Penn Summer Science Initiative (PSSI)

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

Response to the COVID-19 Crisis

We are planning to run this as an in-person program. We are staying vigilant and monitoring all communications regarding health risks pertaining to COVID-19 so that we can make informed decisions that do not jeopardize the well-being of anyone involved. We will provide any updates using this website based on the information we receive.

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 resume, school transcript, and two letters of recommendation.

Penn Summer Science Initiative 2021

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 greater Philadelphia region (within a daily commuting distance) for a four-week intensive materials science course from July 12 – August 6, 2021. The course will run from approximately 10:00 AM to 3:30 PM daily in the Laboratory for Research on the Structure of Matter, LRSM, building. The course will include formal lectures from Penn faculty and affiliated researchers, a materials science workshop, lab report writing seminars, projects, and field trips. Three afternoons per week will be devoted to experimental laboratory work in which the student will be exposed to a variety of materials characterization techniques, such as scanning electron and optical microscopies, thermal analysis techniques, mechanical testing, and x-ray diffraction. Students will be expected to work on lab reports, projects, and other assignments outside of program hours.

Students will be selected for this program based on their scholastic achievements, resume, interest in science, and recommendations. Students must have taken chemistry and/or physics courses. Women, minorities, and persons with disabilities are especially encouraged to apply. This student enrichment course is free, however, lunch is not provided (funding is available for those who qualify for the Federal Free and Reduced Lunch Program). Any student wishing to apply to this program should fill out the on-line application form.

The online application will become available in November. The application will require the following to be considered complete: a resume, report card, responses to short answer questions, and two recommendation forms, to be filled out by teachers or other adult mentors. We are accepting applications through March 1st, 2021.

more information:

Ashley Wallace, Assistant Director, Education & Outreach
Laboratory for Research on the Structure of Matter
University of Pennsylvania
3231 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6202

Tel. (215) 898-3446
Fax (215) 898-8296