SSP gave me so much this summer. Even though it was virtual, I still enjoyed our project and our lectures and our community a lot! Most importantly, though, it built my confidence as not just a science, math, and programming student, but as a whole person. I’d highly recommend this program to any high school sophomores and juniors interested — it really is an experience of a lifetime.
SSP Biochemistry is a well planned immersive experience for the students, with enriching field trips to industrial labs as well. It's a really great program to get an idea of what a career in research is like. Also, the people you work with for 6 weeks become some of the closest friends you'll ever have!
I could not have thought of a better way to spend my summer. Although initially daunting, the prospect of spending five and a half weeks studying and practicing astrophysics soon became one of the highlights of my academic career, as well as my life. I highly recommend this program to anyone who wants to challenge themselves with undergraduate level academics as well as forge bonds that last a lifetime.
SSP gave me the best experience of a lifetime. I have learned so much both academically and socially. There is no other way I would rather had spent my summer. All my classmates are amazing people too.
I attended SSP Biochem at Purdue in 2019, and this amazing experience totally changed my life for the better! I was able to connect with peers who were passionate about science and learned a lot from them. SSP also made me realize how much I loved doing research and allowed me to take a closer look at how research was conducted at a college level. During lectures, lab sessions, assignments, and other fun activities, I had the best time and loved every moment. Thank you SSP!
My experience was absolutely amazing! I highly encourage anyone who is on the fence about whether or not SSP is right for them to apply. It’s worth it!
(Also if you are low-income, don’t worry! There is very generous financial aid. Some participants pay nothing!)
I participated in 1969- first class that included girls! Incredible and heartwarming that this program continues to exist and expand over the years. Best wishes for this year's group and future SSPers.
Wonderful organization and summer program to introduce the brightest minds of their generation to fun and challenging astrophysics research
Still the best experience of my life. I miss the people so so so so so much.
The best experience of my entire life. I am so, so, so grateful for being able to attend SSP. May SSP stay this awesome, forever!
Spectacular experience. Challenging yet accessible topics combined with the instruction of amazing professors and collaboration with brilliant peers.
I am so grateful for my time at SSP last year. Not only was I introduced to the research process, but I met so many truly amazing people. I miss it so much!
Such an accepting, supportive, collaborative, compassionate group of students and educators. I love SSP and I am so grateful of the opportunities they have given me.
It is not an exaggeration to say SPP was a life changing experience because SSP allowed me to confirm my passion to pursue science in the future.
I am a graduate of SSP '19 at CU Boulder. SSP was one of the most fun and transformative experiences in my life. Initially, I was skeptical that I would enjoy myself with no computer and classes 6 days a week. And while I can't say that I was always thrilled to wake up and go to lecture after a long night of observing, I can say that in the end that's not what I remember. I remember the great friends and times I had, whether it was playing midnight soccer after OD reports were submitted, watching anime in Arnett, or practicing for the talent show. Also, you can't beat the experiences of using the telescopes and imaging or just stargazing.
Life changing experience that made me passionate to not only continue in science but also to collaborate with great people.
Extremely well-organized and rigorous experience. The staff really care about the students. Would highly recommend to anyone that wants to take advantage of such an excellent opportunity in STEM research!!
Best summer of my life! Spending 6 weeks with the coolest students around the world immersed in scientific research was an eye opening experience. The field trips were very fun and memorable, and the staff were great! Financial aid helped my family immensely, and I wouldn't have been able to afford it otherwise.
One of the best experiences I had. Very challenging but also very worth it.
At first I was apprehensive about attending, but I'm glad I did. SSP was one of the most formative and fun experiences of my life. Despite long working hours, it was easy to bond with my peers and connect over how tired we were.
For six weeks I got to spend every moment of every day doing what I love with people I love. I absolutely love astronomy and I already knew it was what I wanted to pursue as a career, but this only solidified these feelings. I also used to be incredibly shy before coming here, but I got to meet all sorts of people who understood me and who shared these same passions and quirks as I did, and who all loved learning. I already know that the people I met here will be lifelong friends, and I love how supportive and loving of each other we all are, whether it be socially, academically, or otherwise. I really can't put into words how grateful I am for this experience, and I already know that I'm going to try my hardest to be a TA when I'm older.
SSP was not only an intellectually invigorating research experience, it was a camp where I was able to meet some of the best people ever. In 39 days I was able to develop friendships of equal caliber to those of which I have been developing back home for the past 7 years. (@SSPpurdue)
For six weeks I worked with a team of 2 other amazing students under 2 equally amazing instructors to do real science. You can’t really get that experience anywhere else as a high school student.
I gained a newfound love for the natural sciences, found out more about my capabilities, and met some of the most vibrant and interesting peers in my life through this program. Words alone cannot even come close to expressing my experience here.
