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Summer internships for high school students

Presentation Day from Summer 2020

STEM to SHTEM Program

Applications for Summer 2021 will open early 2021. Please sign up to be notified when the application opens here.

The Stanford Compression Forum is offering its annual summer internship program for the Summer of 2020. We are looking for passionate high school 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 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 2019-2020 school year (i.e. 11th or 12th grade at the time of application)

  • Must be 14 or older by June 2020

  • Must be willing to come to Stanford consistently for the duration of the internship

  • 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 2020 will be 8 weeks long. Students are expected to attend the entire duration of the internship.

  • Start date: Monday, June 15, 2020

  • End date: Friday, August 7, 2020

Housing and Transportation:

The program does not provide transportation or housing for students. Students are expected to find appropriate arrangements and means for coming to campus. However, each student will receive a transportation stipend to assist their attendance.


Applications for Summer 2020 are closed.

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 unlikely to be realistic. If you’re not admitted, it’s because we failed to integrate you into any of the few projects we were able to create within our highly constrained and relatively small group of potential mentors. We would then encourage you to apply again next year.   

If you are having technical difficulties on application fee payment system, please see the instructions before emailing. If you have questions/concerns, reach us at

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:

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


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

December 2019

STEM to SHTEM was mentioned on the 2019 series finale of HBO's Silicon Valley (the above photo shows STEM to 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):

  • When will the application for 2021 open?
  • We will release the application early 2021.

  • When will results for the 2021 program be released?
  • We intend to notify applicants by early April.

  • Will the 2021 program be remote or in-person?
  • We are still finalizing details for next summer. We will have these details finalized when the application opens.

  • 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.

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