research Experience for Turing Awardees.
  2. Find a Designated Workspace. First and foremost be sure to have a designated spot where you will work. It could be more than one. For instance, in the beginning, you’ll spend a lot of time going over journals to review or other readings that will give you some background on the project. A lot of students say to me, “I haven’t started yet, I’m just doing the readings.” Guess what? If that’s what you’re doing then you’ve already started! You don’t run the Boston Marathon without a warmup. Go to your favorite cafe or boba shop and read articles. Make sure you have a designated space at home where you will do your research. Let others know you’re busy. Even if it just looks like you’re just staring at the screen you are unavailable and are working.
  3. Your equipment is off-limits. I know this might be hard to explain to friends or family members who may want to “just quickly use your laptop” to print something out but nope it’s off-limits. You’ve got data, sensitive information and chances are you’ve got your settings in place for your use. So as harsh as it may sound, “Say no!!” Your laptop is off-limits, those cool Arduinos you’re working with are also off-limits. People will say that you are greedy. Guess what? Greed is good. You’ll thank me when you don’t have any mishaps as a result of being too generous. True story, I let a family member use my laptop really quickly and the next thing I knew I went into a meeting and I had a Pikachu from Pokemon background. I got weird looks from my colleagues especially when I was presenting on a serious issue.
  4. Lights, Camera, Action. Make sure your camera is always on in meetings. Important when you’re camera is off it will give the impression that you’re not engaged. Camera broken? Let them know that you need a laptop to use during the program. You need to be seen, out of sight is out of mind.
  5. Software Central. Be sure you have reliable wifi and have access to all of the software that you will need. If there’s a campus network that has articles or software that you’ll need access to it would be best to ask about this beforehand. Ask if you can get access to the university portal if you need to look up any journal articles. They can likely give you temporary access for the duration of your internship.
  6. One on Ones. Schedule regular meetings with your PI and your graduate mentor to talk to them about your interest in graduate school, that is if you are interested in graduate school. If you’re not sure then a good thing to talk to them about would be trends in related fields. A good conversation piece might be what you’re taking in the fall semester. Remember faculty and grad students enjoy talking about their research. PI stands for Principal Investigator. If there is any acronym that you don’t know ask what it is immediately. Simply say, “I’m not familiar with that acronym what does it stand for?”
  7. Graduate Programs. Many REU programs will have presentations on graduate programs at their university. If you are interested then take notes. Ask the person presenting if they have any in-person visit opportunities in the future. I’m sure that they will. Get the presenter’s name and contact information, and ask them to add you to their listservs. A lot of graduate recruiters promote opportunities and send out to a list of students that they’ve interacted with. You want to get on those lists, you want them to recognize your name and know about opportunities whether it be visit days, grad labs, or other events of interest. These people will likely have information on fellowships or other intel that will be helpful in your graduate school process.
  8. The Final Presentation. Talk to your PI and graduate mentor about the format of the final presentation. Since it’s virtual there are a number of ways it might be presented. To make it easier find out the format for the final presentation that way you can be prepared. It’s always great to do a “dress rehearsal” for your lab. Even if your lab is virtual.
  9. Stay in Contact. If you have LinkedIn connect with your PI, your graduate mentor, AND the other REU interns. You’re all in this together so connect with each other and remain in contact even after the REU. You never know these could be future classmates in grad school or future colleagues. I’ve seen it happen many times. On the subject of LinkedIn Connect with me!! Tiffany Reardon
  10. Spell my name right! If someone mispronounces your name. Correct them immediately, in a nice way of course. I once had a student who I called “Katrina” for years. Her name was actually Karina but she never said anything. We even put Katrina on all the materials!
  11. Last but not least, enjoy this experience!!!!

Upcoming Diversity STEM Conferences

This list will be updated as events and locations are announced and updated.


CMD-IT/ACM Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing Conference
September 14th to September 18th
The goal of the Tapia Conferences is for undergraduates and graduate students, faculty, researchers, and professionals in computing from all backgrounds and ethnicities to celebrate diversity in computing.
Virtual for 2021

American Indian Science and Engineering Society
AISES National Conference (Phoenix, AZ)
September 23-25, 2021
The annual AISES National Conference is a one-of-a-kind, three-day event focusing on educational, professional and workforce development! Attendees include Indigenous high school and college students, educators, professionals, tribal nations and tribal enterprises, universities, corporations, and government agencies
Travel Scholarships Available deadline July 31st 2021

Grace Hopper
Celebration of Women in Computing (virtual)
GHC Virtual Conference
Travel Scholarships
In addition to the Anita Borg Foundation, a number of companies offer travel scholarships to attend Grace Hopper including Facebook, Microsoft, Google, et al.)
September 27-October 1, 2021


Sacnas’ National Diversity in STEM Conference (Virtual)
October 25- 29, 2021
Apply for a Registration Scholarship Deadline July 9th
Submit a Research Presentation Deadline July 9th

Great Minds in STEM
33rd Annual GMIS Conference
October 11-22, 2021


AfroTech World
November 8-13, 2021

Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE)
SHPE National Conference (Orlando FL)
November 10-14, 2021

Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (Virtual)
November 10-13, 2021

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How to attend a Virtual Diversity STEM Conference

Dedicated to two of my amazing students (N.D & J.J) who are destined for greatness!!

It’s officially been a year since the worldwide pandemic affected us all. In the blink of an eye everything changed. As the vaccines begin rolling out, slowly but surely we see things beginning to return back to pre-pandemic mode but large gatherings such as in person annual conferences are still on hiatus.

In my own work with students I think about upcoming the annual diversity-focused STEM conferences and the important role they play in shaping a student’s college experience. I remember it like it was yesterday I was on a bus coming back from a field trip talking to one of my first year students telling him about this amazing Black Engineering Conference that he just HAD to attend. My student was excited and the look on his face said it all, a look that said, “Wait, you mean there’s an actual conference for Black Engineers?” As one of only a few black engineering students he did a double take, yes I’ll go but on one condition, can I bring two of my friends who are also first years he asked. I wouldn’t have it any other way I told him. We got them signed up to attend the National Society of Black Engineers conference which was supposed to be in San Antonio, Texas. I heard briefly about “some flu” that was going on but paid little mind, then suddenly we got an email confirmation that NSBE would be cancelled and it seemed in the blink of an eye the world shut down.

