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  1. Scientific Internships, Fellowships / Trainees and Non-U.S. Citizens

OCE Summer Scholars Program

The FDA Oncology Center of Excellence Summer Scholars Program is designed to introduce high school students with an interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering, or medicine) to the cancer drug development process and career opportunities in government, regulatory medicine, and cancer advocacy.

The six-week program based at the FDA campus in Silver Spring, Maryland, offers students exposure to the drug development pathway, including:

  • Comprehensive introduction to the cancer drug development process, including pre-clinical research, clinical trials, drug manufacturing, FDA review, and drug marketing and utilization.
  • Discussions with pivotal stakeholders and advocacy groups.
  • Introduction to principles of translational and clinical research.
  • Introduction to clinical data analysis.
  • Communications techniques for future scientists and health professionals.
  • End-of-program student presentation on a topic of interest.


  • U.S. Citizen, non-citizen national, or legal permanent resident.
  • 16 years of age or older by April 15 of the current year.
  • Enrolled in junior or senior year of high school during the application period.
  • Minimum overall GPA of 2.5 (on a 4.0 scale), although exceptions may be granted.

Applicants must also meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • Come from a group of persons underrepresented in science and engineering (S&E). Women, persons with disabilities, and three racial and ethnic groups—blacks or African Americans, Hispanics or Latinos, and American Indians or Alaska Natives—are underrepresented in S&E. That means their representation in S&E education and S&E employment is smaller than their representation in the U.S. population (Source: National Science Foundation).
  • Have been diagnosed with cancer or be a sibling or a child of a cancer survivor.

Students will be enrolled through FDA’s Summer Volunteer Student Program, an unpaid position. District of Columbia Public Schools students have the opportunity for compensation through the DCPS Career Initiatives Summer Internship Program.

Each student will be assigned an FDA employee mentor at the beginning of the program. Mentors will meet regularly with students and assist with their end-of-program presentation.

Application Process and Required Documents

All required documents listed below must be filled out and signed by the student and/or parent/guardian where indicated and sent as attachments by email to FDAOncology@fda.hhs.gov by April 15. Do not send links to cloud sharing platforms such as Google documents.

All forms must be complete and signed before the application will be considered.

  • One-page Personal Statement describing why the student would like to participate in the program and how they became interested in oncology or drug development.
  • Student resume or CV containing at least the student’s date of birth, U.S. citizenship status, name of high school, GPA, and an email address and phone number.
  • Student Volunteer Program Agreement
  • Non-Employee Data Form
  • HHS ID Badge Request
  • E-QIP Initiation Form
  • Declaration for Federal Employment
  • Confidential Information Form for Students
  • Travel Permission Slip
  • Photo Video Release

Download the complete application package here.

Application Deadline: April 15

Program Location

FDA White Oak Campus, 10903 New Hampshire Avenue, Building 22, Silver Spring, Maryland, 20993.

FDA Will Provide:

  • Transportation for field trips (bus or van)
  • Metro passes
  • FDA shuttle to Metro
  • Orientation binder and materials

The approximate curriculum for the 2020 program is shown below. Details and dates of activities may change. Students are expected to attend four days a week, usually M-Th, from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm.


Week 1 (June 29-July 3):

  • FDA orientation
  • Basics of drug development and oncology lectures
  • Introduction to FDA mentors

Week 2 (July 6-10):

  • FDA basics lectures continued
  • Intro to communications for scientists/health professionals
  • Field trip: NIH Clinical Center–research laboratories and hospital

Week 3 (July 13-17):

  • Field trip: Pharmaceutical company – Manufacturing, Research, Marketing
  • Field trip: National Cancer Institute – biotech, startups, government grants

Week 4 (July 20-23):

  • Recap and reflection; data analysis and regulation
  • Field trip: Howard University – Labs, Oncology Clinic, and Tumor Board

Week 5 (July 22-30):

  • Field trips: Advocacy groups, American Society of Clinical Oncology headquarters, and Capitol Hill Congressional offices
  • Careers in government, emerging topics in oncology

Week 6 (Aug 3-7):

  • Meet with and shadow mentors
  • Final presentation preparation
  • Close out projects and finish rotation
  • Friday, August 7: Final Presentation at OCE Rounds



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