Frequently Asked Questions for SIP Applicants (and Parents)

*Please refer to the COVID-19/Online Program FAQ page for information on the changes that have been made to the program for Summer 2021.

Fundamentally, when we say “real research”, we mean that no one already knows the answer. Projects are designed by the mentors based on their own research interests, and they are quite different from any lab a high school student will do in a science class. Things may go wrong, the project may go down a new route, and the SIP intern’s result may end up disproving the initial hypothesis. But no matter what happens, the intern can be assured that she/he will wind up knowing something that no one knew before!
Ultimately, students should apply to SIP if they are excited about science research. They should apply to SIP if they’ve enjoyed their science classes and want a chance to go deeper. They should apply to SIP if they’re thinking about one day being a scientist, and want to get a taste of it. They should apply to SIP if they have no idea what research is all about and want to give it a shot!
Students shouldn’t apply to SIP if they can’t commit to an entire summer of full time work. For example, if they are already taking a full load of summer courses, they probably won’t have enough time or energy to also participate in the internship.

A student also shouldn’t apply to SIP if her/his primary goal is to win a science fair competition. We are looking for students who want the experience of research immersion, not just the recognition of prizes.

Interns will spend the summer fully immersed in real research. They will learn to read professional journal articles, write code for scientific computing, gain practical experience and skills in a lab, and present scientific concepts orally and in writing. They will develop a relationship with a real scientist (their mentor), and they will learn to collaborate with other scientists towards a common goal. The program culminates in a symposium at UCSC where interns present their research to their peers, their mentor and other mentors, and their family. After the summer, some projects may be eligible for the Siemens and Regeneron Science Talent Search science competitions.
Yes, students who live outside the Bay Area are eligible for SIP but it is necessary for them to have/avail of one or more of the following options:

  • Have a local guardian who they can stay with if they wish to participate in the program in-person at UCSC. General campus housing is offered as an option to all (Bay Area and out-of-area) students and is available for all eight weeks of the program from Sunday through Thursday nights.
  • Opt for the special seven-day (weekday & weekend) campus housing option that is offered as an option to only out-of-area students.
  • Opt to be placed in one of a select number of research projects that allow for students to conduct their research remotely and connect with their mentor using an online platform. These remotely-mentored projects focus on data analysis using computer programming. Click here to see a list of all current year research project descriptions; remotely-mentored projects are noted in blue text underneath the description.
  • There are no general coursework requirements for SIP. Some programming experience will be helpful, and the SIP admissions committee does look for strong grades in the math and science courses the student has taken. Some research projects may require specific courses if specified in the project description.
    SIP mentors are scientists affiliated with UCSC. Most are graduate students or post-doctoral scholars. Some are faculty members. The mentors are, without exception, world-class scientists who are being paid by their institutions to work full time and carry out first-rate research. They participate in SIP because they are excited to introduce high school students to the research experience! They have kindly chosen to volunteer time and effort to train high school students and include them in their own research.