2021 Undergraduate Scholars Program Applications
The 2021 Janelia Undergraduate Scholars Program competition is now open. Click here to apply.
- Eligible applicants have at least one independent research experience that is not part of a course.
- Actively enrolled undergraduate students or masters students who have not yet committed to a PhD program are eligible to apply.
- Students should have programming experience in at least one of the following languages: Python, MATLAB, and/or C++. Other languages may also be suitable.
All applicants submit the following materials:
- statement of rationale for applying to the Janelia Undergraduate Scholars program
- statement of career goals
- description of prior independent research (not research as part of a course or a lab)
- identification of Janelia scientists with whom you would like to work and why
- list of completed science and math courses or an unofficial college transcript
- the names of two references who will submit a letter of recommendation. The strongest letters come from research supervisors who can speak to your ability to conduct independent research, not course instructors. Both letters of reference must be received before the full application can be submitted. Start your application and contact your references well in advance of the deadline. Do not wait until the last minute.
Evaluation and Selection Process
The most competitive students are those who have had significant independent research experience and have contributed intellectually to their research projects. Applicants are evaluated on the basis of their recommendation letters and descriptions of previous research, as well as their statement of how they will contribute to a Janelia lab. The top 10 percent of applicants are invited to interview by video. During that interview, students will present their previous research and discuss which labs at Janelia are of interest and why. Interviews are conducted in late February.
Please note that Janelia may cancel the 2021 summer Janelia Undergraduate Scholars program if, in Janelia’s sole discretion, the state of the COVID-19 pandemic has not improved sufficiently for Janelia to safely and efficiently hold the program.
Laura Porta, Former Undergraduate Scholar
1. Tell us about yourself.
I am currently studying Neuroscience in a master program. I actually haven’t been involved in Neuroscience too long. After graduating with a major in Biotech, I noticed that my interests had changed. I decided to shift my path a little and chose to go for basic science. I often find myself wondering what I will do in the future. I’m very curious about many different things, so it’s not unusual to change my mind and explore something new!
2. What brought you to Janelia?
I could say it was a happy coincidence. The very first time I was working with flies and behavior I learned about Janelia; that it was this ‘marvelous place’ where fancy experimental set ups for tiny insects are the norm. So I took my computer and explored the website, looking for an opportunity to have an experience there. I couldn't help but apply to the summer undergraduate program!
3. What research projects are you working on?
As it is easy to guess, I am working with flies. Now, I am still at Janelia continuing the project from this past summer. Currently, my aim is to efficiently condition the animal while exploring a virtual environment that is projected on screens. How is this possible? If I tether a fly & have it run on a tiny ball, I can know it’s movements and change the environment accordingly in a matter of seconds!
4. What advice do you have for someone interested in doing research at Janelia?
If you are an undergrad (or a master student!) willing to be accepted in the JUS program, do not forget to show all your enthusiasm in your application. Exactly why are you interested in the work people are doing here? What thrilled you the most? Wherever you come from, you have a chance to come here. If you are curious about a particular lab, get in touch with them.