Skip to Content

High School Scientific Training and Enrichment Program (HiSTEP)

This application is now closed.

What is the HiSTEP experience? Click here to watch an informational video

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Intramural Training & Education and Office of Scientific Workforce Diversity are proud to host the High School Scientific Training and Enrichment Program (HiSTEP). The goal of HiSTEP is to expand the pipeline of students interested in biomedical and healthcare careers by providing opportunities for high school students from schools with a large population of financially-disadvantaged students. We encourage current high school juniors interested in STEM-M (science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medically-related) fields to apply. 

HiSTEP students will take part in a seven-week, full-time summer internship located on the main NIH campus in Bethesda, MD from June 26th to August 9th, 2018. HiSTEP students will explore the breadth of the scientific enterprise, the importance of biomedical research, and many STEM-M careers. They will participate in workshops, lectures, and hands-on activities. Students will receive Transhare benefits to cover the cost of public transportation and a stipend determined by their education level completed prior to starting at the NIH.

The HiSTEP Program includes activities on the following topics:

  • Basic Science Skills: Students conduct hands-on science experiments to learn and develop basic skills that scientists use in a laboratory setting.
  • Hot Topics in the Health Sciences: Students discuss case studies, engage in group projects and examine current hot topics in human health.
  • Exploring STEM-M Careers: Students experience the scientific enterprise and learn about the roles played by scientists, health care workers, and public health experts.
  • Career Readiness and Leadership Development: Students are aided in the development of self-awareness, assertiveness, and interpersonal and resiliency skills. Success in college and in STEM-M careers depends on these skills.
  • College and Career Advising: Students are provided with resources to help them understand the college application process, find scholarships and mentors, and have a successful transition to college. HiSTEP staff facilitate discussions about exploring careers, finding internships, writing resumes and cover letters, interviewing, and professionalism.

Eligibility Criteria: Eligibility criteria for HiSTEP 2019 will be posted in fall 2018.

Special NOTES:

  • High school seniors are not eligible for this program. However, high school seniors who qualify are eligible to apply to HiSTEP 2.0, a research internship program for high school seniors and HiSTEP alumni. Please refer to the HiSTEP 2.0 website for additional information and important deadlines pertaining to the program, which will take place from June 18th, 2018 to August 9th, 2018.
  • Table comparing HiSTEP and other summer programs at the NIH.

Application Process
Applicants must complete the NIH Summer Internship Program (SIP) application online. Please note that there are several subprograms, including HiSTEP, under SIP. Students MUST choose 'HiSTEP' in Item 9 to be considered for the HiSTEP program.

For help preparing your application, please read our "Instructions for Completing the Application for HiSTEP" and "HiSTEP FAQs". Potential applicants, high school teachers, and guidance counselors are also welcome to contact us with questions.

The HiSTEP application deadline is January 25th, 2018 at 11:59 pm. Letters of recommendation must be submitted by 11:59 pm on February 1st, 2018. All applications materials must be received by February 1st for full consideration.

How does the selection process work?
The selection committee will review applications in February. Potential program participants will be interviewed by phone in early March. We will notify applicants of the committee's final decisions by the end of March. Participants will take place in a classroom and lab-based curriculum - HiSTEP students do not conduct full-time research. Thus, applicants should not contact investigators for research group placements. 

Before HiSTEP begins, we will invite program participants and a parent/legal guardian to visit NIH to learn more about the program. Students will also complete internship paperwork and required training. Summer internships are considered full-time positions. All NIH-HiSTEP interns must be on campus from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm, Monday through Friday, from June 26th, 2018 through August 9th, 2018 (with the exception of the July 4th holiday).

Read more about students' experience in HiSTEP in this article from the NIH Record.

What HiSTEP alumni say about the program:
"Being here at NIH has given me the opportunity to learn that there is a variety of things that I can get into and that my future is broad and I am not limited to one thing"

"HiSTEP has really made me realize how much I love science, I would not want to spend my summer anywhere else."

"The NIH HiSTEP experience has truly been one of the best experiences I have had so far. I was able to learn so much more about myself and my potential. The opportunities at HiSTEP has helped me to overcome fears and gain confidence in myself."

"What the HiSTEP program did was give me a family and a team that made me feel comfortable with the application process to know what is going on"

The HiSTEP Program is a collaborative effort of many individuals across NIH Institutes and Centers. We especially acknowledge critical contributions provided by the NIH Office of the Director, the NIH Office of Research on Women's Health, the NIH Office of AIDS Research, the Foundation for Advanced Education in the Sciences, and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.