Free Summer Programs for Talented Teens

Spring 1999 Masthead

D. Betsy McCoach
University of Connecticut
Storrs, CT

Summer is an ideal time for talented teenagers to develop skills and interests as they begin to explore college and career options. Year-round learners can take advantage of a wide variety of free summer programs in various academic disciplines. The following list describes several national and regional residential summer academic programs available at no cost to qualified participants. Read the descriptions carefully; often the programs target a very specific audience. Unfortunately, the application deadlines for many of these summer programs have already passed. These listings are included for parents, teachers, and students who may wish to begin planning for next summer. Because grants or donations fund most free programs, these offerings may vary from year to year.

This is only a sampling of free summer programs that exist for talented teenagers. Often, colleges and universities offer commuter programs for local students or special residential programs for state residents. For example, many states sponsor governor’s schools for academically or artistically talented young people. You can find additional information about summer enrichment opportunities for adolescents on various worldwide web sites.

Clarkson University Math and Engineering Program

Location: Potsdam, NY
Dates: June 27-July 24, 1999
Application Deadline: February 28, 1999
Contact: Vicki Clark, Pipeline of Educational Programs Office
     P. O. Box 5512
     Potsdam, NY 13676
Phone: (315) 268-3785
Fax: (315) 268-7615

This 4-week residential program for rising junior and senior Native American students includes instruction in mathematics, engineering, computer science, and entrepreneurship. Classes are held from 8:30-4:30. The program also includes a college career counseling component and culturally related activities. Applicants must have a strong math background.

EarthWatch Student Challenge Awards Program

Location: Varies throughout North America and Costa Rica
Dates: During the time period June 15-August 25, 1999
Application Deadline: Teachers must nominate students by November
Contact: Dee Robbins, Program Director, Student Challenge Awards Program
     680 Mount Auburn Street
     P. O. Box 9104
     Watertown, MA 02472
Phone: (800) 776-0188 or (617) 926-8200, ext. 109
Internet: [Link no longer active]

The Science Challenge Awards Program gives high school students talented in the arts and humanities an opportunity to work with actual field research scientists in one of a variety of research disciplines, from microbiology to astronomy. The 70 or 80 award recipients spend 2 to 3 weeks assisting the summer research activities of talented scientists throughout North America and Costa Rica. Successful applicants are creative non-conformers who exhibit strong communications and critical thinking skills. Research awards cover students’ travel costs as well as their living expenses. To apply for the program, a student must be nominated by his or her school. Each school may nominate a maximum of two students. Students interested in applying for the program should ask a teacher or counselor to request further information and nomination forms from EarthWatch.

1999 Environmental Studies Workshop for Native American Students

Location: Lac Courte Oreilles, Bad River, Red Cliff, Oneida, Mole Lake and Menominee Reservations, and Madison, WI
Dates: August 1-13, 1999
Application Deadline: June 15, 1999
Contact: Barbara Borns
     Institute for Environmental Studies
     University of Wisconsin-Madison
     550 North Park Street, 70 Science Hall
     Madison, WI 53706
Phone: (608) 263-4373
Fax: (608) 262-2273

This 2-week program is designed for Native American students (ages 13-17) who have an interest in environmental science. Each participant receives a full scholarship for meals, lodging, and participation.


Location: Newark, DE
Dates: June 20-July 24, 1999
Application Deadline: April 2, 1999
Contact: Michael L. Vaughn
     University of Delaware
     135 Du Pont Hall
     Newark, DE 19716
Phone: (302) 831-6315
Fax: (302) 831-8179
Internet: [Link no longer active]

The Forum to Advance Minorities (FAME) is a 5-week pre-college program for talented rising juniors and seniors from minority groups underrepresented in the fields of science and engineering. Talented minority high school students with demonstrated potential for success in applied science and mathematics areas have the opportunity to take coursework and develop skills in the areas of mathematics, chemistry, English, physics, and engineering design.

