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Summer Opportunities in Engineering Research and Leadership


The Summer Opportunities in Engineering Research and Leadership Program (Summer First) provides a small cohort of incoming first year PhD students with an eight-week onboarding experience to begin their academic experience at Stanford one quarter earlier. Summer First Fellows participate in a quarter full of engaging research, community building, professional development, and excursions across the Bay Area. 

The program aims to facilitate the transition to Stanford Engineering for incoming PhD students who may be traditionally underrepresented in engineering, first in their family to pursue an advanced degree, or from environments with limited exposure to Research I university programs, etc.

As of right now, we’re still planning to host Summer First 2020. We also recognize that there is a possibility that, depending on how the COVID-19 situation unfolds, we may need to make adjustments to the program.

Please visit for more information on the developing COVID-19 situation.

The program will run from June 20 to Aug. 14, 2020.

Summer First 2019 Cohort

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 as a mechanism for fostering a sense of belonging and community.

Getting a Head Start

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

Resources for New Graduate Students at Stanford