Program Information

Applications for summer 2021 are closed

Internship Application Dates

February 5, 2021: Both Undergrad & High School Application deadline

Tentative Program Start and End Dates

May 31, 2021–August 6, 2021: Undergraduate NSF & USDA Research Experience for Undergrads (REU) Program
June 23, 2021–August 6, 2021: High School Internships

Selected applicants are expected to participate for the entire duration of the program into which you are admitted. Selected applicants must be able to start and end the program on the dates listed in the preceding text.

BTI Intern putting liquid into a test tube with a pipette

About Ithaca

Ithaca has consistently been named one of the top 100 places to live, one of the best “green” places to live, and a top 10 recreational city. Located at the southern end of Cayuga Lake (the largest lake of the Finger Lakes), Ithaca has hundreds of natural wonders to explore from gorges and waterfalls, to hiking trails, swimming holes and so much more.

Also, named one of the “foodiest” towns in the US, Ithaca has a vibrant and cultural downtown, with more restaurants per capita than New York City, and one of the best farmers market in New York State. You will find multiple venues for live music, events sponsored by Cornell, and unique festivals throughout the region. The summer internship program also provides opportunities for a day trip to New York City and Niagara Falls, and frequent buses to and from NYC to accommodate weekend trips.

Living in Ithaca and on Cornell’s campus this summer will be an unforgettable experience.

Undergraduate Housing

Aerial view of Cornell's campusUndergraduate summer Interns will be living in houses/dormitories on the Cornell University campus. Most students will be housed in double rooms with bathrooms, dining/living areas and shared kitchens. Card operated laundry service is also accessible in the building.

Summer interns will be sharing dormitories with their fellow program participants, along with interns from other summer research programs taking place at Cornell University. In addition to their research stipend, interns will be provided a $1,050 meal stipend and free housing.

While most places on campus are accessible by walking, free bus passes will also be provided, allowing easy access to any location in Ithaca!

Intern FAQs

Who can apply to the NSF funded REU Plant Genome Research Program for Undergraduates?

To apply to the REU PGRP Internship at BTI and Cornell, students must be:

  • US citizens or permanent residents of the US or its possessions.
  • Undergraduates currently enrolled in a degree program, including graduating high school seniors.
  • 18 years of age before the first day of the program.
  • Currently enrolled and not graduated by the first day of the program.

Students from small colleges, under-represented minority, and first generation college students are strongly encouraged to apply.

Note: Graduating high school seniors should apply to the high school internship program, as the undergraduate internship program dates and high school course dates are usually in conflict.

Who can apply to the High School Research Experience Summer Internship Program?

To apply to the High School Internship at BTI and Cornell, students must be:

  • 16 years of age before the first day of the program.
  • Able to commit to the program’s required schedule, typically 9-5pm Monday through Friday, for 7 weeks
  • Able to obtain transportation to and from the Boyce Thompson Institute daily (533 Tower Rd, Ithaca, NY 14853). Travel expenses and Housing expenses will not be covered for High School Interns.

Under-represented minority students, and students who will be the first generation of their family to attend college are strongly encouraged to apply.

Note: Graduating high school seniors should apply to the high school internship program, as the undergraduate internship program dates and high school course dates are usually in conflict.

How will I be compensated?

Undergraduates receive a competitive stipend ($5,750), meal allowance ($850), travel assistance (up to $500) and fully funded group housing on the Cornell campus.

Undergraduate Internships are funded by the National Science Foundation, (Research Experiences for Undergraduates, REU Award #1850796) and the United States Department of Agriculture (2018-67032-27699).

High School interns are supported by the generosity of local donors and foundations. Local High School interns do receive stipends ($3,100), but are NOT provided housing, travel or meal allowances.

Where will I be living during the summer as an undergraduate intern?

Undergraduate interns will be provided with housing on the Cornell University campus approximately one mile of your working place.  All undergraduate interns will be housed together in the same building and will have a roommate.  Roommates will be randomly assigned based on age and gender.

If for any reason you choose not to live in the Cornell dorms during the summer, you will not be reimbursed by the program from living expenses.

Housing is not available for High School students or interns under the age of 18 years old.

Do you provide meals?

