Bethel College Summer Science Institute

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

test tubes with different chemicals

Bethel College Summer Science Institute

The Bethel College Summer Science Institute is a fun and exciting program for high school students who love science. It’s held at Bethel College and gives students a chance to really get into science with hands-on projects and learning from experts. This isn’t just about reading books; it’s about doing real science work and meeting other students who like science just as much.

Summer programs like this are important because they let students dive deeper into science in a way that’s different from regular school. They can help spark a love for science, show what college is like, and help students think about a career in science. In this blog post, we’ll tell you everything about the Bethel College Summer Science Institute, such as what it is, where and when it’s held, why you should join, how to apply, and lots more. We want to help you see how this program can be a great opportunity to advance your interest in science.

What is the Bethel College Summer Science Institute?

The Bethel College Summer Science Institute (BCSSI) is a unique opportunity for high school students to dive into the world of science and mathematics in a way they might not have experienced before. Traditionally held on campus, this program has been a part of Bethel College’s offerings for over 20 years. However, in 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the institute adapted by going online. In 2024, BCSSI is excited to offer both in-person and online versions, combining the best of both worlds to reach more students with diverse interests and from different locations.

The heart of BCSSI is its focus on research. Students get to work on real research investigations in several scientific and mathematical fields. Unlike typical high school courses, the institute covers fascinating and challenging topics, offering a deep dive into how research is conducted. This includes collecting data, testing hypotheses, analyzing results with statistical software, and even writing code. The program emphasizes learning through doing, allowing students to work closely with faculty and gain hands-on experience in laboratories or through field studies, depending on their research group.

A student on a classroom

For those attending in person, BCSSI offers a choice between morning and afternoon research groups, including Nutritional Chemistry, Exploring Nature, Psychology of Film, Probability, Protein Biochemistry, and Molecular Genetics Methods, among others. Each student can be involved in two research areas, with assignments based on their preferences indicated during registration. This personalized approach ensures that each participant gets the most out of their experience, working in small groups to foster close interaction with faculty and peers.

Online participants can choose from three distinct research groups: Astronomy and Digital Image Processing, Perceiving Intersectional Identities, and Neuroscience of Music. These groups are designed to accommodate up to 20 students each, ensuring a comprehensive learning experience even from afar. Like the in-person format, online students will benefit from the guidance of experts in their fields and the chance to collaborate with fellow students and Bethel science and mathematics students serving as assistants.

Overall, BCSSI offers a rich, immersive learning environment where students can explore beyond the boundaries of traditional high school science education. Whether in person or online, participants will leave the institute with a deeper understanding of scientific research, new skills, and perhaps even a clearer vision of their future academic and career paths.

Where is the Summer Science Institute Being Held?

The Summer Science Institute is hosted at Bethel College, located in North Newton, Kansas. This private Christian college is known for its commitment to providing a forward-thinking education, celebrating diversity, and fostering lifelong values.

Affiliated with the Mennonite Church USA, Bethel College is recognized for its contributions to liberal arts education, community service, and offering a significant return on investment for its students. The campus is equipped with modern facilities and laboratories that are essential for conducting the various research activities planned for the institute. These resources support an immersive learning experience, allowing students to engage deeply with their chosen scientific fields.

For students choosing the in-person option, Bethel College offers accommodation in college residence halls, where they will live alongside Bethel College student counselors. These counselors, who also assist in the research groups, provide additional support and guidance throughout the program. Meals are conveniently provided in the college cafeteria at no extra cost, ensuring a comfortable and worry-free stay.

Bethel College entrance sign, North Newton, Kansas

Additionally, each in-person student is paired with a Bethel science or mathematics graduate sponsor, offering a unique opportunity to learn about careers in science, mathematics, medicine, and related fields directly from professionals. Completing all program requirements earns students a certificate of completion and one hour of college credit, marking their achievement and contribution to their academic growth.

For the online option, this format allows students from various locations to participate in the institute’s offerings without the need to travel, broadening the reach and impact of the program.

Like their in-person counterparts, online participants are sponsored by Bethel science or mathematics graduates, enabling them to engage with and learn from professionals in their fields of interest. Upon fulfilling all requirements of their online research group, students receive a certificate of completion, acknowledging their dedication and hard work.

