Alumni Perspectives
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Parents' Perspectives

What is the effect of the SSP experience on its participants? How does it change them? No one knows better than their parents.


We can't find the words to express how grateful we feel about SSP. Alex has transformed so much in those magical 39 days that we are confident he is ready for college intellectually, socially, and emotionally.

It has been over two months since he returned from SSP at New Mexico. He still talks about this life-changing experience. He misses the other 35 students, the TAs, faculty, and everything. We don't think he ever wanted to leave the SSP world. They all cried at the airport saying goodbye to each other. He raved about those amazing achievements that the other 35 SSPers have. He wondered how he got picked. Alex had several other summer opportunities including one camp that offered him a full scholarship. We feel SSP is the best decision we have ever made for him. SSP provided him not only the best guidance, support, and equipment for research, but also the other 35 rising seniors who formed strong bonds with him. They learned from each other. They motivated each other. That is the magic of SSP.

Our family attended Open House Day. This event was well planned and packed with seminar, college representatives Roundtable, and Observatory visit. We were very pleased with the facility and the environment of New Mexico Tech. The field trips, especially the White Sand, were unforgettable. The teaching assistants, former SSPers, are highly regarded and they are role models and inspirations.

Thank you to the entire SSP staff/Board/Directors for making the SSP experience into remarkable memories.

- Cheng-Chun and Jessica Chang, Parents of Alexander Chang

We loved having Luke go to SSP. It was a fulfilled dream for him to go and it exceeded all of his expectations. I really enjoyed the opportunity to go to Open House Day. It was great to meet the teachers, other parents and faculty. It really made me understand the cutting edge science he was being exposed to when we had a presentation from the operator of the laser on the Curiosity Rover on Mars. Unbelievable.

Luke really grew that summer as an adult. He lived on his own, took care of himself and made so many friends. I can't imagine better prep for going to college.

Perhaps the most important thing to me was the exposure Luke got to students from other countries. Right after SSP, Luke won a bronze medal at the IOAA in Romania and one of his SSP classmates won a gold. On his way back, he stopped in on another classmate in Bucharest who showed him around the city. Hard to imagine how it gets better than that. Seeing kids from all over the world collaborating, working together and establishing friendships that will last a lifetime gives one hope for the future.

Finally, Luke spoke extremely favorably of the counselors. I felt like they were amazing role models to him. That was very much unexpected.

Thanks again.

- Mike Finnerty, parent of Luke Finnerty

Returning home from SSP, the first thing Roland said to me was "It was one of my best experiences of my life." Indeed, besides all the interesting lectures and research activities, the experience of living, playing and working with many other gifted students from all over the world is a huge benefit to a rising senior. Roland said the friendship he built up with some other SSPers will last for a long time. I can see that.

Thank you so much for your great work!

- Jason Huang, parent of Roland Huang

Actually my wife and I feel SSP was the best education experience that Jerry has ever had. We couldn't imagine how he could experience so many interesting activities, and at the same time fulfilled his mission very well in such a short time. All the activities are perfect for polishing students' interests in science, team work, communication skills, cooperation skills … and much, much more without the pressure of competition.

SSP not only broadened Jerry's view of science, hands-on world-class astronomy academic knowledge, but also broadened the road for his entire life. He made friends with brilliant and friendly students that may accompany him for his entire life. We are so happy he got a "family" like this. He got a lot needed info from contacting with alumni of SSP and benefited a lot. He definitely would advocate SSP in his school.

When parents talk about summer programs that will polish their teenager's education, I will definitely ask them to let their kids try to apply SSP, because it is the best one.

As for suggestions, the only one I can think out is that we wish we could see more and more this kind of education not only in US, but also here in China. Am I greedy?

- Jack Xuan, parent of WenHao (Jerry) Xuan

SSP is an uncommon experience and one that will forever remain significant not only for our daughter but for us (as parents). When you have a high-achieving, driven student, you are constantly striving to meet a unique set of needs all at one time. SSP did just this by rigorously challenging our daughter academically, allowing her to be herself, and by introducing her to a group of like-minded kids with whom she had the thrill of collaboration - "all while adding to the collective wealth of knowledge that exists on our planet" (her words, not ours). SSP was not just formidable coursework and an exhausting six week research project, it was day trips and experiences that I'm afraid she'll never stop talking about. According to our daughter, you can't exhaust what SSP has to offer, you can only run out of weeks in which to capture it. As parents, we are grateful that such an opportunity exists anywhere out there (let alone under the beautiful New Mexico skies) and that our daughter was allowed to share in it. Thank you so much SSP!

