9 STEM Programs for High School Students

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Close up of school students designing and testing STEM robot vehicle project model in robotics class for the competition.

9 STEM Programs for High School Students

If you’re a high school student interested in science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM), there are some great programs out there for you. These 9 STEM programs offer high school students a chance to learn more, get practical experience, and maybe even start earning college credits. They cover a wide range of topics like coding, robotics, environmental science, and engineering. Each program is designed to help you explore your interests in STEM.

These programs are more than just classes; they’re opportunities to see what a future career in STEM could look like. You’ll get to work on real projects, meet experts in the field, and connect with other students who share your interests. Whether you’re a student just getting started in STEM or looking to deepen your knowledge, one of these 9 high school programs could be the perfect fit for you.

1. Penn Summer Science Initiative

  • Location: University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  • Cost: Free
  • Program Dates: July 8 – August 1, 2024
  • Application Deadline: March 1, 2024
  • Eligibility: Junior or senior year of high school from the greater Philadelphia area.

The Penn Summer Science Initiative, run by the LRSM, is a free, four-week summer program for high school students interested in materials science and engineering. It started in 1993 and accepts about 24-28 students each year, mostly juniors, from schools near Philadelphia. The program includes lectures, labs, and field trips, focusing on materials science. Students also do hands-on activities and learn about different scientific techniques.

Diverse group of young people chatting in college library

This program is open to students from nearby areas, especially those from underrepresented groups in science. This includes students from Philadelphia’s school district, women, minorities, and those with disabilities. The goal is to encourage a diverse range of students to learn about and get involved in science.

2. Aspiring Scientist Summer Internship Program at George Mason University

  • Location: College of Science, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia.
  • Cost: Free ($25 application fee)
  • Program Dates: June 18-August 9, 2024
  • Application Deadline: February 11, 2024
  • Eligibility: Remote, in-person, or hybrid internships: 15 years or older; “wet-lab” in-person or hybrid internships: 16 years or older.

The Aspiring Scientist Summer Internship Program (ASSIP) at George Mason University is a free summer program for high school and college students interested in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Students get to work in advanced research labs at the university, gaining hands-on experience in a range of STEM fields, including environmental science and bioinformatics. The program is held at different campuses of George Mason University.

ASSIP is a great chance for young scientists to learn from experienced scientists and use the latest technology. It’s not just about learning; it’s also about contributing to real scientific research. This can help with college applications and guide future careers in science. The program covers many areas like astronomy, environmental science, and cybersecurity, offering a broad look at STEM subjects. Joining ASSIP can lead to exciting opportunities like getting your work published and starting a successful career in science.

3. Student Science Training Program at the University of Florida

  • Location: Center for Precollegiate Education and Training, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.
  • Cost: $5200 ($50 application fee)
  • Program Dates: June 9 – July 27, 2024
  • Application Deadline: no deadline (selection will begin March 2024)
  • Eligibility: Students entering senior year and at least 16 years old.

The University of Florida Student Science Training Program (UF SSTP) is a seven-week program for students who will be seniors in high school and are at least 16 years old. It’s for those interested in science, medicine, math, computer science, or engineering. In this program, students work closely with university scientists on research projects. To be part of UF SSTP, students should be mature, able to work independently and with others, and really interested in research.

The program is challenging and fast. Students spend 30 hours a week on research, attend lectures about current research topics, and join a special honors seminar. They also learn skills like teamwork, leadership, and communication through different activities. High school students in Florida can also get dual enrollment credit through this program.

4. CURIE Academy at Cornell University

  • Location: College of Engineering, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.
  • Cost: $1,850 ($75 application fee)
  • Program Dates: July 14 – July 20, 2024
  • Application Deadline: February 15, 2024
  • Eligibility: Current high school sophomore or junior.

The CURIE Academy is a one-week program at Cornell University for high school juniors and seniors interested in engineering. It helps students understand what studying engineering in college is like, learn about different engineering careers and the college admissions process. Students stay in Cornell’s dorms, meet college students and professors, and join others from around the country.

a STEM major student working on a tiny machine

In this program, students take classes in a specific type of engineering, work on a research project with the help of Cornell faculty and students, and learn about different engineering fields. There’s also a session on how to get into college. The program is especially focused on helping students from different backgrounds, like various races, genders, and economic situations. It’s a supportive place to learn about STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) and meet new friends and mentors.

5. DigiPen Institute Of Technology Summer Workshop

  • Location: Online.
  • Cost: $2,995 – $3,195
  • Program Dates: July 8- August 2, 2024
  • Application Deadline: Unspecified
  • Eligibility: At least 16 years old, entering their Junior or Senior year of high school.

