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With support from the Beckman Laser Institute Foundation, the Institute of Engineering in Medicine and the BTC

The application for 2022 OPALS is currently closed. Please check with us next year. Thank you so much for your interest.

Engineering in Medicine Internships for High School Students


The IEM OPALS high school internship program aims to provide pre-college students with hands-on experience in STEM by spending 20 hours per week for six weeks at UC San Diego in a research laboratory environment. Each intern will have the opportunity to interact with researchers, graduate, and undergraduate students engaged in research at the interfaces of engineering and medical science, such as engineering for cancer diagnosis and therapy, biophotonics research, and cardiovascular imaging. Interns will learn the scientific background to the research, observe or assist UC San Diego researchers and students in performing experiments, learn to analyze experimental data and present a research talk or poster at the end of the internship.



  • June 27th - August 5th, 2022
  • 4 hours/week of structured learning, 16+ hours/week of laboratory exposure



  • Hybrid. Some components of the program may involve remote learning subject to the University's COVID-19 guidelines and laboratory policies.


Qualified applicants: 

  • 9-11 graders with curiosity and enthusiasm for STEM
  • Students under 16 years old at the start of the program are only permitted in experimental or clinical laboratories as observers, but they will have remote access to computer lab/office spaces, online access to some research resources, and the opportunity to analyze experimental data from the laboratory.



  • There is no fee to participate in this program.
  • The program is unable to provide housing or transportation.
  • Students should bring their own lunch or money to purchase lunch on campus. A campus dining card will be provided to students who demonstrate they are from food insecure households.
  • Voluntary donations to the IEM OPALS program to defray program costs (of approximately $1000 per intern) are gratefully accepted. However, please note that donations will have no influence on acceptance to the program, and we invite families to wait until the end of the program to make donations.



  • Applications from underrepresented, socio-economically disadvantaged, and disabled students are encouraged
  • Prospective students should email the following materials to
    • A resume
    • Your transcript
    • A one-page personal statement describing the reasons for your interest in the program and research at the interfaces of engineering and medicine, any past relevant experiences, and any disadvantages you have faced.
    • One letter of recommendation from a past or present teacher
    • A statement signed by a parent or guardian consenting to your participation and affirming your availability to attending during the program dates.
  • Since slots are limited, we may not be able to accommodate all applicants. Applicants will be notified of acceptance decisions via email starting from May 15th, 2022. No more application accepted after May 19th.



  • Laboratory safety
  • Programing in Python and MATLAB
  • Engineering analysis of biomedical experimental data
  • What you need to know about applying to college
  • Special talks from researchers and students about their journeys in STEM




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