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Common Questions

Who can apply?

Sophomores, juniors, and seniors who are seriously interested in pursuing a career in science may apply. Students seeking to build their resumes should not. Participants must make the program a priority and plan to spend 6-12 hours on it each week.

Can I apply if I am a really smart and mature freshman?


How do I apply?

Complete the application form available on this website, and follow the directions to submit it by July 31. Submit only one copy of the application.

What is the application deadline?

The deadline is July 31st.

I didn’t know about the program before the deadline. Can I submit an application now?

No, but you can submit one next year.

How many students are accepted?

The number of students accepted depends on the number of mentors available. We typically have 40-45 students in the program each year.

How are applications evaluated?

Students must agree to each of the commitments on the application, provide their own transportation to ASU, and have plenty of time to participate.

Most students who apply have excellent grades and pursue a variety of extracurricular activities, but students who are heavily scheduled will not have adequate time to participate.

The essay is what sets successful applicants apart from the rest. There is no formula or rubric for the essay. Successful applicants communicate an individualized interest in and understanding of the process of science. They have often already done science research on their own or in an internship program. Their participation in extracurricular science activities focuses on hands-on problem solving, not book research. They support statements about their interest in science with evidence of a track record of scientific pursuits. Their writing is clear, candid, and logical.

How will I find out if I was accepted?

You will receive an email within three weeks of the application deadline. Please do not telephone to ask about your status.

How long does the program last?

The program runs from September through April. Students may continue to work with their mentors after April by individual arrangement.

Is there a summer program?

No. Students may continue to work with their mentors over the summer by individual arrangement with the mentor. We also have a STEM based summer program Clubes de Ciencia Arizona, please visit our website at

What will I do in the program?

You will be mentored by an ASU scientist to conduct original research on a problem that you formulate yourself. Your problem will relate to your mentor’s research. You will do background work during fall semester (reading, learning about experimental design, lab equipment, and lab techniques) and decide on a question to investigate by December. In January, February, and March, you will conduct your experiment. In late March or early April, you’ll present your research to the SCENE group and compete in the Arizona Science and Engineering Fair.

I already have a project in mind. Can you find a scientist at ASU who will help me with it?

No, sorry. We’ve tried to do that in the past and it’s like searching for a needle in a haystack.

What is the Arizona Science and Engineering Fair?

The fair is a regional competition affiliated with the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. It is held in Phoenix annually in late March or early April. The fair offers financial awards, recognition, and the chance to discuss your work with judges who are professional scientists. Most students really enjoy the fair and nearly all win at least one award. Many SCENE students have gone on to compete in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.

What else can I do with my project?

We encourage you to participate in one or more of these other major science competitions.
Junior Science and Humanities Symposia
Qualifying fair: Arizona Junior Science and Humanities Symposium
Arizona Junior Science and Humanities Symposium
Intel Science Talent Search
Siemens Competition

How much time will I have to spend on my project?

Plan to spend 6-12 hours each week. Once your experiment is underway, you may have to spend more time. Your schedule will be set individually with your mentor and will depend on the requirements of your project. You must have time available to work with your mentor on weekday afternoons and weekends.

Where will I work?

You will work in an ASU science lab, at a field site, or both.

What are the projects?

Projects change every year according to the research interests of the mentors. See About our Mentors and Student Research Projects to get a sense of the kinds of research possible.

Will I get to choose my mentor?

We try to place you with your first-choice mentor but it is not always possible to do so.

Who are the mentors?

Click here for information about this year’s mentors.



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