Skip to Content

2021 Community College Summer Enrichment Program

COVID-19 UPDATE: Due to continued uncertainties about travel and operations across the US, the Community College Summer Enrichment Program will not be accepting new applications for summer 2021. While we are currently planning to open the application in mid-November, it is possible that all 2021 internships will be virtual/remote. Our priority is the safety of our staff, trainees, and communities. We encourage you to seek out opportunities at your local research universities and institutions. We will post updates regarding the NIH Summer Internship Program (SIP) 2021 as soon as we have additional information. We would welcome your application, given this information.

The CCSEP program will only be open to students who were selected for summer 2020.  Students who were selected for HiSTEP 2.0 or CCSEP in summer 2020, are still eligible for CCSEP, and are interested in participating in CCSEP 2021 should submit their 2021 applications by December 15, 2020 to secure their participation.   If you are interested in applying to the NIH Summer Internship Program, please visit for information.  In the meantime, questions may be directed to  For questions regarding CCSEP, please email Dr. Erika Barr (

The purpose of the 2021 NIH Community College Summer Enrichment Program (CCSEP) 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 or possibly virtually, CCSEP interns will meet each week as a group (in-person or virtually) 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 most probably include:

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

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, 2021.

In addition applicants must have a minimum GPA of 3.0, must have been accepted into HiSTEP 2.0 or CCSEP for summer 2020, and must still be eligible for CCSEP.

**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 2021 SIP application and indicate in your cover letter that you are applying for CCSEP.  The online application deadline is December 15, 2020 for students who were selected for the 2020 SIP cohort. Please be certain to note that you were selected for HiSTEP 2.0 or CCSEP 2020 in your cover letter.

NOTE: You will NOT need to submit reference letters; we will use the letters from your application for summer 2021.

Watch the YouTube video entitled Successfully Applying to CCSEP if you need assistance.

How will the program work?

Individuals who were selected to participate in the 2020 CCSEP Program and have submitted an application for summer 2021 will work closely with OITE staff throughout the mentor selection process. They 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 available during the core program period: from June 7, 2021 to August 6, 2021. 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. If the program is on-site rather than virtual, 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."