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NexGeneGirl founder Marlena Jackson and the 2018 NexGeneGirl participants

The 2021 NexGeneGirls Summer Program

This summer, the California Life Sciences Institute (CLSI) will continue to partner with NexGeneGirls to bring rigorous virtual science research internships and leadership training to young women of color in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The NexGeneGirls Summer Program includes an 8-week virtual paid internship beginning on June 7 and ending on July 30, 2021.

Primary intern activities include:

  • Conducting scientific research and computational analysis with mentors from the life sciences and biotech industry
  • Learning about science through virtual workshops and conferences
  • Participating in the enrichment program focused on college and career readiness, and leadership development
  • Teaching science to elementary and middle school students

Apply by April 5, 2021 »

Have questions about the 2021 Summer Program? Read the FAQ or view a webinar to learn more.

Scientific Poster Presentation and Gala Celebration

The NexGeneGirls Summer Program will conclude with a virtual gala event and poster presentation at which participants present their posters to a VIP audience.

2021 Open Call for Internships

We are currently looking for volunteers to host virtual internships for 15 NexGeneGirls interns.

As a host, you will serve as a mentor for the NexGeneGirls intern during her summer internship.

Primary internship mentor activities include:

  • Create a culture of opportunity for young women of color
  • Participate in weekly (90-minute minimum) virtual meetings with NexGeneGirls intern
  • Develop a substantive research project for intern while providing guidance
  • Assist intern in development of scientific poster and presentation of research
  • Share your career story and inspire intern’s pursuit of STEM careers
  • Help develop a diverse talent pipeline for the life science industry

If you would like to host a NexGeneGirls intern, please sign up here. For more information, see the FAQ’s here.

Examples of NexGeneGirls Research Projects

  • Developing CRISPRi system to knockdown genes involved in oncogenesis of Ewing Sarcoma at University of California, San Francisco
  • Generation of a fluorescent fusion protein to visualize filopodia to study WNT transportation at San Francisco State University
  • The Effect of Dax-1on MCF-7 Breast Cancer Cell Gene Expression at University of San Francisco
  • Dendritic Spine development in 16p11.1 CNV carrier-derived neurons at University of California, San Francisco
  • Effects of eukaryotic initiation factor (eIF)4G protein families on hiPSC self-renewal and pluripotency at Gladstone Institutes
  • Recreating K7Q mutation in Human iPSCs at Gladstone Institutes
  • Effect of shRNA knockdown of 16p11.2 CNV genes on development of iPSC-derived neurons at University of California, San Francisco
  • Understanding the interactions of cardiac transcription factors ISL1 and NKX2.5 on DNA at Gladstone Institutes

Thank you NexGeneGirl Sponsors!


This program is part of the CLSA/CLSI Racial and Social Equity Initiative, a unified effort to do more for the under-served and under-represented, focusing on the most critical need to address the inequality and create opportunities for our current and future innovators to succeed. #WeCommitToChange.

Read an interview with NexGeneGirls graduate Trinity Boykin here.


About NexGeneGirls

NexGeneGirl participant Eyuche Okorie at her internship in Noble Laureate Shinya Yamanaka’s lab at the Gladstone Institutes

NexGeneGirls was founded in 2011 to empower girls from under-represented communities to deeply engage with science and technology, inspiring them to pursue STEM- (science, technology, engineering and math) related careers. NexGeneGirls delivers a unique program utilizing mentoring and enrichment in STEM learning, for young females of color, ages 8-17 from socio-economically distressed neighborhoods in San Francisco. By tapping women leaders, students and industry professionals to mentor and inspire NexGeneGirl participants, we reaffirm our vision to increase diversity in STEM fields. In doing so, we support participants’ dreams of breaking the cycle of underrepresentation and changing perceptions to create a culture of opportunity for young girls of color.

About Marlena Jackson, Founder, NexGeneGirls

A native of the Bayview, Marlena Jackson is the founder of NexGeneGirls, a grassroots organization committed to empowering young girls of color by providing access to careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Aware of the asthma and breast cancer prevalent in her community, Ms. Jackson discovered City College of San Francisco’s Bridge to Bioscience program and is currently a scientist at Genentech, one of the world’s leading biotech organizations. She also is the Chair of African Americans in Biotech at Genentech where she is responsible for leading efforts to align its employee resource groups as strategic resource partners for the company and its employees. Marlena founded NexGeneGirls to develop science competency for young females of color from Bayview Hunter’s Point (BVHP) and other underserved communities, opening doors to rewarding and lucrative STEM careers. She has run the program on top of her full-time job for over five years.

In 2017, Marlena was honored by Mayor Edwin Lee as an established leader in STEM education in San Francisco and for making STEM opportunities more accessible for women and girls. She was also recognized for her outstanding leadership and service by the San Francisco-Peninsula Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

In 2016, Ms. Jackson was selected as a Change Maker at The White House United State of Women Summit in Washington, D.C. She was also a featured speaker at Mayor Ed Lee’s Bay Area Women’s Summit that same year. She has been honored by Senator Mark Leno, Mayor Edwin Lee, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, and the Commission on the Status of Women and Girls as one of the “Women Inspiring Innovation through Imagination: Celebrating Women in STEM.” A proud mother of two daughters, Marlena has also been honored by the Sun Reporter as one of the “The Talented 25” who are working to make the lives of others better.

More Information

For more information, contact Marlena Jackson:; (415) 420-8130