Garrison Forest empowers students to realize their full potential and live lives of purpose.

Garrison Forest School

We know that you’re smart. At GFS, we help you become WISE.

"I always wanted to work in a real lab, and WISE is one of the reasons why I came to Garrison Forest. The depth of research is exactly what I expected…What I found most amazing is the friendly and positive atmosphere of Johns Hopkins’ labs.” -Mia ’16, who studied neurogenesis and optogeneitcs at the Institute for Cell Engineering: Neurogeneration Program at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions


What is WISE?

The Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) program is a groundbreaking partnership between Garrison Forest and Johns Hopkins University. We place talented GFS students in Hopkins labs two afternoons a week for about 15 weeks of a semester. WISE students are carefully matched with a Hopkins mentor (professor or graduate student) for a semester and participate fully in the research focus of a Hopkins lab.

WISE is much more than working on world-class research projects. It’s immersion science, science mentoring, an exciting overview of science and engineering fields—and, most of all, it’s an opportunity to dive into your passions for STEM and truly test your mettle in a real lab as a real contributor.



Junior and Seniors may apply for WISE. We recruit WISE participants from Garrison Forest’s student body as well as visiting students from high schools located locally, nationally and internationally to spend two semesters participating in the WISE program while enrolled at GFS.



WISE projects range across disciplines from JHU’s Whiting School of Engineering, Krieger School of Arts & Sciences, Bloomberg School of Public Health, and the School of Medicine. Students have tackled WISE projects ranging from biology and biomedical engineering, chemistry and cognitive science, anthropology and art history, neuroscience and nutrition, fluid mechanics and food deserts, and education and electrical engineering to name just a few. Many WISE projects are cross-disciplinary, cross-departmental, and even multi-School in design, providing WISE students with a valuable window into the breadth and focus of STEM study and the collaborative nature of STEM research.

Read about recent projects.

In addition to in-depth time in a Hopkins lab and working one-on-one with graduate-level researchers, WISE students are included in lectures, seminars, departmental meetings and other activities designed to expose them to a range of science and engineering disciplines. STEM-related events at Hopkins and field trips to such regional resources as the National Institutes of Health, Goddard Space Flight Center, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory and the Central Intelligence Agency raise students' awareness of the range of science careers available to them.





The most important lesson you will learn through WISE is what you learn about yourself, which will be invaluable to you in college and beyond. In addition, through observing and participating in how a scientist/engineer in a specific discipline identifies and approaches a particular research question, you will:

  • Learn how to apply the scientific method
  • Learn how to create new knowledge
  • Develop problem solving and critical thinking skills for college and life
  • Explore a specific area of inquiry and a broad array of disciplines in a major research university
  • Gain in-depth exposure to a research question in one discipline
  • Learn about how a research lab works
  • Experience the interdisciplinary nature of learning—how subject areas mingle, overlap, build and rely upon each other, change and evolve—and how they can fit with a variety of educational and career objectives
  • Learn about the spectrum of science/engineering disciplines at JHU specifically
  • Establish a work relationship with a world-class scientist/engineer/researcher and her/his team
  • Learn how to be a contributing member of a research team
  • Explore the intellectually and internally demanding skills that science research requires—including how curiosity can be channeled into a disciplined, methodical, approach to uncovering knowledge—skills that are of use in endeavors beyond science
  • Build a sense of ease and competence in a research university setting, including learning the campus; sitting in on classes, seminars, lectures, and departmental meetings; interacting with undergraduate and graduate students and professors; and taking the first steps towards being participating citizens of the university
  • Learn to manage some of the intellectual, interpersonal, and internal challenges the experience presents that stretch a high school woman’s “comfort zone”

“Sometimes it’s hard to know what you have learned until after the fact. As a WISE student, I learned that confidence and enthusiasm can get you far in life. This was especially crucial for getting through my first year of engineering schools. As a Ph.D. student, I am still solving the same sort of open-ended problems that I faced as a WISE student.” – Casey Canfield ’06, Ph.D. candidate in Engineering and Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University, B.S., Engineering Systems, Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering


Since 2005, 75 faculty and graduate student scientists and engineers have served as WISE mentors from Johns Hopkins’ Whiting School of Engineering, Krieger School of Arts and Sciences and Bloomberg School of Public Health. Participating departments include:

  • Applied Mathematics and Statistics department
  • Biology department
  • Biomedical Engineering department
  • Biophysics department
  • Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering department
  • Chemistry department
  • Cognitive Science department
  • Earth and Planatary Sciences department
  • Electrical and Computer Engineering department
  • Geography and Environmental Engineering department
  • Health, Behavior and Society department
  • International Health department
  • Materials Science and Engineering department
  • Mechanical Engineering department
  • Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences department
  • Physics and Astronomy department
  • Physiology and Brain Sciences department

WISE students are mentored by dedicated faculty, both at JHU and GFS, and with a peer cohort. Research shows that women are more likely to succeed in STEAM disciplines if they have direct mentoring experiences. Students establish a work relationship with their mentor and learn how to be a contributing member of a lab. They are able to share their experience with fellow WISE students.

WISE mentors and other JHU advocates advise students on planning a future in science, engineering, public health and other science-related fields. WISE students have access to faculty, graduate and undergraduate students who provide insights into the rewards, challenges, and opportunities for women in STEM in general and at JHU specifically.

Mentor/student pairing is based in part on the student’s interest in the mentor’s discipline and research and the student’s preparedness. Guarantees regarding interest matches are not possible, however. Students should not participate in WISE if they are not willing to accept any placement assignment that program administrators deem appropriate based on student preparation and project availability.

JHU mentors provide instruction on laboratory safety, protocols, equipment use and other elements related to their particular research.


WISE students participate in a customized junior or senior-year curriculum at Garrison Forest and spend two afternoons a week on the Johns Hopkins campus in hands-on research, science immersion experiences, and mentoring activities.

Dr. Brian Blair, Upper School Science teacher at GFS and a former researcher at Hopkins, serves as the WISE Academic Coordinator. He coordinates the academic experience at GFS and all Hopkins activities for WISE students. The WISE Academic Coordinator visits the students in their labs periodically and provides support to students and to the JHU mentors.

Each WISE student has a GFS advisor, a faculty member who works closely with the student and Dr. Blair to ensure that all needs and requirements are met for the GFS curriculum. At GFS, students participate in class time and out-of-class sessions that support their WISE experience.

WISE is challenging. There are times WISE students feel overwhelmed by a new world, intimidated by new people, unprepared for the intellectual work, unskilled at research tasks, discouraged by the painstaking pace of lab work and research or unclear about larger objectives. WISE participation is a step out of the world of high school, with its full focus on the needs of the student, into the world of university research, where the focus is on creating knowledge.

WISE can be a transforming experience. Through working with faculty and graduate student mentors in a lab or other research setting, being part of an effort that has a purpose beyond her own education, the WISE student has a chance to learn about how science works, about intellectual persistence, about learning from failure and from success, and about herself, in ways that are distinctive and valuable.

Get detailed information about WISE Requirements and deadlines here.


WISE participants may opt to live on campus in GFS residence halls for the one-semester WISE program, contingent upon space availability. Those students boarding for WISE will enjoy a living-learning community at GFS that enhances their science experience and provides them with 24/7 faculty support and the distinctive educational experience of being a boarding student.

Options for living on campus during WISE are available for day students with an interest. Information is available from Ms. Perry.

Learn about boarding at GFS.


2017-2018 tuition for WISE students is $3500 for the WISE term; this is in addition to the standard day or residential tuition. This includes all costs associated with participation, including expenses at JHU, transportation to JHU and field trips and activities. Families on aid have the percentage of their aid reduction applied to the WISE tuition.

JHU logo



WISE supports young women in pursuing an education and career in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art/design and math) fields in which women are significantly underrepresented. Regardless of the student’s primary area of interest, our WISE program seeks to expand overall STEAM literacy and cross-disciplinary connections and develop a deep understanding of the research process. In WISE, the process of discovery is more important than a particular research topic.


Contact Andrea Perry
Director of The James Center
Garrison Forest School