For minority students in STEM any opportunity to be amongst other underrepresented groups in STEM seems like an impossible but magical experience. I’m here to tell you, it’s not impossible but it is indeed magical. I’ve seen the magic in my own students who come back from attending conferences such as American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES), National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), SACNAS, Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), Society of Women Engineers (SWE), Tapia Diversity in Computing Computing, Grace Hopper, Out in Stem, Great Minds in STEM, or the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS). For the time being many of these conferences are virtual. Whether this is your first ever conference or your first virtual conference I’d like to offer you some tips on how to maximize your first virtual STEM diversity conference. Truth be told I cannot wait until these conferences are in person but for the time being here are my tips to maximize these opportunities

  • Your virtual set up. Since these are virtual conferences you will probably be joining from the comfort in front of your laptop. In order to fully engage in this experience be sure that you are set up so that you can fully immerse yourself in the experience. Let family members or roommates know that you are not available. Physically you might be sitting right there but you are officially “out of office.” Let them know that you’re attending a virtual conference and just simply aren’t available. In order to truly experience the virtual conference you need to make sure that you’re engaged in what’s in front of you on the screen and not what’s going on in the background. If possible wear headphones and I would suggest going to a space where you typically do not study or attend virtual classes. This will help with making this a “new experience.” Sounds weird, but I promise you the unfamiliarity factor will help with creating a simulated conference experience.

  • Dress to impress from the waist up. If you were to attend a professional conference like NSBE for SHPE there is a strong likelihood that you might be that you are expected to wear professional attire. With a few exceptions this is generally the case and since it’s a simulated experience I would say go for it! Collared shirt or a nice blouse, why not? A blazer over a t-shirt works wonders. Why not even throw in a tie? Or even a bow tie? Do it! You’ll look great. Chances are the salons are now open so if you are looking for an excuse to treat yourself here it is. Whether you decide to go full glam or a little bit of mascara you’ll be surprised at the boost of confidence you’ll have. Even these minimal wardrobe and style changes can make a big difference. Also, be sure to also have either a professional background or use the blur background if your “conference” room is messy. Some students will also use their “official” college Zoom backgrounds. This is not only a great conversation piece it’s also a good go-to. Check the pre-conference guidelines to see if they have restrictions on backgrounds. They likely don’t but you never know?

  • Think about why you’re attending the conference in the first place. Is it to find an internship? Attend workshops? Learn about graduate schools? Find a full-time job? Get a professional mentor? You’ll need to do some pre-work to see which companies and schools will be there. Start searching now to see who will be there and when. Create a conference schedule using your own calendar and write down what sessions you’ll want to attend and when. Never ask a company, “So what do you do exactly?” Do the pre-work by investigating them online. Look at the company directory listed on the conference website then go to that company’s website and look at the types of positions that they hire for.

  • Get enough sleep. Being in front of a screen is exhausting. Make sure you’re well rested and well hydrated each day of the conference. Sometimes the conference schedule might be on a different time zone so be sure you have the right times. The last thing you want to do is miss the conference because you didn’t realize the time zone difference.

  • Update your resume and LinkedIn profiles. Chances are you’ll interact with speakers, other students, and recruiters who you’ll want to connect with after the conference. Be sure that you have a LinkedIn profile and that it’s updated. For instance, if you are a transfer student and you transferred from a community college to a university over a year ago why does your LinkedIn still say your former school? (Yes, I’m talking to you. Some of my own students still do this!) Do you have an updated resume? Make sure you have one in PDF format. PDF is always better since Word is weird at times. Many conferences will invite you to submit a resume before the conference begins. If you haven’t submitted yours do so ASAP. Be sure to check your emails often since sometimes you’ might be invited before the conference to schedule an interview slot.

    Quick reminder: phone number and email on your resume!! I’ve seen a lot students forget to put their phone number. Also, QR Codes?? Not now, you’re online there’s no point right now.

  • The magical part. Now as I mentioned part of the allure of these conferences is having an opportunity to be in a setting where “you’re not the only one.” There is truly strength in numbers but the trouble is as an underrepresented student in STEM you rarely get to see a visual representation of that diversity in STEM. You’ll be surprised at just how friendly people are at these conferences I’ve mentioned. Whether you’re a freshmen or a graduate student if you’ve ever been to an in person conference of any of the organizations that I’ve mentioned (SHPE, NSBE, SACNAS, Tapia, etc) you’ll recall that folks will be willing to chat with you in the elevator or maybe even willing to share an Uber ride. That’s why they call it an elevator pitch. So why are people so friendly at these conferences? The truth of the matter is that professionals involved with these organizations understand and realize the importance of giving back. Most of these professional organizations SHPE, SWE, NSBE, AISES, SACNAS, etc have national and regional boards all of which have volunteers. Some attendees are going to these conference as part of Employee Resource Groups (ERG) to recruit at the career fair so in these cases maybe their companies fund their participation, however, there are many professional conference attendees who go on their own dime. These individuals pay out of pocket because they want to “give back” and many others go simply because, like you, they look forward to that time when for once they are not just one of a few. Despite a plethora of diversity initiatives and catchy marketing initiatives we still do not have adequate numbers of BIPOC in STEM and the numbers do not lie. Let me be perfectly clear, there is no shortage of candidates. There are just too many systemic barriers and climate issues which plague higher education which is why these conferences and the connections made at them are so important.
  • Chat with people if you’re in a breakout room do not turn off your cameras. Be present and engage. Ask if they are willing to connect with you on LinkedIn or if you can email them. Be fully present. Again even if it’s remote folks are willing and interested in helping you in your own pursuits.
  • Follow up. When you do follow up with someone you’ve met at a virtual conference be sure to mention how you met. Don’t just simply say, “remember me we were in the chat room?” They were likely in a lot of chat rooms so remind them of how and what you were talking about or if possible mention the actual setting or specific workshop.
  • Virtual Name Tag Be sure you have a screen name that is your actual name. If using Zoom first and last name and preferred gender pronouns are standard Zoom protocol.
  • Test your computer BEFORE the conference begins. Download any software needed or anything you need to do to prepare. Use a desktop computer or your laptop as many of the conference event software is not accessible on Chromebooks, tablets, or mobile devices.
  • Think ahead. Last but definitely not least realize that next year, fingers crossed, things will go back to normal and once in person activities resume order business cards AND print out your resumes you’ll need them. See upcoming Diversity in STEM Conferences for a listing of dates for the remainder of spring and fall. Last but definitely not least! Tell me about your experiences at these conferences. I want to hear about your experiences and your successes!

