A new model for a multi-disciplinary engineering summer research program for high school seniors: program overview, effectiveness, and outcomes

  • Harsha Kittur UC Los Angeles
  • Lucas Shaw UC Los Angeles
  • William Herrera UC Los Angeles
Keywords: engineering, research, summer bridge program


The High School Summer Research Program (HSSRP) is a rigorous eight-week research experience that challenges high school students to a novel scientific question in an engineering laboratory at the Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science (HSSEAS) at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). The program collates highly motivated students from all socioeconomics statuses, ethnicity, and gender to increase the diversity of applicants for STEM majors at four-year universities, and thereby potentially promotes a more diverse and innovative STEM workforce. To supplement students' unique research projects, HSSRP comprises several professional development opportunities, such as faculty presentations, lab tours, and industry tech talks. Students are trained to communicate their research through scientific posters and oral presentations in a ''learn-by-teaching'' system that further exposes all students to the multitude of creative strategies that are currently employed across the engineering disciplines to tackle world issues. This integrates with HSSRP's strong social element, which encourages students to act as a support system for each other in the midst of the challenging eight weeks, and serves as a network for students after the program. A survey of the 2014-2016 HSSRP classes indicates high satisfaction with the program, and a high liklihood of pursuing a STEM degree and advanced STEM degrees. Surveys of HSSRP alumni shows that a vast percentage of students are pursuing STEM degrees or are currently working in the STEM field.

Author Biographies

Harsha Kittur, UC Los Angeles
Ph.D. student, Department of Bioengineering
Lucas Shaw, UC Los Angeles
Ph.D. student, Department of Mechanical Engineering
William Herrera, UC Los Angeles
Education and Outreach Coordinator, Office of Academic and Student Affairs