Program Description

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The High School Science Research Internship Program is an informal partnership between the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Students from MMSD are partnered with researchers at UW-Madison each summer. The goal of the program is to provide an authentic science research experience for the intern. Each intern develops and researches a question of their own, designs protocols for data collection, and collects data over the course of the summer under the guidance of a professor, degree candidate, postdoctoral candidate or research associate. As the summer ends and during the fall semester, interns write a formal research paper and design a scientific poster. The concluding event of the program is a scientific poster session, which allows the interns to communicate their findings to a larger audience and also to celebrate the completion of their internship with associates from the university, teachers, friends and family.

Program Highlights

Interns will have the opportunity to:

  • Participate in science research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison during the summer as a member of a research team
  • Design and implement an extensive research project under the supervision of a research scientist
  • Earn Credits:
    • three quarters of one high school science credit awarded by MMSD
    • one credit awarded by the UW-Madison and funded by MMSD
  • Learn how to use both high and low tech research tools and technologies
  • Meet with other interns and tour their labs during the summer seminars
  • Participate in high school research competitions (optional)
  • Publish research in a professional journal at the discretion of the professor (optional)

Minimum Requirements

  • Sophomore or junior status at an MMSD high school at time of application
  • A sincere interest in science and learning science research skills
  • Availability: a minimum of 25 hours per week for 9 weeks during the summer
  • Attend an informational meeting with a parent/guardian (March)
  • Attend brown bag seminars on campus (June-August)
  • Attend a fall seminar (September)
  • Complete a formal research paper (September-October)
  • Present scientific research poster (November)


Many people are involved in making the High School Science Research Intern partnership between the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Madison Metropolitan School District work effectively and meaningfully for all. Some of the responsibilities of those involved are as follows.

High School Interns

  • Work in your lab a minimum of 25 hours per week for a minimum of 9 weeks
  • Attend meetings and seminars
  • Collect data under the supervision of an assigned mentor
  • Periodically meet with the professor/mentor to critique the collected data
  • Periodically ask to have the stages of the research paper critiqued
  • Complete a formal research paper
  • Prepare a scientific poster and present it at the poster session in November
  • Stay in contact via email, seminars and phone with the research coordinator

Program Coordinator

  • Direct the recruitment and selection of interns
  • Direct interns in their mentor search
  • Register and grade interns for MMSD
  • Facilitate strong MMSD/UW partnership
  • Communicate with science teachers, students, UW faculty and parents
  • Plan and conduct weekly student seminars
  • Provide information on
    • application and enrollment
    • procedures for UW and Madison summer school
  • Establish and direct the work of a selection committee
  • Inform student of science research competition opportunities


  • Supervise an intern for a minimum of nine, 25 hour weeks
  • Critique the drafts of the research paper for scientific accuracy
  • Provide direct instruction or assign instruction in safety protocols of the lab
  • Provide direct instruction or assign instruction in data collection techniques
  • Provide a place and materials for collecting data
  • Attend fall poster session - optional


High School Interns

  • Experience the joys and frustrations of authentic scientific research
  • Participate in research at a world class research institution
  • Work in laboratories related to their scientific interests
  • Form beginning networks with professors and graduate students
  • Work collaboratively with more experienced researchers
  • Tour labs of fellow interns
  • Participate in local and national science research competitions

UW-Professors and Researchers

  • Fulfill the requirements of various granting institutions for outreach
  • Form an informal partnership with the school district for future interns
  • In depth teaching opportunities for degree and post doctoral candidates
  • Opportunity to share their discipline with a highly motivated, well prepared high school junior or senior

For more information, please contact:

Rachel Egan
High School Science Research Intern Program Coordinator
(608) 772-3253