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Summer Programs for High School Students (and Middle School)

Envision Career & Leadership

Since 1985, Envision’s immersive career exploration and leadership development programs have inspired more than 800,000 students. Located at top college campuses across the country, Envision programs are taught by subject matter experts and built on modern, 21st-century learning principles. From performing a surgery using virtual reality, to conducting a mock trial in an actual courtroom, to learning how to create a grassroots organization to affect positive change, Envision programs provide practical, hands-on learning experiences that students call “amazing” and parents call “transformational.”

Programs are available for middle schoolers and high schoolers and range from Medicine, Engineering, STEM, and Mock Trial. Programs are offered nationally at top-tier universities such as UCLA, Tufts University, UC Berkeley, and St. John’s University just to name a few..  Elementary Middle School and College. 

The program offers scholarships please check the website for waivers/scholarships

For those not applying for scholarships deadlines vary.  Deadline for Scholarships is March 22nd

AI For All

AI for All brings Artificial Intelligence to students through hands-on opportunities by top AI experts at top-tier universities. 

Here is a list of AI for all Programs and their deadlines. 

Carnegie Mellon
Levels: Current sophomore or junior in high school 
Citizenship Requirements: U.S. citizen or permanent resident. Students who are registered with DACA are also eligible.
Deadline to Apply: Check Website

Boston University 
Levels: Current sophomore or junior in high school 
Citizenship Requirements: Must reside in Massachusettes
Deadline to Apply: Check Website

Columbia University 
Levels: High School Freshmen, Sophomore, Juniors and Seniors
Citizenship Requirements: NY Metropolitan Residents
Deadline to Apply: Check Website

Georgia Tech 
Levels:  Rising 10th and 11th graders 
Citizenship Requirements: Atlanta Metropolitan Residents
Deadline to Apply: Check Website

Levels: 10th grade at the time of application and going into 11th grade in Fall 2022
Citizenship Requirements: U.S. Residents & International Residents
Deadline to Apply: Check Website

Seattle University 
Levels: 10th grade at the time of application and going into 11th grade in Fall 2023
Citizenship Requirements: U.S. Residents & International Residents
Deadline to Apply:  Check Website

Simon Fraser University 
Levels: 9th grade to 11th grade
Citizenship Requirements: U.S. Residents & International Residents
Deadline to Apply:  Check Website

Stanford University 
Levels: 9th grade
Citizenship Requirements: U.S. Residents & International Residents
Deadline to Apply:  Check Website 

University of California at Berkeley  
Levels: 9th grade and 10th graders 
Citizenship Requirements: San Francisco Bay Area Residents
Deadline to Apply:  Check Website

University of California at San Francisco   
Levels: 8th grade and 11th graders 
Citizenship Requirements: Students from historically excluded backgrounds; San Francisco Bay Area Residents
Deadline to Apply: Website

University of Maryland
Levels: 9th to 11th graders 
Citizenship Requirements: DMV (D.C., Maryland, Virginia) Area Residents
Deadline to Apply:  Check Website

University of Michigan 
Levels: 9th to 10th graders 
Citizenship Requirements: Michigan Residents
Deadline to Apply:  Check Website

University of Pennsylvania
Levels: 9th to 10th graders 
Citizenship Requirements: Philadelphia Residents
Deadline to Apply: Check Website

University of Texas at El Paso
Levels: 8th to 12th grade
Citizenship Requirements: El Paso Region Residents 
Deadline to Apply: Check Website

University of Washington 
Levels: Check Website
Citizenship Requirements:
Deadline to Apply:Check Website 



“The six-month MIT Online Science, Technology, and Engineering Community (MOSTEC) program serves rising high school seniors from across the country – many of whom come from underrepresented or underserved communities. Students selected to participate in MOSTEC demonstrate in their applications a strong academic record and interest in science and engineering.

The MOSTEC program begins the summer before students’ senior year in high school and extends through students’ first semester in 12th grade.”

Levels: High School Juniors
Citizenship Requirements: US Citizens & Permanent Residents
Cost: Free
Deadline to Apply: Check Website

Minority Introduction to Engineering and Science (MITES)Program at MIT

“Minority Introduction to Engineering and Science (MITES) is a rigorous six-week residential academic enrichment program for rising high school seniors – many of whom come from underrepresented or underserved communities – who have a strong academic record and are interested in studying and exploring careers in science and engineering.  This national program stresses the value and reward of pursuing advanced technical degrees and careers while developing the skills necessary to achieve success in science and engineering. “

Levels: High School Juniors
Citizenship Requirements: US Citizens & Permanent Residents
Cost: Free
Deadline Check Website 

MIT Lincoln Lab

Lincoln Laboratory Radar Introduction for Student Engineers (LLRISE) is a two-week, virtual workshop for rising high school seniors. The program is looking for students who are passionate about science, math and engineering.

Levels: High School Juniors
Citizenship Requirements: US Citizens
Deadline to Apply: Applications will open in January 2023 

SMASH Academy – National program

“SMASH Academy is a three-year STEM- intensive residential college prep program that empowers students to deepen their talents and pursue STEM careers. Every summer, scholars are immersed in tuition-free studies at leading universities throughout the country.  During the academic year, scholars participate in monthly programming.

They are coached by instructors of color that represent the future they can have. Because of their common background, students connect more deeply with instructors and gain true mentorship from these STEM professors and industry professionals. As they go through the program, scholars not only develop their skills and network – they also find their voice and build the confidence to become who they want to be. SMASH takes place at over 8 universities throughout the United States including the University of Pennsylvania, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UCLA, Morehouse College, Northeastern University and the university of Michigan. “

Preference will be given to those who attend a public school or attend a private school on a scholarship.

Levels: Must be in 9th grade at the time of the application.
Minimum GPA: 3.0 gpa from 8th grade
Location: Applicants must live with a 50 mile radius of the SMASH Site that they are applying to.
Cost: Free
Deadline to Apply: Mid March 


UC Berkeley Girls in Engineering

Girls in Engineering is a hands-on summer camp for middle school students interested in learning more about engineering, STEM/STE(A)M, and design thinking. Taught by Cal researchers and students, campers gain exposure to engineering, design thinking, and real-world problem solving through hands-on activities and team projects.

