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Summer STEM Camps for High School Students: Western States

Updated on September 5, 2018
GAES STEM profile image

The Governor's Academy for Engineering Studies is an award-winning STEM specialty center that supports hands-on engineering education.

STEM Careers Drive Innovation

This artsy science diva knows that STEM careers drive innovation and competitiveness.  STEM workers command higher wages even when they work in non-STEM occupations.  STEM careers also enjoy lower levels of unemployment.
This artsy science diva knows that STEM careers drive innovation and competitiveness. STEM workers command higher wages even when they work in non-STEM occupations. STEM careers also enjoy lower levels of unemployment. | Source

Stop That Summer Brain Drain: Don't Let It Happen To You

Think of how hard you've worked all school year long. You've memorized, problem solved, struggled, buckled down, and overcome. You've experienced late nights studying and you've asked for extra help when necessary.

Now along comes summer. Enjoy your vacation but don't let your hard work this school year take a backslide. Most students experience skills setbacks with both reading and math during these months. (Ever hear of "use it or lose it?")

If you're interested in a STEM career, you can't afford to let that happen. Keep your skills sharp with a cutting-edge STEM camp in a field such as

  • neuroscience
  • molecular biology
  • health sciences
  • ecological research and environmental sustainability or
  • mathematics

Here are the some of the best high school summer STEM opportunities in the West!

Science and Engineering Need Innovative Thinkers Like You

Scientists like this one at an U.S. Army Research Laboratory are finding new ways to get up to 30% more mileage out of batteries.  Now that's a practical application.
Scientists like this one at an U.S. Army Research Laboratory are finding new ways to get up to 30% more mileage out of batteries. Now that's a practical application. | Source

1. Santa Clara University Summer Engineering Seminar

Not sure what engineering is all about? Here's your chance to explore it as a career option.

This one-week residential program provides rising juniors and seniors broad exposure to engineering (Bio, Civil, Computer Science, Electrical and Mechanical Engineering), as well as life on campus through special workshops and hands-on activities. Amazingly, it' FREE for those who are accepted. Several sessions are available, so check out Santa Clara University's website for additional information.

We'll Be Updating for Summer 2019!

If you missed camp deadlines for 2018, simply bookmark this page and check back for 2019 camp updates. Summer STEM camps typically begin announcing their upcoming summer schedule in December or January.

Locations Of Top STEM Camps In California, Hawaii, and Washington State

A
University of California, San Diego, California:
University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA

get directions

B
University of California, Berkeley, California:
University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, USA

get directions

C
The Kohala Center, Waimea, Hawaii:
Waimea, HI, USA

get directions

D
Stanford University, Stanford, California:
Stanford University,Stanford, CA, USA

get directions

E
University of California, Los Angeles, California:
University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, USA

get directions

F
Yosemite National Park, California:
Yosemite National Park, Yosemite Village, CA, USA

get directions

G
Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, CA:
Santa Clara St, Santa Clara, CA 95050, USA

get directions

Investigate the Possibilities of A Career In Biomedical Research

According to the American Cancer Society, by 2024, the number of cancer survivors will increase to nearly 19 million people.  Help find a cure by dedicating your career to medicine or cancer research.
According to the American Cancer Society, by 2024, the number of cancer survivors will increase to nearly 19 million people. Help find a cure by dedicating your career to medicine or cancer research. | Source

2. Rosetta Institute of Biomedical Research at the University of California (Berkeley and San Diego)

The medical researchers of tomorrow—those who could find a cure for cancer or Alzheimer's— just might be in this class. Will you be among them?

High-achieving high school students have a unique opportunity to learn more about either Immunology, Neuroscience or Cancer in this advanced two-week session. (They are separate workshops.)

The institute targets teens ages 14-18 who are interested in medicine, pharmacy, nursing, biomedical research, drug development or related career fields. High school biology is a prerequisite.

For $3,280, plus a residential fee of $1,980 students live on campus at either the University of California - Berkeley or the University of California - San Diego. There, they are exposed to two weeks of engaging lectures and hands-on laboratory classes. Then, they learn how normal biological processes become pathological.

