Thank you for your interest in the Cellular Construction Workshop (CCW)!
The application for Summer 2023 is now closed.
The Cellular Construction Workshop is a two-week summer workshop for high school teachers and students. This NSF-funded program, as part of the Center for Cellular Construction, engages students and teachers in design challenges as they learn together about the field of cellular engineering.
Have you heard of cellular engineering? Cellular engineering is a field of biology that uses cells to solve complex problems. It applies what we know about cells, including how they’re built, make decisions, and accomplish tasks, to develop new technology based on this knowledge. We need a new generation of scientists to help us tinker, build, and figure out how things work so that we can use cellular engineering to make the world a better place — that’s why we need you!
The Cellular Construction Workshop (CCW) is a paid two-week long summer program where high school students and teachers work together to learn about the field of cellular engineering. Students and teachers collaborate in teams to conduct experiments to observe how cells work, use robots and coding to copy how cells make decisions, and try to solve a real-world problem using what they’ve learned about cells and coding. No coding or robotics knowledge is necessary!
Here’s what students and teachers experience during the CCW:
- Investigate cell behavior in labs and mimic that behavior using robots in their student/teacher teams
- Visit UCSF labs and meet scientists who use cellular engineering in their work to learn about careers in the field
- Use cellular engineering techniques to solve a real-world problem
- Receive a $1000 stipend for completing the CCW
- Experience problem-based learning modules that integrate NGSS engineering practices and life sciences curriculum
- Use engineering and computer science to build an analogy of cells as biological machines in student/teacher teams
- Be given lesson materials to bring cellular engineering into the classroom
- Receive a $1350 stipend for completing the CCW
How to Apply
Thank you for your interest in the Cellular Construction Workshop (CCW)! The application for Summer 2023 is now closed.
The 2023 CCW session will be: Friday, June 16th – Friday, June 30th 2023, 9am – 3pm, M-F daily. There will be no workshop on Monday, June 19th in observance of Juneteenth. The CCW takes place at the UCSF Mission Bay campus.
- Current 10th or 11th grader
- Taken at least one biology class (recommended)
- Can commit to the full 2-week workshop
- Individuals from backgrounds historically marginalized in the sciences
- Attend a public school or public charter school in one of the school districts below
- Must be a STEM teacher
- Can commit to the full 2-week workshop
- Teach at a public school or public charter school in one of the school districts below
Accepted school districts: San Francisco Unified School District, South San Francisco Unified School District, Jefferson Union High School District, Oakland Unified School District, Hayward Unified School District, or West Contra Costa Unified School District.
We aren’t necessarily looking for students who have the best grades or have accomplished the most. In fact, we don’t ask you for your grades or GPA as part of your application. The ideal candidate will show us:
- Evidence of maturity and responsibility
- Evidence of persistence through challenges
- Science or Engineering interest
- Motivation to participate in this program
See our FAQ for more details on eligibility.
- January 2023: Applications are open
- January 24 & 25, 2023: Info-Sessions about SEP High School Summer Programs
- February 1 & February 2, 2023: Information Sessions about the CCW
- March 1, 2023: Application Help Session
- March 19, 2023: Applications are due (with teacher recommendation). Teacher recommendations must be submitted before the due date.
- April 17, 2023: Participants are notified of acceptance
- Friday, June 16, 2023: Program begins
Expectations for all CCW participants (teachers and students):
- Participate in a paid 10-day workshop. Students will receive a $1000 stipend for completing the program, and teachers will receive a $1350 stipend for completing the CCW.
- Build a learning community with all CCW participants.
- Conduct biology and cellular engineering experiments with your student/teacher teams.
- Participate in coding modules and design challenges with your student/teacher teams.
- Create a final design challenge with your student/teacher teams that solves a real-world problem.
The CCW is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) as part of the Center for Cellular Construction (CCC).
The Center for Cellular Construction is committed to broadening participation in science – and strongly encourages students from groups historically marginalized in the sciences to apply.
Questions? Please email Sandra Arriaga (SandraPatricia.Arriaga@ucsf.edu) and/or Jennifer Kaelin (Jennifer.Kaelin@ucsf.edu).
Hear about the Cellular Construction Workshop from last year’s participants:
Learn how students enhance teacher learning at the Cellular Construction Workshop:
Browse last year’s workshop materials (lesson ideas, worksheets, and more) to bring cellular engineering into your classroom!
Looking for other summer science programs for high school students? Check out this list we’ve put together!