This summer, GiE will offer their signature camp virtually. Building on the success of our virtual camp last summer, we feel confident that we can rock it again this summer. They’ve got an inspiring lineup of activities and virtual lab tours planned. Don’t miss out—apply today!

Don’t let the cost of camp prevent your child from applying. GiE awards full and partial scholarships based on financial need 

Deadline to Apply: Check Website

Girls Who Code

 sophomores, juniors, and seniors are invited to this 2-week virtual program that teaches girls—trans and cis—and non-binary students the computer science skills they need to make an impact in their community while preparing for a career in tech. Participants will get exposure to tech jobs, meet women in tech careers, and join a supportive sisterhood of girls in tech.

Cost: Free
Early Deadline: Check Website


National Student Leadership Conference

The National Student Leadership Conference hosts 30 programs focused on areas such as Business, Government & Law, STEM, Leadership and Arts.  Programs take place at over 14 top tier university campuses such as Yale, Northwestern, Georgia Tech, Northwestern University, and Rice

Program Dates:  Varies by Location Site
Financial Aid and Scholarships are available for eligible students
Grades: 6th through 12th Grade

IF you are planning to apply for a scholarship online be sure to apply by the deadlines 



“Being a College Prep Scholar is a notable distinction that shows our 45 college partners that you are a competitive candidate for admission. In addition, your application will automatically carry over for the National College Match when you’re a senior, giving you a head start on applying for a full four-year scholarship to our college partners. College Prep Scholars are historically five times more likely than other applicants to receive full four-year scholarships through the National College Match.

Deadline to Apply: March 

Black Girls Code

The vision of Black Girls Code is “To increase the number of women of color in the digital space by empowering girls of color ages 7 to 17 to become innovators in STEM fields, leaders in their communities, and builders of their own futures through exposure to computer science and technology. To provide African-American youth with the skills to occupy some of the 1.4 million computing job openings expected to be available in the U.S. by 2020, and to train 1 million girls by 2040.”

Through virtual hackathons girls are encouraged to pursue STEM careers and to connect with local chapters.

Boston university

PROMYS 2021 is a six-week online summer program hosted by Boston University designed to encourage strongly motivated high school students to explore in depth the creative world of mathematics in a supportive community of peers, counselors, research mathematicians, and visiting scientists

PROMYS is a program for pre-college students from across the United States and international students.  By the first day of the program students must be 14 year old and have completed at least the 9th grade .  Students can attend during the summer between high school and college. Students who are already attending a university are not eligible, although they may be eligible to apply for a counselor position.

Program Dates:  Check website
Program Cost: $5,000
Financial Aid and Scholarships are available for eligible students
Grades: 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th,
Ages: 14 years and up
Deadline to Apply: Usually in March

The program also hosts program in China and in Europe at Oxford University.

Aside from PROMYS Boston University has five other programs for high school students

Cornell University

Curie Academy is a one-week residential program for high school girls who excel in math and science. The focus is on rising juniors and seniors who may not have had prior opportunities to explore engineering, but want to learn more about it in an interactive atmosphere. This summer come to Cornell University and explore the many possibilities awaiting you in engineering.

The program seeks to engage female rising juniors and seniors with GPA’s of 3.0 and above. The cost of the program is $1450 which includes room, board, and research supplies. Scholarships are available for those with demonstrated financial need.

Scholarships and tuition assistance are available.

2022 Program Dates: July dates TBD
Deadline to Apply: Usually early March

CATALYST Academy is a one-week residential program for rising high school juniors and seniors from underrepresented backgrounds who desire to learn about engineering and careers within an interactive milieu. This summer come to Cornell University and find out for yourself at the CATALYST Academy! Find out more about the program!”
Scholarships are available for those with demonstrated financial need.

2022 Program Dates: July TBD
Deadline to Apply: Early March


California State Summer School for Mathematics & Science (COSMOS)

COSMOS is an intensive four-week summer residential program for students who have demonstrated an aptitude for academic and professional careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects. Talented and motivated students completing grades 8-12 have the opportunity to work with renowned faculty, researchers and scientists in state-of-the-art facilities, while exploring advanced STEM topics far beyond the courses usually offered in California high schools. Through challenging curricula that are both hands-on and lab intensive, COSMOS fosters its students’ interests, skills, and awareness of educational and career options in STEM fields.

Students apply to one of the four University of California’s COSMOS campuses — UC Davis, UC Irvine, UC San Diego and UC Santa Cruz. While each campus employs the best practices in STEM education, the curriculum of each program builds on the unique teaching and research expertise of its faculty and host campus. Each campus can only accommodate about 160-200 participants, so selection is competitive. A typical COSMOS student has a GPA of 3.5 or above. Students must have achieved academic excellence.”

Financial aid is available for families with demonstrated financial need

Deadline for all materials: mid February

Keck Graduate Institute

KGI’s High School Summer STEM Program offers unpaid internship opportunities to students so that they can gain hands on experience. Students are also invited to attend talks and explore how to pursue STEM degrees and STEM careers.

Please note students must be 16 years of age or older to participate.
There is a $20 application fee, however, application fee waivers are available for families with demonstrated financial need.

Deadline to Apply: Early May

Math camp

“Mathcamp is an intensive 5-week-long summer program for mathematically talented high school students. More than just a summer camp, Mathcamp is a vibrant community, made up of a wide variety of people who share a common love of learning and passion for mathematics. At Mathcamp, students can explore undergraduate and even graduate-level topics while building problem-solving skills that will help them in any field they choose to study.
Mathcamp will be FREE for all US and Canadian families with household income under $65,000 (with typical assets). We will also offer travel grants for families who cannot afford transportation to and from the program. Mathcamp invites applications from every student aged 13 through 18.”

Financial aid is available for families with demonstrated financial need.

Deadline to Apply: Mid March


UC San Diego

“UC San Diego’s Academic Connections connects high achieving high school students with college subject matter courses and experiences. Participation in Academic Connections provides students the opportunity to experience life and learning in the lab and/or in the classroom. Instruction is provided by grad students in a wide array of academic disciplines, renown UCSD faculty researchers and scientists in the field.”

Previous students have worked with researchers in the areas of Bioengineering, Life Sciences Design Lab and the School of Medicine. This year’s program will be online. Aside from research a number of classes are available to students. The cost of the program is listed on the site. However, a number of scholarships are available.

