Sanford PROMISE provides STEM education outreach for Sanford Research. We’re working to inspire the next generation of scientists, problem solvers, and thinkers. 

Our educational resources and programs include:

  • Teacher resources for the classroom: printables, slideshows, activities, and student lab notebooks.

  • Lesson plans aligned with national standards, complete with educational slideshows, videos, and hands-on activities.

  • Meet Our Scientists - watch online with your class or send us a request to meet virtually with one of our research scientists.

  • Career exploration opportunities - we have internships, research shadowing experiences, and more ways to connect with our research professionals.

  • Enrichment for students and educators - join our Teen Science Café, PROMISE Community Lecture

  • Summer camps for middle school and high school aged students. Email for more information.

  • Summer professional development for teachers K-12.

  • Immersive experiences in the PROMISE lab, located inside Sanford Research and visits from the PROMISE educators to your classroom. Sign up required.

  • Equipping teachers with authentic science equipment through an Equipment Lending Library.

  • Sanford PROMISE Scholars- a 10-week research internship in summer 2023. Applications live October 17th, 2022. Due January 31, 2023.


Summer Program Registration is now open:

Sanford PROMISE summer programs are a great way to get hands-on science experience and learn about current research being done at Sanford Research. All programs will operate on a rolling admission with first come first served. Signups will close when a date reaches capacity.

Inside Out: An Anatomy and Health Experience

How do our organs work to keep us alive and how can we keep them healthy? In this program, students will learn about the heart, lungs, and kidneys. They will dissect each organ, learn about the function, learn how to keep them healthy, and learn about why researchers are interested in it.

Participants will need parental/guardian permission to participate in dissection and fitness activities. The program is filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Upon enrolling, you will be notified within 5 business days of registration confirmation.

Open to students in grades 6-8 in the 2022-2023 school year.

 June 27th or July 11th, 2023, 8:30am-4:00pm (1 day) | Sioux Falls, SD @Sanford Research

June 8th, 8:30am-4:00pm (1 day) | Fargo, ND

June 13th, 8:30am-4:00pm (1 day) | Luverne, MN @ Minnesota West Community and Technical College

Finding Your Roots: A Genetics and Genealogy Experience

What is more interesting than you? In this program, students will use science to answer the question “Who am I?” Students will extract and analyze their own DNA, learn about human evolution, and dig into the stories of their ancestors.

 Participants will need parental/guardian permission to submit a DNA sample in April in order to be enrolled in the program. The program is limited to 24 students on a first-come, first-served basis. Upon enrolling, you will be notified within 5 business days of registration confirmation. You must be able to attend all 5 days of this program, partial attendance will not be accepted.

Open to students in grades 6-8 in the 2022-2023 school year.

July 24th-28th, 8:30am-4:00pm (5 days) | Sioux Falls, SD @ Sanford Research

 Register for Middle School Summer Programs 

Research in Action: An Inside Look at Biomedical Research

Summers at Sanford Research are very lively as college students from across the country join Sanford Research through the Sanford Program for Undergraduate Research (SPUR) which is an immersive 10-week summer program that provide students the opportunity to gain the skills and prepare for a career in science while still in school. During this experience, high school students will be given an opportunity to shadow an undergraduate researcher during part of their routine day. The day will also consist of time in the PROMISE lab to prepare and debrief from the shadow experience.

Open to students in 9th through 12th grade in 2022-2023 School Year

July 13th, 9:30am-3:00pm | Sioux Falls, SD @ Sanford Research

Register for Research in Action 


Professional Development for Teachers:

BIOC 592: Modeling: It Takes All Shapes and Sizes (Biomedical Edition)

What do you think about when you hear the word model? Is it systems, things, or people? Join the PROMISE team at Sanford research for two days to explore the science and engineering practice of developing and using models. Learn how models are used by research scientists at Sanford and learn about new resources available in our lending library.

Who: Secondary educators (6th-12th grade)

Where: Sanford Research, Sioux Falls

Cost: $30 registration fee

Stipend: $200

When: August 2-3, 2023 | 8:00am-4:30pm- 2 days


ELED 592: Science in Action

Teaching science in the elementary classroom doesn’t have to be difficult. When reading, math, science questions, and move activities are weaved together they create a day of learning that is fun for students and teachers. This professional development will provide you with resources from Sanford fit and Sanford PROMISE to enhance your lesson planning.

Who: Elementary educators (1st-5th)

Where: Sanford Research, Sioux Falls

Cost: $30 registration fee

Stipend: $200

When: June 20-21 | 8:00am-4:30pm- 2days

Register for Professional Development 



We spark curiosity and instill problem-solving skills in younger kids – while making science fun.

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Middle School

Students will dive into the basics of scientific learning and examine the “whys” of our world.

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High School

At advanced levels, we help students apply scientific concepts and take charge of their learning.

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The Sanford Program for the Midwest Initiative in Science Exploration (PROMISE) was developed to connect communities in our region with cutting edge science and research. In 2010, Sanford Research created an outreach program to provide science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) experiences for K-12 students across South Dakota and neighboring states...

Learn More About PROMISE


Microscope focused on a slide

Bridging the Gap Between Students and Scientists

Imagine spending the day learning from one of the top scientists in their field. That is what the PROMISE program at Sanford Research offers high school students each year through Biomedical Research Investigation (BRI) day. The program is designed to help close the experience and knowledge gap between high school students and Ph.D.-level scientists. Through this program, students learn about biomedical research and the questions that scientists ask to guide their research. The day ends with a hands-on experience led by the scientist with tools used in their lab. If you are a high school student looking for an amazing opportunity, look no further than Sanford Research's PROMISE program!

Two girls dissecting a kidney

PROMISE summer camp: A camper perspective

Sanford PROMISE offers summer camp experiences for teens that provides them with hands-on experience in a biomedical research lab setting. These day- camps allow students to dive deep into a science topic such as genetics, anatomy, and engineering. We talked to a student who has attended multiple PROMISE camps to learn about her experience. Mazzi Moore is a freshman at Brandon Valley High School in Brandon, SD. She was in 6th grade when she attended her first PROMISE camp.

Girl holding pipette in science lab

Biomedical Research Investigation Days

The Sanford PROMISE team works tirelessly to help students engage in hands on science. Our Biomedical Research Investigation (BRI) programs allow students to engage in science as an elective activity.


Introduction to Bioinformatics: Viral Proteins


The SARS-CoV-2 virus causes COVID-19. In clinics and labs around the world, people are trying to understand how it works. Students will follow a case study and use a computer database to study the genetic sequence of a novel virus.

From DNA to Protein


Genetic disorders are traced back to DNA mutations. There any many types of mutations that lead to issues during cell protein creation. In this lesson, students will learn how DNA can affect proteins, discover the effects of a gene mutation, and learn about gene therapy as a treatment option.



Scientists need to be able to measure matter with different tools. Density is used to measure all forms of matter. With an understanding of density, students will have another tool to describe matter in their toolbelt.