SSP will give you a genuine chance to explore and ponder the night sky, physics, astronomy, mathematics, and programming, but most importantly, yourself.
[SSP Astro @NMT]
The Summer Science Program in Astrophysics is a 5.5 week immersion into true experimental science and research. One observes, programs, and calculates the orbital trajectory of an asteroid and writes a paper on their findings, all while learning cosmology, orbital mechanics, optics, observational astronomy, and quantum mechanics. It was a transformative experience for me, not only for its rigor but also for its lessons in collaboration, experimentation, and perseverance.
SSP has definitely been the most unforgettable and rewarding experience of my lifetime. Not only did it allow me to get exposed to research and “real science”, it introduced me to 35 of the most intelligent and unique people I have ever met. Thank you SSP for this life changing summer :) (Biochem @UCSD)
SSP allowed me to meet 35 other bright individuals around the world and across America. Providing not just a challenging intellectual experience, it has allowed us to become a tight knit community working towards a common goal. Even after hours in the lab, you'll somehow still have energy to stay up and socialize with your amazing peers. SSP is as life changing as it says, but you won't know until you experience it. Thank you SSP, and all my fellow participants who made it a truly unforgettable summer. (Biochem @UCSD)
The best experience a high school science-oriented student could ever have! It was the best 6 weeks of my life, the most enriching summer I’ve spent, and I made friends with every participant. Working together to solve challenging problems, such as combining our individual knowledges to design a unique assay or lab report, was so exciting as we progressed onwards. SSP really nurtured a very positive environment, so much so that I think I really found my place at SSP and within the scientific community. Thank you so much for the memories!
Hands down the educational experience of a lifetime. I first learned about SSP as a freshman and was amazed about all SSP had to offer - immersive research that incorporates a variety of fields, exposure to exciting topics in STEM, an environment that focuses on growth and collaboration rather than cutthroat competition, and a wonderful community of students, faculty, and alumni overall. It’s been 4 weeks since SSP ended, and I am reminded each day of how fortunate I was to have this opportunity. SSP is unique in that it combines the best aspects of a research internship (hands on work, dealing with roadblocks with real data and overcoming them, having a final product that can impact the scientific community) with a traditional educational summer program (lectures to learn new topics so you truly understand the research not just do work, experience of friendship, group activities). The curriculum and research at SSP is very well organized and methodical, with clear assignments and goals for each of the 6 weeks, ensuring that everyone is aware and on track. Thus, even though there was a lot to do, I quickly realized that it was achievable given dedicated effort (which wasn’t hard since it was all so engaging and time flew by). From observing the beautiful Boulder sky at midnight to thinking about and rejoicing over problem sets together to writing the final orbit determination Python program to all the fun challenges and field trips, there really was not a single dull moment at SSP. The faculty went above and beyond in ensuring that we all were successful and enjoying, both on the academic and social front. I am fascinated and immensely thankful as to how 7 individuals can work so hard while bringing unparalleled enthusiasm to the table each day and night. These 6 weeks have provided me a strong foundation in the research process, piqued my interest in new topics of science I had not looked into before, and given the gift of acceptance and joy in an amazing group of peers. Another aspect that definitely stands out about SSP as a nonprofit is its alumni culture. The alumni of this program are incredibly dedicated to continuing to serve its mission, coming back as TAs, hosting guest lectures, and contributing to its sustainability so that many generations ahead can experience the work of art that is SSP. SSP exceeded my expectations in all aspects, and I am extraordinarily grateful to be able to continue to be a member of the SSP community for many years.
Oh man, where do I begin with SSP...
The official goal of the program is to determine the orbit of a near-Earth asteroid using observational data from a telescope that you obtained with your research team, which they assign in groups of 3 random participants. However, it is so, so much more than that.
SSP is completely centered around learning as much science and math as possible and building great relationships with incredible people. Although it varies a little by each participant, me and another guy in the lunch line did the math and realized that we could clock in 16-17 hours of work per day for the first three weeks and a possible 18 hours during the last three due to fixing bugs (these numbers vary very wildly for any given day, of course, because sometimes we have field trips or can sleep in. But you better beware the 18 hour day, which is working all day except for dinner.) Although it is very tough, we learn so much. From observational astronomy to vector calculus to quantum mechanics to Papa Gauss’s orbit determination method to Dr. Rangstorf’s world-famous astrology lectures, the problem sets and three hour lectures are going to simply teach you more than you can take in even if you are a super genius.
Speaking of which, practically everyone there is a super genius, and they still couldn’t learn everything. Some people won international science competitions (I think?), another built their own telescope, another takes really cool pictures with their telescope, another did a research project about how to place recharging wells in Haiti, another makes something crazy like Titanium Dioxide Carbon Microtubules, another derives their own equations for how a rocket combustion chamber works, and many more kept quiet about their skills because the entire campus was a “no flex zone.” They are such great people, too. Super nice. My research team and I still perform research outside of SSP, and we plan on doing a lot more science together.
