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Research Training

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

This program is available to:

An opportunity for high school seniors to explore careers in science and learn about biomedical research in the NIH Intramural Research Program.

About this program

This program is for graduating high school seniors from schools where 30% or more students participate in the Federal Free and Reduced Lunch Program. These are full-time research positions within one of the NIH Institutes and Centers (IC) in the NIH Intramural Research Program. The program takes place on the main NIH campus in Bethesda, MD.

HiSTEP 2.0 is a cohort program within the broader High School Summer Internship Program (HS-SIP).  In addition to having access to the resources offered to all summer interns, HiSTEP 2.0 interns participate in orientation, leadership, professional development and well-being programs as part of a cohort or learning community. Elements of the HiSTEP 2.0 curriculum address strategies for success in college.

Diversity and inclusion

Diversity strengthens our community. We welcome applicants who meet the HiSTEP 2.0 eligibility requirements and strongly encourage applications from individuals:

  • from racial and ethnic groups that are underrepresented in biomedical research and healthcare fields
  • with disabilities
  • who are Pell Grant-eligible in college
  • students who are entering Tribal Colleges and Universities, community colleges, Hispanic-serving institutions, or Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)
  • who identify as LGBTQ+
  • disadvantaged by life circumstances that have negatively impacted their educational opportunities

Eligibility criteria

HiSTEP 2.0 welcomes applications from current high school seniors who have little or no research experience and who want first-hand experience working in a biomedical research laboratory. To be considered for HiSTEP 2.0, you must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. In addition, you must:

  • Be a graduating high school senior from a school where 30 percent or more of the student body participates in the Federal Free and Reduced Lunch Program. Please talk to your principal or school counselor to find out if your school is 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.
  • Live in Washington DC, Maryland, or Virginia within 40 miles of the main NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland. Only students living with their parents or legal guardians with primary residence in the DC/Maryland/Virginia area are eligible.

HiSTEP 2.0 interns must commit to completing the entire eight-week internship.  HiSTEP 2.0 participants must be on campus from June 10, to August 2, 2024. Summer internships are full-time positions; interns are expected to devote 40 hours per week to their projects and training.

Stipend and other compensation

Stipends for summer interns are adjusted annually and are based on educational level. There is free parking on each NIH campus; summer interns on some campuses may be eligible to participate in the Transhare program.

All summer interns must present proof of health insurance to participate in the program.

Before you apply

Students should talk with their principal or guidance counselor to be sure that they fulfill all eligibility criteria. The decision to come to NIH as a HiSTEP 2.0 intern is an important one. These are full-time positions and it is not possible to take summer classes or tend to other responsibilities during work hours. Your college may offer transition programs that conflict with the HiSTEP 2.0 schedule, so verify that you are available before applying.

Opening and closing dates

The HiSTEP 2.0 application opens mid-November and closes on January 19, 2024.

How to apply

To apply for HiSTEP 2.0, you must complete the NIH High School Summer Internship (HS-SIP) application. You MUST choose ‘HiSTEP 2.0’ in Item 9 to be considered for this program.

For help preparing your application, please read our extensive application FAQs. Potential applicants, high school teachers, and guidance counselors are also welcome to contact us with questions.

Selection process

The HiSTEP 2.0 selection committee reviews applications and notifies applicants of final decisions no later than March 1, 2024.

HiSTEP 2.0 applicants should not contact NIH investigators to discuss placements on their own. Individuals who are selected to participate in the 2024 HiSTEP 2.0 Program will work closely with OITE staff throughout the mentor selection process.

Once final decisions are made, applicants who were not selected will be released to the general NIH HS-SIP applicant pool for further consideration.


Reach out to us with questions.