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Biology Research Internships & Fellowships

Do you have a passion for research in the life sciences? Are you inspired to pursue a career in research? The Biology Research Fellows program aims to prepare ethnically and culturally underrepresented, economically disadvantaged, and first generation college students for admission to research-based graduate programs. Fellows conduct research, receive mentoring from faculty, and participate in professional development workshops, research symposia, and outreach activities sponsored by the Office of Undergraduate Biology in collaboration with the Office of Academic Diversity Initiatives (OADI) and the Office of Undergraduate Research. The program is not designed to meet the needs of premedical students. Eligible sophomore biology majors may apply in their spring semester. Eligible transfer students in biology can apply in their spring semester junior year. Fellows are expected to conduct one full summer of research at the start of the program and continue with research during the academic year. Fellows are strongly encouraged to consider pursuing an honor's thesis in their senior year.


To be eligible for the Fellowship, a student must be

  • majoring in Biological Sciences at Cornell
  • a sophomore (new junior transfer students also eligible)
  • underrepresented minority student, first generation college student or economically disadvantaged 
  • planning to pursue a career in biological research, including graduate study in a Master's or PhD program
  • able to pay for their own summer housing in Ithaca 

You do not have to be in a lab currently in order to be eligible for the program.


Biology Research Fellows will be selected based on (1) academic qualifications and potential as a researcher, as evidenced by performance in relevant courses and experiences listed on resume/C.V.; and (2) interest in a research career in biological sciences as described in the essay.


Cornell University has over 300 biology faculty with diverse research interests that range from molecular biology to ecosystem responses to global climate change. These faculty are primarily within the Departments of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Microbiology, Biomedical Sciences, Plant Biology, Entomology, Neurobiology and Behavior, and Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. However, additional appropriate faculty mentor/research supervisors can be found in related departments (e.g. Natural Resources, Bioengineering, Psychology, Chemisty, etc). See the Office of Undergraduate Biology’s research faculty database to help you identify labs of interest or meet with Colleen Kearns, Assistant Director of Undergraduate Research in Biological Sciences, during her office hours, Mondays 11 am to 1 pm and Thursdays, 10 am to noon, to talk more about how to get started.


Professional Development

Fellows will engage in a variety of professional development once per month through the Office of Undergraduate Biology during their junior academic year. Opportunities will include workshops on scientific ethics, researching the scientific literature, organizing and analyzing data, oral and written scientific communication, careers in scientific research, building a strong resume/C.V., networking skills and the graduate school application process.


Each Fellow will conduct full-time research under the mentorship of a Cornell faculty member during the summer between sophomore and junior year (or summer preceding senior year for transfers) as part of the Summer Institute for Life Sciences, June 2-August 8, 2014. Additionally, the student may be co-mentored by a graduate student or postdoctoral fellow. Over the course of the program, the student is expected to progress from learning relevant scientific techniques to contributing to a specific research project, analyzing data, and interpreting and presenting results. We encourage you to build on your summer research experience by continuing part-time during the academic year and developing your project into a senior Honors thesis in Biological Sciences.


During summer, Fellows will be asked to lead a laboratory tour and participate on a research panel discussion in the Cornell Pre-freshmen Summer Program.

Research Symposium

The summer will conclude with the Summer Institute of Life Sciences Undergraduate Symposium, attended by faculty mentors and other lab members, in which Fellows give 15-min presentations on their research projects.


Fellows will receive a $4,000.00 summer stipend through a joint summer funding collaborative comprised of the Office of Undergraduate Biology, the Office of Academic Diversity Initiatives, Principal Investigators and federal work study. Housing is not provided.


Fellows are expected to: (1) Perform scientific studies carefully; collect and report all data and procedures accurately and honestly, (2) Be responsible, committed members of their research laboratories; work cooperatively with their advisor and other members of the research group; attend lab meetings and meet regularly with their faculty research supervisor/mentor, 3) Work full time during the summer program which runs June 2-August 8, 2014 and 4) Participate in the academic year programming offered through the Office of Undergraduate Biology.