Summer Focus Program



What is the Summer Focus Program?

Summer Focus provides outstanding high school students with funded research internships at the Washington University Medical Center. Each student works directly with two graduate students, the mentor and the tutor. The mentor works one-on-one with the student in the lab on a specific project, while the tutor prepares the student for their research experience. Check out the profiles of Summer Focus Alumni here.

Key facts about Summer Focus 2016
  • Program dates are May 30th 2016 to July 29th 2016.
  • We are especially looking for motivated students with no previous research experience. Individuals from inner city public schools and from those groups traditionally underrepresented in biomedical research are encouraged to apply.
  • Students are required to work 40 hours per week
  • Summer Focus scholars receive a stipend of $2000-$2500 as well as a Metro Pass.
  • Applications are available at http://ysp.wusm.wustl.edu/ and due by February 17th, 2016.

Who Can Participate?

Students from St. Louis area schools may apply when they are in 11th grade. The students are selected by a competitive application and interview process that begins in the fall, preceding the start of the program the following summer. Students accepted into the program are notified by March 1st. In early spring students are given the opportunity to select a topic in which to do a project based on their own interests. Prior to a student's entry into a lab, he or she will also receive instruction in lab techniques and safety.

What Is Life Like as a Summer Focus Student?

At the beginning of the summer, each student joins his/her mentor as a colleague in the lab. The program recruits labs that are interested in teaching young people and in welcoming them both intellectually and socially. Together, the mentor and student develop and carry out a research project that can be reasonably accomplished during the eight-week summer program.

Over the summer, students also participate in a writing course and college preparation course. The writing course hones students' skills in scientific understanding and communication. The college prep course assists students in achieving their post-high school academic goals including successful entry into college. The college prep course focuses on career exploration, college application, admissions tests, and financial aid. Other events include an open house, social activities, and seminars on career development. At the end of the summer, students present their research findings at the closing symposium to their mentors, tutors, faculty sponsors, teachers, and parents. A closing dinner follows the presentations.

The success of Summer Focus is a result of its highly motivated students, intimate size, emphasis on one-on-one contacts, and individualized lab projects. Each year the program accepts 12 - 16 students. To be eligible to apply students must have successfully completed their junior year of high school prior to the commencement of the program.

Recent summer projects were conducted in:

  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology
  • Neurosciences
  • Microbiology
  • Ecology
  • Biomedical Engineering

Profiles of Summer Focus Alumni can be found here.

How to Apply to Summer Focus 2016

Apply to Summer Focus 2016 at http://ysp.wusm.wustl.edu/ . This year the application deadline will be February 17th, 2016. If you have any questions please contact yspsf.director@gmail.com.

FAQ

  • Do I have to be a rising senior to apply to this program?
    • Yes, we only accept students who are currently in 11th grade and are going into 12th grade after the summer.
  • I am not a Missouri/Illinois resident. Can I still apply?
    • Unfortunately, we only accept Missouri/Illinois residents. Students are expected to work 40 hours a week for the 8 week internship, so commuting distance is an important factor to keep in mind even for MO/IL residents. Note: We provide metro passes for the STL metro to students who are accepted into the program.
  • Can I miss a few days of Summer Focus due to pre-existing commitments?
    • No, students cannot miss more than 2 days of the program since it is such a short program.
  • Can I mail my own transcript or do I have to get the school to mail in an official transcript?
    • We require the high school to mail us your official transcript directly to the following address listed on the submit section of the Summer Focus application:
      Young Scientist Program
      660 S. Euclid Avenue
      St. Louis, MO 63110
      Also, if you have your own copy of the transcript, please send one via email in case the one sent in the mail is not received in time for the application review.
  • Who should I ask for letters of recommendation?
    • We require:
      • One letter from a math or science teacher.
      • The other letter may be from another individual (e.g. school administrator, counselor, minister, etc.)
  • Are the applications reviewed on a rolling basis?
    • No, all applications are reviewed together after the deadline. Submitting early does not affect your chances of getting accepted into the program. However, we do encourage you to apply early to ensure that we get all of your documents (letters of recommendation, official transcript) in time before the deadline.