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Summer Science Program

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Education, General Science, Higher Education, Physical & Earth Sciences, Technology

Mission: SSP’s mission is to inspire exceptionally talented and motivated high school students to accelerate their intellectual and social development. Our college-level, residential program immerses students in a challenging science curriculum with team-based, hands-on research to solve a central scientific problem. Since 1959, we have created a cultural environment of excellence, collaboration, and creativity, and we push our students beyond anything they have previously experienced. We measure our performance by the number of alumni who look back at SSP as a formative experience and support the program for future generations.

Results: Life-changing!

Target demographics: High school juniors, gifted & talented in math & science.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 96

Geographic areas served: worldwide

Programs: Three campuses: SSP in Astrophysics at Univ. of Colorado Boulder and New Mexico Tech in Socorro. SSP in Biochemistry at Purdue Univ.

Community Stories

172 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Board Member

Rating: 5

I attended this program in 1960. It was the most exciting, stimulating, mind expanding experience of my young life. It helped me understand what I could do, and could not do, and helped me choose which college to go to and prepared me for the experience.

Later in life, I have spent considerable time supporting the program and working with other alums to sustain it and expand it.

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

I went to this program over fifty years ago and it was a defining experience for me then and all through college. My son was the first second generation participant, and I hope my grandson will be a third generation participant. It is a fabulous experience. I have participated in running the program with the most dedicated group of volunteers I have ever had the honor to work with.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I attended the Summer Science Program this summer, and it was a phenomenal program. The rigorous research we did was a very enriching experience, requiring immense teamwork, perseverance, and ambition to complete. The faculty and mentors were also amazing people who were willing to help us in every possible way, and Purdue provided us with outstanding facilities to work on/with. Finally, being able to spend 6 weeks with all the other great students has made SSP one of the best summer programs I have ever been to!

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

SSP was the greatest summer of my life. I know that sounds trite, but I've long given up trying to come up with the perfect way to describe everything SSP made me feel, because it's just too difficult.
For one thing, the community was beyond words. I'm still in direct contact with all my classmates and TAs, and I hear from them every few hours. Before SSP, I'd never met so many intelligent, creative, and talented people in one place, yet pretty much everyone was still remarkably humble. 50% of us participants got sick, but we still felt completely taken care of and at home because of our amazing TAs. The faculty members were extremely involved, regardless of the fact that they had their own lives outside of the program; our academic directors were often at our dorms, helping us with our work until 11 PM or later. We had a steady stream of alumni stopping in practically every other day, giving us crash courses in their respective fields and sharing their life stories with us at lunch and dinner. They told us about their SSP experiences, how their careers changed direction as they grew older, and the steps they took to realizing their true passions. After I came home from SSP, I realized I gained confidence from my experiences, and I'm still noticing it manifest itself in unrelated areas, such as music and leadership positions.
Every single day at SSP was new and exciting. We often didn't know how late we'd be working in the lab, how late we'd be doing homework, or if there would be a Dairy Queen run until it was already happening. I miss this spontaneity in my life almost as much as I miss the people that made it happen.

Austin S.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

It was an amazing experience. The program covers both breadth and depth and through learning tons about physics, math, CS and astronomy I was able to identify areas of my interest and learn more about myself. It was my first research experience and the collaborative atmosphere made it even better. Apart from the academic aspect of the camp, I met so many different people from all over the country and the world. I made great friends and had the best 5.5 weeks of my life!! Go if you can!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Summer Science Program was far more impactful than I ever would have imagined. Though I was interested in science before attending, the program made me certain that a STEM major was right for me. By allowing us to work in a lab setting--even designing our own experiments--SSP demonstrated that research is multifaceted. We had ups and downs, days where we were on fire, and days where we felt like we were hopeless. Though hopelessness is never a good feeling, it served a purpose: making victories that much sweeter. This doesn't even begin to describe the friendships made with the people here, whom words would never do justice to. Overall, I would recommend SSP to anyone in a heartbeat.

1 Stephanie Z.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Summer Science Program was one of the best experiences of my life! I already loved science going into the program, but over the 5.5 weeks I spent there, I was able to develop my critical thinking, explore different solutions to real scientific problems, learn more about biochemistry, apply my knowledge to actual research, and meet an incredible group of friends for life who are all interested in the same things I've interested in. SSP made work that, at school, is often tedious be fun. With a combination of lab work, fun time with friends, and field trips (that were both educational and fun), SSP made this summer the best summer of my life.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Amazing experience! I attended the Biochemistry program and the faculty and participants were all so nice and helpful. I loved learning about everything and having the opportunity to work on research at the university level. If I could do the exact same thing, I definitely would, without a doubt!

Client Served

Rating: 5

I had an incredible experience during SSP. I'd never had opportunity to conduct research before, and SSP allowed me the chance to experience being a researcher. I hope many others can benefit from this project like I have.

Advisor

Rating: 5

SSP is one of the longest running science programs for students to have hands on research and experiential learning. It is an amazing program run by alumni and gives a life changing project to students. This project has created dedicated staff members who have fallen in love with SSPs dedication to young scientists.

1 MaggieBeth T.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I learned so many things at SSP that I probably would never have learned otherwise. From Python programming and vector calculus to celestial mechanics and astronomy, my horizons have been broadened by an amazing summer. The Summer Science Program truly is the experience of a lifetime!

1 Vittorio C.

Client Served

Rating: 5

SSP provided with me an educational opportunity I never would have thought possible. The sheer depth of the material we were able to learn and the immersive environments we were placed in, from guest speakers to field trips, created an inspiring atmosphere that I know will stick with me for a lifetime.

