High School Summer Research Internships

Internship Period: June 12 – July 21, 2017
Application Period: January 1 – March 5, 2017

Open to high school students preparing to enter their junior or senior year, the Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience (MPFI) Summer Research Internship offers aspiring scientists an immersive laboratory experience with MPFI researchers. This six-week internship is designed for students with an interest in brain structure, function and development, and the advanced imaging techniques and technologies used in neuroscience.

Interns will participate in research projects alongside MPFI scientists, prepare a written scientific abstract based on their research project and deliver a short presentation at the end of the summer.

Program Details & Requirements

  • Applicants must be available to work full time (Mon-Fri, 40 hours per week) for the entire six-week period.
  • Applicants must be United States citizens or permanent residents who will begin their junior or senior years in a Palm Beach County high school in the Fall of the year they’re applying.
  • Applicants must be 16 years of age or older by the start date of the summer internship.
  • Interns will be compensated at a competitive rate.
  • While students of all ethnic and cultural groups are accepted into the program, a special emphasis is placed on identifying and recruiting students who are historically underrepresented in the sciences (e.g., African-American, Hispanic, Native Pacific Islander, or Native American students).

Internship Tracks


Max Planck offers students the opportunity to take part in intensive neuroscience research in the laboratory.  Students will gain experience doing hands-on “wet lab” techniques such as genetic engineering, microbiology preparations, histological staining, and microscopy.  These techniques are a subset of methodologies used to answers basic research questions about the structure and function of neural circuits.

Students with a strong background in biological and chemical sciences are well suited for this track.

Scientific Programming

New imaging technologies used for probing the brain generate large volumes of complex data. To successfully analyze and interpret these data poses a unique challenge requiring skills from many disciplines.

As a result, Max Planck offers students with a background in computer programming (particularly with Python, Matlab, and Java) the opportunity to work on projects developing software programs for use in image analysis.

Students with a strong background in mathematics, physics, and programming are well suited for this track.

Mechanical Engineering

Students interested in gaining knowledge in mechanical engineering and design, as well as obtaining experience with machining tools may apply for an internship in our Mechanical Workshop.

Interns are trained by expert machinists to design and create custom parts, using a CAD program called SolidWorks.  These parts are then used to enable cutting-edge neuroscience research at the institute.

Application Process

All applications are to be completed online via the application link at the bottom of this page. The following are required for application (submit files in PDF format only):

  • Responses to two essay questions (Include your name and essay question in your responses)
  • Resume (must be uploaded within the online application portal)
  • Unofficial transcripts (MUST BE uploaded within the online application portal)
  • AP Score Report (if applicable)
  • Two letters of recommendation sent directly from SCIENCE teachers (emailed to education at mpfi.org).
  • We do not accept letters of recommendation submitted from a student’s or parent’s email account

Submission of supplementary materials

Digital files may be submitted via email to education at mpfi.org

Files submitted via email should contain the applicant name and program title in the Subject line (e.g. Subject: Jane Doe – High School Research Internship)

Essay Questions

(include your name and question in your responses)

Essay 1: Please explain how participating in a summer research internship at Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience will help you achieve your academic goals.

Essay 2: After researching our organization (Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience scientists and core facilities) and selecting an internship track, please explain specific skills, knowledge, and/or experience you have that would make you a qualified intern.

File naming convention: First initial, followed by your last name, and document type. For e.g., if your name is Jane Smith, then your file names should look like this: jsmithESSAY1.pdf, jsmithESSAY2.pdf, jsmithRESUME.pdf, and jsmithTRANSCRIPTS.pdf 

Watch the 2015 High School Interns’ Research Presentations here!