Research Assistantships for High School Students (RAHSS)

Are you a high school student (currently in 9-11th grade) in the Auburn area that is interested in Science? Want to earn a summer stipend of up to $3,600?

We are inviting you to join us on the Auburn University campus to develop and conduct a biology research project in the lab of Dr. Matthew Wolak. Come, be part of BEETLES (Beetle Evolution Equips Teachers and Learners through Engaging in Science)!

beetle rearing petri dish stacks

How to apply

Dates June 12 - July 21, 2023

Currently, we are only accepting applications from students in the Young Professionals in Training program.

To be considered for one of the two assistantships each summer, please e-mail the following attachments to Dr. Wolak ( Email) by 5PM on May 21st:

  • Professional Resume
  • Statement of Purpose
    • This should be about 1-2 pages in length (single spaced, 12pt font) and describe each applicants motivations and interests for participating in the BEETLES summer Research Assistantship for High School Students program. In this statement please be sure to note:
      • Any previous research or science experiment experience (e.g., science fair project submissions, volunteering in another research laboratory)
      • Current scientific interests and how they align with the BEETLES program research focusing on evolution, genetics, and population growth
      • Education and career goals
      • What the applicant hopes to achieve by participating in the BEETLES program and how BEETLES will help them towards their future goals

What to expect

RAHSS awardees will participate in an immersive 6 week program of inquiry based, experiential learning where they will develop lab and research skills, learn about evolution by natural selection and work with the BEETLES teachers to “field test” lessons.

Each participant will be paid a stipend of $3,600/person for completing the 6-week summer research experience. The stipend is meant to include funds for transportation and expenses incurred while traveling to/from or working on campus (e.g., food purchases). Students will need to commit to a schedule of at least 4 hours/day, 5 days/week, for the continuous 6-week period of the program.

Each summer, high school students participating in BEETLES will begin mid-June, be trained in lab safety and techniques, and participate in data collection for the research goals of the Wolak Research Group. The Wolak lab will work with about 2 students each summer to develop one hypothesis-driven research project for their 6 week experience. We will utilize the beetle families and populations being developed in the lab and address concepts of heritability, selection, fitness, and population growth rate through experiments.

High school students will work together to carry out the project, analyze data, and jointly present their research at the Auburn University CASE REU poster symposium. High school students will also participate in regular lab professional development activities and the relevant CASE REU weekly professional development activities and social events. High school students can leverage their summer research experience into science fair projects and will be encouraged to continue working with the Wolak Research Group members to submit their research as science fair projects or manuscripts for publications in journals such as the Journal of Emerging Investigators.

Auburn University COSAM National Science Foundation logo