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Summer internships for high school and CC students

Summer 2021 Cohort

SHTEM Program
Applications are closed. If you are interested in being notified of when applications for our Summer 2022 program, you may sign up for a notification here.

The following updates are made regarding Summer 2021:
We have made some notable changes to this coming summer’s program so please be informed before proceeding:

  • The program will be entirely remote. Students will be engaging in the program over Zoom and Slack communication.

  • For the first time, we will be admitting community college (CC) students of age 21 and under at the time of application (early CC students). High school students and CC students will be placed in project groups among their respective peers. In other words, in daily activities, high school students will interact among other high school students and CC students will interact with other CC students, with the exception of program-wide activities such as orientation and final presentations.

  • Update 1/18/21: We have made a clarification on the eligibility criteria. Please see below and the FAQ for more details.

The Stanford Compression Forum is offering its annual summer internship program for the Summer of 2021. We are looking for passionate high school and early CC students interested in pursuing fun research projects over the summer.

This internship is intended to provide early exposure to research transcending traditional disciplinary boundaries. Students will be grouped to multifaceted projects that will benefit from their existing interests and strengths, while exposing them to new areas. Projects will be mentored by students, faculty and staff of the Stanford Compression Forum and its affiliated organizations. Themes will span and combine the science of information and communication, engineering, the arts, linguistics, psychology, biology, neuroscience, computer science, technology, philosophy, and design, among other areas.    

Program Goals:

  • Provide high school and CC students early exposure to cutting-edge research in an academic environment

  • Introduce students to the diversity of research topics pursued in engineering

  • Emphasize the inseparability of the humanities and the human element from research in STEM

Eligibility (all requirements must be met to apply):

  • Must be currently a high school junior or senior in the 2020-2021 school year (i.e. 11th or 12th grade at the time of application) OR a full-time CC student (within first three years of CC)

  • If you are a high school junior or senior, you must be within the ages of 14-18 (inclusive) by June 21. If you are a full-time CC student, you must be within the ages of 17-21 (inclusive) by June 21.

  • Must currently reside in the US and/or be a US citizen

No exceptions can be made for the eligibility requirements.


The internship program for Summer 2021 will be 8 weeks long. Students are expected to attend the entire duration of the internship.

  • Start date: Monday, June 21, 2021

  • End date: Friday, August 13, 2021

Housing and Transportation:

The program for Summer 2021 will be remote. There will be no requirement to physically come to the Stanford campus.


Applications for Summer 2021 are closed. If you are interested in being notified of when applications for our Summer 2022 program, you may sign up for a notification here If you had trouble submitting your letter of recommendation and/or your application fee, please email us at if you haven't already.

Submit your $50 application fee here.

If you are having technical difficulties on application fee payment system, please see the instructions.

If the application fee poses a financial burden, submit a fee waiver here and we will notify you of further instructions shortly after you submit your application.

Financial Assistance:

Although this internship is unpaid, if commuting to Stanford and/or spending the time needed to participate in this program would pose a financial burden, please let us know in your application.

We’d love to be able to admit all applicants. But that is not realistic. If you’re not admitted, it’s because we failed to integrate you into the few projects we were able to create with our group of mentors.   

Examples for application supplement:

  • If you enjoy playing an instrument, can provide a link to a youtube video of you playing

  • If you’re into poetry, can send us a poem you’ve written

  • If you’re into gaming, can provide a link to a video of you playing

  • If you’re into robotics, can provide a link to a video of a robot you built in action

  • If you’re into acting, can provide a link to a video of a play in which you performed

  • If you’re into dancing, a link to a video of you dancing

  • If you’re into math, show us a math problem you enjoyed and for which you were able to find an elegant solution

  • If you’re into computer coding, send us code for a cool program you’ve written     

  • If you’re into design, a description + photo of something you designed

  • If you’re into building, a description + photo of something you built

  • If you’re into an art, a description + photo/link/file of something you created

  • If you’re into volunteering, a description of something you volunteered to do or organize that you think did good to others

  • If you’re into comedy, send us some of your jokes or a link to a video of you performing stand up  

  • If you’re into filmography, a link to a short film whose creation you were involved in

  • If you’re into a sport, a video of you in action  

  • If you consider yourself an activist, describe an action you took or event you were involved in that was geared toward making the change you want to see   

  • Maybe you’re into something which is not yet a thing, something of a totally new nature, hard to classify into any existing area. We’d love for you to choose to exhibit or describe a sample from your activity related to that. 

