Education Program

About RISE

At the Research Institute for Science Enrichment (RISE), our mission is to provide an educational experience that will be beneficial for all students, provide STEM (science, engineering, technology, and math) courses and seminars on high level topics that will be impressive on college and employment applications, and give all RISE students an opportunity to learn with others and have fun!

RISE is a science enrichment program for academically-oriented high school students who are interested in learning about science and research in a hands-on, supportive, and creative learning environment. With the guidance of highly knowledgeable RISE faculty, RISE students will work alongside researchers doing state-of-the-art medical and biomedical research. RISE students will also have the opportunity to identify a problem, develop a study, collect and analyze data, and present results in their own area of interest. Programs may be individualized to encompass specific student interests, within the scope of the research being done at the California Medical Innovations Institute, a non-profit scientific laboratory in Sorrento Valley that is working to address significant health care challenges using a collaborative approach with researchers, clinicians, engineers, and computational scientists. Regardless of students’ future plans, the critical thinking and writing in the RISE programs will be an asset for your student.

Become a RISE student today!

RISE Programs

Since all programs are individualized based on student interests, please email to find our more details about the program in which you are interested.

All students will attend a final poster session during which time they will display their research projects in a poster format, and they will view other students’ final projects. Families and friends are encouraged to attend this culmination of the program. All students who successfully complete their projects will be awarded a RISE certificate of completion during the poster session as well. The poster session is a really fun day at the end the program.

Summaries about the programs are provided below.

  • e-RISE (Introduction to the Research Process)
    Introduction to research methods, hands-on individual research project completed.
  • i-RISE (Shadow-a-Scientist)
    Introduction to biomedical research methods including shadowing a scientist and helping with basic biomedical data collection. Areas of research may include cardiovascular health and disease, Alzheimer’s disease, gastrointestinal disorders, lymphatic system, metabolic syndromes.
  • RISE2 (Advanced Biomedical Research – prerequisite is completion of e-RISE and/or i-RISE)
    Secondary research program, consisting of researching a topic of the student’s own choice. Under the guidance of RISE faculty, students will come up with a research topic, complete a literature review, design the methodology of the study, collect and analyze data, and write up their results.

Rise Application:

Click Here to download your RISE application. Once filled out, please submit it here. (If you are unable to download the application, please email us and we will mail you a hard copy of the application.)

RISE Programs Summer 2019
RISE programs last for 5 weeks over the summer, with required program hours being completed on Mondays and Wednesdays starting July 8 – August 7 (5 weeks).

e-RISE (9:30-12:30)
i-RISE (1:00-4:00)

Tuition for either 5-week program is $799.
If your student would like to enroll in both programs (which is recommended), tuition will be discounted to $1499.
Scholarships are available for low-income students and students will receive referral discounts on tuition if they refer another student to the RISE program.


Parents Ask…

Q: “My high school student is interested in pursuing a career in medicine, health, psychology, science, or research. Is RISE right for my student?”
A: The RISE programs will give your student a hands-on, exciting, and informative research experience. RISE is a unique experience that allows high-school students to learn in a state-of-the-art medical research institute, with MDs and PhDs.

Q: “My high school student has not decided on a career path, but plans to apply for college. Would RISE be appropriate for my student?”
A: The RISE programs will give your student’s college application an edge. It is a high caliber, impressive extra-curricular activity that can be listed on college applications and written about in college application essays. Regardless of your student’s future plans, the critical thinking and writing component in the RISE programs will be an asset for your student.

Students Ask…

Q: “What would I be doing during my time as a RISE students?”
A: Your responsibilities vary depending on which RISE program you enroll in. In all programs, you will be required to find and read articles on a topic of your interest, gather data, analyze data using statistics, and then present your findings in a paper or poster. You may work individually or with another RISE student on the project. Students will be given guidance in all aspects of the programfrom RISE facultyso they are able to successfully complete their projects.

Q: “OK, I’ll just ask, will being a RISE student be any fun?”
A: Although RISE is an academically based enrichment program, the goal is for students to enjoy the learning process. Since students get to choose their project topic, students should pick an area of interest so as to feel engaged with all aspects of their project. Also, we have many group discussions and activities that students find educational and entertaining. The students really become a supportive network to each other throughout the program, so there is a social aspect of this program as well.

Q: “How much time outside of the program hours will I need to commit to?”
A: Some aspects of your project will need to be completed at home. Since each student’s project differs in terms of topic and complexity, and each student works at a different pace, a general estimate of 5 hours a week of “at home” work should be expected.

Q: “What will I get out of the RISE program?”
A: You will complete a project from start to finish, which you will be able to write about in college application essays and/or job applications. Upon successful completion of a RISE program, letters of recommendation may be provided to students as well. The skills learned in a RISE program will be useful in future academic settings (e.g., high school, college, and/or graduate school), as well as for future employment. Lastly, we hope that you build a network of motivated and academically-minded friends through your participation in this program.

Do you have a question of your own? We would be happy to answer any question, just click here.

About the Director

Amy Spilkin, Ph.D. has a doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the San Diego State University (SDSU) – University of California, San Diego (UCSD) Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology. Dr. Spilkin specializes in pediatric neuropsychology and has written numerous articles and given presentations on children with different neurological disorders including Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Asperger’s syndrome, traumatic brain injury, and early stroke. She is faculty in the Department of Psychology at SDSU and at Miramar College. Her academic, research, and clinical training focuses on understanding the connection between the brain and behavior; She has a passion for teaching and was awarded the Outstanding Professor Award from the SDSU Psychology Department.

After working with college students for over fifteen years, Dr. Spilkin’s goal in creating RISE was to work with motivated high school students in an advanced academic setting to provide them with an opportunity to learn and use critical thinking and writing skills, as well as to help their college application stand out in the increasingly competitive application process. Moreover, she wants to share her life-long love of learning with high school students as they are in the process of deciding on their future educational and career path.

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