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15 Best MIT Summer Programs for High School Students

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

MIT Campus

15 Best MIT Summer Programs for High School Students

MIT’s strong dedication to STEM education is evident through its various summer programs designed for high school students. The best MIT summer programs for high school students provide hands-on experience, mentorship, and exposure to cutting-edge research, shaping academic and career paths. MIT’s focus on developing future STEM leaders highlights its role in inspiring and preparing young minds for upcoming challenges and innovations.

front view of the MIT done

Best MIT Summer Programs for High School Students

The best MIT summer programs for high school students offer stimulating content, a challenging learning environment, and a lively peer community, often including generous financial aid. This list covers the best programs at MIT and other selective summer offerings from various organizations, creating a comprehensive guide to exceptional opportunities for aspiring students.

1. Research Science Institute (RSI)

  • Location: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  • Cost: None
  • Program Dates: June 23, 2024 – August 3, 2024
  • Application Deadline: December 13, 2023 (Already closed for 2024 program)
  • Eligibility: Applicants must be in the middle of their junior year (grade 11), about to enter their last year of high school, and possess remarkable academic aptitude and background. International students are also encouraged to submit their applications.

The Center for Excellence in Education, in partnership with MIT, hosts the Research Science Institute (RSI). This six-week program brings together 100 of the world’s most accomplished high school students every summer. RSI is the first of its kind, combining on-campus scientific theory coursework with off-campus research in science and technology. Participants undergo a comprehensive research cycle, from examining current literature to executing detailed research plans and delivering conference-style presentations.

The program begins with a week of intensive STEM classes led by accomplished professors, followed by a five-week research internship where students work on individual projects under experienced mentors. Access to MIT’s extensive computing resources empowers RSI scholars to explore literature, model complex systems, and make conference-style presentations. Field trips to cultural attractions and science facilities in the Boston Area complement the program’s unique blend of academic rigor.

2. MITES Summer

  • Location: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  • Cost: None
  • Program Dates: Late June through early August (Dates for 2024 are yet to be announced)
  • Application Deadline: February 1, 2024 (Already closed for 2024 program)
  • Eligibility: Candidates must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents and are high school juniors. They must demonstrate a passion for science, technology, engineering, and math and have a strong academic record.

One of the best MIT summer programs for high school students is the MITES Summer, an intensive and competitive six-week residential program held at the MIT campus. In this program, students engage in high-level math and science courses and electives focused on real-world STEM applications not typically covered in high school. Participants also gain a firsthand experience of MIT student life, with room and board provided free of charge.

Beyond academics, the program offers valuable insights into college admissions, aiding students in their educational journey. Weekdays involve classes, recitations, workshops, and tours, while evenings and weekends are dedicated to social events, office hours, homework, and exploration of the Greater Boston area. At the conclusion, each student receives a detailed evaluation, offering insights into strengths and areas for growth, often used as supplemental material for college applications.

3. Women’s Technology Program (WTP)

  • Location: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  • Cost: Students with a family income of less than $120,000 can attend for free. For families with an adjusted gross income between $120,000 and $150,000, there is a $2,000 fee. Those families in the $150,000 to $200,000 range have a $4,000 fee, while families with an income exceeding $200,000 pay a $6,000 fee.
  • Program Dates: June 29, 2024 – July 26, 2024
  • Application Deadline: January 15, 2024 (Already closed for 2024 program)
  • Eligibility: Applicants must be in their 11th grade upon application and must reside in the U.S. year-round, with a permanent family home address in the U.S. This includes students attending boarding school outside the U.S. but returning to their family home in the U.S. during school breaks.

The MIT Women’s Technology Program (WTP) is an intensive four-week summer academic initiative designed to introduce 20 high school students to engineering through hands-on classes, labs, and collaborative team projects. WTP aims to empower young women and underrepresented students in STEM. This inclusive community welcomes participants from diverse backgrounds, including those with limited access to STEM activities or who might be the first in their family to attend college.

science, technology, engineering, mathematics

While the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science track is on hiatus in 2024, students can still engage with the Mechanical Engineering track, exploring subjects like fluid mechanics, materials, statics, heat transfer, thermodynamics, and engineering design. With a highly competitive selection process, WTP is not a conventional summer camp but a rigorous academic experience with a full schedule, focusing exclusively on STEM for the duration of the program.

