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Pre-College Program Category: STEM

Application Process
  • OverviewThe Cornell University Research Apprenticeship in the Biological Sciences (RABS) offers serious, research-oriented students the rare opportunity to join a top-notch laboratory at one of the world’s leading research institutions. Cornell biomedical scientists strive for excellence and use their knowledge to solve global problems and benefit society. During this innovative, intensive, and highly selective program, you will become part of the renowned biomedical research community at Cornell’s Ithaca campus, studying under the guidance of distinguished Cornell faculty members as you pursue research in an area of your choosing.You’ll develop your research skills, becoming familiar with the lab procedures, protocols, techniques, and equipment used in cutting-edge facilities. All the while, you’ll work closely with some of Cornell’s leading professors, post-doctoral fellows, and graduate and undergraduate researchers.If you are selected as a research apprentice, you will:immerse yourself in an investigative project, spending forty hours or more a week as an integral part of a research team;learn about library and Internet research tools from experts in Cornell’s Mann Library, which houses a remarkable collection of life sciences materials;prepare a written report on your work, suitable for publication;give an oral presentation on your research, to your lab colleagues and Summer College peers;earn six college credits (roughly equivalent to two three-credit university courses) and a Cornell transcript; andhave the opportunity to use your summer performance and the relationship you build with your mentor to get a college recommendation letter that can really have an impact.CourseYou’ll be enrolled in Special Studies in Biology (BIOG 2000 001-LEC) for six credits. Schedule will vary by individual lab placement, but each student should expect to spend a minimum of 40 hours a week in their laboratory in order to receive six lab credits. In addition, all RABS students meet weekly with program director Dr. Karen Gellman for personalized guidance and coaching aimed at helping you make your oral presentations and final papers the best they can be, and for seminars in such research topics as:science fraud and ethics,epidemiology and study design, andvisual presentation of data for effective communication.If your schedule permits, you may also visit ALS 1140 Explorations in Biological Research and Health Professions. This seminar explores different aspects of biology and medicine with guest speakers and hands-on laboratory exercises and will teach you how to critically read scientific literature and generate information through medical databases.Once you are selected as a RABS student, Dr. Gellman will consult with you about your favorite topics in biology and medicine to find the perfect mentor who (with your hard work!) will make this the most amazing summer in your life. You’ll prepare for your apprenticeship before arriving at Summer College by reading background material provided by your lab mentor. Some students will know their project in advance, others will pick the project that excites them the most when they become part of their summer laboratory.

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  • Application Process:

    Enrollment in RABS is highly competitive and extremely limited—there are a limited number of apprenticeships available.Students are encouraged to apply as early as possible for the best lab placements. Acceptance decisions are made within two weeks of receipt and review of your complete application.Candidates must have taken at least one AP biology class and, if tested, must have scored four or five on the AP exam. You need a thorough grounding in cell biology in order to understand the science of the work.RABS applicants should submit a recommendation from their AP biology teacher as well as from another teacher and/or guidance counselor.If AP biology is not available in your school, you should include in your application a teacher's letter of recommendation addressing your knowledge in cell biology and your relevant research experience.This is not a program to explore a nascent interest or to round out activities for college applications; only those students who know they are serious about research should apply. Strong candidates must have demonstrated their interest in research through previous research activities in industry or at a university/college. Please submit a summary of your work and a letter of recommendation from your mentor. If you have taken a didactic research skills course, please include a letter from an instructor who personally knows your work.You must commit to the program and pay-in-full within five business days of being accepted to RABS. Unfortunately, no refunds are available once you have committed to the program and been placed in a lab.There are no guarantees that your RABS project can be submitted in science competitions—this will vary case by case, and may be dependent upon the university's proprietary interests in intellectual property.