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

The application for 2023 OPALS will be opened on Februrary 1st, 2023. Stay tuned and thank you so much for your interest.

This page has been under review for next year's application. The current information may not be correct and has a possibility to be changed.

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 26th - August 4th, 2023
  • 4 hours/day (lunch time excluded), 16 hours/week of structured learning and laboratory exposure



  • In-person (may turn to hybrid, available to be on-campus). 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.



  • $1000 for participation fee.
  • The program is unable to provide housing or transportation.
  • Financial aid and transportation support will be provided if requested and qualified.
  • 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 register through here(link will be attached here):
    • 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 April 2023. No more application accepted after April 2023.



  • Laboratory safety
  • Programing in 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



  • $17/hr
  • STEM major students who enroll in UCSD (Undergraduate, Graduate, Ph.D.)
  • Faculty members related to STEM who are hired by UCSD Human Resources Department
  • Handshake link 



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