Students in the Neuroscience option focus on neurological disorders such as Alzheimer's, schizophrenia, depression and addiction. There are also Immunology and Cancer options.

Full and partial need-based scholarships are available. For more information and to apply, see the Rosetta Institute of Biomedical Research website.

Diseases By the Numbers

Disease/Disorder
Estimated Number of Americans
ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease)
30,000
Alcohol/Drug Addiction
23 million
Alzheimer's Disease
5 million
Depression
35 million
Epilepsy
3 million
Multiple Sclerosis
1 million
Parkinsons
1 million
Schizophrenia
2.4 million
Advances in biomedical research may one day find cures. With a STEM career in neuroscience, you can help lead the fight and be on the front lines.

Jump Start Your Health Sciences Career With A Summer Camp

Serious about a career in the health science?  Why not pursue a summer camp?
Serious about a career in the health science? Why not pursue a summer camp? | Source

3. Stanford Medical School Summer Programs

Stanford Medical School offers a variety of exciting medical workshops and learning opportunities for motivated high school students, including:

  • Cardiovascular Surgery Internship
  • Anesthesia Summer Institute
  • a four-week lecture series on key topics in medicine, and
  • opportunities to pursue basic research with Stanford faculty.

Interested? The Standford University Discovering Medicine website should be your next stop for additional information.

This Summer, Let Yosemite Be Your Classroom

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Yosemite National Park, Valley ViewYosemite National Park, Valley View at sunsetEl Capitan, Yosemite National Park, CaliforniaHeadwaters, Merced River, Yosemite National Park, CaliforniaValley View, Merced River, Yosemite National Park, CaliforniaA rare black bear sighted during the day in Yosemite National Park, CaliforniaTuolumne Meadow, Yosemite National Park, CaliforniaDeer at Mariposa Grove, Yosemite National Park, California.  The Mariposa Grove is located near the park's south entrance and contains about 500 mature giant sequoias.Glacier Point, Yosemite National Park, CaliforniaWant to see yellow-bellied marmots like this little family?  Head to the higher elevations of Yosemite National Park.  These social animals are related to squirrels.
Yosemite National Park, Valley View
Yosemite National Park, Valley View | Source
Yosemite National Park, Valley View at sunset
Yosemite National Park, Valley View at sunset | Source
El Capitan, Yosemite National Park, California
El Capitan, Yosemite National Park, California | Source
Headwaters, Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California
Headwaters, Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California | Source
Valley View, Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California
Valley View, Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California | Source
A rare black bear sighted during the day in Yosemite National Park, California
A rare black bear sighted during the day in Yosemite National Park, California | Source
Tuolumne Meadow, Yosemite National Park, California
Tuolumne Meadow, Yosemite National Park, California | Source
Deer at Mariposa Grove, Yosemite National Park, California.  The Mariposa Grove is located near the park's south entrance and contains about 500 mature giant sequoias.
Deer at Mariposa Grove, Yosemite National Park, California. The Mariposa Grove is located near the park's south entrance and contains about 500 mature giant sequoias. | Source
Glacier Point, Yosemite National Park, California
Glacier Point, Yosemite National Park, California | Source
Want to see yellow-bellied marmots like this little family?  Head to the higher elevations of Yosemite National Park.  These social animals are related to squirrels.
Want to see yellow-bellied marmots like this little family? Head to the higher elevations of Yosemite National Park. These social animals are related to squirrels. | Source

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4. NatureBridge Yosemite Summer Field Research Course

Science meets hardy outdoor adventure at this camp. In it, you'll design then conduct your own ecological research project research during an extended backpacking adventure through California's Yosemite National Park. In this two-week camp, students learn how to:

  • generate research hypotheses
  • collect data in the field
  • identify and interpret data patterns
  • analyze and present data to other scientists.

As they collect field data, students also learn wilderness survival and backpacking skills. (Cool bonus, eh?) That's because nine days of the camp involves backpacking through Yosemite and collecting field data.

The camp costs $2,646 and targets rising 10, 11th, and 12th graders. NatureBridge offers a similar program in Olympic National Park in Port Angeles, Washington and other locations. See the NatureBridge website for further information.