- Ron and Michelle Burch, Parents of Claire Burch

SSP is hands down the most hands-on experience my son has ever had. It included a rigorous science and math curriculum balanced with fun field trips and a talented group of individuals. He will cherish the memories from this past summer for years to come. The program should be renamed SSSP--Stellar Summer Science Program.

- Janet Hsieh, parent of Andrew Chen

I am pleased that my child could participate in SSP, and thank you for giving him this opportunity. activity had not yet begun, but I have thought of a child's life will be very exciting. Child separates from parents for the first time, for such a long time, I worry about it a little, but you are careful and responsible, we believe that kid is taken care of by you very well. By the end of the summer, the kids get a harvest, not just academically, also physically and emotionally.

Unfortunately, I am as far away as Beijing, China, unable to attend the Open House Day activities, cannot experience the camp life and share teen's joy. Thanks again.

- Xia Cui, parent of Zhiru Liu

For my son this was a good transition to college. He was on his own, making his own schedule.

I did not realize that we would be updated with blogs and photos. That was so terrific to follow along with the adventures without the kids needing to even be a part of the communication. I felt like I was right there and I could see that my son was having a grand time.

- Erin Moore, parent of Scott Adam Stanford-Moore

First, I want to say another big thank you because without the financial aid generously offered by SSP we would not have been able to send Louis to SSP. Please extend a thank you to your donors who made that possible.

Louis had the experience of a lifetime at SSP. He was thrilled with the challenge and the level of independence that students were given to tackle this intensive project. The joyful and playful comradery that he experienced with his fellow SSPers created a perfect environment for meeting the challenges of challenging, hard work and yet having an overall positive feeling. He loved the many and varied opportunities that the field trips offered, from experiencing local sights and landscape to different fields of science.

- Liz Koch, parent of Louis Hyde

It is very lucky for my son to participate in SSP. He benefits from SSP not only through academic activities, but also by making so many friends. Also, as a non-native speaker, my son acquires an invaluable lesson by overcoming all the language difficulties, which may help him greatly in undergraduate life.

- Xia Cui, parent of Albert Liu

It gives us immense pleasure to write this. We are thankful to the SSP community for letting Aditya attend the program. Here is our short perspective on SSP and how it changed our son.

Aditya wanted to attend the program right from the day he was redirected to SSP's website from MIT's blog. We had never seen him as excited as he was during the time he spent completing the application. His enthusiasm on the day he received the acceptance email spoke volumes about how eager he was to attend the program. Generous financial aid from the SSP community made it all possible. We, as parents, will be forever thankful to all those who helped.

Reading the SSP handbook made us realize a lot of things. Hands-on research, advanced Math and Physics, and college-level courses were all tailor-made for someone like our son. The challenging aspects of SSP were all well described in the handbook. What we did not realize was the kind of collaborative community our son was about to get exposed to. The personal treatment he received right from the day he arrived was enough to make us not worry about him at all during the entire course of the program.

Aditya has been a completely changed person since his return. He is much more verbal in expressing his thoughts and opinions. He has a clearer view of a career in the STEM field in the future. The program has given him the confidence to go through the stressful college applications with calmness and patience. He has made amazing friends who are always there to help him. The massive alumni community has just strengthened our belief that SSP has been one of the best things to happen in our son's life.

We would also like to thank the site director, professors, and TAs for their exceptional support which made his experience even more rewarding. Thanks for making it possible for Aditya to experience an incredible summer.

- Shalini and Manish Khandelwal, Parents of Aditya Khandelwal

SSP was far more than just a summer science program for my son. Not only did he gain a solid foundation in astrophysics, he was challenged and enriched intellectually and made lifelong friends around the globe. The program far exceeded our expectations. Being in a small group within a structured program offered him an unmatched experience to be a scholar. This was in sharp contrast to his previous summer spent studying at a large university (stimulating but less personal). My son felt supported and nurtured by the program teachers, SSP leaders and his peers. In today's high-tech times, I really appreciated the rule restricting access to electronics. The weekend outings balanced the academic rigor and he really enjoyed seeing different parts of California. I would highly recommend the program for all budding scientists.

- Mary Pierce, parent of Jacob Pierce

I don't think I can find the words that would fully express how much our son has gained from his experience at SSP.

Our son is a very intelligent young man, has always performed well in his academic, sports and extracurricular activities. However, he was one to sometimes doubt his abilities and lacked full confidence in himself. When he was accepted into SSP, he was thrilled, but then a bit anxious. He questioned whether he was "smart enough" to complete the project, slightly intimidated by the achievements of the other students accepted into the program.

All of those insecurities melted away a day or two after arrival. He worked hard, every day (and every night). He was sleep-deprived all the time. He was challenged intellectually to find out what he was capable of, had to work hard to complete his problem sets and ultimately his OD. No grades to drive him, only his inner desire to achieve. He had to work harder than he has ever had to work in any of his past school and intellectual endeavors. And he wouldn't have wanted it any other way.