4. Beaver Works Summer Institute (BWSI)

  • Location: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)/Online
  • Cost: The online prerequisite courses are free to students. Families with an income of $150,000 or more will incur a program fee of $1,750, while the program is free for qualifying families who meet the eligibility criteria.
  • Program Dates: July 8, 2024 – August 4, 2024
  • Application Deadline: March 31, 2024
  • Eligibility: Applicants must be current 11th-grade students. Every student is welcome to enroll and take part in the online courses. However, acceptance into the July program is restricted to those currently attending and physically present at a school in the US.

The Beaver Works Summer Institute (BWSI) is one of the best MIT summer programs for high school students, and it is designed for those seeking a glimpse into the MIT experience. This four-week program offers a college-level curriculum that engages students from around the country in various courses, covering diverse topics such as Autonomous Underwater Vehicles, Quantum Software, and Serious Game Design with AI. 

BWSI presents a dynamic blend of in-person and virtual courses, ensuring accessibility for students nationwide. The curriculum includes lectures, labs, and office hours, with adjustments made for varying time zones to accommodate students from across the United States. To apply for the July program, students must have completed the lessons in the online tutorial, which begins in February 2024, ensuring a prerequisite foundation for their desired project. 

5. Summer Science Program (SSP)

  • Location: Varies (Residential locations are in Colorado, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Indiana.)
  • Cost: Families with an income of around $75,000 or less might qualify for a fully discounted fee, resulting in the program and travel expenses being entirely free. The program fee is adjusted based on each family’s affordability, with a maximum fee of $8,800 (2024).
  • Program Dates: July 8, 2024 – August 4, 2024
  • Application Deadline: March 31, 2024
  • Eligibility: Current high school juniors and a select few outstanding sophomores who have finished the prerequisites by summer are welcome to apply. They must also be between 15 and 19 years old during the program.

The Summer Science Program (SSP) is a six-week venture into hands-on experimental science, co-sponsored by MIT and held at various residential locations in Colorado, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Indiana. This program creates an immersive environment where 36 participants and seven faculty members engage in challenging research projects such as Astrophysics, Biochemistry, and Genomics.

Each team works on its research project, from data acquisition to analysis and reporting. Students attend classroom and lab sessions six days a week, complemented by guest lectures and special events. Beyond the six weeks, participants receive letters of completion and can request recommendations. Furthermore, participants can join a network of over 3,500 individuals and be part of SSP Connect, a fall volunteer mentorship program for alumni.

6. Lincoln Laboratory Radar Introduction for Student Engineers (LLRISE)

  • Location: MIT campus/Lincoln Laboratory
  • Cost: None
  • Program Dates: July 14, 2024 – July 27, 2024
  • Application Deadline: March 7, 2024
  • Eligibility: Applicants must be rising high school seniors and must be U.S. citizens (foreign citizens with permanent residency are not eligible). They must also demonstrate a passion for science, math, and engineering.

Nurturing the curiosity and potential of outstanding high school juniors, the Lincoln Laboratory Radar Introduction for Student Engineers (LLRISE) program stands as one of the best MIT summer programs for high school students. This immersive two-week workshop is not only offered free of charge but is also designed to provide a hands-on experience in constructing small radar systems. 

LLRISE is held at both the MIT campus in Cambridge, MA, and Lincoln Laboratory in Lexington, MA. Participants build Doppler and range radars, employing creative problem-solving strategies under the guidance of skilled scientists and engineers. LLRISE imparts technical skills and nurtures collaborative learning, offering students a unique opportunity to explore real-world applications of radar technology.

7. LaunchX

  • Location: Ann Arbor/Bay Area/Online
  • Cost: The application fees differ based on the deadline type, and each summer program is associated with a distinct cost.
  • Program Dates: Varies (Programs vary in duration, ranging from 3 to 5 weeks, and take place from June 2024 through August 2024.)
  • Application Deadline: November 15, 2023 (Priority Deadline); January 7, 2024 (Early Deadline); April 24, 2024 (Final Deadline)
  • Eligibility: High school students, typically ages 15 to 18, are welcome to apply. They must be currently enrolled in high school at the time of applying.