Client Served

Rating: 5

SSP was hands down the best summer experience I've ever had in my 16 years on this planet. It really helped me realize the extent of my own capabilities in terms of scientific research. In school, I enjoyed learning about science, but coming from a small town with limited opportunities I never had the chance to actively do science. I'm glad that SSP opened up my perception of what actually doing science entails. Was it difficult? Definitely, but with the support of the AD, AAD, TAs, and 35 other brilliant, amazing, and hilarious SSPers it was the most rewarding challenge I have ever undertook. In hindsight, the challenging nature of SSP is what I appreciate the most about it. I hope the research opportunities that I choose to pursue in the future will be as enriching and eye-opening as SSP was this summer.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I participated in the Summer Science Program last summer, and it was one of the best experiences of my life! SSP provided an exciting and intellectually stimulating environment in which to learn and work. I learned a lot about science, but also a lot about myself and who/what I want to be. It was also eye-opening to work with such wonderful peers -contrary to my past experiences, group work was amazingly more efficient than working alone. It gave me confidence in my academic and social ability. SSP provided an amazing summer experience that will continue to help me as I go on to finish high school and into college.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am very grateful to be a recent alum of SSP. Even at their newest branch of biochemistry, one has the sense that SSP is an old and honored organization that knows what they are doing and are incredibly passionate about it. As seen by the low tuition, high selectivity, and generous financial aid, SSP enables a brilliant and diverse group to assemble for a priceless educational experience. After listening to all whom worked to make the 2017 Biochemistry program possible, I can confidently conclude that SSP is a true labor of love. And after experiencing the authentic challenges and joys of the program, I can say that that labor came to fruition beautifully.

Client Served

Rating: 5

SSP provides the journey of a lifetime packed into one summer, impacting nearly a hundred high schoolers from a variety of backgrounds every year. SSP grants financial aid so that everyone who wants to attend can, and is a remarkable example of a nonprofit run on alumni donations.
SSP helped me discover a world beyond the bubble of my high school, and allowed me to take part in creating an experience of a lifetime, vested in tradition.
I loved every moment, from lectures to difficult psets to staying up late in the computer lab debugging. The stars there were unrivaled: both those in the sky and the peers next to me.

4 FelipeCalero

Client Served

Rating: 5

Attending SSP was the best experience of my life. I learned like I never have before, met amazing people from many places, and grew a lot as a person.
The content presented to us was consistently challenging, and I am amazed at how much I learned and accomplished in a relatively short period of time. Our professors and guest lecturers were not afraid to make things complicated, and the depth and complexity at which we were taught new topics exceeded anything I have ever experienced in school.
This learning experience would not have been possible without such an amazing group of people that I worked with. Everyone was so passionate about learning and science that it was impossible not to get excited about what we were learning. It was a great community, one that I had never experienced before, and I formed meaningful friendships that I will maintain forever. If at times anyone, including myself, felt lost or confused, everyone was more than willing to help and work together. It was a great experience to work in such a great team where there was no sense of competition. Everyone was in it together and wanted the best for everyone else.
The challenging workload and strong sense of community taught me a lot about myself and allowed me to grow a lot as a person. Looking back at all the things I was able to accomplish, I feel a lot more confident in myself and my abilities, and know that I can accomplish anything if I work hard and don't give up. Being an international student from South America, it was hard at times to deal with the difference in culture, but everyone was very open and accepting. In that sense, I grew because I learned about other cultures, and I now feel a lot prouder about my heritage and background.
All of this would not have been possible without the extraordinary SSP faculty. The professors, TA's and the site director put so much work, time and effort into making a great experience for us. All of the faculty were truly devoted to helping us learn and grow as students and people, and their passion was obvious in their interactions with us.
I am truly thankful to the SSP organization and everyone who supports it, and I will definitely contribute to SSP later in life.
I would encourage everyone who has a love for science and learning to apply. SSP has changed my life for the better, and I know I will accomplish more thanks to my experience.

2

Client Served

Rating: 1

SSP was a mix of greatest memories and most devastating disappointment in adults managing this program. The greatest memories include the friends and academic experience I had during my time there. The weekly field trips, late night observations, and small talks interspersed throughout the day were all amazing. Unforgettable shall I say. I owe a big part of my life to the few close friends from SSP.
On the downside, however, I lost all hope in the adults involved in this program. Teaching assistant, faculties, site director, and, perhaps most notably, program director. They have so cleverly executed the worst possible betrayal and, even worse, boast this 'achievement' by making jokes about it. The most disgusting part? They are proud of this.

For any decent human, betraying someone is more painful than getting betrayed by someone.

Comments ( 1 )

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ssp 07/19/2017

SSP has never had a participant named "Bob Klein." It is difficult to know how to respond to a post both non-specific and anonymous. We have an Honor Code at SSP, that everyone tries to live by. When we make mistakes, we try to learn from them. Whatever might have happened to so upset "Bob Klein," we wish him or her well.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

One of the best experiences of summer, hands down. You'll meet some real chill people, both friends and teachers, and learn a bunch of cool sh_t.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

As almost a year eclipses since attending SSP, I cannot stress what remarkable work and close friendships I created at New Mexico Tech. The lasting impact this program has on us spans more than 5.5 ephemeral weeks.

Client Served

Rating: 5

After attending SSP, I feel ready to take on the world! I gained confidence in both my technical abilities and my teamwork skills.