Share Your Passion for Science


Looking for mentoring opportunities? Want to make a difference in the lives of San Francisco youth? The Science and Health Education Partnership (SEP) at UCSF needs you!

Help inspire San Francisco’s youth to pursue careers in science; help them create accurate ideas about who scientists are and who can become a scientist; work closely with a high school student at a critical time in his/her life, and make a strong impact on the student’s educational and career goals.

High School Intern Program

SEP’s High School Intern Program brings 25 high school students from San Francisco public schools to 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 a minimum of 180 hours over the course of the eight week program, which includes an average of 17.5 hours per week spent in lab, and 40 hours in group activities outside of lab for college counseling, fieldtrips, and weekly meetings with program coordinators.

Once the program begins (June 6th), 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 20th and 21st) and a poster presentation (July 28th).

The 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.

SEP organizers select interns who are excited about learning, curious about science, and motivated by the opportunity to work in a UCSF lab.

Additionally, they look for evidence of maturity and responsibility – students who we feel will interact well with all members of a laboratory. Most importantly, they 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.

“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,” said one 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,” said another intern.

Most of the students 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.

The 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, there have been PIs, post-docs, graduate students and research associates all participate as lab mentors. Organizers are open to communications with anyone who may be interested.

Upcoming information sessions (lunch provided!)

  • Monday, February 13th: Parnassus, S-174 from 12-1pm
  • Tuesday, February 14th: Mission Bay, Genentech Hall, S-271 from 12-1pm
  • Wednesday, March 15th: Parnassus, S-170 from 12-1pm
  • Thursday, March 16th: Mission Bay, Genentech Hall, S-271 from 12-1pm

If you’re interested in becoming a mentor or have question, please get in touch with Jean MacCormack at [email protected] and 415 476-0338 or Lakisha Witzel at [email protected] and 415 476-0337.

You can also read about HIP online at