What is SSP?

  • a residential enrichment program designed to challenge and inspire talented and motivated high school students (rising seniors) from around the world
  • one of the longest-running (since 1959) pre-college programs
  • an immersion into hands-on research
  • an independent nonprofit, the only enrichment program governed and operated by its own alumni

SSP is not a “camp.” It is a unique immersion experience with a strong culture that has evolved over more than half a century. It is talented young people discovering their limits, then overcoming them through collaboration. It is the shock of not being the smartest person in the room, followed by the joy of realizing that’s not a problem, it’s an opportunity.

In high school, teenagers learn about science. At SSP, they do science. That’s different! (And why we refer to them as “participants,” not “students.”)

SSP is research, not coursework. Participants collaborate in teams of three. Everyone learns from – and teaches – everyone else. There is a Code of Honor, but no tests or grades. The impact on participants is remarkably consistent across different projects, locations, and years.

Online or in-person, at each program 36 participants and 7 faculty form a diverse community of learning. Together they tackle a difficult research project. In 2023 those will be:

Classroom and lab sessions are scheduled six days a week, interspersed with guest lectures and other special events. Classroom time is for developing an understanding of experimental science in general and the research topic in particular. Problem sets reinforce the material.

Each team studies its own target, performing the research from start to finish: acquiring and analyzing experimental data and reporting the results.

Each program’s faculty includes an Academic Director, Associate Academic Director (both PhD scientist-educators), Site Director, and four Teaching Assistants and Mentors. Everyone works together, immersed in the culture and values of science.

After the last day, the community does not end, it disperses and broadens. Participants become voting members for life, and join a unique global network of over 2,500 alumni and former faculty, ages 16 to 78, all smart people doing interesting things, including supporting this unique nonprofit with donations of time and money.

Program Description (PDF download)

Participants spend many hours each day in the classroom learning the theories and techniques underlying their research, and in the labs collecting the data they will analyze.
Computers are provided and collaboration encouraged.