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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

141 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

SSP changed me in every sense possible. I am a new person and now even more than excited to devote my life to science. I only wish I was on some rocket ship traveling in relativistic speed so that I could spend "more" time with the amazing and inspiring people I've gotten to know here.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Hands down best experience of my life. I made the best friends I've ever made, and I cherish every minute I spent working with my fellow students, staying up late chatting, and generally enjoying being a part of the SSP community.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

SSP provided was one of the best experiences of my life. The late nights of observation, the friends I made, and the countless hours spent in the computer lab fueled my passion for learning more than ever before. I would give anything to experience it again.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

I wish I could do SSP justice by this review. But I will just say that it was one of--if not the-- best experience of my life. The engagement with science was real, the work was hard and the focus of everyone there was unwavering.
If I had any complaints, they would perhaps lie in some of field trips from CU Boulder, or the rules enforced on campus, as, despite the fact that they say 'SSP has no rules', it does have many which could be overbearing. HOWEVER, those are my itty-bitty complaints, and I would no doubt relive my experience if I were given the chance.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Learned so much and met incredible people--overall, an amazing five and a half weeks!

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

Amazing life-changing experience! The best opportunity for students who are interested in science.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

SSP was, hands down, the best experience of my young life.

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

Let's knock off some simple questions that I'm sure other people have done a better job of answering with eloquence: Was SSP good? Yeah. Was it worth it? Of course. It's easy to talk about this program as life-changing, but I'm going to talk about it in those terms that I adore the most - that's right, I'm going to talk about SSP as a series of (somewhat cryptic) analogies. Is it strange? Sure. Is it fitting? Somewhat. Here goes:
SSP is like the archetypal cup of cocoa during a winter's day. It's nice and comforting to hold that cup and look at that cup, but to really indulge in the cup, one must drink.
SSP is like a black ink Bic pen. Only with the guidance of the writer do words bloom on a page.
SSP is like a rotating wire-frame fan. Get too close, and it becomes kind of uncomfortable; lean back a bit, and enjoy its breeze.
Aren't these kind of quirky? Of course. But hopefully, what I hoped to convey in analogies will become a bit clearer: reading about SSP isn't wholly satisfactory. Take the chance. Apply. Tell people about it. Got in? Great. Take advantage of the resources that are your peers, TAs, and senior faculty. Let them tease out who you really are. Struggling with the OD? You're not alone. People have struggled with similar for over several decades. People have struggled with understanding the cosmos for longer. Finished? No, not really. You'll keep those friends in contact for a long, long time.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Since I've returned home from the Summer Science Program, I find myself talking about or thinking about my experience almost constantly. SSP was one of *the* formative periods of my life. All thirty-six of us bloomed intellectually and academically, as we learned the methods of classical orbit determination along with physics, math, astronomy, and programming in general. Completing the orbit determination project was one of the greatest accomplishments in my short life.
I learned so much outside of the classroom as well, about all sorts of topics - philosophy, literature, math, chemistry, all just from talking to my friends and TAs. The environment was one of intellectual passion - it was one of the first times I had met people as excited to learn as I was. We stayed up late doing problem sets, observing, playing cards, or just socializing, and I made some of my closest friends through the process.
The Summer Science Program makes such a difference in the lives of its students. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to attend, which included a full scholarship to the program. This is truly one of the greatest educational experiences offered anywhere!

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

The 5.5 weeks at SSP were the best of my life, set in beautiful and breathtaking New Mexico. This was also a time in which I worked the hardest I have ever worked in my life. SSP is no trivial undertaking. When the organizers said this was one of the most academically rigorous available programs, they made no understatement. Only the network of friendships allowed one to sail past the hurdle that is scientific research. Perhaps it was the knowledge that we were students with the same interests passing through the same difficulties which allowed for a bonding experience. This gave me a first taste of true collaborative scientific research. Perhaps it was also the sight of the Milky Way stretching across the sky on every clear night which made it worth it. What was definitely worth the weeks of hard work was seeing our orbital elements printed from our orbit determination code. We always had support, always had help, were backed and lectured by top notch professors, went on field trips to beautiful locations, and truly did some hardcore astronomy. SSP is a once in a lifetime experience, one that I would not trade for anything in the world.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