The social environment was amazing for him. He developed a close bond with every single one of the other students at SSP. They shared a lot during their 5 1/2 weeks together and they all had become the best of friends. They reveled in being fellow "nerds." Our son told us that the last night of SSP, they all stayed up the whole night, sat in a big circle on the track and just shared their last hours together. He did not want to leave SSP.

Since coming home, we have noticed that the new found confidence has enabled him. He is more responsible, taking charge of things by himself. He also continues to maintain a relationship with his fellow (now alumni) SSPers from all over the world via Skype. Just yesterday, a group of the local SSPers got together for movie and a meal.

We feel the SSP experience will stay with our son for a lifetime. We have seen his confidence takeoff, his desire whetted to achieve even greater goals. We truly believe that SSP this summer has been a positive game-changer for our son.

- (name withheld on request)

The Summer Science Program is one of the best-organized program. From selecting the students, arranging transportation, accommodation, teaching, learning and sharing, we can feel the tremendous efforts SSP staff had put in. We believe the experiences my daughter have had will have a lifetime influence on her. I can see how exciting she became when she talks about friends from SSP. The SSP experience has lightened her path and passion to science career. She enjoys talking and communications with SSP friends so much. The SSP friendship circle keeps running.

- Xu Chen, parent of Zhanpei Fang

One thing that I'd like to tell other parents: I am a fairly protective mom and was nervous about Sierra being away from home for that length of time for the first time. I decided to drive my daughter to the program and was very pleased by the safe feeling campus and very kind and conscientious students and teachers. The roommate matching process worked wonderfully and she had been paired up with a great roommate who had a similar unusual sleep pattern (rising early). I left her there believing that this would be a wonderful environment for her to be in. And it was.

This was an amazing opportunity for Sierra to experience working hard along with and getting to know so many other brilliant students, meet and learn from great teachers and guest lecturers, while having fun in a beautiful place. I am so happy that she was able to be a part of the SSP, and the experience will help her achieve her goals through college and beyond. Thank you!

- Barbra Chapman, parent of Sierra Chapman

SSP gave our dear Nikole the chance to meet new friends from different States as well as from other countries. The program gave her a new perspective about asteroids and the solar system itself.

On the personal level, her experiences during the duration of this program to meet deadline under pressure may help her in the future to tackle challenges as she takes her journey to the real world. She has all the praises for mentors and coordinators of this program.

Allow me to express our appreciation to the program and to all people involved for giving our daughter the privilege to experience higher level of learning opportunity. Best wishes to SSP and the people behind it.

- Edgar Almonte, parent of Hannah Nikole Almonte

Even though I am not so good at English, the unbelievable progress of my daughter made in SSP encouraged me to express my gratefulness to you. My daughter experienced a good dream what she eagerly dreamed. When the dream come to reality, she was shocked and inspired other than got knowledge.

The project widened her vision, arouse her to work harder, and improved her life target…tremendously. She recognized that the real genius is not only full of intelligence but, more important, is open, nice and helpful. She changed her old idea of prejudice to pride for everyone.

Her eyes was full of tears for days after the goodbye. Even today she keeps closely touch with most of the members in the community, actively and positively. As her father, I believe that it is the most important period up to now in her life time. Thanks SSP. THANKS.

- Shanhe Wang, parent of QiQi Wang

SSP has been an amazing experience for my daughter. Not only have you academically opened up her eyes, but also socially. Having to leave from home for the first time is also a new experience which has allowed growth.

- Hongbing Deng, parent of Michelle Xu

It's a pleasure for me to write something about SSP. My son returned home from the program very satisfied. Prior to the program, he was considering studying Physics at college and the program helped him to confirm this decision.

After returning home, the intensive communication between him and his friends from the program demonstrated the strength of the friendships they established. The pictures posted on the SSPBLOG 2014 reflected the children's happiness and enthusiasm. The SSPBLOG 2014 was also a useful resource for parents and was very informative about life at SSP.

It is clear to me that SSP was very useful for my son and I would like to thank you for this very special and worthwhile program.

- Akin Uysal, parent of Mehmet Tuna Uysal

We approached the news of acceptance in the program with excitement and apprehension, in equal measure. Excitement in the happiness of Saanya, and apprehension in the knowledge from the website of the demanding nature of SSP.

We are quite pleased with the outcomes: learning activities, developing curiosity about new areas and enjoying responsibly while forming new friendships, in an atmosphere that has the proper blend of rigor and fun.