Stanford Medical Youth Science Program

“The Stanford Medical Youth Science Program (SMYSP) is an online enrichment program for students from low-income, underrepresented backgrounds. Over five weeks, participants engage in faculty lectures, professional development workshops, virtual networking events, and a public health disparities research project. During the program and beyond, participants are mentored by faculty, health professionals, and college students on preparing for college, navigating careers in medicine, and becoming a leader today.”

Levels: Current High School Juniors
Location Requirements: Applicants must live in one of the 20 counties in Stanford’s recruiting area. Ideal applicants are first generation college students and are students from low income families.
Cost: Free
Deadline to Apply: Early March


“STEM NOLA was founded by New Orleans native, and former tenured Tulane University Engineering professor, Dr. Calvin Mackie. Its purpose is to expose, inspire and engage members of the community in learning about opportunities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

STEM NOLA designs and delivers activities, programs & events that bring inspiration, motivation and training to all STEM stakeholders, specifically focusing on under-served communities, across the city. Participants receive the opportunity to obtain 21st Century skills of Communication, Collaboration and Critical Thinking.”

STEM NOLA offers a number of programs for K-12 students throughout the summer and the academic year.

Stony Brook University

” The goal of the Garcia pre-college programs has been to convey to young students and their teachers the excitement of polymer materials research, to suggest possible career options, and to provide the opportunity to use polymer science to enhance the regular science teaching curriculum.

“The Research Scholar Program for High School Students offers the opportunity for high school teachers and students to perform research on the forefronts of polymer science and technology together with Garcia faculty and staff. Students work as part of focused research teams and are taught to make original contributions of interest to the scientific community. In addition to entering national competitions, the students are encouraged to publish in refereed scientific journals and to present their results at national conferences. Our goal is to convey to the students the excitement we enjoy daily in research. The program has no set time limits. Research is a lifetime learning experience, and we hope to remain a resource to our students long after “graduation.”

Deadline to Apply: Early February

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Texas Tech

The Anson L. Clark Scholar Program is an intensive seven week summer research program for twelve highly qualified high school juniors and seniors. This Program provides opportunities for research in all academic areas in the university. Students will receive a stipend for participating in the program.

Deadline to Apply: Early February



NASA has a number of programs for K-12 students that are virtual and in-person.
Nearly 18,000 of the nation’s top scientists, engineers and business professionals work across the United States with NASA. NASA has programs year round for students that are free!!

Cyber Patriot

CyberPatriot is the Air Force Association’s National Youth Cyber Education Program, created to inspire K-12 students toward careers in cybersecurity or other science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines.”

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REU’s with January Deadlines

Is getting paid research on your list of goals for the new year? If so, get started by applying to these REU programs with upcoming deadlines


Summer internships at the DOE Labs includingAmes LabArgonne National LabBrookhaven National LabFermi National LabLawrence Berkeley National Lab,Oak Ridge National Lab,Pacific Northwest National LabPrinceton Plasma Physics LabStanford Linear Accelerator LabThomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility
Levels: Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors and Recent graduates
Minimum GPA: 3.0
Citizenship Requirements: US Citizens & Permanent Residents
Deadline to Apply: January 12, 2021

Community College Institute Program
The Community College Internship (CCI) program seeks to encourage community college students to enter technical careers relevant to the DOE mission by providing technical training experiences at the DOE laboratories. Selected students participate as interns appointed at one of 16 participating DOE laboratories. They work on technologies or instrumentation projects or major research facilities supporting DOE’s mission, under the guidance of laboratory staff scientists or engineers.
Deadline to Apply: January 12, 2021


Program Description: The overarching goal of this NSF REU Site is to immerse students in a meaningful and highly interdisciplinary research environment within the structural engineering domain and to teach them that design does not end with construction. Instead, designing for safety embodies: quantifying potential load conditions, damage mechanics, and uncertainties; monitoring for anomalies during operations; processing this information through cyber-modeling via digital surrogates; and translating the information to actionable knowledge for improving current and future system designs. This REU Site will recruit and train 12 diverse U.S. scholars for eight weeks each summer, recruited from across the nation with emphasis on broadening the participation of underrepresented minority, women, and economically-disadvantaged students, to conduct research alongside six professors and their graduate students.

Levels: Freshman, Sophomores, Juniors, and non graduating seniors
Minimum GPA: 3.3
Citizenship Requirements: US Citizens & Permanent Residents
Deadline: January 15, 2021


“In 2019, IBM Quantum and Princeton University launched the QURIP program, during which 10 students from educational institutions across the United States spent the summer focused on theoretical and experimental research in quantum computing.”

Interns will spend the first part of the experience working at Princeton University on a research project in either quantum materials, condensed matter physics, atomic physics, quantum information science, quantum algorithms, and quantum architecture. For the second part students will apply their research as working as an IBM intern.

Levels: Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors & Seniors.
Citizen US Citizen & Permanent Residents
Minimum GPA: not specified
Deadline to Apply: January 15, 2021


The SRF Summer Scholars Program offers undergraduate students the opportunity to conduct biomedical research to combat diseases of aging, such as cancer, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s Disease. Under the guidance of a scientific mentor, each Summer Scholar is responsible for his or her own research project in such areas as genetic engineering and stem cell research. The Summer Scholars Program emphasizes development of both laboratory and communication skills to develop well-rounded future scientists, healthcare professionals, and policy makers. Students participating in the program will hone their writing skills via periodic reports, which are designed to emulate text scientists commonly must produce. At the end of the summer, students will have the opportunity to put all of their newly developed communication skills into practice at a student symposium

Levels: Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors,  Seniors
Citizenship Requirements: US Citizens & Permanent Residents and International students on a case-by-case basis.

Minimum GPA: Not Specified
Deadlines to Apply: January 15, 2021



“Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Institute Summer Scholars provides funded, high-quality undergraduate research experiences to propel your academic future. Conduct research in robotics and artificial intelligence with pioneers defining the field! 

Join us for a summer of research, innovation, and discovery.

Quick Dates and Information

We believe every student should have the opportunity to explore research – that’s why RISS doesn’t let financial barriers hinder you from participating. If you are passionate about robotics, we’re here for you. Upon selection, you’ll be eligible for numerous scholarships.  

