April 5, 2013
SSP is the best summer of my life thus far; it really was a pivotal point in my life. In the summer of 2011, after my junior year of high school, my passion for physics/astronomy and a google search brought me to the Summer Science Program in Socorro NM for five weeks of astronomy, physics, and computer programing with thirty-five fellow nerds from around the world, culminating in a final project (tracking and calculating the orbit of a near-earth asteroid and submitting the data to JPL) and lifelong friendships. I have raved about this experience in college essays, research applications, and letters to friends because SSP furthered my understanding and love of physics and helped me decide that the area i want to pursue in my studies is theoretical astrophysics. It also provided a curriculum that challenged me to reach my full potential with intellectual room to stretch my wings and no longer bump my head against the ceiling; in fact; under the stars there is no ceiling in sight. As wonderful and enriching as the academic experience is, our studies are really more of an excuse to gather a diverse group of intelligent, passionate, and fascinating individuals who each bring so much to the collective experience, sharing knowledge, skills, philosophies, and peanut M&M's. SSP provided the community I had been searching for my whole life; a peer group who shared my passion for scientific exploration, where I was not the only person to exclaim, "Math is BEAUTIFUL!" and quantum tunneling can become an inside joke! We sang, danced, played ninja, napped, stargazed, taught, learned, and laughed....The energy, collaboration, and bonding are without compare. I lived an entire life in those five weeks, learning so much, and sharing so many experiences; I will always cherish these memories and encourage others to participate.
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