Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Why should students apply to ASDRP?
Students are exposed to genuine scientific research while they are still in high school. They get direct, hands-on experience running experiments, designing research, reading and writing scientific papers, presenting their work, and working in a research team. Importantly, students are not doing research in science experiments, like in school, where the results are known a priori. Rather, students embark on an intellectual journey in which they pursue new knowledge in their particular field of research. They engage with the frontiers of scientific knowledge with our laboratory containing over $2M worth of professional research equipment. Students who are underrepresented in STEM are specifically encouraged to join, in order to gain experience in research and to taste what a career in STEM might look like. We also aim to provide a strong mentorship network to current and past researchers at ASDRP.
ASDRP student researchers present their work at a poster session and publish a research paper in our online journal, ASDRP Communications. Further, many ASDRP student researchers are able to work with their mentors to submit their research to conferences and peer-reviewed journals for publication. In fact, over 30 research papers from ASDRP 2019-2020 students have been submitted for publication in undergraduate/high school level research journals. Multiple groups also presented posters at undergraduate research conferences. Such visible evidence of scholarly achievement provide students competitive advantages in matriculation to their choice of an institution of higher learning. The ASDRP researcher alumni network currently spans several nationally ranked undergraduate institutions, including Harvard University, Stanford University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), UC Berkeley, UCLA, and more.
How does ASDRP help students who have socioeconomic difficulty or who are underrepresented in STEM?
One major goal of ASDRP is to provide exposure to cutting edge scientific research for underprivileged students. Students with financial difficulty join ASDRP for free with no fees. It may be possible for students with financial difficulty to receive transportation assistance to our facilities. A major focus of ASDRP is to inspire students of all backgrounds to pursue STEM as a career. As discussed in the About page, our program provides students with a holistic skills in STEM, ranging from scientific reading and writing to scientific presentation and public speaking. Importantly, we mentor our high school researchers to be the best they can be, and to eventually leave our hands with a skill set and expertise typical of an university level researcher.
Who is eligible to become an ASDRP student and how do I join?
Students who are entering 9th, 10th, 11th, or 12th grade after the summer are eligible to join ASDRP. In particular, we are looking for students with curiosity for science and engineering and able to commit approximately 20 hours per week during an 8 week period in the summer. We match students with research mentors based on the students' academic and scientific interests as well as their academic background. Students apply to join ASDRP; since we receive many more applications than we can accept, applications are competitive.
ASDRP is currently not accepting applications from undergraduate students.
What is the commitment as an ASDRP student?
Academic Year (Fall-Spring)
Doing research while in school requires good time management. Researchers are expected to spend 10-15 hours a week on research-related activities during the academic year. Our research faculty are sensitive to time constraints placed on students by academic duties at school. Most research is done in the evenings and weekends.
Summer research students are expected to commit approximately 20 hours a week on research activities (either at our facilities or in silico), research team meetings, and weekly cohort meetings (each week, all ASDRP scholars across all research groups meet as an entire cohort and learn scientific skills such as how to read and write a scientific paper, what the peer review process is, etc.). The specific commitment may be flexible depending on each student's schedule and can be worked out on a case by case basis. Students may be allowed to miss parts of the summer if they make up any lost research productivity.
Who are ASDRP research mentors?
Mentors are individuals who have an expertise in STEM and have a commitment to foster interest in STEM for students of all backgrounds. Mentors may include retired and active industry experts, graduate students, and advanced undergraduate students with extensive research experience. Mentors must have major experience in a particular field within STEM so that they can lead a research group independently on an original research project whose outcomes are not known a priori.
In what fields do ASDRP members conduct research?
There are many research projects ranging from chemistry to biology to computer science to mechanical engineering. Research at ASDRP is divided into three departments based on discipline, and many research faculty work collaboratively on the interface of topics. For a complete list of research topics, please see the research page and our journal, ASDRP Communications.
Where is ASDRP located?
Our laboratory research resources are located in the Innovation District in Fremont, California; strategically located in the heart of Silicon Valley. All our neighbors are some of the Bay Area's leading biotech, pharmaceutical, and life science research labs. The research campus at ASDRP spans two state-of-the-art research & development buildings, including a dedicated engineering facility, life science research laboratory, chemical synthesis laboratory, instrumentation and spectroscopy facility, and tissue culture facility.
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