After sharing a bit with us about your science interests, you'll be matched with a Johns Hopkins University (JHU) faculty mentor. Your mentor will take you into her or his lab and connect you closely with her research team. Lab teams include JHU graduate students (themselves sources of mentoring and teaching support) and, in all likelihood, some undergraduate students.
Your mentor will teach you a few basics related to her research (a bit about acoustic theory, a bit about Chesapeake Bay biology, a bit about genetic blueprinting--whatever you need to know to begin to understand your lab's work). She'll explain her research: the hypothesis she's addressing, the procedure she's using, the results she's uncovering. You'll see the scientific method come alive in full-bore action. You'll learn how to use the equipment specific to your lab's effort and how to assess and record what's learned. You'll jump in and join in, becoming part of the team for about 12 weeks.
Two-to-three afternoons a week--from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. or so--you'll be on campus at Hopkins, in the lab or out in the field, with your mentor's research team. Your direct, hands-on contribution will help the team, whether through patiently replicating results to validate findings, collecting data from a state-of-the-art machine, or even sharing a new idea you've had related to the core research question. You may also attend lectures or join weekly departmental seminars and meetings where the team's progress is discussed and the process of how science is done, funded, shared, and critiqued unfolds. You may find yourself given credit for your work in a colloquium or in a journal paper, or even asked to travel with your team to a professional conference to help present to colleagues.
You'll learn about science beyond your lab. The academic dean's office at Hopkins organizes special overview experiences for all WISE students. There'll be group sessions to introduce you to the many science and engineering disciplines offered at Hopkins and beyond. Lunch with women students who share their experiences and passions. Visits to some of the amazing science facilities of Hopkins at the Homewood campus and beyond, including facilities at the Hospital, the School of Medicine, and the School of Public Health. You'll have a chance to give input on what most interests you; with such a wealth of choices, there'll be many ways to explore whatever excites your curiosity.
Your Hopkins mentors--faculty and graduate students--will help you to make sense of all you are doing and seeing. They'll not only supervise your research work, they'll talk with you about what you're learning and what you're thinking. They'll be resources as you plan your future and point you towards possibilities. They'll share their own experiences and give you professional and personal insights into the scientific life. They'll listen to your interests, help you identify your strengths, and offer their thoughts about directions you might consider in your education and, one day, in your career.
Your Hopkins work will receive credit at Garrison Forest School and will be graded. You'll write a weekly journal on your lab work and the WISE experience. You'll join other WISE students in explaining your work to each other in your JHU labs. You'll share your experience in GFS presentations in an Upper School WISE fair, a Middle School Science class, or a Lower Division Morning Meeting. You'll receive feedback from your JHU mentors to take to your next science effort.
You'll leave Johns Hopkins University with faculty and graduate student advocates you can contact for guidance and information as you move into your future. And you'll bring the practice you gain at working with a mentor, side-by-side on a research team, to your college experience; you'll be ready to craft university-style relationships with faculty and student colleagues.
Finally, you'll get good at negotiating a university campus. You'll have a taste of the independence of college, as you hike about Homewood, grab the shuttle down to the Medical School, search for a text in the depths of the MSE Library, or caffeinate with a latte snagged at the student union coffee bar on your way to a lecture in the Physics and Astronomy auditorium. Your transition from high school to your own college campus will be made all the easier.
A note about your faculty mentor: the WISE program makes a special effort to recruit female faculty members. Many women faculty at JHU are excited about WISE and have committed themselves to being mentors. WISE also recruits male faculty committed to fostering your women as scientists. Your mentor may be female or male, in part depending upon your research/discipline interests and the pool of available mentors for your WISE semester.
About Johns Hopkins: An Overview
Join WISE and you'll join the century-plus tradition of one of the world's greatest universities: the tradition of educating through hands-on experience in research.
Founded in 1876 through the bequest of Baltimore merchant Johns Hopkins (his first name was Johns... it WAS his great grandmother's maiden name...now you know the story!), The Johns Hopkins University is the first true American university established on the European model of a graduate school combined with an undergraduate program, focused on research--the discovery of new knowledge--and teaching through involvement in research.
Johns Hopkins faculty are first of all scholars, leaders in their professional fields. Students learn from professors who are actively engaged, on a daily basis, in pushing forward the boundaries of knowledge in their disciplines. Some three-quarters of JHU undergraduates participate in research--learning by doing, guided by many of the world's best minds.
Daniel Coit Gilman, the University's first president, asked in his inaugural address in February 1876, "What are we aiming at?...The encouragement of research...and the advancement of individual scholars, who by their excellence will advance the sciences they pursue, and the society where they dwell." The University sums up its core purpose in four words: Knowledge for the World.
If you want to share in this mission, if you want to become a scholar through exploring, discovering, and creating new knowledge, if you want to DO science, join WISE. It's an incredible way to be creative, to contribute, and to stretch your own limits.