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Summer research program opens doors to science careers

High school senior Sebastian Hurtado, right, got hands-on research experience and learned about a career in medicine during a summer intern program at Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute. (COURTESY SEBASTIAN HURTADO)

High school senior Sebastian Hurtado, right, got hands-on research experience and learned about a career in medicine during a summer intern program at Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute. (COURTESY SEBASTIAN HURTADO)

A summer internship program at one of the nation’s premier biomedical research labs puts high school and college students on the front lines of cutting-edge medical research.

It’s a unique internship opportunity with a twofold purpose: increase diversity in medical research and give students a real-life introduction to the work world, a goal under state and national efforts to better prepare students to succeed in college and jobs.

“It used to be, several years back, that if you were an intern you did the dishes,” said Vasanthy Narayanaswami, co-director of theSummer Student Research Program at Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute (CHORI). “But I think at a certain point it became clear that is not what research is about. You have to be involved in a research project so students get an idea of what a career in research is like.”

Each year, the summer program is open to high school and college students across the nation who belong to groups that are underrepresented in the medical research field. The students are mentored by top researchers and work alongside them for nine weeks on projects that can lead to new understandings of disease and advances in medicine.

Read the full story on EdSource California.

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