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Carnegie Mellon’s Summer Academy for Math and Science (SAMS) - 7 Reasons You Should Participate

Carnegie Mellon’s Summer Academy for Math and Science (SAMS) provides opportunities for students from underrepresented communities to explore STEM-related fields. As a member of the program, you will have the chance to enhance your comprehension of STEM subjects through a combination of conventional classroom teaching, immersive project work, and ongoing interaction with esteemed faculty members and experienced staff mentors.

SAMS is a fully funded, merit-based program, meaning there is no cost for scholars to participate. Applications were due March 15th, 2023 and are open to current juniors in high school. The 5-week long program runs from July 1st, 2023 to August 5th, 2023.

The program consists of two parts. Part one will occur prior to the start of the residential program and will provide a virtual jumpstart for participants, focusing on some skill-building that will be needed for the in-person program. While part two will be the 5 week, in-person Pre-College program. The first day of classes will be July 3rd. As a SAMS Scholar, you will be in courses and meetings for the duration of the 5-weeks you are on campus.

SAMS also provides a space for students’ families to participate in virtual enrichment sessions, such as financial aid, FAFSA, and college admission. Families will participate in virtual workshops on how to best support their students in the college search and admission process.

Here are seven reasons why you should consider applying to SAMS

1. Academic Excellence

Carnegie Mellon University is renowned for its strong academic programs, particularly in math and science. Attending the Summer Academy will allow you to experience the university's rigorous curriculum and learn from expert faculty members.

Spending a summer studying at such a prestigious institution will not only broaden your academic horizons and prepare you for university- but will also introduce you to Carnegie Mellon faculty members like Shawn Blanton, a professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department and Dr. Carrie Doonan, the Director of Undergraduate Laboratories and Teaching Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences.

2. Advanced Coursework

The program offers a range of challenging courses designed to expand your knowledge and skills in STEM subjects. It provides an opportunity to delve into advanced topics and explore areas of interest beyond what is typically covered in high school. SAMS participants explore seminars and coursework in subjects like Math, Science, In 2017, the program included biology, chemistry, two sections of physics and four levels of math. The curriculum may change with every year, but you can expect rigorous engagement with STEM subjects like math and science.

Having the opportunity to study at a collegiate level in a competitive university environment will widen your breadth of knowledge while simultaneously preparing you for university courses. SAMS participants have claimed that the coursework they engage with during the summer helps them ease into college-level academics with ease, especially for advanced subjects such as Calculus.

3. Research Experience

Carnegie Mellon is a leading research institution, and the Summer Academy will provide you and other students with the chance to engage in hands-on research projects. You will work alongside faculty and graduate students and gain valuable research experience, and insight, into the scientific process.

SAMS also gives students the opportunity to participate in writing workshops with a focus on college application preparation, attend workshops, meet with alumni, students, university leaders, and finalize STEM-based projects.

4. Collaborative Environment

SAMS brings together motivated and talented students from various backgrounds, fostering a supportive and intellectually stimulating environment while encouraging teamwork and the exchange of ideas. Since its first batch of students, over 1,200 students from across the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands have attended the program!

As one of these students, you will collaborate with peers who share a passion for math and science. Networking with peers and mentors alike will provide important connections going into university. You will also meet in mentoring small groups facilitated by the Center for Student Diversity & Inclusion and participate in and learn more about collaborative learning through group tutoring and academic coaching sessions offered through the Student Academic Success Center.

5. Career Exploration

Attending the Summer Academy will also give you the chance to gain a better understanding of potential career paths in STEM fields. Through workshops, SAMS alumni lectures, and interactions with university leaders, you and your peers will explore different disciplines and potentially discover new areas of interest. Some examples of these lecturers and leaders include Shawn Blanton, a professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department and Kevin Jarbo, an assistant professor in the Department of Social and Decision Sciences.

6. College Preparation

As a pre-college program, the Summer Academy helps students like you prepare for the challenges of higher education. It will familiarize you with the academic expectations of a rigorous university and provide a glimpse into campus life, allowing you to make informed decisions about potential future studies and career paths.

7. Personal Growth

Beyond academic benefits, the Summer Academy promotes personal growth and development by encouraging critical thinking, problem-solving, and independent learning. Additionally, as a SAMS scholar, you will have the opportunity to build networks, develop communication skills, and enhance your confidence in public speaking settings, all of which are valuable assets for future success.

If you're looking for a real-world internship that can help boost your resume while applying to college, we recommend Ladder Internships!

Ladder Internships is a selective program equipping students with virtual internship experiences at startups and nonprofits around the world! 

The startups range across a variety of industries, and each student can select which field they would most love to deep dive into. This is also a great opportunity for students to explore areas they think they might be interested in, and better understand professional career opportunities in those areas. The startups are based all across the world, with the majority being in the United States, Asia and then Europe and the UK. 

The fields include technology, machine learning and AI, finance, environmental science and sustainability, business and marketing, healthcare and medicine, media and journalism and more.

You can explore all the options here on their application form. As part of their internship, each student will work on a real-world project that is of genuine need to the startup they are working with, and present their work at the end of their internship.

In addition to working closely with their manager from the startup, each intern will also work with a Ladder Coach throughout their internship - the Ladder Coach serves as a second mentor and a sounding board, guiding you through the internship and helping you navigate the startup environment. 

Cost: $1490 (Financial Aid Available)

Location:  Remote! You can work from anywhere in the world.

Application deadline: April 16 and May 14

Program dates: 8 weeks, June to August

Eligibility: Students who can work for 10-20 hours/week, for 8-12 weeks. Open to high school students, undergraduates and gap year students!

Additionally, you can also work on independent research in AI, through Veritas AI's Fellowship Program!

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

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

Program selectivity: 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.

Application Requirements: Online application form, answers to a few questions pertaining to the students background & coding experience, math courses, and areas of interest. 

Lumiere Research Scholar Program

If you are passionate about research, you could also consider applying to the Lumiere Research Scholar Program, a selective online high school program for students founded with researchers at Harvard and Oxford. Last year, we had over 2100 students apply for 500 spots in the program! You can find the application form here.

Mandy Brenner is a current junior at Harvard University. She is concentrating in History and Literature and loves to read and write in her free time.



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