When Does the Bethel College Summer Science Institute Take Place?

The Bethel College Summer Science Institute is scheduled for two sessions in 2024, accommodating both in-person and online participants. The in-person session will run from June 23 to June 28, while the online session is slated for July 7 to July 12. This setup ensures that students can choose the format that best suits their needs and availability.

For those attending in person, the program begins on June 23 with arrival and registration at 3 p.m., followed by a series of welcoming activities including introductions, dinner, and entertainment designed to help participants get acquainted with one another. From June 24 to June 27, the daily schedule is packed with educational activities starting with breakfast at 7:30 a.m., followed by laboratory sessions, field trips, and lectures that run throughout the day with breaks for lunch and dinner. Evenings are reserved for informal discussions, reading, and more entertainment, ensuring a balanced mix of learning and leisure. The session concludes on June 28 with breakfast, presentation preparations, and the student presentations in the afternoon.

Online participants will start their program on July 7 at 1 p.m. (CDT), with subsequent days beginning at 11 a.m. (CDT). This schedule allows students from various locations to engage with the curriculum and interact with instructors and peers virtually, ensuring a comprehensive learning experience from the comfort of their homes.

Why Should You Join the Bethel College Summer Science Institute?

Joining the Bethel College Summer Science Institute offers a range of benefits and unique opportunities that can significantly impact your academic journey, personal growth, and future career. Here’s why you should consider being a part of this exciting program:

  • Academic Benefits: The institute provides a deep dive into science and mathematics beyond what you typically learn in high school. You’ll get to work on real-life research projects, conducting experiments, and analyzing data. This experience not only enhances your understanding of scientific concepts but also improves critical thinking and problem-solving skills. By participating, you’re also likely to find science and math more engaging and approachable, which can boost your performance in these subjects back at school.
  • Personal Growth: Attending the institute is a chance to step out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself in new and exciting ways. You’ll learn to work collaboratively with peers and mentors, which can enhance your teamwork and communication skills. Plus, living on a college campus, even for just a week, offers a taste of college life, helping you become more independent and confident in navigating new environments.
  • Career Exploration: If you’re considering a career in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM), the institute is an invaluable opportunity to explore these fields in depth. You’ll have the chance to learn from experienced professionals and professors, gaining insights into various career paths. This can help you make informed decisions about your future studies and career.
  • Unique Opportunities: The Bethel College Summer Science Institute stands out because of its hands-on approach to learning. Instead of just reading about experiments or watching demonstrations, you’ll be actively involved in conducting research. This hands-on experience is crucial for understanding the scientific process and can spark a lifelong passion for science.

Additionally, the program features guest lectures from experts in various scientific fields, offering fresh perspectives and inspiring stories about their careers and research. Field trips to research facilities, laboratories, and natural sites provide a real-world context to the theoretical knowledge gained during the institute, making learning more dynamic and memorable.

forensic science student examining a sample in microscope

In summary, attending the Bethel College Summer Science Institute can significantly enrich your academic knowledge, contribute to your personal development, and guide your career choices in STEM fields. The combination of academic rigor, personal growth opportunities, and exposure to real-world science and mathematics makes it an invaluable experience for any high school student interested in these areas.

How to Join the Bethel College Summer Science Institute

Joining the Bethel College Summer Science Institute is an exciting opportunity for high school students interested in science and mathematics. Here’s how you can apply, along with some tips to make your application stand out:


The program is open to students entering grades 10-12. If there’s enough room, 2024 high school graduates can also apply. This means if you’re currently in grade 9, 10, or 11, or if you’re graduating high school in 2024, you can apply.

Application Process:

  1. Fill out the application form: You’ll find this on the institute’s website. Make sure to fill in all the required information accurately.
  2. Get a recommendation: Ask a science or mathematics teacher who knows you well to write a recommendation letter for you. This teacher should be someone who has seen your work and can speak about your strengths and interest in science or math.
  3. Send the recommendation letter: The letter should be emailed directly by your teacher to Dwight Krehbiel at [email protected].