- Shelly Jain, parent of Saanya Jain

Travelling to California to take part in the Summer Science Program has changed my daughter's life in multiple ways. She has always been interested in astronomy, physics and mathematics, so she was overjoyed when she was notified of admission, and I can say with confidence that SSP has exceeded by far all of her expectations. This program has given her the opportunity to have the time of her life learning at vertiginous speeds and, most importantly, surrounded by peers who have become lifelong friends and who have shown support and encouragement at all times.

My daughter has never participated in such an intense, challenging and motivating program, and we are both sincerely grateful for this unique opportunity. The only thing she missed during those six weeks was a few more hours of sleep!

- Maria Antonia Monsalve Paez, parent of Elba Alonso Monsalve


This was an astronomical experience for our daughter. She was amongst her peers with similar passion, drive and motivation as herself in the acquisition of knowledge. This summer program is unlike any others, I believe, as it pushes the kids to the utmost of limits and through that, teaches them about perseverance and more importantly teamwork - all necessary life skills and not just preparation for college. The exposure to course and research work, guest speakers and field trips was phenomenal; the friendships developed even more amazing. To the staff of SSP, a heartfelt thank you for helping our daughter through a wonderful summer; to parents of future SSPers, your child should be prepared to work hard; and to the SSPers 2013: "Gotta catch them all!"

- Lloyd and Cara Fischer, parents of Caitlin Fischer

Although our daughter was accepted to other highly selective, local summer research opportunities, she chose SSP. The adventure and curriculum proved to be the best fit for her. It gave her a chance to spread her wings, living far from home for the summer, and work in an environment that embraces diversity, similarity, and fun! Learn more about Kim's experience in the Chicago Daily Herald article.

- Dee Dauber, parent of Kimberly Dauber.

We spent a lot of time talking with Andrei on Skype about the extraordinary things he did here. We could not imagine that there are such well-organized extracurricular programs, where there is so much study and it is still very interesting and attractive for the student.

For Andrei it was a very beneficial experience, constructing a fundamental bond between theory and practice, and also the lectures from teachers and specialists in astronomy further encouraged him to pursue a career in this field. Another great experience was the travel from Romania through Paris and London to USA all by himself.

I recommend SSP to everyone and in fact if I had been his age I would have done everything I can to participate in such a program.

- Benjamin Cuceu, parent of Andrei Cuceu

Our daughter thrived in the inclusive SSP community. Working within a team to solve problems using the individual skills of each member was refreshing for her. She worked hard, had a lot of fun, and as the SSPers like to say "donated a lot of sleep to science". We couldn't be happier.

- J. and B. Nicolas, parents of Natalie Nicolas

SSP for our daughter was a life changing experience. It provided her with intellectual challenge, brilliant peer group, fantastic social interaction and great exposure to subject fields not offered at her high school. The whole program was very well organized and simply the best. We are truly grateful to everyone at SSP for providing such a unique opportunity.

- Chandrasekhar and Latha Narendrula, parents of Aparna Narendrula

SSP is such a great enrichment program for a rising high school senior. It provided our son Matthew with not only the opportunity to challenge him intellectually but also the environment to gain positive social experience. Shortly after arriving SSP, he connected with a community of math and science fanatics. Aside from all the astronomy, physics, and programming he learned over the course of SSP, he made many friends with many interests in common nationwide and worldwide. He developed socially as well as intellectually.

We are happy our son chose to attend SSP over going a national competition held at the same time this past summer. After five-week SSP, Matthew came home more mature, capable and confident. "It was too short" is the first response he said after we asked him about SSP.

We believe that Matthew's SSP experience will have a big impact on his future career no matter what major/field he will pursue. Thank you to the entire SSP staff for making the SSP experience into remarkable memories.

- Jin Li and Guanglong Zhu, parents of Matthew Zhu

SSP was a great experience for our son Karl. (We knew he was having a good time because we never heard from him, all we saw were smiling photos on his Dropbox account.) Karl was full of enthusiasm when he returned home, for the project, his fellow program participants, the faculty, the guest speakers and the field trips. We are very impressed with SSP. Thank you for all that you do to make this opportunity available to young people interested in science and math.

- Mark Otness & Karin Wentz, parents of Karl Otness

I am very pleased with what I found out from Catalina about SSP. This experience seems to have helped her in many different ways. First, she told me that she had been intellectually challenged during the time spent there and that she improved her programming skills in a way she never thought it was possible. I am glad that she discovered new and interesting topics and that she understood better what hard work really is. Also, the stories about the non-academic activities at SSP made me believe that it was a great way to spend the summer. I really think that all the field trips they took and the dance classes and yoga lessons helped them relax between homework and assignments.

Second, she met people with the same interests as hers and she was for the first time surrounded by people who were as well prepared as she was or even better prepared, and this motivated her to study even more than before. Being in a college-like environment even for a few weeks will definitely help her adapt faster to the actual college life.

