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2021 Community College Summer Enrichment Program

COVID-19 UPDATE: We are now able to share information regarding the 2021 NIH Summer Internship Program (SIP) and High School Summer Internship Program (HS-SIP). We held off deciding whether to hold an in-person, virtual, or hybrid program in 2021 as long as possible with the hopes that we would feel safe inviting hundreds of new interns to campus this June. Unfortunately, it is clear that we still face uncertain times with continuing difficulty integrating trainees who started during the pandemic. Therefore, we want to let you know that SIP2021 will be fully virtual this summer.

 If you are selected to participate in the virtual summer program at the NIH, you will be engaged in a virtual project related to your lab assignment. Our goal is for you to learn about the research process and grow as a responsible and resilient scientist. If you join us you will also be able participate in various activities provided by our office, the Office of Intramural Training & Education (OITE), and/or the NIH Institutes and Centers. We will share further information on the structure and content of the virtual program with you as it becomes available. We look forward to welcoming those of you who are offered positions to Virtual SIP and Virtual HS-SIP this summer. Please send any questions to

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."