Bottom line, SSP is absolutely phenomenal, but I just wish more people could go. If you are a college reading this, email to SSP and let a group stay on your campus and use your telescope for 5.5 weeks during the summer. Not only will your college get a great reputation, but it will also be in the minds of some super smart undergraduates, so they might wanna go there. Also, don’t feel discouraged if you think you can’t get in. I’m a farming boy from some hillbilly town in the part of California no one knows about (East of Modesto). I never had a Physics, coding, or any real teacher to teach me things I needed to know to get to SSP ( except AB calculus. Shoutout to Mrs. Aleksani for the sacrifice), and everything I knew was poorly self taught. I never thought that I would be able to get into SSP over prep school or rich school kids, but somehow I did. Now I have a foot in the scientific door and the best research team in the world (attached picture). For anyone thinking about going, just try. You never know if you might just get accepted. It changed my life, and it might change yours, too.
The summer science program is by far the best research experience I have ever had - over 39 days I made friends, did actual science, and learned from two extraordinary professors, 4 TAs, a wonderful site director, and a multitude of world class researchers and scientists. If you are thinking about applying, do it. I thought I had no chance of getting in, but I did. The benefits of this program are by far worth the time it takes to apply.
I went to Purdue Biochemistry and it has been one of the greatest experiences of my life. I feel it has prepared me for college and what lies beyond.
SSP is not only the best research program available to high schoolers, but it’s the only high caliber program with 100% financial assistance... an amazing feat.
6 weeks and 39 days with some of the most talented and unique individuals in the world. The only regret I have is that it didn't last longer :). I'm so glad and thankful that I had the opportunity to participate in such an amazing program and conduct high impact wet-lab research. From tough days in the lab to weekends filled with entertainment, SSP was the perfect embodiment of the "work hard, play hard" mindset. I learned so much about myself and grew as a person over these intense weeks as SSP was truly a life-changing experience for me.
It was great. I loved the program and it was life changing.
This was one of the most life-changing and eye-opening experiences I’ve ever had as a high school student. It has given me the push forward I needed to see scientific research as a main career option.
This is honestly the best program and I am so glad to be able to participate in it. It transformed my perspective on the world. All the professors and assistants are very genuine. They take care of all aspects of students. SSP's generous financial aid allows any passionate students to participate. I recommend SSP wholeheartedly.
SSP is a journey of discovery, exploration, collaboration, and reflection. In just five and a half weeks, I have been immersed in science, biochemistry, and research while having fun and forging friendships with a diverse and vibrant family of SSPers. As a truly transformative experience, SSP has shaped my perspective, my goals, my aspirations, and my very own self.
The Summer Science Program is more than simply a research program - it is a deeply emotional and life-changing experience. For 6 weeks, I had the privilege of working with 35 other amazing and brilliant participants. On Day 1, we entered campus as colleagues. On Day 39, we left the dorms as lifelong friends. The program exposes you to compassionate and engaging mentors, inspiring peers, and every facet of scientific research and paper-writing that can be crammed into 39 days.
Thank you for changing my life, SSP!
I consider SSP to be one of the greatest experiences of my life. Not only was I able to learn more about a field I so love, but also meet some of the most utterly amazing humans across the planet! The faculty is absolutely stellar; they not only care for your growth and learning experience, but also your well being. Every week, we'd abandon our little niche (comprised of Driscoll (dorms) and our computer lab) to go on "mandatory fun" excursions. As much as we wanted to complete our tasks, these trips were a gentle reminder that we still need our breaks.
SSP undoubtedly changed my life, and I am 99.9% sure that it would change yours as well (:
SSP provided me with the best educational experience of my lifetime. Not only did I learn about slewing telescopes and astrometry, but I formed the bonds with the people that I now call my closest friends. SSP is something truly special; it is one of the few real idealistic havens on Earth.
I'm really not one to overrate things, but SSP is without a doubt the best academic and social experience I've ever had. I participated in the Biochemistry program and was challenged much more than I was accustomed to through the regular school system. The faculty was without exception kind, welcoming, and brilliant, and the students matched this as well. I honestly think I may have slightly unrealistic expectations of college now, but I can't wait to get a chance to be in a community that even bears resemblance to SSP again.
If you're on the fence about donating or applying, consider the words of an alumna: PLEASE DO.
SSP is really op, best academic experience of my life.
SSP was the best way I could have spent my summer. Surrounded by a supportive community who was just as interested in science as I was, I was pushed to my limits, expanding my horizons in the process. SSP made me a more confident in what I can do, and assured me of my interest in the field of STEM.
