Research Ignited

A Guide to High School Research Programs (with a North Carolina Spotlight)

The United States is a powerhouse of innovation and research. For ambitious high school students, there’s a fantastic opportunity to get involved in cutting-edge research programs! Participating in these programs allows you to:

  • Dive Deep into a Topic You’re Passionate About: Explore a field that excites you, gain valuable hands-on experience, and contribute to real-world research.
  • Develop Invaluable Skills: Research programs hone your critical thinking, problem-solving, communication, and time-management skills – all highly sought after by colleges and future employers.
  • Boost Your College Applications: Stand out from the crowd with a research experience on your resume. This demonstrates initiative, intellectual curiosity, and a strong foundation for future academic success.


Explore Nationwide Opportunities:

Our journey begins with a glimpse into some exciting research programs across the country:

  • Research Science Institute (RSI) at MIT: This prestigious six-week summer program offers intensive research experiences in science and engineering for high-achieving high school students. Work alongside leading researchers on cutting-edge projects. (Highly competitive) (
  • Stanford University’s Entering Research Program (SUnSER): Collaborate with Stanford faculty on ongoing research projects throughout the academic year. Gain hands-on experience in a specific field of study. Open to students in the San Francisco Bay Area. (
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship: This scholarship program supports high school seniors passionate about marine and atmospheric sciences. It provides funding for research, mentorship, and summer internships at NOAA facilities, launching your career in these exciting fields. (
  • National Institutes of Health (NIH) Summer Internship Program (SIP): Work alongside leading scientists and researchers at the National Institutes of Health. Gain hands-on biomedical research experience and explore potential medical research careers. (
  • Student Science Training Program (SSTP) at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR): This program provides research opportunities in atmospheric and geosciences for high school students from underrepresented groups. Work on real-world projects, interact with NCAR scientists, and explore careers in these fields. (


North Carolina: A Hub for Research Exploration

North Carolina fosters a vibrant research environment for high schoolers. Here are some exceptional programs in the Tar Heel State:

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