The Summer High School Internship Program (SHIP) is an eight-week, full-time paid internship for rising 12th graders. Selected interns attend an orientation day, then begin the internship with one week of hands-on training in laboratory safety techniques and skills in our Training Labs, followed by seven weeks of supervised shadowing and training in a Fred Hutch host mentor’s research lab. Interns also attend weekly workshops and seminars and make a presentation during the final week.
We encourage all applicants to learn more about faculty research and each of our scientific divisions. Applicants should ensure they meet the eligibility requirements (listed below) and we recommend assembling application materials early, even before the application opens.
2020 SHIP Dates
Feb 1: Online application opens
Mar 31: Online application closes - All materials, including references, are due by 11:59 pm on March 31.
June 25 and June 29 to Aug 21: Summer program
Interns are responsible for securing their own housing and transportation during their internship. The program does not provide or arrange housing.
Before you apply, make sure you have contact information for your recommenders, your short essay response form (PDF), resume (PDF) and transcripts (PDF) ready to upload. Your most recent transcripts are acceptable, even if they do not have final grades for your most recent semester. Unofficial transcripts that have the school's header are acceptable; however, applicants should be prepared to supply official transcripts upon request.
Recommenders must submit our recommendation form in PDF format, according to instructions we will email directly to them after your application is submitted. You do not need to submit the recommendations when you submit the application, but you must include the email contact information for your recommenders. We require two recommendation forms and will not accept additional letters or emailed recommendations.
Late or incomplete applications, including those that do not receive recommendations, will not be considered.
Please read this page completely and carefully; we do our best to answer all inquiries, but due to the high volume of inquiries we will not be able to respond to questions that are already answered on this page. For additional questions about the program or application process, please contact us.
SHIP staff are not able to facilitate research internships for students outside of the eight-week summer program and will not accept unsolicited or late applications.
The SHIP is a highly competitive program. While adhering to the following recommendations does not guarantee acceptance into the program, it does improve your chances of creating a successful application. In addition to these tips, don’t forget to proofread your application thoroughly for accuracy and completeness before submitting.
Before you begin your application, set aside additional time to learn about Fred Hutch. Browse the Hutch’s faculty page to learn more about the investigators who work at the Hutch and the types of research they conduct. This will allow you to submit a more well-informed application.
Our program requires recommenders to complete and submit our recommendation form; we do not accept free-form recommendation letters. Let your recommender know about the form as soon as you ask him/her.
An informative recommendation should come from someone who can highlight the strengths you have that are relevant to the program, your quality as a student compared to other students, the accomplishments your achieved and how this program will further your academic and/or career goals.
When requesting a recommendation:
Give your references a copy of your resume and/or the following information:
Once you submit your application, our system will automatically send your references an email message with further information, including submission instructions.
Start early. The short essay responses provide an opportunity to share experiences and perspectives that don't show up in a resume or transcript. It's also the primary place where you can elaborate on the other parts of your application (i.e., resume and transcript). The essays should be written with full sentences and should be composed paragraphs.
Ask a friends, teachers and advisors to review your short essay responses for content, clarity and grammar. The prompts for the short essay responses will be available when the application opens.
We ask interns to commit up to 40 hours a week, Monday–Friday. The days typically start between 8–9 a.m. and end between 4–5 p.m., with time for lunch and breaks in between.
No. Accepted interns must be available for the entire duration of the program with rare exceptions (e.g. unforeseen medical needs or family emergencies, short-duration national academic events, school-related athletic or academic competitions, etc.). Any foreseeable absences should be brought to the program director's attention at the time of an interview.
No. You just need to have interest and enthusiasm for learning about science and biomedical research and recommendations suggesting that you are a responsible, committed person.
During the first week, the entire intern cohort participates in safety, laboratory and other training. The laboratory training covers fundamental lab skills like using a pipet, making solutions and dilutions, sterile technique and tissue culture (non-primate), blood separation (non-primate), DNA isolation, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and gel electrophoresis. Other training during the first week includes lectures and discussions about the central dogma (DNA makes RNA makes protein) and hematopoiesis, as well as discussions with experienced students on how to maximize your internship.
Interns are placed in pairs and join a host mentor/lab at the beginning of the second week of the program. The daily routine of interns varies greatly from lab to lab, based on the ongoing work. Interns arrange daily schedules and hours with their host mentor and are on campus within normal business hours (see above). The daily routine is determined by the host mentor and may include data entry, attending regular laboratory meetings, making solutions or dilutions, creating culture plates, and other tasks. Interns under 18 (most interns) are not allowed to handle hazardous materials, so may observe ongoing work in the host lab. The entire intern cohort participates in weekly interactive presentations on ethics, "meet the scientist" sessions, health disparities research, "Big Data" visualization, making a good presentation, and biostatistics. These required cohort-based activities typically take place on Friday afternoons. The internship concludes with a reflection presentation that summarizes what interns did and learned, as well as future directions for their academic and career development. The presentation is open to the Fred Hutch community, teachers and interns' families.
Optional activities may include
Yes, interns are provided a stipend. More details will be provided to applicants invited for an interview.
Yes. Many high school students and undergraduates are surprised to find there is a place in biology and medicine for people with strong interest or skills in computer science or math. However, interest or skills in computer science or math is absolutely NOT a requirement to be competitive for admissions to the program.
No, we are not able to help arrange housing for internships.
All applicants will be notified of their status by mid-May.
We do not recommend it. We will not review your application if you do not meet the eligibility criteria. If you are not eligible for the High School Summer Internship Program, you can apply for the Pathways Explorers program.
On the Fred Hutch campus in the South Lake Union neighborhood of Seattle, Washington.
Workplace casual attire. Interns must be dressed for laboratory safety (sturdy, closed-toe shoes; long pants; and hair, scarves, or necklaces pulled back or otherwise secured). Jeans and t-shirts are fine.
Interns must have completed the equivalent of 11th grade, but have not yet graduated high school. Participation in Running Start will not necessarily affect this criterion. The SHIP is designed for students who will enter their final year of high school (i.e. earn their high school diploma) in the academic year that immediately follows their participation in the summer program. For the vast majority of students, this refers to the summer between 11th and 12th grades.
If you take classes through Running Start, you likely have transcripts from both your high school and the college at which you take Running Start classes. Please submit both transcripts as a single PDF in the "transcripts" section of the application. To get the two transcripts into a single file, you can either scan them at once OR use PDF merge software, such as PDF Mergy, which is available in Google Drive.