" A pioneering research community "

Frequently Asked Questions

Many potential Jisan students ask questions about the Institute while they are considering study at the Jisan Research Institute. As a service to all students, we've prepared a list of questions that are frequently asked along with their answers.

1. What is the Jisan Research Institute?

The Jisan Research Institute (JRI) is a small research laboratory located in Alhambra, California. Unlike any other research laboratory JRI specializes in teaching young people how to do scientific research. We do this by teaching students basic skills needed to become a researcher and then guiding them as they examine a current scientific question.

2. What do students do at the Jisan Research Institute?

Students become research apprentices, and as a research apprentice, carry out all research relevant to a particular project. This means that students study topics needed for research, study papers from the field, design and build their apparatus (computer programs or physical machinery), collect and analyze data, write up their results, and submit their work for publication in a scientific conference or journal.

3. Will I get to be on a publication?

Yes. All JRI graduates contribute to work that will be published.

4. Where will my work be published?

JRI research papers are published only in scientific conferences and journals. This means that the work passes a review by professional scientists and is published alongside the work of these same scientists.

5. How will this help me get into college?

Today, colleges are looking for students that are capable of distinguishing themselves in a variety of ways.

First, colleges are looking for excellent students with strong grades. Those students applying JRI learning techniques in their classwork have seen huge improvements in their performance in school, even changing from 'C' students to 'A' students.

Second, colleges are looking for people who can distinguish themselves in any field (science, math, writing, music, leadership) in a significant way, including state-wide and national competitions. JRI students are evaluated by international teams of scientists using the same standards that they apply to other scientists. Acceptance of a paper means that according to these professional standards, JRI students have performed well enough to be accepted. No other mechanism outside of international competitions provides such a grounded evaluation mechanism.

Third, many colleges are looking for students who have had prior leadership experience. It is very significant to lead a team of research students in the creation of new technology or knowledge, some of which will eventually be patented. This means that the student has learned to manage initially unskilled workers and help them develop skills while achieving a task that is normally limited to very skilled individuals. This has a very significant impact on college options.

Fourth, many of the joint medical programs are looking for students with prior research experience. While your grades and test scores will be the primary reason to grant an interview, whether your are accepted or not can depend very strongly on your interview. With interview training at Jisan as well as a great research experience to emphasize, 14 of 15 JRI students have been accepted to joint medical programs. No other school has this success rate!

6. How is the Jisan Research Institute different from other research programs?

Many colleges and universities now have research programs that students can participate in. These typically take place during the summers and typically range from two to eight weeks. The goal of these programs is to introduce students to science, hopefully giving them the desire to participate in science later on. The problem is that they are too short to do any real science, and students returning to their homes may have a hard time participating in the long term. Moreover, most research programs expect students to already know what they're doing when they get there. If the student doesn't know what to do they either don't get much out of the program or cannot continue when they get home.

The Jisan Research Institute is a research program that is designed to teach students everything, eventually allowing students to duplicate our labs at home and do research either with another group (university, independent research lab) or not. This means that it is a longer program, since many special skills must be had by everybody who does research. As a result, we focus on first teaching these special skills (we skip them if they are already known by the student).

JRI research programs are also designed to have student involvement in every aspect of the research. This means that researchers don't design spoon-feeding programs that many college research programs consist of. Students get to ask real questions, determine how the research will progress, and eventually answer the question that the project is based on.

Finally, JRI programs are designed to teach students enough to be independent researchers. This means that the student who tries to can learn enough to be able to build independent research programs and facilities at home. Several JRI students have gone from JRI researchers to independent researchers, doing projects at home based on what they learned at Jisan. One former student, Michael Chung, independently carried out a project that earned him an Intel Semifinalist status. Another former student, Dr. Henry Lin, was able to help create a small robot that sniffed its way to a water source using smell sensors. A third student, Mark Webb, holds three patents and went away for a summer internship at NIST. During that internship, Mark applied what he learned at Jisan and created a whole new potential subfield of lithography.

Other programs will fit students into their existing programs, and students are expected to learn by osmosis and experience. JRI's program is centered around students, teaching them everything they need to be independent scientists.

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