Third, she met there students with different backgrounds and cultures and I believe this offered her a huge possibility she didn't have in Romania: to learn more about various cultures and about different ways of life.

Overall, I am very glad she had the opportunity to take part in such an amazing program and I believe she feels the same. Thank you very much for your support and for your help in this period.

- Mihai Miritescu, parent of Catalina Miritescu

Our son Wally dreamed to spend summer at SSP ever since he found the website a few years ago. All that SSP offers -- asteroid research, college-level courses, in-depth, hands-on experience, impressive faculties, collaboration, and the pure fun of engaging in science and math with no tests or grades --make it the most imaginative science program on earth, and we are so happy that Wally was lucky enough to get selected. Wally had an insanely awesome time at SSP and not a day passes by without him talking about it! The Selection Committee did a wonderful job selecting students from otherwise unknown places including Vicksburg, Mississippi and Marked Tree, Arkansas.

Attending SSP was an eye opener for Wally. Born and raised in a state where the average ACT composite score is 18.7, he often wondered if his obsession in math and science is "normal." Spending 6 weeks at SSP with 35 other students, all from different backgrounds but yet sharing the same enthusiasm in math and science was a turning point that showed him that there are exciting college academic and research opportunities out there waiting to be explored when he graduates from high school this year. He learned that with collaboration and guidance, students can solve complex problems that they think are impossible to solve -- completing his OD is one of them. Wally's goal is to go to one of the top research universities and SSP has definitely helped him realize his potential and guided him so he can use the capacity that he has to reach his goal.

Our utmost appreciation to Dr. Andersen, Dr. Faison, Mrs. Martinez and the TAs --Elaine Johnson, Rebekah Cramerus, Dillon Liu, Ryan Handoko; all of you have done amazing job and we cannot expect a better faculty team! Thank you for the opportunity. Know that SSP is now a big part of Wally's life!

- Johannes & Christine Wibowo, parent of Wally Wibowo

We knew that SSP was a great program based on the description on the SSP website but we are delighted to say that it was one of the best experiences for our son Naveen. He had the opportunity to work with a diverse group of talented students from around the world who shared his passion for learning. The program and the speed at which they were expected to learn were intense but the supportive staff and collaborative environment helped him learn incredible amount of astrophysics, calculus, and programming and complete his project in a short 5˝ weeks. This was the first time he had stayed away from home for an extended period of time and we were surprised that he felt at home with his peers and the environment - thanks to the supportive staff.

Coming from a very competitive school, Naveen felt that the collaborative environment at SSP helped him learn more at a much faster pace which has reinforced his belief in teamwork. After returning from SSP, he has shown more interest in taking on complex projects which may require him to learn several aspects on the fly. Apparently, last summer when he was researching at a chemistry lab, he had an idea to make a 3D visualizer program but didn't know how to go about doing a complex project that requires programming and a good understanding of molecular structures. After returning from SSP, he was comfortable with programming and he took the initiative to learn the missing pieces to complete the 3D molecule visualizer. He is currently working on a bioinformatics research project and is being mentored by an SSP alumnus. Everyone associated with SSP is so helpful and supportive and we are proud to be part of it.

SSP gave our son a college like experience and has taught him the importance of hard work and perseverance. In addition to the intense lectures and long programming sessions, SSP gave him ample opportunities to develop socially and have fun during field trips and social events. He has forged some of the strongest friendship of his life at SSP and he is in constant communication with his peers.

We would like to thank the site director, professors, and TAs for their exceptional support which made his experience even more rewarding. Thanks for making it possible for Naveen to experience an incredible summer.

- Meyyappan and Alamu Arunachalam, parents of Naveen Arunachalam, SSP'13

My daughter had a great time at SSP. She felt that she was among people who really cared about learning. She probably made some life-long friends there. I would suggest opening the program to more students who can benefit from this experience.

- James Dunn, parent of Katie Dunn

Our daughter had an amazing experience at SSP. She says she learnt a lot and also had great fun . But more importantly, from our perspective we find that SSP has broadened her outlook. She has become more confident and assertive. She has redefined her goals , set her sights higher. SSP has also forged strong bonds that Sadhana values a lot.

Thanks to everyone who enabled students like our daughter to have this wonderful, life changing experience.

- Vidhya and Senthil Senthilkumar, parents of Sadhana Senthilkumar

My son returned from SSP ready (finally) to discuss college applications, and with a much more mature understanding of his own interests, and how to compare the different Universities and programs. Based on the many late-night Skype sessions that I've observed, he also made lots of close friends.

