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2020 Community College Summer Enrichment Program

"This experience exceeded my expectations, because it not only gave me hands-on research experience, but it allowed me to network and take advantage of NIH resources that will help me with my future goals." --CCSEP Participant

The application for summer 2020 is now CLOSED.

We are pleased to announce the 2020 NIH Community College Summer Enrichment Program (CCSEP). The purpose of this program is to increase the number of community college students who participate in the NIH Summer Internship Program (SIP). The long-term goal is to increase the number of community college students who transfer to four-year colleges and universities and consider careers in the biomedical sciences (At the NIH "biomedical sciences" includes everything from behavioral and social sciences, through biology and chemistry, to physics, mathematical modeling, computational biology, and biostatistics). In addition to performing full-time research in a laboratory or on a project at the NIH, CCSEP interns will meet each week as a group with students in the College Summer Opportunities to Advance Research (C-SOAR) program. Together they will participate in workshops and courses focused on the development of academic and professional skills in preparation for careers in health care and in social, behavioral, and biomedical research.

CCSEP/C-SOAR activities will include:

  • Full-time research
  • An Orientation Week
  • A leadership development program focused on self-exploration, building resiliency, understanding conflict, finding mentors, and understanding emotional intelligence
  • The NIH Graduate & Professional School Fair
  • NIH Summer Poster Day
  • Completion of an Individual Development Plan or IDP

Attendance at these CCSEP/C-SOAR group activities will be required.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Community college students from areas that have been negatively impacted by recent natural disasters are particularly encouraged to apply.

CCSEP interns are a part of the larger NIH Summer Internship Program or SIP, so all opportunities and responsibilities that apply to other SIP interns also apply to CCSEP interns.


CCSEP applicants must meet all eligibility requirements for the NIH Summer Internship Program. They must be:

  • U.S. citizens or permanent residents;
  • Enrolled at least half-time in an accredited Community College (this includes two-year Tribal Colleges) in the U.S.** at the time of application submission; and
  • At least seventeen years of age by June 15, 2020.

In addition, they must have a minimum GPA of 3.0.

**Students enrolled in dual-programs with four-year institutions or high school accelerated programs are ineligible for CCSEP.


To Apply

To apply, you must complete the standard SIP application and indicate in your cover letter that you are applying for CCSEP.  The online application deadline is January 17, 2020.  Reference letters should be submitted by January 17, 2020.  IMPORTANT: In item 9 on the Summer Internship Program application, SIP Subprogram Selection, please be certain to select CCSEP.

Watch the YouTube video entitled Successfully Applying to CCSEP.

How will the program work?

The selection committee will review CCSEP applications, and applicants will be informed of the committee's decisions by the end of February. Applicants who are not selected for this internship will be released into the general pool of applicants for the NIH Summer Internship Program and will be advised about the selection process for SIP to maximize their chances of admission.

Individuals who are selected for the CCSEP will be matched with NIH principal investigators (PIs) who have indicated their interest in hosting a community college student. Every effort will be made to match the research interests the applicant describes in the application with the principal investigator's ongoing projects. CCSEP applicants should not contact NIH intramural scientists to discuss placements on their own.

ALL interns in the CCSEP program will be required to be on campus during the core program period: from June 1, 2020 to August 7, 2020. The possibility of remaining at the NIH for a short time after August 9th can be negotiated between the CCSEP intern and the PI.  Summer internships are full-time positions; interns are expected to devote a minimum of 40 hours per week to their projects and training. In return, interns receive a stipend, determined by educational level. Funds for local transportation to and from the NIH will be provided as well.

Table comparing CCSEP and other summer programs at the NIH

Support for CCSEP is generously provided by the NIH Office of Research on Women's Health, the NIH Office of AIDS Research, and the Foundation for Advanced Education in the Sciences.

Quotes from CCSEP Participants

"It is a great program! Most of the seminars were extremely helpful to my research, and I was really glad that there were talks geared to help those with limited research experience (the lab notebook and ethics lectures were especially useful). The program exceeded my expectations, and made starting out in my lab far less intimidating."

"The program met my expectations because I got a lot from the training sessions and gained research experience. I now know what being a scientist entails."

"I learned a lot about science and the careers it offers."