The HHMI Research Training Program (RTP) is a collaborative effort involving Cal Poly Pomona, Occidental College, and the Southern California Academy of Sciences (SCAS). By combining human and financial resources, the goal of this program is to expand the number of research opportunities currently available to high school students (grades 9 through 12) in the greater Los Angeles area. Administered under the auspices of the SCAS/Junior Academy of Sciences, additional opportunities beyond the local level are provided by affiliations of this organization with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the National Association of Academies of Science (NAAS).
RTP students typically expend 8 to 10 hours per week during the academic year investigating an original research question in the laboratory of a research scientist. Students also attend three Saturday meetings of the SCAS Junior Academy to meet others actively engaged in research and to learn the art of communicating science in written and oral formats. As the end of the year approaches, RTP students work closely with their faculty mentors to prepare an oral report of their findings that is presented at the SCAS annual meeting held on a local college campus each May. At the annual meeting, students present papers in their own session, publish abstracts in meeting proceedings, and participate in a variety of meeting activities (plenary talks, social events). A committee composed of SCAS members judge RTP student papers presented at this local meeting, and exceptional authors are invited (and financially supported) to present their work at the national AAAS/NAAS/AJAS meeting held in February of the following year.
Access to this program is by application only. Application forms are made available by SCAS in March of each year and must be completed and returned to SCAS by late May for consideration of research experiences commencing in the next academic year. Once received, applications are reviewed for merit by a subcommittee of the Academy. Students who are selected are placed in research situations on University campuses located within a reasonable driving distance from the student’s high school campus and that match to a reasonable degree the student’s interests and abilities. Host lab support for materials and supplies (up to $350) is provided by SCAS.
Students in grades 9 through 12 with an interest in participating in this program are encouraged to visit the SCAS website for additional information.