By Casey Cross
The Wright Scholar Research Assistant Program provides exposure to a variety of STEM fields to high school juniors and seniors through a nine-week, paid internship during the summer at Wright Patterson Air Force Base. The program has been active since 2002, hiring 708 students from across 109 school districts since its inception.
The program allows students to experience working in STEM fields, assigning them to intern under a mentor employed by the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL). These mentors span fields from aerospace engineers – working through the Aerospace Systems Directorate – computer scientists – stationed at the Gaming Research Integration in Learning Lab (GRILL) – behavioral sciences, biologists, biomedical, chemical, and electrical engineers, and more.
Students accepted into the program will go through a nine week internship, each week a traditional 40 hour work week, from June 6 to August 5, 2022. The students will take part in research assignments and projects given by their mentors. Over the course of the internship, students will be able to attend and take part in lectures hosted by doctors, professors, and other interesting individuals covering a variety of STEM-related topics. At the end of the nine weeks, the students will present their work for the summer to the other students and their mentors. According to the program’s website, “Of students tracked through the years, 86% pursued or are pursuing science or engineering careers.”
The program is open to high school juniors and seniors who are16 years of age by the start of the program. To take part in the program, students must fill out and send in an application available on the program’s website. Applications will be accepted between November 22, 2021, and January 10, 2022, by 5 pm. Students will be notified of their acceptance into the program by March 24, 2022. Students will have to declare whether they wish to take part in the program by the March 28, 2022.