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Young Investigators FAQ's

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Am I qualified?

This internship is for scholars who have completed at least one year of high school. Most scholars who are accepted have completed 2 or 3 years of high school. You must live and attend school in the San Francisco Bay Area, No exceptions and not be further than 25 driving miles from campus. This opportunity is for scholars of all backgrounds. There is no age limit (except for laboratory positions). Interns must be mature and confident to talk to professors. (Please do not ask if you can be an exception! the answer is NO.)

  • Applicants must live within about 25 miles. 
  • We will accept applications from scholars living in San Francisco, on the peninsula in San Mateo County south through San Jose and Los Gatos, and in the East Bay from San Leandro south to Milpitas. 
  • Scholars coming from further away complain that the commute is too much and it impacts their experience negatively.

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

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

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

What is the diversity honorarium ($)?

For the diversity honorarium, scholars must meet at least TWO of these criteria: 

  • (a) from a group underrepresented in science (African American, Chicano/Latinx, Native American, Filipino, Pacific Islander, Southeast Asian (i.e. Cambodian, Hmong, Laotian, Vietnamese) or mixed race/multiracial groups with at least one parent from the above ethnicities.
  • (b) from a low-income household (qualify for a free or reduced lunch at school)
  • (c) plan to be the first in their family to attend college. To be eligible scholars must also be legally entitled to work in the US. 

To apply for the diversity honorarium, applicants must write a second essay (at least 2 paragraphs 200-400 words) addressing one of the following question below:

  1. Reflect on your interests, skills, personal growth, and challenges throughout high school. How do you envision applying these qualities to make a positive impact during your summer internship? Describe a specific project or initiative you would like to undertake, detailing how it aligns with your academic and career goals, and how it could contribute to your family and community.
  2. Identify a current community challenge you've observed, whether in school, your neighborhood, clubs you are a part of, or work. Explain how you could utilize STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) to create a solution for this particular challenge. 

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

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

How do I apply?

Application Login

Here are some tips for you before you start your application.

Each year, a new application is released by February 1 and is due on March 15, 2024. We do not accept late applications. View the questions before you begin. You will have to decide which program to apply to - read about the different options. One application for all options.

A letter of recommendation from a high school teacher is required.

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

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

All scholars must have adult permission to participate. Your parent/guardian will be required to electronically sign a waiver for Stanford University. The waiver information will be emailed to the person that you enter in the application from the ePOM System ( We will collect health and medical information from scholars who are on campus.

What are my chances of being accepted?

We receive between 175 and 275 applications every year. We accept between 6 and 30 scholars every year, depending on what positions are available.

When do I find out if I'm going to be an intern? When does the program begin?

The typical schedule is:

  • March 15: Applications Due
  • March 25 Letter of Recommendation Due
  • About May 1: Acceptance letters sent out
  • Third Tuesday in June: First day of Internships
  • First Thursday in August: Final Presentation

Is there an orientation before the program begins?

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

How do I get to campus each day?

You need to make your own arrangements for transportation to campus. Many interns are driven by their parents. Others ride their bikes, take the train or take the bus. Parking on campus is expensive, yet interns can be sponsored so they can purchase parking permits - talk to the program coordinator.  You must live within about 25 miles from campus.

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

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

What am I committing to?

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

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


Paige Teamey, Education Outreach Manager

Parents are encouraged to let scholars ask their own questions. If scholars have further questions, high school scholars should contact Paige Teamey via email. We are seeking interns who demonstrate a mature and strong work ethic, emphasizing that this is not a recreational camp environment. Please showcase your readiness to commit to work responsibilities and contribute proactively to the internship experience