LaunchX, MIT’s signature summer program,  is meticulously designed to foster entrepreneurship skills among high school students. By uniting ambitious young entrepreneurs worldwide, the program offers a unique opportunity to build startups collaboratively under industry experts’ guidance. LaunchX 2024 presents four distinct summer program options—Online Entrepreneurship, Online Innovation, and two in-person programs, Bay Area Entrepreneurship and Ann Arbor Entrepreneurship.

A group of students gathered around a table working on a project

Throughout the program’s intense weeks, participants acquire an entrepreneurial mindset, learning to identify opportunities, prototype solutions, and pitch ideas for feedback and support. By the program’s conclusion, teams come together to achieve market validation, emphasizing essential skills such as effective teamwork, thorough testing through Minimum Viable Product development, and achieving a minimum of $250 in sales or revenues before Demo Day. 

8. iD Tech Camps

  • Location: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  • Cost: Varies (Program costs start at $1,399)
  • Program Dates: Varies (Each session lasts for one week. Program sessions run from June 16 to August 9)
  • Application Deadline: Rolling basis
  • Eligibility: Students from ages 7 to 17 can join iD Tech Day Camps. However, the age requirement varies for each program.

The best MIT summer programs for high school students include iD Tech Camps, a week-long STEM experience designed for kids and teens. iD Tech day camps provide an ideal blend of skill development and summer fun, allowing campers to experience collegiate life on the prestigious MIT campus. Featuring state-of-the-art labs adorned with tech and pop culture icons and guided by STEM professionals from elite universities, campers immerse themselves in hands-on learning, crafting various projects from apps and games to AI bots and viral videos.

Each session includes campus exploration, traditions, and unique experiences, such as meals in the new Vassar Dining Hall, tours of campus landmarks, outdoor activities, and gaming tournaments. Beyond gaining new skills and confidence, campers leave with a final project or portfolio, a personalized diploma, an official transcript, and other program memorabilia.

9. Summer Springboard Fundamentals of Engineering at MIT

  • Location: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  • Cost: $3,198 (Commuter tuition); $5,498 (Residential tuition)
  • Program Dates: June 16, 2024 June 28, 2024 (Session 1); June 30, 2024 July 12, 2024 (Session 2)
  • Application Deadline: Rolling basis
  • Eligibility: Applicants must have finished 8th grade before the program starts, and maintain a 3.0 Grade Point Average (or local equivalent). International students must showcase English proficiency through a telephone interview or by providing one of the following minimum test scores: TOEFL (490 on paper test or 60 on iBT test), Cambridge (PET-Distinction or FCE-C), or SAT (450 in Reading/Writing).

Founded to provide college-bound teens a supportive environment to explore their personal and academic passions, Summer Springboard collaborates with MIT to present an exciting engineering exploration in the Fundamentals of Engineering course. This highly anticipated program examines core principles of engineering through hands-on projects and simulations, offering exclusive visits to renowned engineering labs and research centers.

The journey begins with a practical introduction to MATLAB computer programming, a pioneering language in science and technology that enhances the delivery of course material across various engineering fields, aligning with MIT’s practices. Participants immerse themselves in the latest advancements in engineering and technology, learning directly from professionals in the field. Upon finishing the program, all students receive a certificate of completion and a letter of recommendation from their professor.

10. √mathroots at MIT

  • Location: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  • Cost: None
  • Program Dates: June 28, 2024 – July 12, 2024
  • Application Deadline: March 1, 2024
  • Eligibility: To be eligible, participants must be US citizens or attending high school in the US (before their last year in high school), aged between 14 and 18, and demonstrate academic excellence, especially in mathematics. Taking a precalculus course is recommended, while calculus is not a requirement.

√mathroots, hosted by the MIT PRIMES program, stands out as one of the best MIT summer programs for high school students. This 14-day summer program is led by MIT faculty, staff, and students, providing an enriching experience in mathematics. The program was initially designed to celebrate the academic achievements of Black and Latino students, tailored for promising high school students from disadvantaged backgrounds or underserved communities.

student inside the classroom with their teacher

√mathroots focuses on exploring creative topics in mathematics, offering participants a unique opportunity to enhance their problem-solving skills through classes, group activities, and invited lectures. Beyond the standard curriculum, the program introduces students to wonderful and accessible mathematical ideas, emphasizes the techniques and meaning of mathematical proof, and fosters a supportive academic and cultural community.