Open New Doors
When you join us, a team of mentors and tutors are ready to back you, passing on years of knowledge & experience, and helping you at every step. The program equips you with essential skills and knowledge so you are better prepared for graduate school and industry.  You will also attend robotics talks and workshops that expand your perspective of the field. Your work over the summer will culminate in a presentation and published journal What you do here opens doors for years to come.”

Undergraduates from both US and International Institutions are eligible to apply

Deadline to Apply: January 15, 2021


The Undergraduate Research Program (URP) at CSHL provides an opportunity for undergraduate scientists from around the world to conduct first-rate research. Students learn the scientific process, technical methods and theoretical principles, and communicate their discoveries to other scientists. Approximately 20 students come to CSHL each summer for the 10-week program, living and working in the exciting Laboratory environment.

Levels: Sophomores, Juniors, Seniors
Citizenship Status: Students of any country are eligible to apply.
Minimum GPA: Not specified
(However, Successful applicants generally have GPAs around 3.5 or higher in their science and math courses
Deadline to Apply: January 15, 2021


Center for Neurotechnology REU

The CNT at the University of Washington will sponsor a 10-week Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) on the Seattle campus during the summer.  This program provides undergraduate students with opportunities to work on research projects with scientists and to take part in workshop training sessions in ethics, communications, and scientific presentation skills designed to provide the undergraduate scientist with a solid foundation for graduate study.

Levels: Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors, and non-graduating Seniors
Citizenship Requirements: US citizens & permanent residents
Deadline to Apply: January 15, 2021


In this ten-week program students will work on cardiovascular research with Stanford faculty on research supported by the American Heart Association, The National Institutes of Health, and the Stanford Cardiovascular Institute. Participants will receive a stipend for their work. The program will be either in person or virtual or summer 2021.

Levels: Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors
Citizenship Requirements: US Citizens & Permanent Residents or US Citizen, Permanent Resident, or holder of one of the following visas: F-1, H1, H1B, J1, PR, TC or TN
Minimum GPA: Not Specified
Deadline: January 15, 2021


The Center for Injury Research and Prevention (CIRP) at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute hosts the Injury Science Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program, a 10-week paid summer research internship opportunity for undergraduate students. CIRP is a leading multidisciplinary center engaged in collaborative cross-discipline research implementing real-world applications.

Students must be interested in pursuing a PhD

Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors, and non-graduating Seniors
Minimum GPA: 3.0
Citizenship Requirements: US Citizens & Permanent Residents
Deadline to Apply: January 16, 2021


The QSURE internship program is designed for exceptional undergraduate students with an aptitude in quantitative sciences and an interest in cancer and population health.  Students will participate in an individual research project and receive exposure to methods in biostatistics, epidemiology and health outcomes research.

Levels: Freshmen, Sophomore, Juniors, and non-graduating Seniors
Citizenship Requirements: Be authorized to work in the US
Minimum GPA: Not specified
Deadline to Apply: January 20, 2021


Stanford’s Science Technology and Reconstructive Surgery (STARS) Program is a 7-week program for high The 7-week STaRS Internship is for high school and undergraduate students considering careers biomedical and biological sciences. Students must be age 16 or older at the time of the program to apply. Students under 18 will require signed parental consent forms to work in a biochemistry laboratory.  For the 2021 program the program may be virtual or in person.
Levels: High School Students, College Freshmen, College Sophomores, College Juniors, and non Graduating College Seniors
Citizenship Requirements: There are no citizenship restrictions
Minimum GPA: Not Specified
Deadline to Apply: January 20, 2021


The FREEDM Systems Center Summer REU program offers a research opportunity to undergraduate students who are majoring in electrical and computer engineering, civil engineering, mechanical engineering, materials science engineering, computer science and related fields. The undergraduate student will spend 10 weeks during the summer conducting research at NC State, learning different aspects of university research, and presenting their work at symposia.

Levels: Freshman, Sophomores, Juniors & Non-graduating Seniors
Minimum GPA: Not Specified
Citizenship Requirements: US Citizens & Permanent Residents
Deadline: January 24, 2020


Northwestern’s Quantitative Biology Undergraduate Summer Research Program offers a virtual summer research fellowships to majoring in biology, engineering, mathematics, statistics, or physics to participate in hands-on laboratory or computational research that applies mathematical concepts and methodology to understanding mechanisms in biology.

The majority of projects will use coding languages including MATLAB and Python.
Levels: Freshmen, Sophomores & Juniors
Minimum GPA: 3.0
Citizenship Requirements: US Citizens & Permanent Residents
Deadline to Apply: January 25, 2021


“Students participate in a 10-week summer program combining research experience, lectures, and social activities. Students applying to this program have a choice of indicating their preference to work in one of two research components: (1) nuclear and particle physics at TUNL or (2) high-energy particle physics with the Duke High-Energy Physics (HEP) group. Students who are selected to work with the Duke High-Energy Physics program will spend about 6 weeks of the 10-week summer program at CERN. The REU students will conduct research under the supervision of faculty from the TUNL consortium universities: Duke University, North Carolina Central University, North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Each student is fully integrated into a research group and works closely with graduate students, postdocs and other undergraduate students in the group and has opportunities to interact with other groups at TUNL and the High-Energy Physics group at Duke. The students are assigned well-defined projects that are often part of a larger research project or program.”

Levels: Sophomores, Juniors, and non-graduating Seniors
Citizenship Requirements: US Citizens & Permanent Residents
Minimum GPA: Not Specified
Deadline to Apply: January 25, 2021


The University of California at San Diego Summer Training Academy for Research Success (STARS) program is an eight week summer research academy for community college students, undergraduate students, recent college graduates, and masters students. STARS offers student participants a rigorous research opportunity with esteemed UC San Diego faculty, informative transfer and graduate school preparation workshops, and educational, cultural, and social activities in sunny San Diego.

Levels: Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, and non-graduating seniors
Minimum GPA: Not Specified
Citizenship Requirements: AB 540 or DACA students are eligible or US Citizens or Permanent Residents.

Deadline: January 27, 2021


The Pacific Internship Programs for Exploring Science (PIPES) is an undergraduate internship program housed within the Office of Research & Community Partnerships at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo. Our goals are to (1) foster a community committed to the stewardship of our natural resources in the Pacific and (2) work with a team of host mentors to provide interns with a transformative hands-on learning experience.

