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Saturday Science Academy Youth Training Program (SSA)* 2020

January 25, 2020 to March 28, 2020

Training Under-Served Youth in DC, MD, VA

Registration is now closed.

The Foundation for Advanced Education in the Sciences (FAES), in collaboration with the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), will be conducting a FREE 9-week Saturday Science Academy (SSA) Training Program starting January 25, 2020 at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) campus located in Bethesda, MD. The program aims to promote diversity in the biomedical science research field by supporting and enhancing science training of students who attend schools in the Washington, DC metropolitan area where many students are financially disadvantaged. Students from diverse backgrounds including individuals that are underrepresented in the biomedical, clinical, behavioral and social sciences are encouraged to apply.

Please see NIH's Diversity Statement for Underrepresented Populations in the U.S. Biomedical, Clinical, Behavioral and Social Sciences Research Enterprise: "Notice of NIH's Interest in Diversity" (NOT-OD-18-210)

The program will train students (grades 6-7-8) on the basics of life sciences and provide a hands-on laboratory training experience to stimulate students’ interest in the sciences. The training program is developed to support and increase students from diverse background in science careers, to enhance the participants’ level of scientific literacy, and to enhance participants' awareness of careers in the biomedical and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields.

The primary goals of the program are to 

•           Aid selected students in acquiring basic laboratory techniques;

•           Learn data acquisition and organization skills;

•           Understand methods of data analysis and interpretation; and

•           Develop writing skills to generate research conclusions

The program will promote the learning of scientific methods which aims to reinforce the education goals set by Washington, DC, MD, and VA public schools. It is hoped that the program will lead to participants' increased interest in the sciences and biomedical research.

The training will take place on Saturdays (9:00am – 12:00pm) starting on January 25, 2020 at the FAES Biotechnology Training facility on the NIH campus (One Cloister Court, NIH Building 60, Bethesda, MD). Please consider an additional 15-30 minutes for the NIH security screening process and accessing Bldg. 60.

It is required that students attend all scheduled sessions.

Tentative Schedule*

January 25, 2020; February 1, 2020; February 8, 2020; February 15, 2020; February 22, 2020; February 29, 2020; March 7, 2020; March 21, 2020; March 28, 2020

*March 14, 2020 (make up day)

How to apply
Click here to start the online application process. To be considered for participation, students must submit application by January 8, 2020 and meet all the following eligibility criteria at the time of application submission.

Apply Now


  1. Student is either in 6 th, 7 th, or 8th grade;
  2. Student attends a school located in Washington DC metropolitan area, wherein student lives within 40 miles of the NIH Campus in Bethesda, Maryland; and
  3. Student attends a school where 30% or more of the students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch

Parents or guardians must confirm the eligibilities 1 and 2. Student’s school teacher or counselor must confirm the eligibility 3.

Required Documents

  1. A photocopy of a report card or an unofficial transcript from the end of the 2018-2019 school year. If you do not have access to this report card, please upload your most recent report card from this school year.
  2. An Essay: In your own words, describe your interest and passion in science. The essay should also include any challenges you are experiencing in order to explore your interest in science. For example, write if your current school lacks adequate STEM resources (e.g., hands-on lab), or if you are experiencing financial or other difficulties that inhibit your ability to access other scientific programs and opportunities.

Acceptance notifications will be emailed by January 15, 2020. To learn more about the program, please email

*This project has been funded in part with Federal funds from the National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, under Contract No: HHSN271201800711P

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