I was at SSP this year at the CU Boulder campus and it was definitely one of the best experiences of my life. It was really cool to get to use the telescopes and collect and analyze real data, a major step up from those simple high school labs. Although it was challenging and debugging code and processing images got somewhat frustrating at times, I loved the project. SSP definitely made me want to do more research in the future and sparked a new interest in astronomy in me, since beforehand i was mainly interested in math and physics. Not only did I get my first real taste of research, but I also got to meet so many people from across the nation and across the world who are as interested in STEM as I am and who are also high achievers academically. I felt like I could relate to them all much more than any other group of people I’ve met before. The community at SSP is great and I’ll love everyone there forever. As cheesy as it sounds, SSP was definitely the experience of a lifetime.
Before going into this program, I had no idea what to expect-- but whatever picture I had in my mind was immediately blown away. Through SSP 2018 (astrophysics division), I learned how to program in Python, how to handle an observatory telescope, and how to combine physics, math, and observations. The main impact that SSP had on me, however, was the connections I made with my professors and fellow students; these connections will be with me for the rest of my life.
Participating in SSP in Astrophysics at CU Boulder this year has been one of the most intense experiences I have ever had. The lectures, field trips, and every activity were thought through to create a strong sense of community and belonging that made SSP about much more than just academics.
This does not mean that SSP is not academically challenging, but that the experience goes beyond classes.
I could not have asked for a better way to spend my summer and I strongly encourage anyone considering applying to do so!
Such an amazing program! I attended SSP in Biochemistry and couldn't be more thankful. The program definitely challenged and stretched my mental capacities. I learned many valuable lessons like accountability for yourself and your peers. SSP also exposed me to the science field and industry, and I built friendships with kind students from all over the world.
Easily the best experience of my life. Academically challenging, fun, great community. SSP is something super special.
I attended SSP Biochemistry at Purdue University in 2018, and without a doubt, this was one of the best intellectual and social experiences of my life! Everyday, we were able to apply our learning from the lectures to the lab, and all of us were mentally challenged in ways we never thought possible. Beyond just the academia, we learned how to thrive from failure, how to value collaboration, and how to think like real researchers. More than anything however, I fell in love with the people. My peers were all so wonderfully curious, kind, and engaging. For the first time, instead of being the only one in class asking questions, everyone around me was asking questions I had never even thought of! SSP truly is the experience of a lifetime.
I had the privilege of attending SSP in Biochemistry at Purdue, and it made my summer the best I've ever had. I was constantly being pushed beyond my limits with lectures covering challenging content and labs riddled with failure, but I overcame it all with some of the most hard-working and motivated people I've met who I now view as family. SSP also taught me many non-academic life lessons such as valuing punctuality, being prepared for uncontrollable things like the weather, and even making smart choices in the dining hall with no parents to hold me accountable. The overview is not lying when it says SSP is a life-changing experience!
I participated in SSP Biochemistry this summer at Purdue University, and it was by far the best summer of my life! I am so thankful that I was given this opportunity to pursue research alongside some of the smartest and most passionate people I’ve ever met.
The SSP in Astrophysics was not only the best academic experience I’ve had but also one of the best social experiences. The teachers were articulate and the students keen and invested in their and their peers academic success, which made for an incredibly collaborative and fun environment. Best summer ever!
SSP was the most amazing experience I have ever had! I recently completed the astrophysics program in Boulder and it was better than I could have ever expected. I loved working, laughing, and talking with my fellow SSPers. I learned so much and made fantastic memories. I strongly recommend SSP to anybody who has the opportunity to apply.
The SSP in biochemistry surpassed all my expectations. The academic directors and TAs worked tirelessly to provide the perfect mix of rigorous research and lectures, and created an environment that not only accepted, but encouraged, experimentation and failure. This combined with field trips to advanced labs and research facilities provided a comprehensive glimpse into the world of drug discovery. SSP not only affirmed my passion for science, but also allowed me to make some lifetime friendships.
I just graduated from SSP’s 2018 astrophysics program and let me tell you, it was incredible. Never have I been surrounded by so many amazing people from so many different backgrounds. We struggled through problem sets together, went to the rec center together, and the memories I’ve had with them will remain with me forever. In addition, the research was fascinating and I couldn’t describe the feeling of pride I felt when we finally submitted our OD report.
I attended SSP in 1960. It changed my life. I learned substance, I learned to work in groups, I made a lot of friends I have to this day. It gave to me and I have tried to give back.
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.
Attending SSP in 2000 was a turning point in my education. I had never been so challenged intellectually nor surrounded by so many inspiring peers in my life, and my classmates came from all socioeconomic backgrounds and cultures. It was a tough, thrilling, liberating month of science immersion. As a professor now, my efforts to improve equal access to higher education include donating regularly to SSP.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.