- Leslie Sieburth, parent of Wyatt Mackey

As September unfolds, bringing with it the opening of the college application season, my family rejoices for the blessings that SSP has brought. As the result of my daughter, Coleen Holden, participating in SSP, she has gained an insight to the excitement that arises from the true pursuit of knowledge. Your program gave my daughter the opportunity to learn how to work through problems and emerge from the effort with an appreciation for the challenge as well as scientific principles that extend beyond the original question.

As the result of her experience, Coleen is approaching her applications to college with a degree of confidence that she had not previously exhibited. Additionally, her participation in SSP has given her even greater enjoyment for the challenges of her senior year.

Again, thank you for this program. It truly has demonstrated through its impact on my child the value of such an opportunity in preparing a child for a future in math and science.

- Dennis Holden, parent of Coleen Holden

Given Sawyer's interests in math and science and the fascinating context in which SSP taught these subjects, no summer opportunity would have been more rewarding for him. As we expected, SSP was challenging and exciting; it was also academically supportive and social. Sawyer loved the lectures, including the guest lectures, and the professors and teaching assistants were available to help with assignments even long after midnight.

Despite often going to sleep exhausted after working for hours on problem sets or making field observations (or playing board games) he always looked forward to the next day. How much he learned although the program was less than six weeks amazed him. Because of the learning and collaborative environment, he commented that if SSP is anything like college, he can't wait. Sawyer will be an active alumnus.

- Ruth Dukoff and Alan Birnbaum, parents of Sawyer Birnbaum

For my daughter, this was the best experience of her life. She truly enjoyed the interaction with the other participants. The work was challenging but fun. She learned so much from the camp that it is hard sitting in some of her science classes as they cover the fundamentals she has already mastered, thanks to this program.

- Daniel A. Martinez, parent of Irena Martinez

SSP was such a great Coming-of-Age experience for Kiya. We sense that she came to know herself in a very deep way. She now knows what it's like to be challenged beyond her limits, to depend on others to find success. She now knows the joy of spending time with others that share her drive to learn and understand her sense of humor! She found herself, in her own words, "learning with kindred spirits".

We now trust that she'll be able to travel anywhere (on her own), join a group of people that she's never met before, jump in to the deep end of the pool, and thrive.

- Mark Walker and Janel Govek, parents Kiya Govek SSP '13

Gailin went west worried that she would arrive and find herself so far behind (having not had any calculus) that she would not "fit in." She came back east with plans to study computer science, and has since located a university faculty member who is willing to mentor her (after she completes his set of 10 problems). She immediately dove into the set of problems, and is steadily working her way through them with a sense of purpose that is really amazing to behold.

She had some very joyful moments as well as a lot of very hard work.

- Linden Higgins, parent of Gailin Pease

The SSP program is a transformative experience for attendees. Besides the important knowledge in mathematics, physics and astronomy, they acquire the ability to manage their own project in a very demanding environment.

This life-changing experience gives them the opportunity to improve as students and as people as well.

- Joaquim Domingo, parent of Laia Domingo Colomer

I know that Maddie loved the intensity of the program and the speed at which new material was introduced. Senior year of high school seems a bit dull now - topics are introduced slowly and concepts are repeated. We know that we can put her into any institution of higher learning and that she will thrive. At SSP, she learned a lot about herself, her interests, and her capabilities.

- Denise Saviano, parent of Maddie Saviano

We so greatly appreciate the care, kindness, and support the staff gave to Lysha and her fellow students. What an awesome program that really needs to continue into the future.

- Neal Matsunobu , parent of Lysha Matsunobu

I didn't know anything about SSP when my daughter applied for and was accepted into the program. All I knew was that she wanted to attend a summer science program that challenged her academically and gave her an opportunity to be with other like-minded high achieving high school students.

I learned that SSP is a very prestigious program that may be a once in a life time experience and may open doors for my daughter. She had the incredible experience she'd hoped for. The program gave her more confidence to pursue her academic dreams, but she also had a lot of fun. She gained new best friends that she stays in contact with thanks to social media.

The program was very challenging and should only be considered for hard working students. It is not for those students who are just naturally smart, but don't want to work very hard.

The program staff were really wonderful and were prompt in communications with me as needed. I never had a concern for my daughter's safety.

Expect initial homesickness the first week. Near the end of the program, expect very little communication from your child as they are too busy having fun and are very happily involved with high level math and science.

- (name withheld on request)

We let Maddy choose between SSP and a Stanford science camp, and boy are we glad she chose SSP. We have since discovered that for a science camp or program there is absolutely nothing better than SSP. SSP was an amazing experience for Maddy. She learned a ton academically and she also matured a lot as a person. She says it was the most difficult challenge she's ever had but she also says it was fun and she's very glad she did it. She actually misses her friends and keeps in touch with them thru Facebook.