Past Projects:

Video presentations and online journal (2021)
Video presentations and online journal (2020)
Video presentations and our online journal (2019)
Humans are awesome (2018)


August 2020

Presentation Day from Summer 2020

March 2020
SHTEM was highlighted by Stanford News! Check out our interview with them here: High school interns inspire new research paths.

December 2019

SHTEM was mentioned on the 2019 series finale of HBO's Silicon Valley (the above photo shows SHTEM on the whiteboard). Richard Hendricks serves as a great fictional mentor! Read more about Professor Tsachy Weissman's involvement in the program here.

Two interns from 2019, Aditi Talati and Karan Bhasin had their work from the summer accepted at the 2020 Human-Robot Interaction (HRI) conference. Congratulations!

Presentation Day from Summer 2019

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):

  • My student is currently a high school sophomore and will be a rising junior. OR My student meets the age requirement but is not currently a junior or senior in high school. Can they apply?
  • No, they are not eligible, but we encourage you to apply next year! Students must meet ALL eligibility requirements to be eligible.

  • Will the 2021 program be remote or in-person?
  • The program will be remote.

  • How many rounds of application are there? Is there a waiting list?
  • We conduct a single round of applications, and there is no waiting list.

  • How many high school students are typically accepted?
  • In our second year (Summer 2020), we accepted ~60 students. This number may change next year.

  • Can international students apply?
  • We currently cannot accept international students.

  • I'm a US Citizen but not currently residing in the US. Can I apply?
  • Yes, you can apply.

  • Does the program typically involve group mentoring or is it primarily 1:1 research mentoring?
  • Students are mentored in groups in sizes ranging from 2-5.

  • Does the program provide housing?
  • The 2021 program will be entirely remote. (Answer from past years: We do not provide housing. Students are responsible for having a living arrangement and commuting to campus. Note that students under the age of 18 are not allowed to live without residential supervision.)

  • Do potential applicants need to have any prior research experience?
  • No. Students are not expected to have prior research experience. We especially encourage students without any research experience to apply.

  • Does this program include an interview component?
  • No.

  • What particular skills do you look for in potential applicants?
  • We are looking for driven students who are eager to learn in a fast-paced environment.

  • Can research projects completed during this internship be submitted to any Science fairs such as Google Science Fair or Regeneron or Siemens/Discovery Edu?
  • This is determined on an individual basis during the internship.

  • Can previous SHTEM interns apply?
  • We welcome returning interns to apply, but preference will be given to applicants without SHTEM experience.

  • Is there a cost to attending the program?
  • Besides the $50 application fee, there is no cost to participate. For students who demonstrate financial need, we provide stipends.

  • My student is a high school student. Will they be interacting with college students?
  • Only in program-wide activities. All college students will be subject to Stanford’s Protection of Minors policy and interactions with minors is strictly limited to the internship program.

  • Since the program is remote, what are daily activities like?
  • You will spend most of the time conducting research from where you are residing (if you are working on hardware projects, we will send you materials) and be in regular communication with your mentor(s) and group members. You may expect 30-40 hours of work a week. Your day-to-day schedule is determined between you and your mentor once you have been assigned to a project. If you have possible conflicts, please mention them in your application.

If you have questions/concerns (please read the FAQ first for questions on eligibility; we cannot make exceptions on any of these criteria), reach us at

Donate Today  Please add the wording "STEM to SHTEM GWOFJ" in Special Instructions to be sure it routes to our program.