The Summer High School Internship Program (SHIP) is an eight-week, full-time paid internship for rising 12th graders, with special consideration given to students from backgrounds underrepresented in biomedical science. Selected interns attend an orientation day, then begin the internship with one week of hands-on training on laboratory safety techniques and skills in the Fred Hutch Training Labs. For the remaining seven weeks, interns are paired and immersed in mentored activities in a Fred Hutch research group in Seattle. Interns also participate in research education seminars, attend professional development workshops focused on college and careers and enjoy social activities with their teams and peers. The program culminates with intern presentations to the Fred Hutch community.
The COVID-19 pandemic may cause us to change the format of our 2021 summer internship program. It is too soon to tell what will happen.
The heart of the internship is a seven-week immersion in a research group on the Fred Hutch campus in Seattle, but to optimize the safety and well-being of our staff and the larger community, we are now temporarily transitioning almost all on-site work to remote work. Those whose work in labs are coming to campus on a limited basis. Many are working remotely - collaborating with peers, writing grant proposals, reviewing articles and papers, conducting analyses and offering their expertise as needed.
If you have immediate questions, please contact us at HSinternship@fredhutch.org
Interns are responsible for securing their own housing and transportation during their internship. The program does not provide or arrange housing.
The SHIP application has two online components — an applicant section that you complete and a separate online form that your references complete. We require two recommendations for your application to be considered.
Thoroughly review the application and complete your section well in advance of the deadline. A PDF of the 2020 application is available for your review. Proofread your application and essays carefully. You will not be able to go back into the system after you submit your application. Your references will not receive a recommendation request until your portion is submitted.
To apply, you must:
Once you complete your part of the application, we will email a recommendation link to your references. Submit your section early so your references have time to complete their form.
All application materials, including references, are due by 11:59 pm on March 31.
Read this entire page carefully. Due to the high volume of inquiries, we will not respond to questions that are already answered on this page. For additional questions about the program or application process, please contact us.
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.
Before you apply, make sure you have contact information for your two recommenders, your resume (PDF) and your transcripts (PDF) ready to upload. Your most recent transcripts are acceptable, even if they do not have final grades for your current semester. Unofficial transcripts with the school's header are acceptable; however, applicants should be prepared to supply official transcripts upon request.
References must complete our online recommendation form, 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 will not accept additional letters or emailed recommendations.
Late or incomplete applications, including those that do not receive recommendations, will not be considered.
Before you begin your application, set aside additional time to learn about Fred Hutch. We encourage all applicants to review the information on our research areas and scientific divisions. You may also 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 use our online recommendation form; we do not accept free-form letters. Let your recommender know they will receive a link to the online form after you submit your portion of the application.
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:
How the recommendation should be submitted:
We require a specific, easy-to-complete online recommendation form. We do not accept free-form letters. In addition to contact information, our form asks your references to:
After you submit your portion of the application, your references will receive an email with a link to the recommendation form.
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 well-composed paragraphs.
Ask friends, teachers and advisors to review your short essay responses for content, clarity and grammar.
The 2020 essay questions are as follows. Each response has a 1,000 character limit (spaces included):
Question 1: Internships are valuable to young people, regardless of background. Please share with us (a) how the Summer High School Internship Program will help you specifically, and (b) how this internship compares with other opportunities inside and outside of school that are available to you.
Question 2: Beyond lab research, group activities are an important part of SHIP. Please tell us about the qualities you have that will allow you to contribute to the group activities.
Question 3: Please elaborate on an experience where you overcame a challenge. The challenge may have been at school, in a job, in a position of responsibility/leadership, or at home. We’re more interested in what you did to succeed than in the challenge itself.
Question 4: Is there anything else you can tell us about yourself that sets you apart from other applicants? Please use this space to share something about you that is important for us to know, such as a disadvantage you face or a special accomplishment you have achieved. Do not use this space to circumvent the space limits of the other questions.
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 over lunch on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and all day on Fridays. 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.
We use an online system for references to complete a recommendation form. Recommendation forms are due by the application deadline, March 31. Once you submit your application, an email will notify your recommenders how to access the online form. They must use this form. We do not accept free-form letters.
All applicants will be notified of their status by mid-May.
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.
Please contact us with questions that are not addressed on this webpage.
SHIP staff do not facilitate research internships for students outside of the 8-week summer program and will not accept unsolicited or late applications.