11. Stanford Institutes of Medicine Summer Research Program (SIMR)

  • Location: Stanford University
  • Cost: $40 application fee or fee waiver
  • Program Dates: June 10, 2024 – August 1, 2024
  • Application Deadline: February 24, 2024
  • Eligibility: High school juniors or seniors as of fall 2023, belonging to the graduating classes of 2024 or 2025, and at least 16 years old by the start of the program are welcome to apply. Candidates must also reside and attend school in the U.S. and be U.S. citizens or permanent residents with a green card.

While the Stanford Institutes of Medicine Summer Research Program (SIMR) is not affiliated with MIT, MIT highly recommends this competitive-admission summer program in the U.S. This 8-week program, exclusively for high school juniors and seniors, provides an immersive experience in medicine and biosciences. Students collaborate with mentors in top-class labs within Stanford University’s Institutes of Medicine and select departments, and they can choose from eight research areas.

Upon acceptance, students immerse themselves in hands-on research, participating in lectures, dedicating their time to full-time lab work, and preparing posters for a culminating session. Participants engage in hands-on research, attend lectures, and showcase their work during a concluding poster session. To further support students, the program provides a minimum stipend of $500, with needs-based stipends exceeding $2500 from special grants.

12. Secondary Student Training Program (SSTP)

  • Location: University of Iowa
  • Cost: $95 Non-refundable application fee; $7,500 Program fee (Financial aid and scholarships available)
  • Program Dates: June 19, 2024 – July 26, 2024
  • Application Deadline: February 16, 2024 (Already closed for 2024 program)
  • Eligibility: Students currently in grades 10–11 are welcome to apply. International students are also encouraged to apply and are required to submit proof of English proficiency.

While this program is not part of MIT’s summer programs for high school students, the Secondary Student Training Program (SSTP) at the University of Iowa’s Belin-Blank Center comes as one of the best programs being offered outside of MIT. This multi-week summer research program provides advanced high school students an exceptional opportunity to engage in original research across various STEM fields.

Under the guidance of experienced faculty mentors, participants explore areas such as Anatomy & Cell Biology, Biomedical Engineering, Chemistry, and more. The program offers hands-on research experience and allows students to collaborate, create, and present research posters. Successful completion of SSTP earns students 3 hours of university credit and provides the option to seek recommendations from their mentors.

13. High School Honors Science/Mathematics/Engineering Program (HSHSP)

  • Location: Michigan State University
  • Cost: $4000 participant fee (Financial aid available)
  • Program Dates: June 16, 2024 – August 3, 2024
  • Application Deadline: March 1, 2024 (Already closed for 2024 program)
  • Eligibility: High school juniors with a strong interest in science, math, or engineering are eligible to apply.

Another highly recommended summer program is the High School Honors Science, Engineering, and Mathematics Program (HSHSP) by Michigan State University. This seven-week summer research opportunity for high school juniors nationwide provides students with hands-on experience on the vibrant campus of a leading research-intensive university. After expressing preferences for research areas upon acceptance, students work closely with faculty advisors to finalize projects aligned with mentors’ programs.

Throughout the program, participants engage in independent research, mastering key aspects of scientific inquiry, including record-keeping, proposal writing, and lab safety. Beyond the lab, the program includes visits to renowned research facilities and discussions on college admissions, scholarships, and diverse science career paths. By the end of the program, students present their findings in conference-style research sessions and are encouraged to share their research projects and experiences upon returning home.

14. BU Research in Science & Engineering (RISE)

  • Location: Boston University
  • Cost: $50 non-refundable application fee; $5,350 tuition fee; $3,120 room and board fee (14 meals per week)/$3,426 room and board fee (19 meals per week)
  • Program Dates: June 30, 2024 – August 9, 2024 (Residential participants); July 1, 2024 – August 9, 2024 (Commuter participants)
  • Application Deadline: February 14, 2024 (Already closed for 2024 program)
  • Eligibility: To participate in RISE, applicants must be entering their senior year of high school in fall 2024. Eligibility is restricted to US citizens and legal permanent residents.