Indians into Medicine (INMED)

Location: Grand Forks, ND
Dates: June 7-July 16, 1999
Application Deadline: March 31, 1999
Contact: Inmed Program
     501 North Columbia Road
     Grand Forks, ND 58203
Phone: (701) 777-3037
Fax: (701) 777-3277

Junior and senior high school Native American students may participate in an intensive 6-week enrichment course through the INMED Summer Institute. The INMED program helps students develop strong academic foundations vital to success in college health science courses. The program includes group and individualized instruction in mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, and communications. Tours of Native American health facilities and daily laboratory sessions serve as practical teaching aids. The Institute also includes an overview of health career opportunities and helps students to develop study skills. Guest speakers include Indian health professionals and experts who represent a variety of health disciplines. The summer Institute experience includes field trips, recreation, and Indian awareness workshops.

Iowa State University of Science and Technology Internships

Location: Ames, IA
Dates: June 14-July 23, 1999
Application Deadline: January 31, 1999
Contact: Program for Women in Science and Engineering
     210 Lab of Mechanics
     Iowa State University
     Ames, IA 50011
Phone: (515) 294-0966
Internet: [Link no longer active].

Iowa State University’s (ISU) paid summer internship encourages talented high school girls to explore their interests in science and engineering. The internships provide opportunities for rising seniors to gain hands-on research experience. Interns work for a minimum of 6 weeks conducting research in a science or engineering research laboratory on the ISU campus. Faculty members guide their work in a friendly and intellectually challenging atmosphere. Every effort is made to select a research laboratory to match an intern’s interests. Interns receive a $1,250 stipend for the 6-week session. Participants are responsible for their own transportation, meals, and housing. Interns not living at home are required to live in an ISU residence hall.

Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation Summer Seminar

Location: Colorado Springs, CO
Dates: Session I- June 20-July 3, 1999
     Session II- July 4-July 17, 1999
     Session III- July 18-July 31, 1999
Application Deadline: April 8, 1999
Contact: The Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation
     711 N. Tejon, Suite B
     Colorado Springs, CO 80903
Phone: (719) 635-3220

The Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation Summer Seminar is a scholarship program for artistically gifted high school juniors. The intensive 2-week visual arts studio program allows each student to gain a stronger foundation of skills and understanding in the visual arts by experiencing college level drawing and painting classes in a group studio setting. The primary instructors, artists in residence, vary from session to session. Applicants must submit slides of their artwork.

Minorities in Engineering Workshop

Location: Houghton, MI
Dates: June 20-June 26, 1999
Application Deadline: April 2, 1999
Contact: Youth Programs Office-Engineering Workshops
     Michigan Technological University
     1400 Townsend Drive
     Houghton, MI 49931-1295
Phone: (906) 487-2219
Internet: [Link no longer active].

The Minorities in Engineering Workshop allows minority and/or economically disadvantaged rising high school juniors and seniors who are academically talented in mathematics and/or science the opportunity to investigate careers in engineering and science. Successful applicants should have a strong mathematics and science background and/or interest in technological studies. Minority engineers from business, government, and university positions provide informational sessions and discussions. Each session includes a laboratory experience and a team engineering project. There is a $50 registration fee.

Minority Introduction to Engineering, Entrepreneurship, and Science

Location: Cambridge, MA
Dates: June 21-July 30, 1999
Application Deadline: February 12, 1999
Contact: Karl W. Reid, Director, MITES Program
     Room 1-211, 77 Massachusetts Avenue
     Cambridge, MA 02139
Phone: (617) 253-3298
Fax: (617) 253-8549

MITES, a rigorous 6-week program for rising high school seniors, introduces underrepresented high school students to the fields of science and engineering. Students have the opportunity to study math, physics, chemistry, biochemistry, engineering design, entrepreneurship, and writing as they develop the skills to succeed in a competitive university environment. Field trips, career guidance presentations, and other cultural activities provide additional enrichment and career awareness opportunities.

Mississippi University for Women Pre-College Enrichment Program

Location: Columbus, MS
Dates: July 6-August 7, 1999
Application Deadline: Rolling admissions, preferably before May 15, 1999
Contact: MUW- PEP
     W- Box 1613
     Columbus, MS 39701
Phone: (601) 329-7106

MUW offers 50 full scholarships to PEP, a summer program for rising high school seniors. MUW has been coed since 1982; therefore, both males and females are welcome to apply to the PEP program. Participants take up to 9 semester hours of academic credit, participate in a special colloquium, go on field trips, and experience campus life.

