Inspire SF Youth in Science


The Science and Health Education Partnership (SEP) at UCSF is recruiting science mentors for high school students! Are you looking for mentoring opportunities? Perhaps you’re interested in building connections with the San Francisco community by inspiring young people in science! Through our High School Intern Program, you can help San Francisco’s youth create accurate ideas about who scientists are, who can become a scientist, and what a career in science can look like.

High School Intern Program:

SEP’s High School Intern Program supports 20 to 30 high school students from San Francisco public schools as they conduct research in UCSF labs. Under the guidance of a lab mentor, high school students complete a short-term research project and gain authentic research experience, develop a better understanding of science and career opportunities, and are able to become part of a professional community.

Time commitment:

Interns commit to working approximately 200 hours over the course of the eight week summer program, which includes an average of 16-18 hours per week spent in lab, and additional hours in group activities outside of lab for college counseling, fieldtrips, and weekly meetings with program coordinators. Once the program begins (June 11), the mentor and intern will work together to determine the daily schedule that is best suited to the lab and other commitments. At the end of the program, all interns present their summer research projects in a 10-minute research talk (July 25 and 26) and a poster presentation (Aug. 2).

Our interns:

Students are initially nominated for the program by a science teacher at their high school and go through an extensive application and selection process. Most of our interns are from groups underrepresented in the sciences, would be the first in their family to attend college, and/or have faced a variety of challenges yet show great potential through their enthusiasm and engagement in science. We select interns who are excited about learning, curious about science, and motivated by the opportunity to work in a UCSF lab. Additionally, we look for evidence of maturity and responsibility — students who we feel will interact well with all members of a laboratory. Most importantly, we want this program to make a critical difference in the lives of students — giving them the opportunity to work on a research project, explore career options, experience a university environment, and learn from a mentor.

Our mentors:

Mentors play a significant role in the students’ experience as they work closely with their intern to identify his/her needs, teach the necessary background so the intern can carry out an independent project, and help them integrate into the lab setting. The lab group is an important set of individuals who act as guides and role models, particularly in helping the intern understand the diversity of pathways toward college and a career in science. The mentor is the day-to-day guide and teacher for the intern, and supports the intern in all aspects of the lab experience, as well as with the preparation for their talk and final poster presentation. Over the program’s 20 year history, we’ve had PIs, post-docs, graduate students and research associates all participate as lab mentors; we are open to communications with anyone who may be interested.

Upcoming information sessions:

  • Tuesday, March 13: Parnassus, Medical Sciences S-176 from 11am-12pm
  • Tuesday, March 13: Mission Bay, Genentech Hall S-202 from 2pm-3pm

If you’re interested in becoming a mentor or have question, please get in touch!

Jean MacCormack [email protected] 415 476-0338

Lakisha Witzel [email protected] 415 476-0337

You can also read about HIP online at:

I don't think I would be the person I am today without the experiences I had in the lab. The long hours in the fly room taught me a lot about both accepting failure as a natural part of growing up and the value of hard work. It's made my college experience truly fulfilling. - SEP High School Intern

The transformation I underwent was pretty incredible, from learning how to “do” science to learning how to start conversations with people I barely knew. The feelings of reward that came after were unlike almost any other I’d had before. - SEP High School Intern