The Science Research Mentoring Program (SRMP) at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) is an opportunity for NYC high school students to conduct one year (Aug-June) of scientific research with AMNH scientists.
In SRMP, high school students get paid to learn how to conduct research. Students work with peers and scientist mentors twice a week throughout the school year (4hrs/week) on a project that has never been done before. Every research project is different, from projects like Are NYC Coyotes Interbreeding with Domestic Dogs? to The Search for Brown Dwarf Binary Systems to Cultural and Marketing Issues in Tanzanian Pharmacies. For a list of past projects and mentors, please see Class of 2020 Projects. SRMP students learn a wide range of new skills, like working with DNA in the lab, analyzing data from space based telescopes, reading scientific articles, and learning to code and analyze data in Python, R, and other programming languages. At the same time, students become part of a community and strengthen their teamwork skills along with their communication, presentation and writing abilities.
Students in SRMP are not expected to have previous experience with these activities - we build the skills together in the program.
We love working with students who…
have a passion for learning and discovery
are new to science research and want to build their skills
can commit to meeting during August and 4hrs/week throughout the school year
value teamwork and collaboration
look forward to working with a mentor who can help them find their path
Starting in Summer 2022, SRMP will include a special focus on Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence in scientific research! In the summer institute in August, students will learn about how data science and Machine Learning/Artificial Intelligence tools are used in research. During the school year, we'll have a mix of different kinds of project to choose from, and many will help students build their data science, computational, and ML/AI skills.
Why join SRMP?
Being part of the Science Research Mentoring Program has many benefits, including:
Learn how to do science research by working on a year-long authentic research project with an AMNH-affiliated scientist
Earn a monetary stipend ($2500) upon completion of research and program requirements
Build a community of peers and mentors who want to help you succeed in your academic goals
Participate in college and career readiness activities, including one free Kaplan SAT or ACT prep course
Attend special events at the AMNH and become part of the Museum professional community
Who is eligible to apply?
In the current 2023-2024 academic year, you must be in the 10th or 11th grade and passing your classes for the last 3 or more semesters. If you are currently in the 9th grade, you must wait to apply next year.
You must ALSO meet at least one requirement from the list below:
I attend one of the following high schools or partner programs:
Big Brothers Big Sisters of NYC (BBBSNYC)
Bronx Center for Science and Mathematics
Bronx River High School
East Harlem Tutoring Program
Fannie Lou Hamer High School
Franklin Delano Roosevelt High School
Harlem Educational Activities Fund (HEAF)
Henry Street Settlement
High School for Health Professions
High School of Telecommunication Arts and Technology
Hudson High School of Learning Technologies
Landmark High School
Liberty High School
Manhattan Center for Science and Math
Pelham Lab High School
Professional Performing Arts High School
Ralph R. McKee Career and Technical Education High School
St. Jean Baptiste High School
Sunset Park High School
The James Baldwin School
The Young Women Leadership School
Uncommon School Network (UCHS, UCC, ULC, UPC)
Urban Academy Laboratory HS
Urban Assembly Institute of Math and Science for Young Women
Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning School
Woodside Community Center
What should I expect?
In most years, students meet in person at the American Museum of Natural History. During the 2020-2021 school year, SRMP was a fully virtual program. For the 2023-2024 year, SRMP will follow guidelines from the CDC and local public health protocols. Decisions on the balance of in person and virtual activities will be made in the summer of 2023 before the program begins.
The elements of the program include:
SRMP Summer Institute: August
Students must participate in a 4-week summer session. In years when in-person gathering is possible, this includes a 5-day sleepover experience of fieldwork at Black Rock Forest.
In summer 2024, Summer Institute will meet August 7- September 1, Monday - Friday, 10am-4pm.
One-year mentored research experience: September –June
Students work in small groups of 2-3 students led by a research scientist. Students work on their projects two afternoons during the week after school, for a minimum of two hours per session, with their mentors and partners at the Museum. The research scientist will set the exact schedule.
We expect our students to make SRMP their primary extracurricular activity. To facilitate scheduling with their mentors and fellow team members, we ask that other activities (e.g., volunteering, clubs, sports) be scheduled around SRMP activities.
SRMP students participate in mandatory monthly advisory sessions, usually held on Fridays, where they learn about science professions, practice presentation skills, and attend lectures from invited speakers
SRMP Colloquium: Early June
SRMP students present a scientific poster and oral presentation about their research in an annual SRMP Symposium. We invite parents, teachers, friends, mentors, and Museum staff to attend this event.