Applicants from students interested in pursuing a career related to conservation research, natural resource management and environmental education are strongly encouraged to apply.

Levels: Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors. 

Citizenship Requirements: US Citizens & Permanent Residents
Minimum GPA: 2.0
Deadline to Apply: January 30, 2021


Molecular Biology and Genetics of Cell Signaling
This is a ten week summer program for ten students, focusing on diversity and funded as an NSF REU site. Each student does an intensive research project in one of the two dozen labs associated with the program. The research topics of these labs span molecular biology, cell biology, genetics, development, and structural biology. Students give poster and oral presentations at the end. The MBG REU Program has weekly meetings with discussions by faculty to give overviews of their research, with descriptions of the grad school application process, and with faculty critiques of students’ drafts of their posters and slides. Also included are several social activities with peer mentors who are current PhD students here.

Levels: Rising Sophomores, Juniors, and non-graduating Seniors
Minimum GPA: 3
Citizenship Requirements: US Citizens & Permanent Residents
Deadline: January 31, 2021


Autonomous vehicles (AVs) offer the potential for significant improvements in the mobility, safety, accessibility, and sustainability of transportation systems. As rapid advances occur in the automotive industry, there are a myriad of associated social consequences that will result from large-scale deployment. However, these consequences are not well understood, and there is an imminent need to train students in sociomobility -an area of research at the intersection of engineering and the social sciences. Michigan State University invites undergraduate students to apply to a Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) site in sociomobility, which will train future thought leaders for careers that are focused on the development of innovative, multidisciplinary solutions that jointly address both the technical and societal aspects of autonomous vehicles (AVs).

Levels: Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors, and non-graduating Seniors
Minimum GPA: 3.0
Citizenship Requirements: US Citizens & Permanent Residents
Deadline to Apply: January 31, 2021


The purpose of SPUR is to provide undergraduate students with an intensive 10-week research experience under the mentorship of a University of Utah faculty member. The program provides opportunities to gain research experience in a variety disciplines.

Levels: Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors & Non-Graduating Seniors
Citizenship Requirements: US Citizens, Permanent Residents, Dreamers and DACA students
Minimum GPA: Not specified
Deadline to Apply: January 31, 2021


“The Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program in Systematics and
Evolutionary Biology is funded by the National Science Foundation and has been in
place for over 25 years. The program brings approximately eight students to the
American Museum of Natural History in New York City each summer for a ten-week
experience working with our curators, faculty, and post-doctoral fellows. Research
projects span diverse fields of comparative biology including paleontology, genomics,
population biology, conservation biology and phylogenetics and taxonomy. Students
have access to the Museum’s immense natural history collections as well as state-of-the art equipment for advanced imaging (CT scanner, SEM, TEM) and genomics (Sanger
and pyrosequencing platforms). “

Levels: Sophomores & Juniors
Minimum GPA: Not Specified
Citizenship Requirements: US Citizens & Permanent Residents
Deadline to Apply: January 31, 2021


SUPERB participants spend nine weeks at UC Berkeley during the summer working on exciting ongoing research projects focused on Big Data with EECS faculty mentors and graduate students. Students who participate in this research apprenticeship explore options for graduate study, gain exposure to a large research-oriented department, and are motivated to pursue graduate study.

Levels: Sophomores & above
Minimum GPA: 3
Citizenship Requirements: US Citizens & Permanent Residents
Deadline to Apply: January 31, 2021


Transfer-to-Excellence Research Experiences for Undergraduates (TTE REU), a competitive merit-based program, seeks to inspire California community college students through research at UC Berkeley so that they will ultimately transfer and complete their Bachelor’s degree in science and engineering. The TTE REU program is a residential program providing nine-weeks of hands-on research experiences in the laboratories of UC Berkeley professors. This program is jointly funded by an NSF Site award and the Center for E3S. 

This program is limited to students attending a community college that plan to apply for transfer admission to a baccalaureate program in science or engineering.

GPA: 3.25+ GPA in science, engineering, & math courses
Citizenship Requirements:  U.S citizen, national, or permanent residents 

Applicants must be enrolled at a California community college; Completed 2 Calculus courses & 3 Science or Engineering courses  by June 12 2021. Plan to return to a California community college in Fall 2021.
Deadline to Apply January 31, 2021


The Summer Institute in Biomedical Informatics (SIBMI), now entering its 16th year, is for undergraduates with quantitative interests and skills who aspire to contribute to translational advances in biomedicine with a future PhD or research-oriented MD or MD/PhD

Levels: Rising Juniors & Seniors
Minimum GPA: Not Specified
Citizenship Requirements:  U.S. Citizen or permanent residents only
Deadline to Apply: January 31, 2020


The DIMACS REU program combines many associated subprograms, which are administered together and run concurrently as a single program. The programs support interdisciplinary projects focused around computer science and mathematics, and are mentored by Rutgers faculty. Project descriptions have included topics in computer science, mathematics, statistics, biology, chemistry, and physics, as well as applications to national security and critical intelligence. Located at Rutgers University, DIMACS facilitates research, education, and outreach in discrete mathematics, computer science theory, algorithms, mathematical and statistical methods, and their applications. A select group of students will spend 2 weeks in Prague as part of the international program component. 

Levels: Juniors
Citizenship Requirements” US Citizens & Permanent Residents
Minimum GPA: Not Specified
Deadline to Apply: January 31, 2021


Interested in Biology and Computer Science? This REU combines both.  Work with leading researchers in bioinformatics, computational biology, mathematical modeling and synthetic biology. Students will spend half of their summer at Colorado State and then continue to do research at Virginia Tech. Students will learn  about experimental yeast genetics, computational modeling, and network biology algorithms

Students majoring in computer science, biology, bioinformatics, systems biology, and related areas are encouraged to apply.

Levels: Sophomores, Juniors & Non-graduating Seniors
Citizenship Requirements: US Citizens & Permanent Residents
Deadline to Apply: January 31, 2021

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GRE in the Age of COVID

Much research has shown that GRE scores alone do not adequately predict one’s potential to succeed in graduate programs. Placing a strong emphasis on GRE scores alone fails to consider the inequities of standardized tests. Furthermore, the cost for GRE test preparation courses is not universally accessible particularly to low income, women and minority students.  A number of universities have recognized the flaws of standardized tests and have advocated for programs to adopt a more holistic review that places less of an emphasis on test scores.

