U.S. flag An official website of the United States government
  1. Home
  2. About FDA
  3. Jobs and Training at FDA
  4. Scientific Internships, Fellowships / Trainees and Non-U.S. Citizens
  5. OCE Summer Scholars Program
  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 expose high school students and recent high school graduates to the entire spectrum of oncology drug development and provide an introduction to 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:

  • Basic science research
  • Translational science research
  • Drug manufacturing
  • Clinical trials
  • Regulation: Review and Approval
  • Marketing and Drug Utilization


  • Comprehensive exposure to the drug development  process in oncology.
  • Offer students an introduction to pivotal stakeholders and advocacy groups.
  • Offer students an introduction to principles of translational and clinical research.
  • Introduce students to data analysis and use of the Project DataSphere Platform.
  • End-of-program student presentation on a topic of interest.


  • Be a U.S. Citizen, non-citizen national, or legal permanent resident.
  • Be 16 years of age or older and either be enrolled in high school or an accredited U.S. college or university, or plan to be enrolled in the fall.
  • If a high school student, be in their junior or senior year of high school, during the application period.
  • Have a minimum overall GPA of 2.5 or better (on a 4.0 scale), although exceptions may be granted.

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

  • Come from racial and ethnic groups that have been shown by the National Science Foundation  to be underrepresented in biomedical sciences on a national basis.
  • 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. These are unpaid volunteer positions. District of Columbia Public Schools students will be compensated 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 them with their end-of-program presentation.

Application Process
Submit a 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 to FDAOncology@fda.hhs.gov. Please indicate the student’s age, U.S. citizenship status, name of high school currently or recently attended, their GPA, and an email address and phone number. Student interviews will take place in March and selections will be made in April.  

Required Documents
Applicants accepted to the program must download and fill out the following forms and send them to FDAOncology@fda.hhs.gov by May 1, 2018:

Approximate curriculum based on 2017 program. Details and dates of activities may change. Students are expected to attend four days a week, M-Th, from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm, with the exception of the July 4 Federal holiday.


Week 1 (June 25-28):

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

Week 2 (July 2-5):

  • FDA basics lectures continued
  • Field trip: NIH Clinical Center–research laboratories and hospital

Week 3 (July 9-12):

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

Week 4 (July 16-19):

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

Week 5 (July 23-July 26):

  • Field trips: Advocacy groups and professional societies
  • Careers in government, emerging topics in oncology

Week 6 (July 30-Aug 2):

  • Meet with and shadow mentors
  • Final presentation preparation
  • Close out projects and finish rotation

FDA Will Provide

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