Research Project

Students in the Summer STEM Institute (SSI) Research Program will also spend the 6-week program working on a mentored data science research project. The research program was designed for a completely virtual setting. Students will learn how to use modern technological tools such as open-source data analytics packages, publicly available datasets, and cloud computing resources to complete their data science research projects. Students will also have access to project resources being developed by Eric Zhang, a 2x gold medalist at the International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI), and Ben Choi, a 2x National Science Bowl winner.

Communication between students and mentors will be facilitated by remote collaboration software including Zoom, Coda, Piazza, and Slack. Students are not expected to be familiar with any of these tools prior to the start of the program. By exposing students to these technological tools, SSI hopes to further prepare students for future educational and professional endeavors as our world continues advancing digitally.

Virtual Labs

At the start of the summer, students will be assigned to a virtual lab of 1-3 other students with similar research interests. The virtual lab will be led by the students’ primary mentor. Mentors will have daily 1-on-1 meetings with each student in their lab to provide individual feedback and guidance. In addition, every weekday, virtual labs will have 30-minute all-hands meetings. Mentors will use this time to discuss project updates, guide students through the next steps of the research process, and keep students on track towards completing project deliverables.

On Saturdays, each virtual lab will host an hour-long meeting where students will present their weekly research deliverable. Students will receive feedback on their presentation from both their research mentor and lab student peers. The following is a list of weekly deliverables for the 6-week research program:

· Week 1:  Preliminary Project Wiki
· Week 2: Completed Project Wiki and Research Proposal Due
· Week 3: Critical Questions Report
· Week 4: Milestone Report
· Week 5: Paper Rough Draft
· Week 6: Final Paper and Presentation

Most university labs reserve time every week for lab bonding activities. In a similar spirit, there will be frequent opportunities for SSI mentors to lead social activities in their labs, such as lab dinners, social hangouts, and game nights. 

Mentor Lab Mixer

On Monday through Friday, all research students will participate in a 30-minute lab mixer, in which they’ll have a chance to meet other SSI mentors. The purpose of the mixer is to connect students with all SSI mentors to discuss their research. Through the mixer, SSI hopes to foster a collaborative environment where students can learn from not only their research mentor but also other mentors in the SSI community.

SSI Research Journal

On August 1st, all research students will submit a final paper for their projects. All papers will undergo a peer-review process led by SSI mentors, and students with approved projects will be asked for permission to have their papers included in the first publication of the Summer STEM Institute Research Journal. The research journal will be publicly shared by SSI to highlight student work.

Top Presentations

At the end of the program, students will be asked to present their research poster to a panel of SSI judges. SSI will recognize and award the top presentations. These students will have the opportunity to present their project again to the entire SSI community.

SSI Mentors

Prior to the start of the summer, SSI will send a questionnaire to students asking them to describe their fields of scientific interest and previous research or engineering projects they have worked on. Based on this information, SSI will match students with a primary research mentor.

Learn more about some of our mentors below:

Dhruvik Parikh

Stanford University

Area of focus: Chemical Engineering and Computer Science

Experiences: Computer Science and Economics @ Stanford, Chemical Engineering Researcher at MIT Hamel Lab, Machine Learning Research at Stanford Sustainability and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Chemical Engineering Research at University of Washington, Computational Biology Researcher at University of Washington, Software Engineer at Voya Sol, Software Engineer at Microsoft, Software Engineer at Kalshi

Honors/Awards: ISEF Top Award Winner (Young Scientist - Top 3 Overall), Research Science Institute (RSI) Scholar, National Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (JSHS) 2nd Place in Chemistry, Silver Medal in Science at International Genius Olympiad, Forbes 30 Under 30

Ryan Kim

Harvard University

Area of focus: Bioengineering and Cryptography

Experiences: Bioengineering and Computer Science @ Harvard, Cryptography and Genomic data privacy Researcher at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Computational Biology Researcher at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), Healthcare Finance Researcher at MIT Laboratory for Financial Engineering, Researcher at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering

Honors/Awards: Research Science Institute Scholar, Grand Prize Award winner at the Arkansas Regional Fair, International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) Finalist, Siemens Competition Semifinalist, I-SWEEEP Finalist, 3x USA Junior Mathematical Olympiad Qualifier (USAJMO) (x3)

Jiwoo Lee 

Stanford University

Area of focus: Bioinformatics and Computational Biology

Experiences: Computational Biology and Biomedical Informatics @ Stanford, Molecular Biology Researcher at Stanford, Computational Genomics Researcher at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard

Honors/Awards: ISEF Best in Category Award and 1st Place (Biomedical and Health Sciences), Research Science Institute Scholar, Regeneron STS Scholar, National Junior Science and Humanities Symposium 2nd Place (Biomedical Sciences), International Sustainable World Project Olympiad Bronze Award Winner (Health and Disease Prevention)

Michael Truell

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Area of focus: Healthcare, Statistics and Machine Learning

Experiences: Computer Science and Statistics @ MIT, Two Sigma Intern at age 15, Unsupervised learning Researcher at IBM, Computational Chemistry Researcher at the Broad Institute, NLP Researcher at Google, Computational Biology Researcher at MIT CSAIL, co-founder of Abelian AI consultancy

Honors/Awards: NASA Special Award, CERN Research Award, 2nd Place in Robotics and Intelligent Machines Category at International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF); ACM/CSTA Cutler-Bell Prize in Computing ($10,000 scholarship), perfect score in the American Computer Science League National Competition

Arianna Pahlavan

Columbia University

Area of focus: Mathematical Biology and Applied Mathematics

Experiences: Biomedical Engineering @ Columbia, Cardiac Electrophysiology Researcher at Stony Brook Glimm Lab and the CUNY Brooklyn College Brogon Lab, Editor of Journal of Computational Biomechanics, provisional patent holder for cardiac defibrillation therapy

Honors/Awards: Google Science Fair Regional Finalist, Regeneron Science Talent Search (STS) Scholar, Simons Fellow, Platinum Division in USA Computing Olympiad (USACO), AIME Qualification

Nikhil Cheerla

Stanford University

Area of focus: Deep Learning and Computer Vision

Experiences: Computer Science @ Stanford, Machine Learning Researcher at Stanford Geveart Lab, Deep Learning Researcher at Harvard Beck Lab, Deep Learning Researcher at Stanford Kundaje Lab, Deep Learning Intern at Cerebras Systems, Machine Learning Intern at Quora, Software Engineering Intern at Lyft

Honors/Awards: First author paper published at BMC Bioinformatics Journal, USA Coding Olympiad Camp Finalist (top 24 in nation), Siemens Competition National Finalist (top 6 in nation), Google Science Fair Regional Finalist (top 100 globally), First Award in Bioinformatics and invitation at Synopsys to California State Science Fair, BioGENEius Bay Area Finalist, Junior Science and Humanities Symposium Northern California Finalist