  • Grades: Your academic performance, especially in science and mathematics, will be considered.
  • Recommendation: The letter from your teacher is a crucial part of your application. It provides insight into your abilities and enthusiasm for science and math.
  • Personal Statement: While not explicitly mentioned, including a brief personal statement in your application about why you want to join the institute and what you hope to gain from it can strengthen your application.

Selection Criteria: Applicants are chosen based on their application, recommendation, strengths in science and mathematics, expected benefits from attending the institute, and interest in Bethel’s science and math programs. Preference is given to students who have just completed their sophomore or junior year.

Costs: Accepted students will be notified by email around May 15, 2024. To confirm your spot, you must email your intention to attend and submit a $20 registration fee by June 1, 2024. Fee waivers are available if you’re unable to pay; simply email to request one.

Tips for a Successful Application:

  • Choose the right recommender: Pick a teacher who can provide specific examples of your interest and abilities in science or math.
  • Show your passion: If you’re asked to include a personal statement or any additional information, use this as an opportunity to express your enthusiasm for science and what you hope to achieve by attending the institute.
  • Meet the deadlines: Ensure your application and all supporting documents are submitted on time. Late applications might not be considered.

By following these steps and putting your best foot forward, you can increase your chances of being selected for this enriching summer science program.

When is the Deadline to Apply for the Bethel College Summer Science Institute?

The deadline to apply for the Bethel College Summer Science Institute is Monday, April 15, 2024. This is when all your application materials, including the application form and the recommendation letter from your science or mathematics teacher, need to be submitted.

It’s a good idea to start your application well before this deadline. Starting early gives you plenty of time to carefully fill out your application, think about what you want to say, and choose the right teacher to write your recommendation letter. It also allows you some cushion in case you run into any issues or have questions that need extra time to address.

Group of student working on their laptops.

Plus, asking your teacher for a recommendation well in advance is respectful of their time and increases the chances they can write a thoughtful letter that highlights your strengths and interest in science and mathematics. Don’t wait until the last minute—plan ahead to make sure you can put together the best application possible.

How Hard is it to Get Into the Bethel College Summer Science Institute?

Getting into the Bethel College Summer Science Institute can be competitive, but the exact acceptance rate isn’t provided. The program is designed for students with a strong interest in science and mathematics, and it has limited spots to ensure each participant gets a meaningful, hands-on learning experience. Typically, around 12-15 students for the in-person session and 20 for the online session are accepted, distributed across the different research areas offered by the institute.

Applicants are evaluated based on several criteria:

  • Strength in Science and Mathematics: Your grades and performance in these subjects are crucial. The program looks for students who have demonstrated a strong ability and interest in science and math.
  • Recommendation Letter: The letter from a science or mathematics teacher is very important. It should speak to your abilities, work ethic, and passion for science. A strong recommendation can significantly boost your application.
  • Benefits to the Student: The selection committee also considers what you will gain from the experience. They look for students who are likely to benefit the most from the unique opportunities the institute provides.
  • Interest in Bethel’s Programs: While not a requirement, showing an interest in Bethel College’s science and mathematics programs can be a plus.

To stand out in your application:

  • Showcase Your Passion: Use any personal statements or essays to express your genuine interest in science and math. Share any relevant projects, experiences, or extracurricular activities that highlight your enthusiasm.
  • Highlight Your Curiosity: Demonstrating a willingness to learn and explore new areas of science can make your application more attractive.
  • Ensure Quality Recommendations: Choose recommenders who know you well and can provide specific examples of your strengths and achievements in science or mathematics.

By focusing on these areas, you can strengthen your application and improve your chances of being selected for this enriching summer science program.

Final Thoughts

Attending the Bethel College Summer Science Institute is a fantastic opportunity for high school students passionate about science and mathematics. It’s not just a chance to learn more about these subjects but also to experience hands-on research, meet experts, and explore potential career paths in STEM. If you’re curious about the world of science and eager to challenge yourself, this program is for you. We encourage you to apply and take this step toward expanding your knowledge and skills. Don’t miss the chance to dive deeper into science, make new friends, and discover what you’re capable of achieving.


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