SSP will forever be my home. I was accepted by everyone and felt comfortable. But, I was also constantly on my toes because of the academic challenge. Those 5.5 weeks were no doubt the best few weeks of my life. There is nothing in this world that I would trade for that experience. I have learned a myriad of things about myself intellectually and socially. I feel like I took a huge step towards discovering who I am and what I am capable of, and, along the way, I made friends to last a lifetime.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

This is cliche, but SSP was life changing. You want to do something that you'll have memories from for the rest of your life? SSP. It's more than just learning and science, it's an exposure to the world, a chance to make connections and find where you belong. It's amazing.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

SSP is a truly incredible program. It combines the independence and intensity of an instense college course load of physics, calculus, and programming with the care of a summer program. So many steps were taken to make all of us comfortable at SSP: from being greeted with smiling faces at the airport, to having fun signs on our doors when we arrived at the dorms, to having fun activities throughout the program to keep us from being overwhelmed with the workload. I think the experience I had that is most exemplary of the quality of SSP was the day when we submitted our final reports. I couldn't get one of my programs to work and I was extremely frustrated, as the deadline was approaching. One of the TAs noticed and came over to talk to me. She told me to step outside and take a break, gave me a Coke (caffeine!) and got the AD to come to our lab. When I came back inside the AD was there, helped me fix my problem, and my team was able to submit our report on time. The staff at SSP care so much about us learning and being happy and it definitely shows.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

SSP, while being one of my most memorable and life-changing experiences, is truly indescribable; words are simply inadequate. I arrived expecting merely a five-week academic challenge, but I have received so much more. This program has not only stretched me intellectually, but it has also unmasked to me the diversity of brilliant minds in this world. Each and every one of us has limitless potential so long as we continue to reach. And reaching is precisely what SSP has so artfully and deftly taught us to do -- reaching academically, reaching socially, reaching mentally, reaching psychologically.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

SSP was by far the greatest 5.5 weeks of my entire life. It has brought wonders to me, not just in academics. After hearing so many great things about the program from online and the handbook, I had very very high expectations for the program. Even with these high expectations, SSP far surpassed it. Two weeks into senior year at school, I've realized the value of having challenges in the fields of math and science during the program and how I learned so much in 5.5 weeks. Through valuable lectures from teachers and even more valuable help from TAs and my fellow peers, I learned my true capabilities as a student and did some super cool scientific things during the summer. Perhaps the most valuable part of the experience though were the people I met and the times we shared together trying to finish our codes on time or relaxing in our free time. The fun I had with some of the greatest people I ever met made the program special. Even a month later, I still miss this program so much and realize how much it has changed me.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

SSP has been an amazing influence on my life. As an alumni, I was able to meet some of the most amazing friends, colleagues, and inspirations at the program. Moreover, SSP gave me a opportunity to challenge myself intellectually, really pushing me to see how far I could go. For sure, SSP has established itself as one of the most life-changing experiences of my life, and without it, I would not be the person who I am today.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

SSP is an amazing experience. If you already know calculus/physics/astronomy/programming, you might not learn much in these subjects, but you will certainly become a more efficient worker and problem solver.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

SSP was an incredible, life-changing experience - it's hard to believe quite how much 5.5 weeks can change you. Greater than the educational aspect, perhaps, is the atmosphere and camaraderie developed by having 36 bright kids learning and living together. The benefits last long past the program, with friends and learning partners for life.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I attended this program in 2013, and I can tell you that it is nothing short of life-changing. It challenges you in unimaginable ways and pushes you across the limits you thought you had. Personally the program has invoked a great sense of hard work in me. It has exposed me to new areas of science, given me real-life experiences of people who work in this field and possibly how my life would turn out if I chose to pursue that field. It is truly "an experience of a lifetime"!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

It's difficult to describe in just a paragraph the full SSP experience. It was magical. Everyday was an adventure of learning about both the Universe and people. I made incredible friendships. My days (and nights!) were filled with constant joy and excitement in the company of amazing people. My zest for life was renewed. My perspective on life became clearer and I look towards the future with greater optimism than ever before.