We do not provide meals, but we do provide meal allowances to undergraduate interns only. There are many great restaurants near the Cornell campus. A weekly lunch will be provided to all BTI interns as part of the PGRP Summer Seminar Series.

Interns interested in utilizing Cornell University’s dining program can find more information here: Cornell Dining Summer Meal Plans.

Please note: The Cornell meal plan dates are not the same as the BTI internship dates and plan accordingly.  You will not be able to enroll in a meal plan until you receive your net ID, on the first day of the internship. The dorms will also have kitchens on each floor if meal plans do not fit your schedule/preference.

Is there a transportation service?

Undergraduate interns will receive a Cornell ID card, which will allow access to the TCAT bus system on the Cornell Campus and within Ithaca city limits.  If you wish to travel outside the area, bus passes can be purchased online.

Any undergraduate wishing to bring their car will be provided parking options, but the parking costs will not be covered by the program.

High School interns will be responsible for arranging their own transportation to and from BTI daily. Parking permits can be purchased from Cornell Transportation, if needed.

How will I be notified of my acceptance?

You will be notified of your acceptance via email. Undergraduate & High School interns can expect to be notified by the end of April to early May.

Can I apply again?

Yes. You may apply again. If you are applying again, please indicate in your application that you have applied before and when you applied.

What opportunities will I have to learn about Cornell Graduate School?

You will attend a half-day Graduate School Panel discussion and weekly seminars followed by a lunch with Cornell & BTI faculty. You will also have the opportunity to network with Graduate School admissions officers. Each intern will be in a lab and work directly with current graduate students and postdocs.

What kind of extracurricular activities are available?

During the summer, the PGRP sponsors events, such as our Welcome Dinner and Summer Barbecue, for everyone involved in the internship program. At least one field trip will be planned on campus, and opportunities to visit NYC & Niagara Falls (extra fee) will be communicated! Undergraduate summer interns live in Cornell Dorms in or near Collegetown. In Collegetown, you will find many restaurants, cafés, and shops as well as access to the Cascadilla Gorge trail which leads to the downtown Ithaca Commons. The Ithaca Commons are home to many community events throughout the summer including live music, community dances, and the Ithaca Festival. Streets are pedestrian and bike friendly, and public transportation is readily available. You will find that there is a great deal to do in and around Ithaca.

How will my research project be determined?

The selection committee and faculty will do our best to match you with a project that is of interest to you and is aligned with your academic background and experience. On your application form, you will be asked to select up to five projects of interest on your application form. In most cases you will work on one of the five projects.

In addition to my research project, what else will I do each week?
  • Attend weekly seminar(s) with scientists from BTI, Cornell, and the USDA
  • Attend lab meetings, read, and discuss recent literature related to your project
  • Learn about graduate school, scientific careers, and work in an international environment
  • Write a research proposal, practice peer reviews, and learn the art of scientific communication
  • Present your research to the other students, scientists, and mentors at the Student Summer
Where does my support to participate come from?

REU Undergraduate internships are funded by the National Science Foundation and United States Department of Agriculture

High School interns are supported by The National Science Foundation, faculty grants, and the generosity of local donors and foundations including the Ithaca Garden Club, Rheonix, the Legacy Foundation of Tompkins County, and the Tompkins Charitable Gift Fund.

I know I submitted my application, and my recommenders submitted letters on my behalf, so why haven’t I received confirmation emails?

If you haven’t received a confirmation email, as expected, please check the “SPAM” or “junk mail” folder in your email client.

You could also add the following email addresses as safe contacts in your email program to further prevent this issue: AND

NSF Logo
Emerson Foundation
Ithaca Garden Club Logo
John Ben Snow logo
Legacy Foundation of Tompkins County Logo
Rheonix Logo
Triad-Foundation Logo
Yunis Realty Logo

Internships are funded by the National Science Foundation, Research Experiences for Undergraduates Award #1358843, individual faculty grants, and the generosity of donors including the Emerson Foundation , Ithaca Garden Club, John Ben Snow, the Legacy Foundation of Tompkins County, Rheonix, Triad Foundation Inc, Yunis Realty , and many individual donors.



Boyce Thompson Institute
533 Tower Rd.
Ithaca, NY 14853