She is also applying some of the stuff she learned in her AP Calculus class she's taking right now.

We as parents liked SSP because it was academically very challenging, it covered a lot of different subjects, and the kids were stretched to the limits yet it was balanced out with "free" days, fun and educational field trips, and going to the beach or shopping. There was a lot of help and information given about college related stuff.

We highly recommend SSP to anyone who is interested in math and science.

- Connie Greene, parent of Madison Greene

You made a difference to my son, he dreamed to be participating in SSP and you made his dream a reality, I will quote his words when I asked how is it, he replied "it is beyond all my imagination".

Thanks to all of your team for their dedication to make a difference to youth life regardless of their race.

- Mohamed Embaby, parent of Omar Embaby, SSP'13

Scott strongly benefitted from the SSP program. He benefitted from both his exposure to the science as well as to the people. On the science side he has a much deeper appreciation and understanding of astronomy as well as it really helped to hone his computer and mathematical modeling skills. More importantly he got to experience a highly motivated, intelligent and driven peer group.

In that peer group he was challenged and that only encouraged his desire to become a proactive participant. I expect that this sense of having challenging peers around him will model well his experience in college. This has given him a renewed enthusiasm.

As it turns out he is taking an astrophysics class this semester at his high school. He is now actively cooperating with the high school instructor to the benefit of the entire class (e.g. he know knows quite a bit more than the instructor in areas such as observation and measurement as well as modeling). He has effectively become an assistant for the class and he is enjoying how his contribution will make the class better for everyone. As a result it has given him the ability to take a leadership position to the benefit of his senior year experience.

- Armando Viteri, parent of Scott Viteri


My son's participation in SSP may be one of the best things he has had the opportunity to experience. From his comments in emails and texts during his time in Santa Barbara and in talking with him after, it is clear that he greatly enjoyed the chance to work with and make friends with so many highly gifted peers. In addition, the actual studies and project at SSP have really have motivated him to pursue his interests in physics, math and astrophysics. Upon coming home he has eagerly pursued opportunities to take higher level math and physics courses at our local university and has found an astrophysics research project with one of our local professors that he is helping on. In this project he is using some of the tools he had a chance to learn and hone in his SSP experience. In his high school, he has taken on the role of teaching assistant for his physics teacher and has his own section of students interested in preparing for the AP Physics C exam that he is mentoring.

-Jeffrey Rubin, father of Elias Rubin '12

This time around it was easier, or so we thought-having sent our first son to SSP two years ago, we and our second son thought we knew what to expect. And to a certain extent we did, from the program's structure to the awesome site director, from the curriculum to some faculty's strong affinity with the word "basically," from the sleep deprivation to the Ramen noodles. But Andrés is a different person and he had a very different experience. He still came home wishing he were still there and having learned a lot and made a lot of friends, but his take was his own, and his experience was extraordinary in its own way. It is a defining moment in his life, as it is for most SSP kids, and it taught him about life and collaboration as well as some important social skills. I believe he is now more confident in his choices for the future and has made some lifelong friends near and far.

Also quite importantly he has come into contact with smart kids from other educational systems, whose knowledge and experiences were radically different from his own. I can't emphasize enough how valuable this program is for smart young people and for future college students (see my comments in 2010). Thank you SSP.

-Alexandra Amati-Camperi, mother to Andrés Camperi '12 and Ariel Camperi '10

How do I put into words the Awesome Experience SSP was for our son John. Since John was in 8th Grade he has talked about this incredible Science Summer Program and how he wanted to make it his goal to be part of his journey. John has always been in the top of his class and being totally challenged was not sometimes possible. His expectations of the Summer Science Program were high, but upon his return home said it was the Best time of his life!!!! He has stayed in touch with his classmates every day and plans on seeing them MIT, Stanford, or Harvard in the near future. He plans to be an advisor for future SSP programs and being involved in the longest running Summer Science Program in the country!!! I would give the program 5 stars!!!!! If you have the opportunity to attend, jump at it!

-John and Kathy Roethle, parents of John Roethle '12

We are very pleased with the experience Oksana had over the summer at the SSP Program. She came back home very motivated and more self-assured of the things she can accomplish. SSP reaffirmed her interest for the sciences and she is planning to study a math or science related career.

As a parent I am very proud and honored that my child attended SSP. When my wife and I attended the open house, we both wanted to become 17 year-olds and have this amazing opportunity. Thank you for making Oksana's participation possible.

-Edwin and Glenda Moscoso, parents of Oksana Moscoso '12

I am so amazed how much my daughter learnt in SSP, the math, the computer science, the astronomy and the social skill, etc. These skills are what they need for their college and future career. When my daughter told me that she wished the SSP never ended. I knew how she liked the program. She even thinks about coming back to SSP as a TA when she is in college. Thank you very much SSP staffs for all your hard work to make the success of this great program.

