SSP is a great summer program and the best educational experience of my life. At SSP, I had the opportunity to be challenged in ways that school could never have challenged me, and SSP gave me the confidence to challenge myself more in the future.
SSP was a great experience that challenged me and taught me how to work in a team. Plus, we got the chance to use a research-grade observatory, calculate astrophysics problems, and write code.
I love the Summer Science Program and genuinely think that it may have been the most valuable experience of my life so far. I would highly recommend it to anyone who is truly passionate about science and is willing to push their boundaries more than they ever have before.
I was so lucky to be able to attend SSP this summer. It was an incredible first research experience with other high schoolers interested in the sciences like me.
This was an incredible experience, both in terms of what I learned about physics and astronomy, but also in terms of how I grew as a person. You learn, better than anywhere else, I reckon, how to work in a team to meet a deadline. The environment intellectually is challenging, yet encouraging. The speakers who came to camp were incredible, a Nobel prize among them! And the teaching assistants and professors were, frankly, really, really awesome. They set the tone for the great environment at the program. I don't think there's any nonprofit out there that teaches kids science-- both the culture as well as the thing itself-- better.
SSP was an amazing educational experience. I learned how to use a telescope, did interesting problem sets, learned a new programming language, and made friends with some incredible people. I wish I could go back every year!
In short, SSP was the best thing I've ever done. I was an SSP student in the summer of 2016, and I feel very prepared to tackle college applications. More than that, I learned a great deal about myself during the program. I know now that I want to work at NASA without a doubt, and that I will be surrounded by incredible peers throughout my education and career.
I attended SSP at the New Mexico campus in summer of 2016. It was one of the best experiences of my life. Academics were stellar and challenging, and the people are still some of my best friends. Going to SSP was the best decision I ever made
There are two aspects to this program that need to be addressed. First is the academic experience. With regard to all the educational experiences, from the lectures to the astronomical research, the teaching was superb. I learned so much from this program, and it was SSP that really made astronomy interesting to me.
However, I think in an academic setting, the faculty should be supportive of students and the community as a whole. As a student, I was the target of homophobia from faculty members on site. I really didn't expect it, and during my stay in the program, I never even suspected. I thought as professional adults, the site director and teaching assistants and the executive director would be more rational and politically correct, but it was only after I was dismissed for arbitrary reasons I found their true intentions. My friends from the camp later told me that the site director asked them whether I had made an homosexual advances on them, which I believe is quite inappropriate. I was dismissed from the program without proper due process, and was accused of inappropriate sexual behavior when nothing of the sort occurred. In an official letter of my dismissal, I was not informed of the specific violations of the rules, but rather told that I was dismissed for "finding loopholes." I understand that the rules have been revised for the coming year to make rules less ambiguous to nullify my case, but if this wasn't the epitome of unprofessional behavior on the part of the SSP Board of Trustees, I don't know what is.
Honestly, I made some of the best friends at this camp, learned so much both about life and astronomy, but this complete disregard for ethics really made SSP a rather traumatizing experience.
Without going into details of this particular student's experience, the management of SSP disputes several specifics of the account here. We welcome students regardless of sexual orientation, and strive for high standards of ethics and professionalism. We are always reluctant to dismiss a student, but sometimes find it necessary to do so.