Researchers FAQ

Researchers FAQ

It’s easy! Email KEYS ( and provide a brief description of your research so an intern with compatible interests can be matched to your lab.

We require labs to assign a designated lab mentor to the intern. This mentor can be the PI, undergraduate or graduate student, lab tech, or any other lab member. The end product of the internship is a research poster with accompanying verbal presentation. The project assigned to the student needs to be able to be shared with the community via poster and verbal presentation.

Yes. We require that interns work on their research project with the lab 35-40 hours a week. We request that you or someone in your lab are available to mentor the student through an assigned research project during six of the seven internship weeks (early June through mid-July). We encourage you to invite your student to weekly lab meetings or other opportunities for the intern to network and engage with the lab.

There is no cost to host an intern in your lab. You do not pay the intern. The interns are enrolled as non-degree seeking students in our course, MCB 103. They are compensated with University credit for their participation in the KEYS Internship.

KEYS interns are required to work 35-40 hours per week in their lab. Students begin in labs the second week of the KEYS Internship.

Yes, you may ask your students to work on the weekends, as long as they do not go over 40 hours per week working with your lab. We do host program events on the weekends and request that labs accommodate those events in their interns’ weekend work schedules.

The KEYS Internship runs seven weeks during the summer. The first day of the program is generally early June and the last day of the program in mid-July. The first week of the internship, students work with program staff full-time in Training Week, where they learn general bioscience techniques, data science techniques, and science literacy. Students begin in the lab the second week of the program. They work full-time for six weeks. During the last week of the program, students present their research at our Research Showcase.

KEYS interns are selected through a competitive application process. First, students submit an online application that includes their unofficial high school transcript, two recommendations, and signed applicant and parent/guardian agreements. Students are scored on their applications and the highest scoring students are invited to interview with program staff. In the interviews, students are measured for maturity, communication skills, and genuine interest in scientific research. The top scoring interviewees are offered a position in the KEYS class.

Program staff spend a lot of time getting to know the applicants and their scientific interests. We evaluate what they want to learn about and what qualifications they have in the area (competitive coursework, certifications, etc). We match interns to labs based on their scientific interests and relevant skills and/or qualifications.

Once the class is selected, they are admitted to our course (MCB 103) and added to the course D2L. They complete pre-program assignments prior to beginning their internships. These assignments include readings about how labs work, maintaining a lab notebook, basic solution math, and more. They also complete Basic Biosafety, General Laboratory/Chemical Safety, and Bloodborne Pathogens training. During the first week of the KEYS Internship, interns work full-time with program staff in Training Week. In Training Week, interns learn basic bioscience techniques, data science techniques, and science literacy skills. For more specific information about the Training Week curriculum, please contact KEYS Staff (

Provide training for your intern that will help them complete their research project. We do not require any additional formal training. If you require additional training for your intern, like Laser Safety, we are happy to help coordinate this. Please email KEYS Staff ( so we can help get your student trained.

KEYS interns can participate in a wide range of research projects. Limitations to research projects include work with BSL3 or higher laboratories and laboratories working with high radiation exposure projects. For more information about projects interns can work on, please email KEYS Staff (

It is up to you! Interns can contribute to existing lab projects. This is the most common way interns complete projects in the lab. Interns can also complete independent projects. Some labs have asked interns to contribute to existing work, devise protocols, complete field work, and much more.