About the Program

The GSAS Summer Institute, an initiative led by the Office of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging, builds and supports community among incoming PhD students from backgrounds underrepresented in academic study, who are based in one of the Harvard Integrated Life Sciences (HILS) academic programs. During the Institute, students will participate in academic sessions, professional development workshops, and community-building activities. Participants may also choose to take a computational and quantitative biology course and receive course credit for it. 

The Summer Institute provides opportunities to:

  • Engage with current PhD students, faculty, and staff from across HILS;
  • Build community with fellow incoming students;
  • Learn academic skills and resources to use throughout your time in graduate school;
  • Participate in professional development workshops to enhance your readiness to succeed in your PhD studies.
Summer Institute Digital Check-In

Participants join a virtual Summer Institute session (August 2020)


Summer Institute Alumni

Bettine Gibbs
PhD Candidate in Chemical Biology

"The Summer Institute encouraged me to build my own community outside of my respective graduate program. Through journal club and workshops from faculty, I gained alternative perspectives from my peers and suggestions regarding how to transition into a space like Harvard. Additionally, I was able to do important introspection before engaging in coursework, which made my adjustment to Harvard more about my own growth rather than navigating the insecurities of others."

Quentin Richardson
PhD Candidate in Biological and Biomedical Sciences

“The Summer Institute was a great way to kickstart my graduate studies. I participated in activities such as experimental design, analysis of the literature, and more. These skills I learned are transferable to my classes and lab. I also learned skills such as time management and different factors to think about when choosing a lab. Finally, the Summer Institute is a great way to meet new people.”

Maria Perez Matos
PhD Candidate in Biological Sciences in Public Health

“I attended the Summer Institute the summer before starting my first semester of graduate school. Although I had been living in Boston for a couple of years by then, the Summer Institute was instrumental in helping me get started with graduate school. It was a great experience as the first contact with what it's like to be a graduate student. In addition to the skills training we got, the Summer Institute gave me a support network with whom I felt understood and accepted as I am, which has been key during my path. I would completely recommend it to other incoming students! It is a great way to meet driven, enthusiastic, and supportive peers, faculty, and administrators who will help in every aspect of your development as a scientist.”