Ten Years of REHS 2010-2017: Where Are They Now?

A research project conducted by Mihir Gupta and Andrew Liu,
Data Science Interns at REHS 2018

In collaboration with Ange Mason, Education Program Manager,
UC San Diego Research Experience for High School Students (REHS)

The Question

Does the REHS program have a bearing on alumni selecting computer science or engineering as their major upon entering college?

The Survey

In order to evaluate the question, a survey was created on Google Forms and sent to each of the 316 unique REHS participants from 2010-2017, accompanied with a personalized email. The email mentioned that upon completing the survey, respondents would be entered in a drawing to win one of ten $20 gift cards. This was to increase the response rate and to ensure that the sample size for data analysis would be representative of all REHS alumni.

The Methods

49% of REHS alumni responded to the survey (154/316), and the data was compiled into a .csv file. The .csv file was analyzed through SuAVE (Survey Analysis via Visual Exploration), a software developed by SDSC’s own Dr. Ilya Zaslavsky. Additionally, the .csv file was also analyzed through Python, by converting it into a pandas dataframe. This allowed researchers to extrapolate data from the survey variables, such as declared major.

The Results

*  denotes top 20 global university

97% of REHS alumni attended college. The five who did not are all 17 years old and answered “10” (scale of 1 to 10) for likeliness to continue to college. In addition, 69.8% of alumni (who attended college) attended a top 20 global university according to U.S. News & World Report (Oct. 2017). These colleges were ranked based on their academic research and overall reputation.

In stark contrast to the leading national major, business, computer science & engineering was the leading major for alumni (who attended college) by far (65.8%), outpacing all other majors combined. Biology (12.8%) and mathematics & physics (6.7%) were the next most popular declared majors.

Students were asked to pick up to two of the most valuable factors during REHS. Every alumni selected at least one factor. Research experience and mentorship were the most popular, followed by exposure to computer science and peer collaboration.

The Conclusion

The data shows that participation in the REHS program directly correlates with increased interest in computer science and engineering. 65.8% of alumni who attended college declared into computer science and engineering. As a comparison, the top 3 declared majors for UC San Diego (2017-2018) were biology, mathematics, and economics (shown above). The top 5 most popular national majors are business, health, social sciences, psychology, and biology (Dec. 2017). The unusually high number of computer science & engineering alumni show that exposure to these fields through REHS either uncovered their passion or reaffirmed it.


of alumni found at least one aspect of the internship valuable.

The two most valuable factors were

Research Experience


the heart and soul of REHS.

(personal information is redacted)