RAHI Research (formerly known as RAHI II)

Rural Alaska Honors Institute (RAHI) Research was founded at the request of the Alaska Federation of Natives in 1982 to prepare rural and Alaska Native high school students for academic excellence and college success.  It is a six-week residential program for high school juniors and seniors at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.  In 2007 RAHI-II (later to be renamed RAHI Research) was created as an alternative to the existing RAHI curriculum, offering high school students in-depth lectures on molecular biology as well as experience working in UAF research labs.  Students can earn up to 10 college credits during the 6 weeks.

Collage of three RAHI students

According to the National Science Foundation (NSF), most new medical knowledge and advances in the 21st century will hinge on discoveries made in the biological sciences, including molecular biology. RAHI Research provides high school students with the confidence and skills for undergraduate molecular biology research.  This early exposure provides these students with an academic advantage prior to their college matriculation.  Additionally, this program aims to enable students to better understand modern biology research and encourages them to study and graduate in the sciences. 

The RAHI Research curriculum begins with detailed instruction in lab methods and practices such as lab safety, pipetting, serial dilutions and DNA extraction.  Students then progress to more advanced techniques such as gel electrophoresis, polymerase chain reactions and cloning as they learn the necessary fundamentals of genetics. The environment is fast-paced and detail-oriented.

Students then use their newly acquired knowledge and skills daily as they work alongside researchers in one of the many biology labs at UAF. Students become part of the lab team and under the supervision of an experienced mentor complete a scientic project.  They will present their findings in a paper, poster and presentation. 

To learn more about the RAHI program and to apply, please visit the RAHI website.