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Summer Opportunities in Engineering Research and Leadership (Summer First)

An early introduction to research

The eight-week immersion into Stanford's research culture is designed to help first-year PhD students find their place and thrive — personally and academically.

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The goal of this program — also known as Summer First — is to give incoming PhD students a jumpstart on their academic journey. Summer First Fellows participate in a quarter full of engaging research, community building, professional development, and excursions across the Bay Area. By starting a quarter early, students are well acquainted with campus life, and ready to focus their efforts on research and an enriching doctoral experience.

This eight-week onboarding experience aims to facilitate the transition to Stanford Engineering for a small cohort of incoming Ph.D. students. We make intentional efforts to outreach and connect with students from communities underrepresented in engineering. This includes students of color from marginalized and/or minoritized groups, women, non-binary students, undocumented/DACAmented students, and those first in their families to pursue an advanced degree.

Program Dates

Summer First 2023 will be held in person on Stanford's campus from Monday, June 26, 2023 to Friday, August 18, 2023.

Program Components

Summer First provides Fellows from a range of engineering disciplines the opportunity to gain exposure to the wealth of resources on campus, and explore the research environment(s) in their own doctoral programs. This experience effectively serves as a supplementary research rotation for these graduate students, enabling them to explore research options over an additional quarter. Fellows also engage in small literature discussion groups, professional development workshops, excursions, mentoring opportunities, and social activities to foster a sense of belonging and build community.

In addition to onboarding, a stipend, and professional development workshops, Fellows will also be provided tuition for 3 units of directed research.

Selection Process 

Incoming doctoral students will be nominated by their home department in the School of Engineering. Upon approval of the nomination, invitations will be extended to candidates in late March/early April. 


Summer First is hosted by the Equity and Inclusion Initiatives team in the Dean’s Office of Student Affairs. 

Contact our team at