NASA Sharp Plus Program

Location: 12 universities throughout the country
Dates: June 14-August 6, 1999
Application Deadline: February 1, 1999
Contact: NASA Sharp Plus Program
     1818 N. St., NW, Suite 350
     Washington, DC 20036
Phone: (202) 659-1818
Fax: (202) 659-5408

The NASA Summer High School Apprenticeship Program, Sharp Plus, is a research-based science mentorship program for students traditionally underrepresented in the fields of science and engineering. Sharp Plus brings together approximately 300 underrepresented high school students and active researchers in aerospace-related fields. During the 8-week summer program, rising juniors and seniors engage in “hands-on” research at industrial sites or research laboratories. Students submit written final reports on their research to NASA and participate in a community service-focused academic year project upon their return to school in the fall.

Regional Center for Mathematics and Science

Location: Green Bay, WI
Dates: June 20-July 31, 1999
Contact: Director, RCMS
     University of Wisconsin-Green Bay
     2420 Nicolet Drive, SS 1929
     Green Bay, WI 54311-7001
Phone: (920) 465-2671
     (800) 253-RCMS
Fax: (920) 465-2954

The Regional Center for Mathematics and Science (RCMS) is a residential 6-week pre-college program for high school sophomores with an interest in the health sciences. Participants must be potential first generation college graduates from families whose household taxable income meets guidelines established by the federal government. In addition, they must be residents of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, or Wisconsin. RCMS combines classroom instruction, laboratory research, computer opportunities, field trips, college and career counseling, and mentoring to develop students’ interests and skills in the health sciences (medicine, nursing, physical therapy, and medical research). Students receive a small weekly stipend for participating. Eligible students will have the option to attend the program for a second summer after their junior year.

The Research Science Institute

Location: Cambridge, MA
Dates: Late June-Early August, 1999
Application Deadline: February 1, 1999
Contact: Ms. Maite Ballestero, Director of Programs
Phone: (703) 448-9062
Fax: (703) 442-9513
Internet: [Link no longer active].

The Research Science Institute (RSI) is an intensive 6-week summer session of lectures, research, and discussion for high school students especially gifted in science and mathematics. Students work under the supervision of leading faculty and graduate students at research institutions and corporations throughout metropolitan Boston. Fifty students come from the United States; as many as 20 come from overseas. Almost all RSI Scholars are between their junior and senior years of high school. Admission is extremely competitive. Selection is based on a combination of factors: a well-rounded extracurricular background, previous research experience, strong academic achievement, and promising PSAT scores.

The Society of Women Engineers and Hewlett Packard Company Science Fair Campership Program

Location: Huntsville, AL
Dates: Dates of space camp
Application Deadline: May 1, 1999
Contact: Denise Roberts
     Hewlett Packard M/S 250
     11413 Chinden Blvd.
     Boise, ID 83704
Phone: (208) 396-3685

The Society for Women Engineers Science Fair Campership Program offers an opportunity for young women from minority groups that are underrepresented in science and engineering fields to attend 1-week space camp in Huntsville, AL. The scholarship includes transportation to and from space camp, room, and meals. Applicants must be eighth through eleventh graders who participated in a school, local, regional, or state science fair competition during the school year.

Summer Science Institute

Location: Madison, WI
Dates: June 20-August 7, 1999
Contact: Dr. Robert Bohanan
     Center for Biology Education, Room 1320
     425 Henry Mall
     Madison, WI 53706
Phone: (608) 265-2125
Fax: (608) 262-67548
Internet: [Link no longer active].

Summer Science Institute is a 7-week residential program for minority high school sophomores and juniors who show an interest in scientific research. Students participate in group research projects such as animal behavior, exercise physiology, genetics/biotechnology, human psychology, microbiology/plant pathology, and environmental sciences. In addition, the program seeks to enhance student reading, writing, math, and study skills in the context of scientific research. Priority is given to minority, or disadvantaged students, including students from rural Wisconsin who might not have access to similar programs. Select students are admitted for a second summer of intensive, advanced training that gives them the opportunity to conduct an in-depth project in a field of their interest.

Telluride Association Summer Program

Location: Varies by topic
Dates: June 27-August 7, 1999
Contact: Telluride Association
     217 West Avenue
     Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: (607) 273-5011
Fax: (607) 272-2667
Internet: [Link no longer active].