The application will consist of an information form and a series of short-answer questions. Please think carefully about these questions before submitting your application:
Tell us about your relationship with Science
What areas are you interested in and why?
Have you done any science research before? (in school, after school, summer programs, etc)
What do you hope to gain from being in SRMP? Why do you want to be in this program?
Take a look at past projects students have worked on in SRMP (e.g., 2020, 2019). What projects do you imagine yourself enjoying and why?
What are your other expected time commitments after school next year? How do you plan to make time for this program?
What does it mean to you to be a good team member? (give specific examples from your experience)
Frequently Asked Questions
What's the Program schedule? when do we meet?
Students start with the Summer Institute in August. In 2021, we expect this to be from Aug 9 - Sept 3, meeting Monday - Friday from 10am-4pm, online (with breaks of course!).
During the Summer Institute, students tell us their top choices for a mentor and research project.
Once students and mentors are matched, in September they set their schedule for the year. Teams meet twice each week after school. These meetings are often 4-6pm or 5-7pm during the week, and are scheduled according to students' school schedules and mentor's other commitments. These meetings go from September through June, with breaks during school breaks.
What are the different parts of this program?
SRMP has multiple components: 1) Summer Institute that meets in August; 2) mentored research that occurs twice per week after school in 4 person teams; 3) Monthly advisory sessions, including career and communication workshops, typically one Friday afternoon per month; and 4) Additional small group meetings (~10 people) every two months to discuss topics of equity in science and research
Do we need working papers for this program? Do i need to be a us citizen?
No, you don't need working papers for this, nor do you need to be a US citizen.
What's the deal with machine learning and artificial Intelligence?
SRMP Class of 2024 includes a special focus on Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence in science research! Much of the summer institute will focus on learning about ML/AI, and we'll have many projects available that use these tools in their work. We will also have projects that do not use ML/AI.
Are my grades important to my application?
Not at all! we don’t even ask for transcripts in the SRMP applications. We do require that you are have been passing your classes.
I'm in 9th grade this year but over the summer I'll technically be in 10th grade. can i join the program?
Unfortunately no, you aren't eligible to apply for SRMP this year. Only people who are currently in 10th or 11th grade may apply.
When are acceptance decisions made? When do we know if we get in?
We'll invite people to interview in April, and will share our decisions by early June.
How are people selected? is it chosen randomly or by luck?
Usually about 60 students are accepted into SRMP. It's not random - we evaluate your application and select students that we think will enjoy and learn from the experience. Just like with any program, there is of course an element of luck - we often get more qualified applicants than we can take.
What have previous SRMPers that have taken this program done in terms of careers or fields of study?
SRMP graduates go on to all kinds of fields and careers. Many pursue careers in science and some go on to be researchers or physicians, and others use their critical thinking and other skills in fields like economics, business, art, literature, etc - everything!
I have a disability and/or special needs. Can i apply?
Absolutely. We value accessibility and work with students around their needs.
All these projects look really cool, can i do more than one?
Each student works on one project for the year: you will be paired with one mentor and work on their project, so you focus on that one. We do many activities all together where you learn about other projects, and we have many workshops throughout the year to meet scientists and other professionals in a wide range of careers.
At my school we do a Science symposium, could we use the projects we complete with the mentor for my school’s symposium?
Maybe, maybe not. It will depend on the timing of your symposium, and you would have to get your mentor and teammates' permission. It's a possibility, but not a guarantee. We don't recommend doing SRMP specifically for your school's science symposium. You can view it as a possible bonus if it happens to work out :)
How will this program be now that there's A pandemic?
SRMP in the 2020-2021 school year has been fully virtual and students do their research from home. We loan out computers when it's helpful for students, and a lot of the research has been focused on data analysis, with some data collection when possible. We anticipate that SRMP in the 2021-2022 year will start out virtually and move to meeting in person at the Museum when we are able.
How can i increase my chances of being accepted?
We're looking for people who are excited about this program and will take full advantage of what it has to offer. Show us that this is you in your short answer questions. Think carefully about the questions and write detailed answers that show us who you are and why you want to be in the program.
Keep in mind that like most programs there is an element of luck in who gets in. We often get more qualified applicants than we can accept. If you don't get in, know that it's not a reflection of your ability or potential. Keep pushing, and keep applying - to this program and others.
I'm not eligible for srmp or i didn't get in, what else can i do?
For other research opportunities check out www.studentresearchnyc.org for more programs within the New York City Science Research Mentoring Consortium! And look into www.amnh.org/learn-teach for more programs and courses at the American Museum of Natural History.