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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 an amazing experience with 35 other students, 4 Teaching Assistants, and 3 Faculty members. It was the best five weeks I have ever had and has left an indelible mark in my heart. I cannot say how much this experience has changed me.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Summer Science Program provided an incredible 5 weeks for me. The entire camp was amazingly informative and eye-opening. I got the opportunity to operate telescopes, visit White Sands Missile Base, and meet some of the smartest people I've ever known - all things I couldn't have done without the Summer Science Program.

Client Served

Rating: 5

SSP is an excellent organization. I attended as a student in the early 1970s and it was a life-transforming summer. Although I did not pursue a career in science I none-the-less benefitted tremendously from the exposure to an intellectual community that was not available in my home town at the time. Over the past 40 years I have kept in touch with the organization and have been proud of the way they have grown and managed SSP.

Client Served

Rating: 5

This is a great program that grabs talented students and shows them that they can be a part of a group of highly motivated and talented students that can do science. Even 45 years later, I remember what I great and transforming experience I had that summer. Highly recommended!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Three thin gs happen to every student who attends SSP: 1) For the first time in your life, you are not the smartest kid in the class; 2) for the first time in your life, you don't immediately understand what is being taught; and 3) for the first time in your life, you are surrounded by your peers...and you are truly popular...and for super-bright teenagers who often don't fit into the typical high school social scene, SSP's collegiality is thrilling.

Client Served

Rating: 5

As a student at a fairly good high school, I excelled in my classes, but my success made me a target for harassment. At the Summer Science Program, I found a group of peers that enjoyed the same things that I did and understood where I was coming from. I learned a tremendous amount that summer, but perhaps most importantly, when I returned to high school for my senior year, I had a better perspective on what was important, proceeded to apply myself, applied to and was accepted by an excellent college, and launched my technical career.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Being a student at SSP was a transformative experience for me. It was the first time I traveled far from home on my own. It was the first time I found myself part of a peer group of comparably smart and curious and motivated students. It introduced me to the process of science and the first scientists I had ever known, and was the first time I began to realize that a career in science might be both possible and desirable. Meeting the other students and realizing how much we had in common and how much I could learn from them made me completely revise my plan for applying to college: I was no longer intimidated by top institutions, if it meant I could spend my time interacting with people like these! And I don't doubt that my experience at SSP made me more qualified for those top institutions. The guest speakers, including Paul MacCready and Maarten Schmidt, were absolutely inspirational: here were real people who had made significant contributions to the world through thinking, questioning, and lots of hard work. I began to think that maybe someday I could do that too. SSP also gave me a jump start on basic astronomy knowledge and the skills I would need for research, which greatly smoothed the transition to undergraduate, and then graduate, research. Coming back to SSP as a teaching assistant reminded me of the unique social dynamic that they manage to foster every year, where talents and quirks are accepted and appreciated and everyone is respected for who they are. Once again, it also gave me a jump start on teaching skills, which I was then able to hone as a graduate student. This was the first year I served on the admissions committee, and I was once again impressed by the demonstrated level of intelligence and passion by the applicants.

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

SSP was the most amazing experience I have ever lived. It was very intellectually and socially engaging. 36 people plus staff formed a really big family over the course of 6 weeks, a family who not only worked hard, but also had a lot of fun. In 6 weeks I learned more about myself then I learned in one school year and I made more friends than ever expected. Thank you, SSP!

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Summer Science Program was a wonderful experience. I learnt a lot with it. They teach you not only mathematics and astronomy, but many things you need to be a good scientist and how to work in a college environment. The teachers were incredibly good. A thing I liked especially was the friendly atmosphere, and the hability to challenge the potential of each student. They offer extra projects for the people who works faster, as well as tutorials to help understanding the lectures. Especially one of these tutorials was very helpful for me. Furthermore, the program allows to try a great variety of topics, mathematics, physics, astronomy, computer programming, even geology and biology. In my opinion, SSP is a very valuable program.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

It was a great experience for me. SSP opened a new world in front of me. I enjoyed the rigor academic activities, nice environment and friendship at SSP. Thank you, the teachers and volunteer and SSPers.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Summer Science Program inspired me to study astrophysics at college - a field that I had little prior experience in - and fueled a love of science that I believe will be lifelong. I also was able to meet other students like me, and they remain some of my greatest friends.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

My experience at SSP was undoubtedly the best experience of my life. I was challenged academically moreso than ever before in my life, and I was surrounded by the most intelligient, enthusiastic, and inspiring people. SSP does an incredible job of selecting students to live and learn together for six weeks. SSP gives talented students the opportunity to grow as both people and scholars, and it is priceless experience.

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

First,I applaud the donors for supporting science and technology. Today, we constantly find that the American student is less capable and interested in science than ever before. This situation, however, is best remedied by such programs as the Summer Science Program (SSP). It is at SSP that students learn, speak, and breath math and science. I have attended many other summer programs in the past. Each has done its job, helping me learn a bit and have some fun. But SSP stands out as the most dynamic program in the entire country. The six weeks I spent at SSP has more than convinced me of this. It is SSP and its generous donors that will make our nation's future Nobel Prize winners- and nothing less.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I had the privilege of attending the Summer Science Program this summer, and it was the greatest experience of my life so far. I worked hard, learned to my maximum potential, and made fantastic friends. I have realized my interest in the sciences and have been motivated to achieve highly. I have been reassured of my desire to complete graduate school and I am inspired by my fellow peers who are applying to college at this time.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

‘...late to bed, late to rise, makes an SSP-er wise...’ This past summer I had the opportunity to attend The Summer Science Program along with another 35 students, who turned out to be some of the best friends I have ever had. The program’s research project was the determination of an asteroid orbit, and my original goal was to establish a stronger background in mathematics and physics. I attended many lectures and worked long hours at the observatory. My greatest challenge was to ‘translate’ all that I had learned and seen into a computer program, since I had no past programming experience. However, SSP’s ultimate purpose was not to make its students fall in love with science – that was a given. I soon realized that it was the selection of people that made my experience there intellectually engaging. Our conversations ranged from mathematics to rock-climbing, from science to philosophy, and from astronomy to the history of art. Not one day in that course of six weeks went by without being productive and without a great feeling of accomplishment. I have never before worked at such a fast pace for such an extended period of time and felt that happy. It was the social environment, the cooperation, and the resources that made this possible for me.