Stanford welcomes middle and high school students – and teachers – for summer academic programs

During the summer, Stanford opens its classrooms, labs and libraries to middle and high school students from nearby communities, across the United States and around the world. Teachers also participate in summer professional development courses on the Farm.

During summer, the student population on the Farm undergoes a generational shift as thousands of middle and high school students arrive on campus for a wide range of academic programs.

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Kurt Hickman

Teachers participating in SPICE (Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education) study international topics and how to teach them during the university’s summer academic programs.

Throughout the summer, Stanford hosts programs that include courses, camps, institutes, internships for middle and high school students, with offerings in the arts and music, business, Earth sciences, engineering, humanities, law, medicine, social science and science.

Some of the young students commute to campus from nearby communities to take part in programs such as the Stanford Earth Young Investigators, whose participants work in laboratories within the School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences, under the watchful eyes of graduate students, post-doctoral scholars and lab managers.

Others move into student residence halls for short stays, getting a taste of college life along with college studies, including students participating in programs offered by Stanford Pre-Collegiate Studies, which attracts participants from across the United States and around the world. Pre-Collegiate Studies hosts nearly 2,500 students on the Farm each summer.

New summer courses

During Stanford Pre-Collegiate Summer Institutes, a three-week residential program, students in grades 8 through 11 dive deep into a single subject – from business to bioscience and from creative writing to cosmology. This summer, the program is offering new courses in astrochemistry, chemical physics, electrical engineering, game design, linguistics, media studies, science, technology & society, and user experience design.

High school students also flock to campus for institutes focused on the humanities and on the arts, as well as the Stanford University Mathematics Camp and the Stanford AI4ALL, an outreach summer program aimed at increasing the number of women in computer science, particularly in the field of artificial intelligence research.

The Stanford Office of Science Outreach directs students to summer programs all over campus, such as the RISE Summer Internship Program, an intensive, seven-week program for local Bay Area students, who spend 30 hours a week on campus, working in an active science or engineering research lab under the guidance of a mentor – typically a graduate student – and attending weekly group sessions that include field trips, presentations, hands-on science activities and lab tours.

Stanford’s Department of Chemistry recently concluded its annual summer program: Inspiring Future Scientists through Shadowing, which gives rising juniors and seniors in high school the opportunity to shadow a graduate student mentor as they work in the lab.

Stanford Medicine offers a number of opportunities for high school students considering a future in medicine or science, including the Stanford Explore Lecture Series. In addition to attending college-style lectures, students also engage in hands-on demonstrations and simulation labs, and participate in lunch discussions with undergrad and graduate students.

The Farm is also the summer gathering place for instrumentalists and vocalists taking part in summer immersion programs offered by the Stanford Jazz Workshop.

The jazz workshop’s Giant Steps Day Camp provides a five-day introduction to jazz styles and improvisation, as well as daily master classes in technique for middle school students. Students age 12 to 17 take part in Jazz Camp, which focuses on combo performance and improvisation, and provides training in jazz theory, ear training and techniques.

Middle and high school students also participate in summer programs offered by Stanford’s Department of Music.

In August, high school students will arrive on campus from around the world for the 16th Annual Youth Leadership Conference on Asian and Pacific Islander Health, a four-day event led by the Asian Liver Center of Stanford Medicine.

For two weeks in August, returning and incoming Stanford Online High School students gather on campus for its optional residential summer program, connecting in person while engaging in a challenging and enriching academic program. The Summer @ Stanford program also offers a 10-day Middle School Summer @ Stanford in August.

Teachers go to summer school, too

On a higher end of the age spectrum, Stanford also welcomes middle and high school teachers with professional development programs.

The Center to Support Excellence in Teaching of the Graduate School of Education, for instance, is offering programs on a variety of topics this summer, including chemistry for social justice and Islam.

The center also partnered with nano@stanford to offer the Nanoscience Summer Institute for Middle School Teachers. During the four-day workshop, teachers from around the Bay Area learn the underlying physical concepts in nanotechnology and nanoscience in simple terms. They receive a stipend during the workshop and an additional stipend by implementing nanoscience curricula in their classrooms.

In collaboration with a nonprofit partner, the Office of Science Research offers eight-week fellowships for middle and high school teachers, who work in a Stanford laboratory four days a week and meet once a week as a group for science and engineering lectures by Stanford faculty, lab tours and seminars on teaching.

In June and July, the Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education offers East Asia Summer Institutes for middle school and high school teachers. The three-day institutes are designed to help teachers infuse Asian studies into their social studies and language arts curricula.