Penn Summer Science Initiative (PSSI)

  • PSSI Students
    Each year a very gifted group of high school students participate in the PSSI program.

Summer Course in Materials Science for High School Students

The LRSM has organized a free PSSI four week summer program for local high school students interested in materials science and engineering since 1993. Typically 24-28 students, usually juniors but occasionally well qualified sophomores, are accepted. The program consists of lectures on materials, a computer lab, experimental labs, and field trips to both industrial and Penn facilities. Students are drawn from schools in the Delaware Valley within easy commuting distance of the LRSM. Students from under-represented groups in science are encouraged to apply, especially those from the School District of Philadelphia, women, minorities and the disabled. Student should apply through our on-line application form. The application will require a CV, school transcript, and two letters of recommendation.

Penn Summer Science Initiative 2017

The Penn Summer Science Initiative, PSSI, is sponsored by the Penn Materials Research Science and Engineering Center, MRSEC, which is funded by the National Science Foundation. It will accept up to 28 students entering their junior or senior year of high school from the Delaware Valley for a four-week lecture/lab. course in materials science from July 10th – August 4th, 2017. The course will run from 10:00 AM to 3:30 PM daily in the Laboratory for Research on the Structure of Matter, LRSM, building. The course will consist of a formal lecture on materials science every morning followed either by a computer instruction laboratory or a discussion group on issues in science. Monday afternoons will be spent visiting local industrial laboratories. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoons will be devoted to experimental laboratory work in which the student will be exposed to a variety of materials characterization techniques e.g. scanning electron, atomic force and optical microscopies, thermal analysis techniques, mechanical testing, and x-ray diffraction. Friday mornings will be spent visiting some of Penn’s major facilities e.g. Regional Laser Lab., Robotics Center, Ion Scattering Laboratory, Museum Center for Analysis of Archaeological Materials (CAAM), etc. and Friday afternoons will be spent writing group lab reports. This program will be taught by Penn faculty and staff who are associated with the LRSM.

Students will be selected for this program based on their scholastic achievements, curriculum vitae, and teachers’ letters of recommendation. Students must have taken chemistry and/or physics courses. Minority and female students are especially encouraged to apply. This student enrichment course is free. The online application (click below) will require a CV, school transcript, and two letters of recommendation.

Application deadline April 15


more information:

Mark Licurse, Director of Education
Laboratory for Research on the Structure of Matter
University of Pennsylvania
3231 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6202

Tel. (215) 573-4759
Fax (215) 898-8296