Blending Science and the Arts with Innovation

Some of the most creative minds merge arts and science ideas.  If you rock at both, count yourself lucky!
Some of the most creative minds merge arts and science ideas. If you rock at both, count yourself lucky! | Source

5. UCLA Sci-Art NanoLab

You're one of those rare students who excel at both science and the arts. So when selecting careers, do you really need to make a choice? Can you instead innovat —borrow from one to improve on the the other in creative, mind-blowing ways? Yes!

The UCLA Sci-Art NanoLab brings together multiple disciplines to explore the possibilites for collaborations. This program is a highly competitive two-week residential camp that provides an opportunity for teens interested in both science and art to focus on both. What scientific and technological innovations can your creative mind conceive?

During two weeks on campus at UCLA, rising 11th and 12th graders will find themselves challenged to Imagine the Impossible. For $3,196 (includes housing, meals, tuition) campers will take a unique look at nanotechnology through the lens of both art and science.

Students will

  • visit area research labs, galleries and museums
  • participate in lectures, workshops, and a sci-fi film series
  • blog about their experiences and
  • create final presentations.

College credit is available. Applications are available in February. For more information, see the UCLA Aci-Art NanoLab website.

6. Global Environmental Leadership & Sustainability Program On The Island of Hawaii

Delve into environmental sustainability and climate change in one of the most beautiful places on the planet. This nine-day course is a collaborative program between the University of California at San Diego and University of Hawaii at Hilo. It engages students in hands-on research on topics studied by scientists at the Kohala Center, including water, energy, soils, volatile organic compounds, marine viruses, and urban heat island effect.

The residential course targets rising 10th, 11th and 12th graders with a cumulative GPA of 3.3. The cost is $3,100 (which includes room, meals, and field trips). For more detail and to apply, see the Global Environmental & Sustainability Leadership Program website.

Not Your Mama's Hawaii

The Global Environmental Leadership and Sustainability Program is a unique opportunity to see Hawaii through guided tours:  Kīlauea Volcano, Kalaemano, the Ka'ūpūlehu Dry Forest, and Puako.  Students learn to take the lead in sustainability efforts.
The Global Environmental Leadership and Sustainability Program is a unique opportunity to see Hawaii through guided tours: Kīlauea Volcano, Kalaemano, the Ka'ūpūlehu Dry Forest, and Puako. Students learn to take the lead in sustainability efforts. | Source

7. COSMOS at University of California (multiple campuses)

COSMOS is a four-week residential summer experience that places motivated students with university researchers and faculty to explore STEM topics in hands-on and lab intensive learning. Past topics have included: Astronomy, Biodiesel, Mechanical Engineering, Computers, Computer Models of Sound, Electro-optics, Earthquake Engineering, Engineering, Environmental Toxicology, Game Design, Genetics & Biocontrol, Lasers, Nanochemistry, Tumor Biology, and more!

The program targets rising 9th graders to rising college freshmen and costs $3,600-$6,030 (depending on program and state residency). Financial aid is available. Camp locations include UC Irvine, UC Davis, UC Santa Cruz, and UC San Diego.

For additional information, refer to the refer to the COSMOS website.

Would You Like Pi With That?

Pi is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to the diameter.  Pi is an irrational number, meaning that its digits never end or repeat in any known way.
Pi is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to the diameter. Pi is an irrational number, meaning that its digits never end or repeat in any known way. | Source

7. Canada/USA Mathcamp

If you believe that math is freakin' beautiful, this is the camp as your name written all over it. To quote from the Mathcamp website, this camp is five glorious weeks of "fascinating, deep, difficult, fun, mysterious, abstract, interconnected (and sometimes useful) mathematics."

For $4,500, gifted math ­students ages 13-18 can live and breathe the beauty of math in preparation for a STEM career or simply because they love what numbers can do.

The camp is FREE for families with household incomes below $65,000. Additionally, both need-based travel grants and partial scholarships are available, so if you're math-gifted don't let the cost be a barrier.

Although calculus is not required, camp attendees need to be comfortable with high school algebra, geometry, trigonometry, exponents and logarithms, and pre-calculus is strongly recommended.

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© 2015 Governor's Academy for Engineering Studies

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