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Professor For a Day

A program to introduce gifted high school students to contemporary science in a real-world setting

It has been said that scientists are judged first and foremost by how well they communicate their work, and only secondly by how good their science is. This is because science does not progress in a vacuum, but is instead fashioned out of continual discussion and intellectual exchange. Scientists must therefore communicate and defend their research to scientific peers on a regular basis. This critical aspect of the scientific process is absent from many research experiences aimed at high school students.

The purpose of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory's "Professor For a Day" program is to show students what science involves outside the laboratory, in particular how scientists communicate their work and subject it to peer review. In a structured group setting, students will attend talks and a poster session at one of the many scientific meetings hosted each year by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. While participating in top science fairs may give students a taste of what a career in science is like, participating in "Professor For a Day" will offer a genuine sense of how the scientific community operates.

NEW! Program Dates and Topics for Spring 2015:

High school sophomores, juniors, and seniors with strong interests in science and research are eligible to apply for the program. No prior knowledge about the meeting topics is required.

Overall Structure
The specifics of each day of the program will depend on the individual meeting schedules. However, all program dates will go from early morning (8-8:30 a.m.) to late in the afternoon (5:00 p.m.) and involve the following:

  • Breakfast, lunch, and afternoon snacks
  • Attendance at scientific talks and a poster session
  • Structured discussions about the content and presentation of the talks, as well as how to use an abstract book and get the most out of a poster session
  • A presentation by a young scientist at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory about his/her career path
  • A tour of the campus

Students must arrange their own transportation to and from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. The Laboratory operates a shuttle from the Syosset train station on the Port Jefferson line of the Long Island Rail Road.

Outside of transportation and miscellaneous (optional) purchases from the campus bookstore, there is no cost to participate in "Professor For a Day."

Participating Schools
Since 2011, students from the following high schools have participated in the program: Bayside, Benjamin Cardozo, Brentwood, Chaminade, Cold Spring Harbor, East Islip, East Meadow, Farmingdale, Friends of the Academy, Garden City, Glen Cove, H. Frank Carey, Harborfields, Hicksville, Huntington, Island Trees, Manhassett, Mineola, Massapequa, Mount Sinai, North Shore, Our Lady of Mercy, Smithtown West, Syosset, The Ross School, and Leonia High School in New Jersey

Application Deadlines
Applications are due three weeks before the program dates.

Further Information
Additional information about "Professor For a Day," including application materials, is available by contacting Charla Lambert via email or telephone (516-367-5058).


"The advice about how to choose a mentor and being persistent in your research will be very helpful. My favorite part of the day was the poster session. We could wander to whichever projects we were curious about. The presenters were really great about answering my questions and explaining their research to me."
Vivian Chang, Half Hollow Hills High School West


Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Meetings & Courses Program
PO Box 100, 1 Bungtown Road
Cold Spring Harbor, NY 11724-2213
Phone (516) 367-8346
Fax: (516) 367-8845