Wake Forest Lab Experiences: Academics and Professions (WF LEAP) is a six-week internship that provides an opportunity for local high school juniors and seniors to explore their STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) interests with hands-on experience in a professional lab setting. In addition to the LEAP coordinating team, students are supported by two Wake Forest mentors who introduce them to the foundations of their discipline, lab etiquette, and scientific research principles.

While this program centers STEM interests, WF LEAP also emphasizes professional and career development, to give students the skills to build their professional network and become comfortable in interview settings. Throughout the program, students participate in workshops and trainings to build their knowledge and confidence in areas with which they may not have had prior experience. Interns then demonstrate this development by presenting their final projects at the end-of-year symposium their peers, mentors, and families. 

WF LEAP seeks to increase the number of underrepresented youth in the STEM education-career pipeline and provides framework in which they can experience and create connections in their desired field of study. It fosters interns’ curiosity and provides a foundational understanding of the STEM career opportunities available to them.

As a paid opportunity, participating students are able to focus on their educational and professional growth while still generating an income similar to traditional summer jobs.

Hosted by Wake Forest University, the program gives interns access to dozens of active laboratories and research spaces that are used by researchers in groundbreaking STEM fields. Whether interested in the healthcare, environmental science, mathematics, or other STEM disciplines, interns are placed in an environment that is home to world-renowned research and innovations. 

WF LEAP host labs represent: Biology, Chemistry, Engineering, Health and Exercise Science, Physics, Mathematics, and Statistical Sciences.

LEAP interns also gain valuable experience from day trips to sites including:


The 2024 WF LEAP application has closed! But stay tuned for information regarding LEAP 2025.


The Wake Forest LEAP Program would like to thank:

For more than 25 years, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund has supported STEM programs in North Carolina through the Student STEM Enrichment Program. The Student STEM Enrichment Program supports diverse programs that enable students to participate in hands-on STEM activities for K-12 students and pursue inquiry-based exploration in the Burroughs Wellcome Fund’s home state of North Carolina. 

We are grateful for the support the Burroughs Welcome Fund has given us as well as the support of those below who allow this program to be possible.