Summer Lab
Science Program

Summer Lab Science Program

The Summer Lab Science Program at Mayo Clinic's campus in Rochester, Minnesota, offers students the opportunity to gain experience in the clinical laboratory environment by working alongside Mayo Clinic laboratory employees.

This is not an internship program, but rather an opportunity to work alongside professionals in the field of laboratory science.

Working with blood, tissue and bodily fluid specimens, technologists perform a wide range of tests from the simple to the complex, using both time-honored manual techniques and state-of-the-art instruments. A patient's diagnosis, treatment and health may be directly dependent upon the laboratory test results.

As clinical testing is highly regulated by Mayo's accrediting agencies and requires appropriate levels of educational degrees, you will not be responsible for performing clinical testing — though you'll have the opportunity to perform pre-analytical functions, work on laboratory-related projects and potentially observe high-complexity testing.

While in the Summer Lab Science Program, your responsibilities may include aliquoting, extraction, centrifugation, assay and instrument validation, and instrument preparation and loading.

The Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology provides essential laboratory services to physicians and patients from the community, region and around the world. All laboratories and technologists within the department support the practice of medicine through accurate and timely testing of all types of patient specimens.

The Summer Lab Science Program begins in early June and ends in mid-August each year. The program runs 10 weeks with the potential opportunity to extend employment beyond your original end date.

All students begin the program on the same day and attend an orientation together. Casual business attire is required.

For Summer Lab Science Program salary details, see the job posting on the Internships and Summer Opportunities Web page.

In addition, you have access to:

  • Educational seminars in laboratory medicine
  • The Dan Abraham Healthy Living Center
  • Mayo Clinic-sponsored recreational programs
  • Discounted tickets to local and regional special events
  • Mayo's medical libraries
  • Employee Occupational Health Services
  • Potential work opportunities during holiday breaks and on weekends during your senior year
The Summer Lab Science Program provides learning experiences in clinical laboratories. Students who are interested in a research experience are advised to apply for the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship. During the program, you work in one of Mayo's clinical labs. These may include:
  • Metals Laboratory. You become familiar with proper chemical handling, following standard operating procedures and working with instrumentation. Tasks may include project work with leadership, working with our inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) platforms, reagent preparation or processing kidney stones.
  • Clinical and Forensic Toxicology Lab. You gain experience with performing routine testing, setting up instruments and doing daily preventive maintenance on instruments. Tasks may include building sequences on Shimadzu high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) systems, placing samples on the instrument and preparing reagents.
  • Biochemical Genetics Laboratory. You become familiar with pre-analytical activities for various tests, preparing test reports and retrieving data from instruments. Tasks may include aliquoting, centrifugation, liquid-liquid extractions, automated solid phase extractions, pipetting and loading various instrumentation.
  • Molecular Technologies Laboratory. You gain experience with using a Beckman DU-650 Spectrophotometer to assess the quantity and quality of DNA specimens used to identify genetic diseases. Tasks may include learning several methods of DNA extraction, such as through an automated DNA extractor or a manual method using phenol and chloroform.
  • Bacteriology Laboratory. You become familiar with preparing clinical specimens and reviewing cultures for the presence of bacterial growth. Tasks may include performing subcultures of isolates and performing rapid biochemical tests — such as disk tests or enzymatic tests — for identification.
  • Hematopathology Morphology Laboratory. You gain experience with assisting in the collection of bone marrow samples from patients, working with slides, and handling related paperwork and scheduling. Tasks may include assessing the quality of the sample, preparing slides and pre-processing samples.
  • Cell Kinetics Laboratory. You learn two lab tests carried through the processing steps. Tasks may include learning to use flow cytometry equipment that uses a laser and fluorescently tagged antibodies to quantitate and subtype lymphocytes and other blood cells.
  • Metabolic Hematology Laboratory. You become familiar with working in the HPLC workstation, sorting and tracking samples, and preparing patient worksheets. Tasks may include preparing and running hemolysates on an HPLC instrument to quantitate the presence of two types of hemoglobin in the sample and aid in the identification of abnormal hemoglobin.
  • Antibody Immunology Laboratory. You gain experience with sorting samples, building work lists, doing preventive maintenance on equipment and managing inventory. Tasks may include putting samples on an automated pipettor, preparing cytospin slides, and assisting with cleaning the lab and unpacking supplies.
  • Protein Immunology Laboratory. You become familiar with the protein electrophoresis processing station as well as learn the techniques necessary for specimen preparation and processing of protein electrophoresis gels. Tasks may include concentrating urine specimens and applying them to electrophoresis gels before placing them on the electrophoresis instruments. You may also track and store specimens.
The Summer Lab Science Program offers not only an educational work experience but also opportunities to live, socialize and have fun with other students from around the country. The Rochester, Minnesota, area has much to offer — read more about activities in our area.

Several transportation options to and from work are available.

Options may include:

  • Driving or carpooling to a Park and Ride lot, from which you take a Rochester Public Transit bus to the Mayo Clinic campus
  • Taking public bus transportation on Rochester Public Transit (Mayo Clinic pays for your bus pass)
  • Biking
  • Carpooling
You may make your own temporary housing arrangements within the community. Learn about travel, lodging and parking options, and find maps and directions of the Rochester area.


Note: This program is a one-time experience. Previous participants are ineligible.

To participate in the Summer Lab Science Program, you must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or have authorization to work in the U.S. in the event of future employment after the program. The Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at Mayo Clinic does not provide sponsorship for employment.
  • Be completing your junior year (the summer prior to graduation) of a four-year baccalaureate program in medical laboratory science, chemistry, human biology, microbiology, molecular biology, molecular genetics or another human biomedical science-related field.
  • Have at least a 2.75 overall GPA.

Prior to starting the program, you need to have 90 semester hours (or equivalent) from an accredited institution, including one of the following:

  • Twenty-four semester hours of science courses that include three hours of mathematics and either 16 hours of chemistry or 16 hours of biology
  • Six semester hours each of chemistry and biology, along with 12 semester hours of chemistry, biology or medical laboratory technology (in any combination)

Application Process

The application process is electronic, with the Summer Lab Science Program job posting available from the first week of January until the end of February each year.

To locate the job posting, visit the Internships and Summer Opportunities Web page during that time frame. If this opportunity is not available, you may click "Email jobs to me." You will then be notified via email when positions become available.

You are responsible for ensuring that all application materials are complete at the time of submission. The selection committee does not review incomplete applications. Late submissions are not accepted.

When applying online to the program, you will need:

  • Resume and cover letter.
  • Your official or unofficial transcript from your registrar's office. You must attach an electronic copy of your transcript.
  • One reference letter from your college professor or other relevant work-related reference. Specific instructions on how to submit the reference letter are provided in the job posting. The letter should address the applicant's major strengths, areas for improvement, overall evaluation as compared with other lab students, organizational skills, laboratory skills, integrity, attendance, communication skills, flexibility and attitude toward learning new skills.

For more information, contact:

  • Human Resources — Summer Lab Science Program
    Mayo Clinic
    200 First St. SW
    Rochester, MN 55905