MAPS Program, UCSD

UCSD Mentor Assistance Program (MAP) for High School Students

The MAP Application Process for 2019-2020 is now closed. Stay tuned for the 2020-2021 application season, beginning next March.

Now in its fourth year, UC San Diego’s Mentor Assistance Program (MAP) is a campus-wide program, which will engage high school students in a mentoring relationship with an expert from a vast array of disciplines, from History, Marine Physical Sciences and Nanoengineering to Biochemistry, Pharmacology, Athletics and Computer Science. MAP’s mission is to provide a pathway for student researchers to gain access to UCSD faculty, post doctoral fellows and staff to mentor students in their own field of interest (i.e. independent study, class projects or possible career path). Students may choose to communicate with a mentor over email or may indicate their interest to visit the mentor’s lab or work environment. MAP is an opportunity for students to take the first step into a potential career path, while simultaneously building an early foundation for success in their academic career.

The UCSD Mentor Assistance Program (MAP) is an opportunity for motivated high school students to work with a UCSD mentor for a nine-month period from fall to spring of the following year. Students may seek guidance on class projects, delve deeper into a research project or interests, create a winning Science Fair projects, request regular visits with the mentor’s lab or work space or use this opportunity to learn more about a potential research or career interest through assigned scholarly or practical readings and discussions with their mentor.

As an example, if a student does not have a project in mind, but is interested in a particular area, such as bioinformatics, sports medicine or linguistic, the mentor can assign a scholarly article every other week and then the mentor will have bi-weekly discussion with the students about the articles, allowing the student to gain added knowledge to make continued education and career decisions.

We encourage students to make the most of this opportunity, as they will have 1:1 access to the mentor’s expertise. With this mentorship, there is not a specified number of hours required per week by the student. Rather, it is up to the student to determine their needs within the scope of this opportunity and to work with the mentor to achieve these goals. As a guideline, we recommend students spend 2-4 hours per week working with their mentor during the academic year. The opportunity to work with prestigious scientist and staff personnel is something very special and we encourage you to make the most of it.

The MAP Mentoring Program is administered by UCSD School of Medicine and the San Diego Supercomputer Center.


  • Applicants must be Southern California residents and have completed their most recent semester of high school and be in grade 10, 11 or 12 at a public or private high school or in a home school setting within Southern California.
  • Applicants must be at least 16 years of age on or before June 30, 2019 for both summer and fall start dates.
  • Graduating high school seniors entering college in the fall are exempt from applying as this program is not intended for undergraduate students.
  • One year each of high school level chemistry or biology is recommended but not required for full consideration within the available science disciplines. Please check each project prerequisite as project requirements vary.
  • Applicants must have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.75 and be college bound.


As students will notice, the application is similar to previous internship applications that UCSD has used for other programs, but with a few less requirements.

Please complete the MAP application thoughtfully and neatly. You cannot take back a first impression.

Please remember to:

  • address your cover letter to your selected mentor.
  • provide a well crafted resume
  • be honest. If your grades slipped a little, explain why. We all have issues that present themselves and that sometimes hinder achievement. A simple explanation is all you need.
  • write a thoughtful essay as to why you wish to participate.
  • check for spelling errors.
  • be thorough. Refer to the checklist before submitting your application.

Please DO NOT:

  • ask your parent to write your essay.
  • reuse a school essay. We can spot these a mile away!
  • use slang. (Yes, this has happened.).
  • address the mentor incorrectly in your cover letter. Please be sure to use Dr. when warranted and please do not use Dr. when the mentor does not have a doctorate. This seems like a small mistake, but it can count against you.

Applications must be submitted by 11:59pm on the specified deadline. . After this time, the system will close and you will not be able to submit an application.
Hand delivered, mailed or overnight express mail applications submitted during the application period or after will not be accepted.

Once applications are received, MAP mentors will be contacted for application review and student selection.


Kellie Church of the School of Medicine (; x40308) and Ange Mason of the San Diego Supercomputer Center (, x45064) are available to provide guidance and answer any questions you might have. Just ask!


health sciences

Program Organizer:

Kellie Breen Church, PhD

Assistant Professor of Reproductive Medicine
Department of Reproductive Medicine, UCSD

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