In 2017 the University of Michigan’s biomedical sciences graduate program decided to no longer require applicants to submit GRE scores. This forward thinking decision would spawn a movement for more schools to reconsider GRE scores as a requirement for admission.  #GRExit became an opportunity to disclose the bias that the GRE scores elicit against underrepresented groups (women, minorities, first generation college students and low-income students). Then COVID-19 happened and all universities were forced to consider whether or not GRE Scores (particularly in these unprecedented times) were really all that important… 

As someone who works with undergraduates in engineering who are preparing for graduate schools I will tell you something that I find myself telling students every single day: Every aspect of our lives has been impacted by COVID so it’s not realistic to think that your application will not have some impact by COVID.  Whether it’s making the decision to take a course for a letter grade or deciding not taking the GRE.  One student challenged this notion and said, “Not really my life hasn’t been affected by COVID at all. My parents are still employed and I tend to stay home a lot anyway.” “Really? Are we not having this conversation over Zoom? Are you not taking all of your lab classes online?”  

In August MIT decided that in their school of Engineering the following programs would not accept GRE scores for the 2020-2021 admissions cycle:   Aeronautics and Astronautics, Chemical Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering, Nuclear Science and Engineering, and Medical Engineering and Medical Sciences.

A consortium of Computer Sciences PhD programs including UC Berkeley’s Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences announced that GRE scores will not be part of the review process even if they have already been submitted. This National Sciences Foundation consortium the FLIP Alliance ((Diversifying Future Leadership in the Professoriate) includes 11 schools all of which has agreed to waive the GRE requirement for their Computer Sciences Programs 2021 admissions cycle.

FLIP Alliance Schools and Computer Science PhD Deadlines:

  • Carnegie Mellon University (December 10)
  • Cornell University (December 15)
  • Georgia Tech (December 15)
  • Harvard University (December 15)
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (December 15)
  • Princeton University (December 15)
  • Stanford University  (December 1)
  • University of California at Berkeley (December 8)
  • University of Texas (December 1)
  • University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign (December 15)
  • University of Washington (December 15)

Like many things have been changed as a result of COVID-19 this may be something that schools will forego long after a vaccine is approved and we’re physically back in the classroom.

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Is it Cryptic or Scary? Things to avoid doing to your Resume

Although Halloween is just around the corner, be sure to avoid these scary and cryptic things you might be doing to your resume or CV.  Undergraduates, here is a short list of things you don’t want to do!

Only listing your GPA if it’s a 3.5 or above.  This is ridiculous advice that’s often given to undergraduates.  I’ve seen many 3.0 student’s who think they shouldn’t put their resume because it’s not high enough.  First off, if you’re a STEM major you should realize that you likely have a heavy course load and shouldn’t be so hard on yourself. If you decide not to include your GPA then be sure to speak confidently if it comes up. If you’re a first year student without a GPA then include your high school gpa or your community college transfer gpa. Just be sure to include that these are from a prior school.

Scary or Cryptic? 
Scary because you should know that your GPA does not define your interest nor your aptitude.  

Failing to list jobs and opportunities you acquired that were impacted by COVID.
Maybe you got an internship last summer but it was cancelled due to COVID. Maybe you got an REU last summer. Why are you not listing this??? You likely went through interview after interview, got the job offer, even got housing arranged and then suddenly then suddenly you got the call that your internship was cancelled due to COVID. Maybe you were all set to work in a lab but the lab was closed so you couldn’t participate. This is through no fault of yours.  You need to include this!

Scary or Cryptic? 
Cryptic because they will have no idea that you received a job or research internship offer this past summer unless you tell them. Even it it didn’t happen it does show that you have aptitude.

Not listing your professor and/or lab’s name when listing research experience.  I see this a lot and it doesn’t make sense. Why wouldn’t you include your professor’s name?  Here’s an example of how you might list your lab position:
Name of School, Undergraduate Researcher, Name of Lab
Advisor: Your PI or Faculty Adviser, Project Area or Research Area:
then list your contributions and a description of the project. 

Scary or Cryptic?  
Cryptic If you interned at Apple would you list it as a Tech Company in Cupertino?

Not spelling out acronyms Sometimes acronyms could have double meanings.  If you live in Los Angeles and put down USC that means University of Southern California but if you live on the East Coast USC means University of Southern Carolina.  Also, DOE could mean Department of Energy or Department of Education.  

Scary or Cryptic?  
Cryptic. Similarly, what if you are listing an award from ACM.  Is that Association of Computing Machinery or American Country Music Award?
Quick Sidebar: If you won an ACM award (any kind) why aren’t you sharing your story??  

Putting photos on your resume.  It’s generally not customary to include a photo on your resume. It’s wasted space that you could use for listing out credentials that you want to highlight. Save the photos for LinkedIn.  

Scary or Cryptic?  Likely cryptic if it’s an old photo. Make sure your LinkedIn photo actually looks like you.  If you’re still using your senior portrait from high school and you’re now a senior in college you might want to update your LinkedIn photo

Putting company logos all over your resume. Your resume should be text not logos.  Although you might be excited that you had an internship at a FAANG company (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Alphabet (google) it looks really bad to have a resume covered with logos.

Scary or Cryptic? You want your resume to look like a resume not a Black Friday ad we’ll call this one scary because think about what you do with those Black Friday ads that come in the mail. Don’t give them any reason to put your resume in the recycle bin   

Putting a QR Code on your resume If I’m emailing you a resume then a QR is pointless and if you’re handing someone a resume why would you ask them to look elsewhere. 

Scary or Cryptic? Cryptic because I don’t understand why one would put a QR code     

Not including relevant coursework that is in progress and planned.  Think of it this way, you’re likely applying for summer internships for next summer.  With this in mind, remember it will be helpful to include classes that you are taking now AND classes that you plan to take this fall.  Maybe the REU wants someone who has a year or programming experience or year of chemistry by the time the internship happens. Guess what? If you list that then they’ll know you have this.
Scary or Cryptic?
This one’s both Cryptic and Scary.  Cryptic because no one will know that you have this coursework unless you tell them and scary because you might be missing out on an opportunity if you don’t include coursework.

Now once you’ve made sure that you don’t have any of these scary or cryptic resume flaws your resume will be as sweet as candy. Start applying now for summer positions now and you’ll see the opportunities come knocking on your door just like trick or treaters.

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