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SSU and SCOE offer high school internship

By: Stephanie Derammelaere
February 15, 2019

2019 marks the 11th year that Sonoma State University’s School of Science and Technology, in collaboration with the Sonoma County Office of Education, is offering the Summer High School Internship Program, or SHIP. 

“It started with our current dean, Lynn Stauffer, who started the program in conjunction with SCOE,” says Cory Oates, SHIP Coordinator for Sonoma State University.

The program matches high school juniors in the county who are going into their senior year with SSU faculty mentors who are conducting research in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields. The students get the opportunity to work on challenging research projects in state-of-the-art facilities while interacting with faculty and SSU students in a university environment, as well as earn a $1,000 stipend. 

“They have to work an equivalent of four full-time weeks,” says Oates. “It’s made by arrangements between the selected intern and their faculty mentor but it has to come to that, however they decide.”

Projects vary from year to year but may fall into any of the nine academic departments the SSU School of Science and Technology offers including Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Engineering Science, Geology, Kinesiology, Mathematics & Statistics, Nursing, and Physics & Astronomy. Last year projects included an astronomy project working on an eclipse mega movie to learn about solar dynamics; a chemistry project studying the interaction between gold nanoparticles and hydrogels; a computer science project investigating pseudo-random number generator test independence; an engineering science project building environment-aware robots; a nursing project identifying barriers to a permanent medical home, among others.

The program, which started only accepting ten applications the first nine years, will be accepting 15 students this year. The 2019 projects will be posted on the SHIP website soon,, to allow students to apply to specific projects that interest them most. Applications will be available mid-February and are due at the end of March, and selections are made by mid-April. 

“We generally get about 75 to 80 applicants per year,” says Oates. “We have a committee of faculty members who review the applications and make the selections.”

Applicants must attend a public high school in Sonoma County. After the program the students act as ambassadors to relay the highlights of their work to their peers, counselors, teachers, and principals during their senior years.

“It’s really great to connect with the community,” says Oates. “The high school students get a great opportunity to not only work with faculty mentors but also get an idea of what it’s like to be a college student and do research in a lab. It’s a great community connection and opportunity for the students and they seem to really enjoy it and get a lot out of it.”