Similar to the best MIT summer programs for high school students, the BU Research in Science & Engineering (RISE) provides another excellent opportunity for students passionate about science. This six-week immersive experience at Boston University involves engaging in university laboratory research under two tracks: the Internship track, involving hands-on research projects across various STEM areas, and the Practicum track, focusing on computational neurobiology within a structured research environment. 

Guided by distinguished faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students, participants develop valuable technical and analytical skills while gaining insights into the scientific process. Both tracks culminate in a Poster Symposium, offering a platform to present research results. This is a chance for high school juniors to elevate their STEM knowledge, collaborate with leading minds, and contribute meaningfully to the field of science.

15. Clark Scholar Program

  • Location: Texas Tech University
  • Cost: None
  • Program Dates: June 16, 2024 – August 1, 2024
  • Application Deadline: February 15, 2024 (Already closed for 2024 program)
  • Eligibility: To be eligible, applicants must be at least 17 years old by the program start date and anticipate graduating in 2024 or 2025. Additionally, U.S. citizenship or permanent residency is required.

The Clark Scholar Program at Texas Tech University is a prestigious seven-week summer research opportunity tailored for twelve highly qualified high school juniors and seniors. This program provides hands-on practical research experience across various disciplines, including Nutritional Sciences, Biology/Cellular & Microbiology, Computer Science, Neurobiology, Mechanical Engineering, History, Chemistry, and Electrical and Computer Engineering.

a computer science reporting in front of his colleagues

Scholars collaborate with outstanding faculty, engaging in research-intensive projects that address critical issues in their respective fields. The program includes weekly seminars, discussions, and field trips, fostering critical thinking and career exploration. After completing a successful research project report, scholars receive a $750 stipend.

Benefits of Participating in the Best MIT Summer Programs for High School Students

From enhancing your academic skills to working on cutting-edge research, forming meaningful connections, and strengthening your college applications, MIT summer programs provide a distinctive and valuable experience. Let’s explore some of the benefits of participating in the best MIT summer programs for high school students.

Academic Enrichment and Skill Development

MIT’s summer programs provide a unique platform for students’ academic exploration, allowing them to broaden their knowledge across various fields. Through challenging coursework and hands-on projects, participants not only deepen their understanding of complex subjects and cultivate critical thinking, problem-solving, and technical skills essential for their academic journey ahead.

Exposure to Cutting-Edge Research and Innovation

Known for its cutting-edge research and innovation, the MIT environment offers high school students in summer programs an exclusive glimpse into a world of groundbreaking discoveries. Interacting with top-tier faculty and researchers, students witness firsthand the process of pushing the boundaries of knowledge, sparking a passion for exploration and discovery.

Networking and Mentorship Opportunities

Within MIT’s extensive network lie some of the brightest minds in academia and industry. Summer program participants not only connect with distinguished faculty but also form relationships with like-minded peers from around the world. These connections extend beyond the program’s duration, providing a supportive network for collaboration, inspiration, and lifelong friendships.

Building a Strong College Application

In the competitive landscape of college admissions, differentiation is key. MIT summer programs offer high school students a unique advantage by showcasing their proactive learning approach, hands-on experiences, and exposure to advanced subjects. Admissions officers value such experiences, recognizing the commitment and enthusiasm required to thrive in a challenging academic setting.

applying in schools

The best MIT summer programs for high school students nurture growth, fuel curiosity, and lay the groundwork for future success. The benefits extend beyond the summer months, molding young individuals into confident, capable individuals prepared to tackle the rigors of higher education and beyond.

How to Choose a Summer Program at MIT

Selecting from the best MIT summer programs for high school students is a crucial decision that can significantly shape your academic and career path. To ensure your choice aligns with your goals and aspirations, consider several factors contributing to a fulfilling and impactful summer at MIT.

Academic Alignment

MIT offers diverse programs encompassing STEM fields, humanities, and interdisciplinary studies. Examining the specifics of each program allows prospective participants to align their academic interests with the offerings. Choosing a program that resonates with individual academic passions ensures a more fulfilling and impactful experience, setting the stage for future educational and career endeavors.

