Cary students Hudson river

MH-YES Program

The Mid-Hudson Young Environmental Scientist Program (MH-YES) is a paid 6-week, environmental science based summer research experience for rising juniors and seniors aimed to increase diversity in science. Selected high school students will conduct original water quality research and present their results to fellow scientists and community members.  

Stipend: $2,000.00

Applications opening spring 2019

The 6-week MH-YES summer program

The program begins with an Aquatic Ecology Boot Camp week at Marist College, where students will participate in hands-on instruction in aquatic ecology and environmental science.

For the remaining 5 weeks, participants will work in two teams along with college students, teachers, professors and scientists; one based at each of the research institutions and each focusing on distinct but related research questions.

Through the MH-YES program, high school students will build proficiency in research, data collection, interpretation, and the utilization of lab techniques, in tandem with the development of communication skills, leadership and presentation skills.


Teams will consist of 3 high school students, an undergraduate student, a science teacher, and a research mentor. Teams will conduct research on pertinent water quality issues in the Hudson Valley, and standard abiotic and biotic water quality measures will be collected by both teams to allow for cross-team comparison. While the general research topics are set, it is imperative that research teams work together to develop their specific research questions.

The Marist Team will explore the factors associated with the risk of increase in Harmful Algal Blooms (HAB) in the Hudson under our warming climate.

The Cary Institute team will study tributary flashiness, turbidity and water chemistry responses to storm events.



The Summer Internship Program is for students who are currently enrolled in high school and are rising juniors or seniors, current 10th and 11th grade students.


Field Sites: Hudson River tributaries TBD by research team; Laboratory Site: Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies (2801 Sharon Tpke, Millbrook, NY 12545)

Transportation to the field and lab spaces will be provided.


Six weeks, dates TBD.


The program is 32 hours per week. Participants will work from 9am to 4pm Monday through Thursday, and from 9am-1pm on Fridays.


Apply online. Applicants must include a 200-400 word essay on either of these options (allowed files: .txt, .doc. .docx, .pdf):

1. What does environmental science mean to you? You can write about any topic of interest to you, such as climate change, pollution and toxins in the environment, invasive species, waterways, urban sprawl, plant life, or another of your choosing. In your essay, include the local or global implications of the topic and at least two ways you could address the problem towards an impactful solution.

2. Name one issue affecting your community that is important to you. What would be three of the steps you might take to address or combat that issue?

Selection criteria

We select participants based mainly on their desire to do field and laboratory research and to engage with their community on environmental science issues. Preference will be given to qualified applicants from groups typically under-represented in STEM fields.

Because you will be working in teams, collaboration and teamwork skills are a must. The hours are sometimes long, and the work is both physically and intellectually demanding. Your field site may be hot or rainy, and you will be getting into the stream as part of your work. The laboratory work can be tedious and must be conducted with great attention to detail.

Your team will present your work each week to the whole MH-YES group, and we will host a Community Day open to members of the public, so you must be comfortable with community outreach.

At the end of the summer, you will produce a science poster and a draft of a research article on your project. We are looking for students to whom this sounds like a great way to spend their summer. Candidates will be informed of their selection within a month of the application deadline submission.


High school students will be paid a stipend of $666.00 every two weeks during the program. The full stipend is dependent on attendance. If student misses 3 days or more, the stipend will be reduced accordingly.


The MH-YES Program is part of a regional network of mentoring programs for high school students organized by the Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University Early Engagement in Research Program.

Support for this program comes from the New York State Water Resources Institute at Cornell University and NYSDEC Hudson River Estuary Program, as well as Columbia University, Marist College, and Cary Institute.

Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies | Millbrook, New York 12545 | Tel (845) 677-5343

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