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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

156 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Client Served

Rating: 5

SSP is really op, best academic experience of my life.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Joaccc1

Client Served

Rating: 5

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!

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Easily the best experience of my life. Academically challenging, fun, great community. SSP is something super special.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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!

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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 resembles that of SSP again.
If you're on the fence about donating or applying, consider the words of an alumna: PLEASE DO.

Flynn D.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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!

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Jackie Z.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

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!

4

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.