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8 Summer STEM Programs for High School Students in Virginia

Participating in a summer STEM program as a high school student can be a game-changer, offering networking opportunities, research experience, as well as a boost to your college applications! 

STEM programs provide students with early exposure to a wide array of technological fields, from software development to cybersecurity, equipping them with a competitive edge in college applications and future job markets -  Admissions officers value applicants who go the extra mile to engage in a subject outside of the classroom, and work towards gaining advanced skills during the summer, rather than simply sticking to their academic schedule. 

We have curated a list of 8 summer STEM programs especially tailored for high school students in Virginia. Additionally, some of the programs mentioned below are completely free. 

The Lumiere Research Scholar Program is a rigorous research program tailored for high school students. The program offers extensive 1-on-1 research opportunities for high school students, across a broad range of subject areas that you can explore as a high schooler. 

The program pairs high-school students with Ph.D. mentors to work 1-on-1 on an independent research project. At the end of the 12-week program, you’ll have developed an independent research paper! You can choose research topics from subjects such as psychology, physics, economics, data science, computer science, engineering, chemistry, international relations, and more. You can find more details about the application here!

Location: Remote — you can participate in this program from anywhere in the world!

Cost: Full financial aid available!

Application Deadline: Varying deadlines based on cohort. Main summer deadlines are March 15, April 15, and May 15

Program Dates: Summer cohort runs from June to August, Fall cohort from September to December, Winter cohort from December to February, Spring from March to June. Applications for the summer cohort are now open! Options range from 12 weeks to 1 year.


  • You must be currently enrolled in high school

  • Students must demonstrate a high level of academic achievement. (Note. students have an unweighted GPA of 3.3 out of 4)

  • No previous knowledge of your field of interest is required!

2. Veritas AI - AI Fellowship

Veritas AI focuses on providing high school students who are passionate about the field of AI a suitable environment to explore their interests. The programs include collaborative learning, project development, and 1-on-1 mentorship. These programs are designed and run by Harvard graduate students and alumni and you can expect a great, fulfilling educational experience. Students are expected to have a basic understanding of Python or are recommended to complete the AI scholars program before pursuing the fellowship. 

The AI Fellowship program will have students pursue their own independent AI research project. Students work on their own individual research projects over a period of 12-15 weeks and can opt to combine AI with any other field of interest. In the past, students have worked on research papers in the field of AI & medicine, AI & finance, AI & environmental science, AI & education, and more! You can find examples of previous projects here. The Application Requirements for this program include online application form, answers to a few questions pertaining to the students background & coding experience, math courses, and areas of interest. 

Location: Virtual


  • $1,790 for the 10-week AI Scholars program

  • $4,900 for the 12-15 week AI Fellowship 

  • $4,700 for both

  • Need-based financial aid is available. You can apply here

Application deadline: On a rolling basis. Applications for fall cohort have closed September 3, 2023. 

Program dates: Various according to the cohort. The Program is Moderately selective

Eligibility: Ambitious high school students located anywhere in the world. AI Fellowship applicants should either have completed the AI Scholars program or exhibit past experience with AI concepts or Python.

This summer camp spans two weeks and takes place at Virginia Tech. It offers a residential setting where attendees engage in practical engineering and technology training. Through interactive design projects and hands-on lab work, students delve into different engineering fields, acquiring valuable skills while tackling real-world problems.

The program's support doesn't end with summer. Participants receive aid with college applications, simplifying the process and improving their chances of admission to prestigious engineering programs. Moreover, they get to explore campus life and the engineering curriculum at Virginia Tech through organized visits, enriching their understanding of college experiences.

Location: Virginia Tech

Cost: None

Application Deadline: Rolling Basis

Program Dates

  • Rising Seniors: Sunday, June 16th to Saturday, June 29th 2024.

  • Rising Sophomores and Juniors, June 23rd to Saturday, June 29th 2024.

Eligibility: Students entering grades 10, 11, or 12 in fall 2023 who are first-generation college students. 

The Virginia Aerospace Science and Technology Scholars (VASTS) program offers high schoolers a unique chance to explore NASA-related research. Run by the Virginia Space Grant Consortium, NASA Langley Research Center, and partners, it immerses students in aerospace, engineering, and technology.

