Skip to Content

High School Scientific Training and Enrichment Program 2.0 (HiSTEP 2.0)

COVID-19 Update: In mid-March of 2020, all NIH employees, contractors, and trainees, with the exception of those conducting research on the coronavirus and COVID-19 and those caring for patients (Group 0), were assigned to mandatory telework. In June, 2020, those whose work cannot be completed remotely (Group A), were allowed to begin returning to on-site work. However, the return was limited. Safe distancing was required, in addition to mask wearing and strict disinfection measures, with the result that most scientists were permitted only part-time or shift work. Those whose work is difficult to complete via telework (Group B) were allowed to join Group A in July, 2020, still with safe distancing required. Group C, individuals who can telework effectively, are still working remotely. That situation continues (revised 10/13/21).

All NIH summer programs were cancelled in 2020. In 2021, all were entirely virtual. As soon as the coronavirus situation becomes clear, we will update this page with information on the summer programs for 2022. We hope to welcome summer interns to our NIH campuses.

The application for summer 2020 is now CLOSED.  

HiSTEP 2.0 program provides high school seniors (rising college freshman) who have little or no research experience an opportunity to spend a summer (eight weeks) performing biomedical research. Student will work side-by-side with some of the world's leading scientists on the main NIH Campus in Bethesda, MD. Selected students will be matched with a principal investigator in the NIH Intramural Research Program (IRP) where they will explore the breadth of biomedical, translational and basic science research. In addition, students will participate in weekly workshops and seminars aim to develop their scientific, professional and personal skills and discuss strategies for success in college. 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.  

HiSTEP 2.0 Group Photo
2019 HiSTEP 2.0 Participants Wearing Shirts from the Colleges They Will Attend in the Fall.

Students in HiSTEP 2.0 participate in the following activities:

  • Full-time research: Students work side-by-side with a research mentor and spend eight weeks conducting research in an NIH research group.
  • Orientation Week: Students attend a four-day long orientation program prior to entering his/her research group. The week includes several workshops and activities aimed at developing the student's scientific and professional skills and building community as a cohort.
  • Weekly HiSTEP 2.0 Sessions: Students participate in discussions on career and college readiness.
  • Summer Poster Day: Students present a poster about their research work to the NH Community at the end of the summer.

Eligibility Criteria: 

HiSTEP 2.0 welcomes applications from current high school seniors (rising college freshman) eager to explore the world of biomedical research. We encourage students from diverse backgrounds to apply. Applicants must commit to complete the entire eight-week internship experience. Applicants must also:

  • Be seventeen (17) years of age or older by June 15th, 2022. No exceptions will be made.
  • Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident of the U.S.  (U.S. citizens may apply if they are enrolled at least half-time in high school. Permanent residents must be enrolled in a high school in the U.S. to be eligible.)
  • Have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher (on a 4.0 scale). Students with a GPA between 2.75 and 3.0 should apply if their grades have shown steady improvement.
  • Be a graduating high school senior from a school where 30% or more of the student body participates in the Federal Free/Reduced Lunch Program. Please talk to your principal or school counselor to find out if your school is eligible.
  • Live in Virginia, Maryland, or Washington, DC (DMV) within 40 miles of the NIH main campus in Bethesda, MD. Only students living with their parents or legal guardians with primary residence in the DMV are eligible.  

Students should talk with their principal or guidance counselor to make certain they fulfill the eligibility criteria.

To Apply:

Applicants should complete the NIH Summer Internship Program (SIP) application online. Students must choose 'HiSTEP 2.0' in Item 9 to be considered for the HiSTEP 2.0 program.

For help preparing your application, please read our "Instructions for Completing the Application for HiSTEP 2.0" and all of "HiSTEP 2.0 FAQs". Potential applicants, high school teachers, and guidance counselors are welcome to contact us with questions.

The HiSTEP 2.0 application deadline is January 17th, 2022 at 11:59 pm. Letters of recommendation must be submitted by 11:59 pm on January 24th, 2022.

How will the program work?
The selection committee will review HiSTEP 2.0 applications in February. We will notify applicants of the committee's final decisions by the end of February. Once final decisions are made, students who were not selected will be released to the general NIH HS-SIP applicant pool. You can refer to the HS-SIP and HS-SIP FAQs for information on how to maximize your chances for admission. 

Participants will be matched with principal investigators from the NIH Intramural Program. The committee will make every effort to accommodate the applicant's research interest describe in the application to the principal investigator's current projects. Applicants should not contact NIH investigators to discuss placements on their own.

HiSTEP 2.0 participants must be on campus from June 11th to August 7th, 2022 (with the exception of the July 4th holiday). Summer internships are full-time positions; interns are expected to devote a minimum 40 hours per week to their projects and training.

Table comparing HiSTEP 2.0 and other high school summer programs at the NIH.