Telluride Association Summer Program (TASP) is a 6-week educational experience for high school juniors. Telluride also offers one sophomore seminar. TASP student attendees participate in a seminar led by college and university members. Sessions are held at Cornell University, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and Indiana University. Telluride Association seeks students from diverse educational backgrounds who demonstrate intellectual curiosity and motivation, rather than prior knowledge of the seminar’s subject matter. The seminars, centered on a topic of importance in the humanities, the social sciences, or public policy, are similar to upper-level college classes. The faculty members, who are selected from the country’s best institutions, design programs in which students read texts carefully and critically, consider controversial ideas from many sides, and express and analyze ideas clearly in their discussions and writings. The TASP offers no grades or college credit. All TASP students are provided a full scholarship that covers room, board, tuition, and books. Students pay only the costs of transportation and incidental expenses (participants with demonstrated need may request financial aid to cover reasonable travel costs). It is the policy of Telluride that no student be barred from attending a TASP for financial reasons.

University of Iowa Life Sciences Program

Location: Iowa City, IA
Dates: June 6-June 26, 1999
Application Deadline: February 28, 1999
Contact: Dr. Joe Coulter, Provost’s Office
     224 Jessup Hall
     Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: (319) 335-3555

Rising tenth grade Native American students have the opportunity to learn about environmental, health, and life sciences. This intensive 3-week program includes lectures, labs, field trips, and computer/math classes. Participants receive one hour of university credit.

University of North Carolina Environmental Science Program

Location: Pembroke, NC
Dates: June 13-July 1, 1999
Application Deadline: February 28, 1999
Contact: Dr. Freda Porter-Locklear
     P. O. Box 1359
     Pembroke, NC 28372
Phone: (910) 521-0549

Rising ninth grade Native American students study geometry, environmental science, physics, and computer skills. In addition, students take field trips, listen to guest speakers, and participate in cultural activities. This 3-week residential program is sponsored by the American Indian Science and Engineering Society.

U. S. Coast Guard Academy Minority Introduction to Engineering

Location: New London, CT
Dates: June 27-July 3, 1999 or
     July 5-July 10, 1999
Application Deadline: April 30, 1999
Contact: Director of Admissions
     Coast Guard Academy
     15 Mohegan Avenue
     New London, CT 06320-4195
Phone: (800) 883-USCG

Minority high school juniors spend one week learning about engineering. MITE participants also participate in calisthenics, athletic activities, and a paper beam building competition. Applicants must be U. S. citizens of minority heritage who scored at least 50 on the math PSAT, 500 on the math SAT, or 21 on the math ACT.

Visit in Engineering Week

Location: University Park, PA
Dates: July 11-July 17, 1999 or
     July 18-July 24, 1999 or
     August 1-August 7, 1999
Application Deadline: May 28, 1999
Contact: Sandra D. Johnsen, Director
     Minority Engineering Program, PSU
     241 Hammond Building
     Pennsylvania State University
     University Park, PA 16802
Phone: (814) 865-7138
Fax: (814) 863-7496

VIEW is a 1-week engineering program for rising juniors or seniors. This program is designed to foster interest in engineerin among talented, underrepresented students of color. Students have opportunities to develop creative problem solving skills, leadership skills, and interpersonal skills as they learn about career opportunities within the field of engineering.

Women in Engineering Workshop

Location: Houghton, MI
Dates: June 27-July 3, 1999
Application Deadline: April 2, 1999
Contact: Youth Programs Office-Engineering Workshops
     Michigan Technological University
     1400 Townsend Drive
     Houghton, MI 49931-1295
Phone: (906) 487-2219
Internet: [Link no longer active].

The Women in Engineering Workshop allows rising high school junior and senior women to investigate careers in engineering and science. Practicing women engineers from industrial, governmental, and educational agencies lead informational sessions and discussions. Students also complete laboratory experiences and a team engineering project. There is a $100 registration fee.


  1. The NRC/GT does not endorse any of these programs. Readers are cautioned to investigate programs more thoroughly before they enroll their children in any summer program.
  2. The descriptions are paraphrased and/or condensed from promotional materials provided by the summer programs.


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