Program Description

Magee-Womens Research Institute (MWRI) is an independent research institute and one of the largest institutes in the nation that focuses on reproductive biology, women’s health, and infants’ health. Our High School Summer Internship Program provides students with the opportunity to participate in basic, translational, or clinical scientific research with the goal of interesting students in biomedical research as a potential career.

During the 4-week program (which can be consecutive or any combination of dates totaling 160 hours, as determined by the principal investigator and intern) each student will have the opportunity to work on their own research project under the guidance of an investigator and their staff at MWRI and Magee-Womens Hospital. Flexible start and end dates are coordinated between student and the investigator. Students will be paid an hourly minimum wage. Housing is not provided.

The Institute includes basic, translational, and clinical faculty researchers from the University of Pittsburgh’s Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, as well as from other departments at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

In addition, students will attend informal Lunch & Learn sessions, during which investigators will discuss biomedical science as a career from their personal perspectives and journeys in the field.

At the end of the program, students present their research findings via a PowerPoint presentation to other participants as well as to the MWRI faculty and staff at the annual High School Internship Presentation Day.

We accept applications from January 1, 2018 through March 15, 2018. No applications and supporting documents are accepted beyond the deadline.



  • Application is open to all high school students interested in learning about biomedical research. We typically focus on selecting applications from students in their junior year. Our previous experience has found that the summer after the junior year is an ideal time to provide students with exposure to biomedical research. They have had adequate background in math and science, and are likely seeking experiences to help in decisions regarding interests for college. High school seniors are eligible to apply and participate in the program in the summer immediately following graduation.
  • Students who do not live within commuting distance are responsible for their own living arrangements, as our program does not cover housing or other residential assistance. No unsupervised (without live-in adult sponsor) living arrangements.
  • Students under the age of 18 who are selected for the program will be required to obtain a work permit card issued by their school district prior to their arranged start date.


Application Process

The application form and cover letter are completed online via the University of Pittsburgh website:

The accompanying cover letter must include:

  • A one-page compelling personal statement. We are looking for a personal statement that conveys something special, unique, distinctive, and/or impressive about you or your life story, and why you are interested in biomedical research and participation in the research program.
  • Be sure to identify which area(s) of research performed at MWRI you are most interested in participating and indicate if you have a preference of basic science or clinical research.
  • Include your school name and current grade in the letter.
  • For references, name the two teachers that will complete your recommendation letters.


  • Students from outside the Pittsburgh area: A statement of intended living arrangements is required in your cover letter. Our program does not provide housing or other residential assistance. Acceptable living arrangements include staying with relatives in the area or the student and a parent making living arrangements in the area.

Additional supporting documents must be emailed directly to the program coordinator from the provider (not the student) at:

  • Minimum of two letters of recommendation, preferably from science teacher(s) and/or guidance counselor(s). Referees should comment on academic and personal details, including outside activities, if possible. Letters are to be emailed directly to the MWRI High School Program Coordinator at
  • A copy of the student’s high school transcripts.

All documents must be provided by the deadline in order for the application to be considered by the review committee.

As in previous years, we anticipate the 2018 program to be highly competitive and less than 10 percent of the students who apply are chosen. (We typically receive over 100 applications.)


Recent Projects

  • The Battle of the Sexes: Stress Resistance in C. elegans
  • Genetics of Cardiomyopathy and Sudden Death
  • Genetic Predisposition to Pulmonary Fibrosis
  • Genetic Predisposition of Hypospadias
  • Health Education Disparity: From Research Intervention to Social Entrepreneurship
  • Prevalence of E-Cigarette Use Among High School Students
  • Analysis of Men’s Feedback on Participation in Batterers’ Intervention Programs
  • Epigenetics and Genetic Imprinting
  • QGRFT Gel Development for HIV Prevention
  • Drug Development with Nanocrystals
  • A Descriptive Female Athlete Nutrition Survey
  • Male Athlete Nutrition Survey
  • Real-Time PCR Analysis of Tissue Explant Samples for Expression of Metabolizing Enzymes
  • Placental Metabolism in Development and Injury
  • Characterizing and Validating the Properties of a Drug Loaded Film


Program Stats

  • Year the program was established – 1995
  • Number of scholars completing the program – 217
  • Number of institutions (high schools) scholars have come from – 68
  • Number of faculty who have participated as mentors – 58