Program Duration

MIT recognizes students’ varied preferences and availability during the summer. As such, the institution provides a spectrum of program durations, ranging from short and intensive courses to more extended experiences. Prospective participants should carefully consider their summer schedules and personal preferences to select a duration that best suits their needs and aspirations.

Research Opportunities

Renowned for its commitment to cutting-edge research, MIT embeds research opportunities within its summer programs. Exploring these opportunities is crucial for aligning the program with individual academic curiosity and ambitions. Prospective participants should examine the specific research projects or initiatives offered, ensuring they resonate with their interests and contribute to a comprehensive and immersive learning experience.

Faculty and Mentors

The MIT summer programs for high school students are guided by esteemed faculty and mentors with rich academic backgrounds. Researching the profiles and expertise of these mentors is essential to ensuring alignment with individual academic aspirations.

Mature blond teacher showing document with English grammar test to Muslim female student in hijab

The mentorship opportunities available within each program should be considered, as the guidance received from experienced professionals can be transformative, providing valuable insights and shaping future educational paths.

Networking and Community

MIT’s ethos revolves around fostering a collaborative and innovative environment. Prospective participants should evaluate the networking opportunities and community dynamics within each program. Building connections with peers and mentors can significantly enhance the overall experience, offering valuable insights, collaborative opportunities, and a sense of belonging within the vibrant MIT community.

Navigating how to choose a summer program at MIT involves thoroughly exploring academic alignment, considering program duration, examining research opportunities, assessing faculty and mentors, and evaluating networking and community dynamics. By carefully weighing these factors, participants can ensure that their chosen program aligns with their academic and career goals, setting the stage for a transformative and enriching summer at MIT.

Tips for a Successful Experience in the Best MIT Summer Programs for High School Students

Participating in the MIT summer programs offer opportunities for academic growth, personal development, and exploration. Whether you’re exploring MIT’s cutting-edge labs, interacting with renowned faculty, or participating in extracurricular events, these insights aim to guide you toward a successful and memorable summer at MIT.

Here are some tips for a successful experience in the best MIT summer programs for high school students, leaving a lasting impact on your academic journey.

1. Embrace a Proactive and Inquisitive Mindset

During classes and activities, approach learning with curiosity and proactivity. Ask questions, seek deeper understanding, and actively participate in discussions. Embracing an inquisitive mindset not only enhances your own learning but also contributes to the dynamic intellectual atmosphere at MIT.

boarding school students inside a class participating in the class discuss

2. Actively Engage with Faculty, Mentors, and Peers

The best MIT summer programs provide unique opportunities for high school students to interact with distinguished faculty, mentors, and like-minded peers. Actively engage with these individuals for networking and collaborative possibilities. Building connections can open doors to new perspectives, mentorship, and potential future collaborations.

3. Utilize Provided Resources

MIT offers world-class facilities, including libraries and laboratories. Take full advantage of these resources to enhance your academic exploration. Whether conducting research, accessing specialized literature, or collaborating on projects, leveraging MIT’s state-of-the-art facilities enriches your overall experience.

4. Seek Guidance and Mentorship

Don’t hesitate to seek guidance from faculty and mentors, especially if you have potential research or project ideas. MIT is home to experts in various fields, and their insights can be invaluable in shaping your academic and research pursuits. Establishing mentorship connections can provide support and guidance throughout your journey.

5. Participate in Extracurricular Events

Beyond academics, the best MIT summer programs for high school students offer various extracurricular events and activities. Participate in these to complement your learning experience. Whether it’s attending seminars, joining field trips, or engaging in fun events, these activities contribute to a holistic and well-rounded experience.

View of hands placed on top of each other.

Succeeding in MIT summer programs entails active participation, resource utilization, seeking guidance, and embracing broader opportunities. Adopting a proactive and curious mindset, engaging with the MIT community, utilizing resources, seeking mentorship, and participating in extracurricular events maximize your summer at MIT, creating a valuable and unforgettable experience.

From engineering to mathematics, the best MIT summer programs for high school students cater to diverse interests, offering transformative experiences. Prospective students are encouraged to explore these opportunities, as participating in these summer programs can be a defining and rewarding step in their academic journey.

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