During the academic year, students tackle real-world aerospace challenges through a rigorous online curriculum. Exceptional performers may attend a fully covered week-long Summer Academy at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, VA. This opportunity can significantly impact their educational and career trajectory in aerospace and related fields.

Location: Online course from December to April followed by an in-person summer residency at NASA Langley Research Center

Cost: None

Application Deadline: October 24 (tentatively, based on previous years)

Program Dates: Session 1: June 22 - 28, 2024, Session 2: July 13 - 19, 2024, Session 3: July 27 - August 2, 2024

Eligibility: Open to high school juniors and seniors who are Virginia residents, United States citizens, and have a minimum GPA of 2.7

The Virginia Space Grant Consortium offers a unique program tailored for students passionate about the connection between climate change and technology, providing them with the chance to engage with NASA's latest research. This program combines online learning with a hands-on summer residency, offering a comprehensive education in Earth System Science.

The highlight is the summer residency at NASA's Langley Research Center, where students can apply their knowledge practically. The residency includes a team project where students design a satellite launch mission to explore Earth's systems. This project challenges students to think critically and work closely with professionals in the field.

Overall, this program is perfect for students interested in making an impact in climate change using technology, while gaining valuable experience working with NASA researchers. It offers a balance of theory and practical application, fostering the development of the next generation of Earth scientists and climate specialists.

Location: Online course from December to April followed by an in-person summer residency at NASA Langley Research Center

Cost: None

Application Deadline: October 26 (tentatively, based on previous years)

Program Dates: Session 1: July 6 - 12, 2024, Session 2: July 20 - 26, 2024

Eligibility: Open to high school juniors and seniors who are Virginia residents, United States citizens, and have a minimum GPA of 2.7

Virginia Tech's Black College Institute offers a four-day academic program for underrepresented high school students. Participants engage in workshops and hands-on activities across disciplines like Comp Modeling & Data Analytics, Science Technology Studies, and Industrial and Systems Engineering. The program prioritizes critical thinking through project-based learning and guides students through the college application process. Emphasizing service learning, it encourages students to apply their knowledge in real-world scenarios for community impact.

Location: Virginia Tech

Cost: None

Application Deadline: March 22 (tentatively, based on previous years)

Program Dates: Session 1  for Seniors: June 16 - 19, 2024, Session 2 for  Seniors: June 23 - 26, 2024, Session for Juniors: June 30 - July 3, 2024

Eligibility: Preference given to underrepresented and/or first-generation students who are rising juniors or seniors

Primarily a research program, this program will pair you with a mentor from George Mason University to work on a specific project. A wide range of research areas are available, including Earth Science, Molecular Medicine, Cyber Security, Finance, Astronomy, Math, Forensic Science and more. The format of the program differs with each project. Through ASSIP, you will use sophisticated technology and equipment, develop scientific writing, explore STEM careers, and exercise creativity and innovation.

Location: Remote, in-person and hybrid options available

Cost: $25 application fee, no stipend. Application fee can be waived depending on need. 

Application Deadline: February 11th 2024

Program Dates: June 18th-Aug. 9th, 2024

Eligibility: Students must be over the age of 15 for remote and computer lab in-person internships and over the age of 16 for “wet-lab” in-person internships

In this two-week program, you have the option to pursue either the Computer Science/Information Technology track or the Engineering track. Opting for the former will enable you to engage with hardware tasks, such as assembling a desktop computer and installing an operating system. Subsequently, you'll explore topics like cybersecurity and artificial intelligence utilizing this hardware. Alternatively, the Engineering track offers insights into the data center and semiconductor manufacturing industries. Participants may visit industry partners and even attain their OSHA 10 certificate as part of the program.

Location: Northern Virginia Community College

Cost: None. 

Application Deadline: May 10th 2024

Program Dates: Upcoming Summer, July - August

Eligibility: Graduating seniors and current juniors can apply

Stephen is one of the founders of Lumiere and a Harvard College graduate. He founded Lumiere as a PhD student at Harvard Business School. Lumiere is a selective research program where students work 1-1 with a research mentor to develop an independent research paper.

Image Source: Virginia Tech logo


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