DigiPen Academy offers summer programs for high school students interested in games, digital art, and computer science. These programs are at DigiPen Institute of Technology in Washington and are taught by experts. Students can choose from different topics like game design, animation, or programming. The programs are fun and help you learn a lot about your chosen topic.

In these programs, students do projects and get grades that can help with college applications. If you join DigiPen later, you might get some college credit. You’ll meet other students who like the same things as you, making it a great place to make friends and learn together. You need to have the right computer and software for the program. Some programs might ask you to have finished certain classes in school or have some skills, like playing an instrument.

6. SHAD Program

  • Location: Shad campus, Online.
  • Cost: $6,850 (ShadOnCampus); $3,615 (ShadAnywhere)
  • Program Dates: July 8- August 2, 2024
  • Application Deadline: Unspecified
  • Eligibility: Grade 10 and 11 students.

The SHAD Program is a special educational program that helps high school students learn about science, technology, arts, and entrepreneurship. Students get to work on real-life projects, learn from their mistakes, and meet mentors and other students who share their interests. It takes place in July and helps students prepare for college and future jobs.

Joining SHAD is good for many reasons. Students can get high school credits and it’s also part of the International Baccalaureate program. It builds confidence, introduces students to new people and ideas, and prepares them for college. SHAD participants can earn extra credits, qualify for unique scholarships, and develop important skills like problem-solving and teamwork, which are helpful in getting a job later. In short, SHAD is a great way for students to learn and get ready for their future.

7. Summer Science Program

  • Location: New Mexico State University, University of Colorado Boulder, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, Purdue University. and Indiana University; Online
  • Cost: $8,800
  • Program Dates: Mid- late June 2024
  • Application Deadline: February 16, 2024
  • Eligibility: Students ages 15- 19 years.

The Summer Science Program (SSP) is a 39-day science camp where high school students do real scientific research in teams. In 2023, there were six different areas to study: three in Astrophysics, two in Biochemistry, and one in Genomics, at various universities. The students work hard, with classes and lab sessions six days a week, and they also get to listen to guest speakers.

In the program, each team picks a science project and sees it through from start to finish. This includes collecting data, analyzing it, and presenting their results. SSP is known for being a great learning experience, and many students who’ve been through it say it’s the best educational experience they’ve ever had.

8. Fermilab TARGET Program

  • Location: Fermilab, Batavia, Illinois.
  • Cost: Unspecified
  • Program Dates: June 17- July 26, 2024
  • Application Deadline: January 15, 2024
  • Eligibility: High school sophomores and juniors from Illinois.

The TARGET program is a six-week summer internship for high school sophomores and juniors in Illinois who are interested in physics, math, computer science, and engineering. It’s very competitive and aims to help students start college studies and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) fields. The program focuses on increasing the number of students from underrepresented groups, like minorities and women, in these areas.

During the program, about 15-25 interns get to both work and learn. They have the chance to work alongside scientists and engineers at Fermilab, a leading science research facility. This hands-on experience is a great opportunity for students to explore and grow in the STEM fields. Interns in the program earn a salary of $17.20 per hour.

9. WPI Frontiers Summer Program

  • Location: Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, Massachusetts.
  • Cost: $3,995
  • Program Dates: Frontiers 1: July 7 – 19, 2024; Frontiers 2: July 21 – August 2, 2024
  • Application Deadline: April 30, 2024
  • Eligibility: Rising 10, 11, and 12th graders.

The Frontiers program at WPI is a two-week summer program for high school students interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) and experiencing college life. Students get to learn about different STEM subjects, participate in workshops for college preparation, and enjoy fun activities like sports and movie nights. They also get advice on college planning, writing resumes, and understanding financial aid.

Group of software developers

In this program, students spend their mornings in STEM classes and afternoons in arts and humanities workshops. They also have lunch breaks and time for social activities. The program is for students in 10th to 12th grade and covers various topics like physics, engineering, computer science, and more. Students will work on projects, go to lectures, and do lab work, all while being part of a fun and active campus community.

Final Thoughts

In summary, these 9 STEM programs for high school students are really valuable. They offer different ways to learn about science, technology, engineering, and math. Whether you’re into building robots, writing computer code, studying the environment, or learning about engineering, there’s a program for you. These aren’t just regular classes – they’re chances to try out real STEM work and think about what you might want to do in the future.

Taking part in these programs can help you get better at STEM subjects, find out what you’re passionate about, and even help you decide what to study in college. You’ll also meet other students who like the same things you do, which is great for making friends and learning together. If you’re interested in STEM, these programs are a great opportunity to grow and prepare for your future.



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