Columbia University in the City of New York


A 2022 BRAINYAC student presenting research (Credit: Sirin Samman/Columbia University)

Connecting high school students with scientists for intensive summer lab internships

The Zuckerman Institute’s Brain Research Apprenticeships in New York at Columbia (BRAINYAC) program prepares today’s youth to become tomorrow’s scientists. BRAINYAC provides high-schoolers with an immersive, hands-on summer research experience in a Columbia laboratory.  We emphasize opportunities to connect with real scientists, learn key skills required to work in a research environment, and become part of the Columbia University community.

Above: 2022 BRAINYAC students and their mentors in the lab (Credit: Bruce Gilbert/Columbia University).


BRAINYAC Applicants

The BRAINYAC program is open to students from select partner programs and schools that serve students in Upper Manhattan and the Bronx. Each student is matched with a Columbia neuroscientist, a mentor who guides the student through a research project. Interns come away from the experience with an enhanced understanding of how laboratory research leads to transformative discovery, exposure to a professional academic environment and a stronger connection to science as a career.

The BRAINYAC program accepts applications from 10th and 11th grade students nominated by one of our partner programs: S-PREP, Lang Youth Medical, Double Discovery Center, Columbia Secondary School and BioBus. Applicants must reside in New York City, and preference is given to students in upper Manhattan and the South Bronx. Program applications are distributed to our partner programs each fall.


Applying to BRAINYAC

Thank you for your interest in BRAINYAC. Applications for BRAINYAC 2024 have closed. We anticipate opening applications for BRAINYAC 2025 in October, 2024.  


Becoming a BRAINYAC Mentor

If you are interested in becoming a BRAINYAC mentor for summer 2024, please contact Maia Gumnit: [email protected].


BRAINYAC receives generous support from the Pinkerton Foundation, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke Award 1R25NS115551-01.

BRAINYAC Final Poster Presentation

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BRAINYAC in the news

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Videos Featuring BRAINYAC

Zuckerman Institute Introduces High School Students to Frontiers of Neuroscience