About the PSI Program
Elements of the Program
Cost: PSI is offered at no cost to students and all program activities are the result of
dedicated volunteer efforts. If you are interested in helping with the program, please email us!
Attendance: Attendance is mandatory. Students must not have unexcused absences and may
not participate if other activities such as sports, music, theater, job, etc. create a scheduling
Homework: Students will be assigned homework pertaining to the lectures. The lectures
provide an in-depth examination of inquiry highlighting different scientific, translational, and
clinical research approaches. We will learn techniques to read research articles and create
proper citations via OHSU library research databases. In addition to the lectures, readings
and videos to watch at home will be assigned. Homework must be turned in on time and each student will receive feedback on his/her work.
Mentors: During the first several weeks of the program, research faculty who serve as mentors will present their research interests via pre-recorded videos. Students will be asked to submit a list of at least 3 mentors with whom they are interested in working. It will not be possible to pair all students with their first mentor choice. We use a first-come, first-serve system with the caveat that a student must be in good standing to earn a mentor (i.e., regular attendance and homework completion). It is always possible that we might not have enough mentors for every student, and this is the main reason that we are not able to accept all students who apply. PSI mentors expect a high-quality work ethic from students.
Oral Presentations: Each student will prepare two presentations during the second half of the semester. One will be a "journal club" presentation of a published scientific article and the second will be a presentation of the research proposal developed by the student. Both of these presentations are required and will be completed with the assistance of the mentor.
Written Proposal: Each student will prepare a written document detailing their research proposal. This will be in the format of a grant application commonly used by the scientific community. A written research proposal is required. All written research proposals will be evaluated by a PSI program director and sent back to the student with feedback.
Summer Research (OPTIONAL): Most mentors will offer the student an opportunity to carry out his/her proposed research during the summer. It is not necessary to do the summer research to fulfill the program requirements, it is optional. Due to established policies at our partner research institutions and liability risk management practices regarding minors, students must be at least 16 before commencing summer research. Thus, we request each applicant's date of birth on the application form.
Credit: Students who successfully complete the program requirements may earn 0.5 high school credit and we will notify schools in the Fall to request this credit be put on students' transcripts. Most schools are willing to comply with this request. Students who successfully participate in optional summer research with their mentor may earn an additional 0.5 high school credit. Every student fulfilling the requirements of the program will also receive a letter of completion signed by the PSI Program Directors and Research Institution officials.
High school Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors are invited to apply. Also, please note that any student who will be younger than 16 in the summer is NOT eligible for the optional summer research component. Students should be 16 by June 1st to ensure timely administrative processing for summer research. We may allow students with birth dates up to June 30th, but there will be no exceptions made for students with later birth dates.
It is not necessary to have taken many science courses in school.
The most important thing we look for is a genuine interest in learning how to think and ask questions like a scientist, not to know a lot of scientific or biological facts!
Meet The PSI Coordination Team
Hayleigh K Ast, ND
Program Coordinator for 2022
Dr. Ast graduated from the National University of Natural Medicine. She has experience teaching at all levels from elementary through medical school. Her current research interests include the gut microbiome’s association with pediatric neurological conditions, micronutrients impact on ADHD, and assessing efficacy of integrative neurological care of headaches. She has a knack for expanding young minds and helping them discover their future niche in research or medicine.
Teaching Assistant for 2022
Peyton is a pre-med student at Portland State University majoring in health sciences. Her passion for cancer research drove her to pursue a career in dermatology in the hopes of bringing awareness about the true dangers of skin cancer. As a previous student of the PSI program, she is excited to assist students with the same love and drive for research as her.
Program Coordinator for 2023
Sofia Vignolo is a 3rd-year MD-PhD student in the biomedical engineering graduate program at OHSU. Her research focus is on bone regeneration with a clinical application in reconstructive surgery. She has experience in teaching under the Science Made Sensible program at the University of Miami as well as involvement in tutoring and mentorship throughout her career development. She aims to take an active role in inspiring the future generation of researchers to advance their scientific curiosity.