April 2017: Penn LENS Application Deadline Extended!

The ONLINE APPLICATION is now open for the summer 2017 Penn Laboratory Experience in Natural Science (LENS) program.  The application will close on Sunday, May 7, 2017 at 11:59pm.

 Picture: 2016 End of Session Penn LENS Poster Session  

2017 Program Details: The program runs July 5-August 11, Tuesdays-Fridays.  Participants receive a stipend for participating as well as public transportation tokens as needed.  Applicants must be rising 11th or 12th grad students from Philadelphia public (including charter) schools. The best candidates are not necessarily those with the most prior experience, but they should be students who take challenging science classes and are considering pursuing science after high school.  We are especially looking for students with a strong work ethic, curiosity, and a willingness to perform routine tasks with a positive attitude.

Students selected for the Penn LENS program will have the opportunity to gain firsthand experience working in a university science laboratory and/or field setting.  Under the direction of Penn faculty and their graduate students, they will carry out daily assigned tasks which are essential to the on going research efforts. They will gain important skills that involve both laboratory procedures and computer-based data collection and analysis. Supervised by the program coordinator (a high school teacher), they will meet weekly as a group for discussions, shared activities, and trips. The internship will culminate with a poster about their summer experience, to be shared with others in the program and then taken back to school for display in the fall.

Specific Opportunities

Dr. Alison Sweeney's Lab
Dr. Sweeney's research connects physics and biology.  She is interested in the material properties of biological systems and how they generate new and interested optical phenomena.  She studies creatures that live in the ocean (such as clams, squid and jelleyfish) as well as in more familiar organisms such as butterflies and flowers.  Students might be involved with insect cage maintenance, aquarium cleaning, animal feeding, computer programming and image analysis on the computer.

Dr. Joseph Kable's Lab
Dr. Kable is a psychology professor who looks at how and why people make decisions, using approaches from pyschology, neuroscience, and economics. The students will be helping run experiments in which they measure what decisions people make, whay people pay attention to when they make decisions (by tracking their eyes) and how decisions affect their emotions (by tracking their physiological responses). Data will be collected and analyzed using the computer.

Dr. Eleni Katifori's Lab
Dr. Katifori is a physics professor who studies organizing principles of biological material and how they evolved, focusing on vascular systems such as the one found in plant leaves.  The students will be collecting samples from plants on campus, digitizing them using various tools (such as scanners and microscops), researching biological facts and writing copy. Eventually, this information will be integrated into a Digital Garden all for cell phones, allowing users to learn about plants using QR codes.

Our application consists of:

  • the online application form
  • a high school transcript (official or unofficial)
  • one teacher recommendation letter
  • a 300 word essay answering the 3 questions provided

2016 Penn LENS Alumnae2016 Penn LENS participants (above)