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Welcome to the 2021 Virtual Summer Internship Program

One thing is certain: Summer 2021 will be different from any summer before or (hopefully) after. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, ALL SUMMER INTERNS WILL BE VIRTUAL; we will need, as a community, to cooperate to teach and mentor, learn and do science, remotely.


First: Let's clarify the complex summer plan for 2021.

Target AudiencePrograms for NIH Summer InternsPrograms for those who are NOT NIH Summer Interns (general public)
Students in college, graduate, or professional school Summer Internship Program (SIP) Summer Enrichment Curriculum
High school students High school SIP (HS-SIP) High School Summer Enrichment Curriculum (also for recent high school graduates)

If you are a Summer Intern, YOU ARE IN THE RIGHT PLACE. Read on to learn more about how the program will work: the activities included and the system you will use to access NIH resources.

If you are a High School Summer Intern, YOU ARE IN THE RIGHT PLACE TOO. Keep reading and then also check out the detailed description of HS-SIP after you finish the general SIP description below.

If you were not selected as a summer intern but are interested in participating in virtual summer events offered by the NIH, take a look at the 2021 Virtual Summer Enrichment Curriculum or the 2021 Virtual Summer Enrichment Curriculum for High School Students and Recent High School Graduates, a listing of NIH science activities that are open to ALL young scientists this summer.


Summer Internship Program Activities

The summer program plan will consist of eight elements. The idea is that each intern will work with his/her mentor to create a summer plan that supplements the intern’s virtual project with other career and scientific development activities to help the intern explore his/her interest and create a meaningful full-time experience. Here is a brief list of your summer options with links that will connect you to additional information.

  1. Most important: Each intern will focus a significant part of his/her effort and time on a virtual summer project. You will work on you project under the supervision of your summer mentor.

  2. summer intern curriculum provided by OITE: that will include orientations for both HS-SIP and SIP participants in addition to series of workshops addressing becoming a resilient scientist (with associated discussion sessions), career development for high school students and graduate and/or professional school preparation for college students, and career development and science skills.

    These workshops are scheduled for Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday afternoons to permit interns in the western time zones to participate.The workshops (but not the orientations) will be available to interested students in the extramural community, as they were last year.

  3. NIH Science at Home: As we did in 2020, the OITE has reserved Fridays for presentations by the ICs. Many of the 27 Institutes and Centers (such as the National Cancer Institute, the National Eye Institute, the National Center for Advancing Translational Science, the National Human Genome Research Institute) that make up the NIH, will be offering activities: investigators discussing their research, panels on the careers IC trainees pursue, or perhaps workshops on current important issues in their disciplines. We will also post IC journal clubs and lecture series that are open to summer interns across the NIH. Watch the summer schedule!

  4. Summer bootcamps: The bootcamps will focus on particular issues in science, either as a multi-week series or an in-depth one-week exploration. The topics will be
    1. Principles of Scientific Thinking
    2. Social (In)Justice in Research and Medicine
    3. Clinical Trials
    4. Health Disparities
    5. Common Misconceptions about the Human Mind and Behavior
    6. The Therapeutic Development Process
    7. Data Science
    8. Leadership AcademyS
  5. Summer Journal Clubs: Journal clubs are small groups that get together to read scientific papers on a topic of joint interest. By participating, you can meet other summer interns, learn about new techniques and discoveries, and develop the ability to read papers critically. As in past years, we have offered more advanced NIH trainees the opportunity, working in pairs, to run a 4 to 6 week journal club during the period between June 14th and July 30.

  6. Summer Lecture Series:

    Lecture 1:

    Anna María Nápoles, PhD, MPH
    Scientific Director
    National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities

    Date: June 15, 2021
    Time: 11:00 am – 12:00 pm
    Title: The Transcreation Framework: Translating Behavioral Interventions to Reduce Health Disparities

    Dr. Anna Maria Napoles will describe her career path to becoming Scientific Director of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities. She will discuss an innovative implementation framework that she developed with colleague, Dr. Anita Stewart, to create a step-by-step process for planning, delivering, and evaluating behavioral interventions so that they resonate with and engage the communities experiencing the disparities, while achieving the intended health outcomes.

    Lecture 2:

    Francis Collins, MD/PhD
    National Institutes of Health

    Date: June 29, 2021
    Time: 1:00–2:00 pm
    Title: TBD

  7. In Their Own Words: The NIH Experiences and Career Paths of Prior and Current NIH Trainees. In this series, past and current NIH summer interns and postbacs from disadvantaged backgrounds and groups underrepresented in the sciences will talk about their research and share insights into what it's like to work at the NIH. They will also discuss their educational and career journeys, including their paths to the NIH and the challenges they faced along the way.

  8. The 2021 Virtual Graduate & Professional School Fair: This year the fair is scheduled for July 19-22, with live workshops on the 19th and online exhibitor sessions on the 20th, 21st, and 22nd. As of this today, more than 270 institutions have registered to participate

  9. Virtual Summer Presentation Week: August 3-5

Accessing NIH Resources Remotely: a Message from the NIH Center for Information Technology

NIH Virtual Desktop Infrastructure

Welcome to the NIH 2021 Summer Internship Program! To ensure you can successfully work on your research project remotely, NIH is offering a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) that gives you access to the appropriate NIH resources.

What Is VDI?

VDI is a technology that allows you to access a virtual desktop environment from any computer. With VDI, you can securely access NIH resources, such as your NIH email, web browsers, web conferencing tools, file-storage and file-sharing tools, Microsoft 365 applications, and scientific applications—all from your personal computer.