-Chong Chen, father of Cecilia Chen '12

First, I would like to thank all SSP directors and staff. This is the best summer camp ever for my daughter. She really enjoyed the program and getting together with the same passionate and smart classmates. Surviving for five weeks away from parents made her more mature and responsible.

I believe that SSP experience will be the best memory all through her life.

-JongBum Kim, parent of Yerin Kim '12

There are events that will shape a person. SSP was an earth-shattering event for our daughter. We believe that she would always look back at this summer with love and pride and this is why:

We knew before our daughter attended the program that SSP was very prestigious, however, we did not know why. SSP is what our daughter describes as paradise. We were not there, but after debriefing her these past few weeks on her experience, we are truly in awe. It is a very special place indeed, where 36 amazingly gifted, yet so very different young men and women around the globe, have the chance to be together for 5˝ wonderful weeks and be truly challenged in their love of learning. And our daughter did just that, learning on how to push herself to the limit, while building amazingly strong bonds with her peers at 3am, and being supported and guided by incredible faculties. Even small details have been thought of to maximize the learning and social interactions/ development. The expectations were high, very high, however our daughter told us that she rose to the challenge, and knew that she would be able to do so because she was "given the tools" by the wonderful faculty who were there. Challenge vs. nurture was the game: "Go away, come back when your program is better - your code makes my eyes bleed" vs. " Sure I will try to debug your program.. " and yet, 2 hours later, at 2am … still helping :

- Minh-Hang Chau, parent of Marianne Dang '12

SSP changed my child's experience and view of the world. She met so many smart kids and teachers. She is also confident in herself. SSP is not just learning knowledge. The "Telescope" let them see future of science and engineering areas. It is not possible at most of other camps. Now my kid is more comfortable to pick science/engineering as her future career. She will only apply science/engineering colleges now. For example, MIT, Stanford, Cal Tech and U of Mich are her top choices. If any parents ask SSP, I will say the first choice is SSP if their kids like science/engineering. Of course, it is not easy to get in. I do not know how you could make it better. Thank you and SSP. We will remember forever.

-Carl Cao, father of Cyndia Cao '12

Ann had a terrific time. She found every aspect of the program stimulating. One benefit due to the program-Ann's decision making regarding colleges and potential careers is much more informed and nuanced. Thank you for accepting her to SSP.

-Chris Gailliot, father of Ann Gailliot '12

Below is our wholehearted endorsement of the SSP Program:

I learned about SSP while surfing the internet in search of possible science oriented programs for our daughter. I read with great skepticism the online endorsements about the program. I had never heard of SSP before but was intrigued by the fact that Caltech and MIT were involved. Our daughter mentioned that the program had been advertised at her school. Moreover, our daughter had shown an interest in astrophysics so this seemed like a good fit. She applied and was accepted.

From that first acceptance communication, SSP proved to be everything advertised and more. Little did we know that this experience would be life-changing for our daughter. The curriculum was challenging, the content was extremely interesting, and she was finally with a group of students like herself - exceptionally bright and committed students with a variety of different talents. But most importantly, the SSP students shared a sense of self-confidence as well as an interest in having fun just like other teenagers their age. They were not afraid of working hard and celebrated their "socially adept nerd" status.

From a parent's perspective, we found the program to be extremely well organized. We never had any worries that our daughter was not well supervised or cared for. Our daughter learned a tremendous amount from the SSP, both academically and socially. She now has a better understanding of how college life might be. But most importantly, she developed strong relationships with other students from around the world that will follow her to college and beyond.

Thank you for affording our daughter this wonderfully rich and rewarding summer experience!

-Lydia Kennard, mother of Marlyse Reeves '12

They say lightening never strikes twice, and yet it did for our family. Our son Matt was so moved by the absolute transformation that SSP had on his older brother (Nick '10) that he made it a goal to attend SSP himself when he became a junior -- and his dream came true. It's difficult to even know where to begin to tell you how much this program has affected Matt personally, the relationship between brothers, and the common bond of our family. As we expected, Matt came home from his time at SSP a changed individual. To finally be surrounded by peers who share a deep passion and understanding for science and math, helped him realize his own strengths and his weaknesses -both of which gave him such amazing insight. The confidence he now displays at home and school is amazing, yet humble. He is very eager to attend a top college, and through his experience at SSP, he now realizes that he can handle the most challenging curriculum and research, along with what are sure to be some sleepless nights. And from an interpersonal standpoint, he made some of the strongest friendships of his life at SSP - friendships that will certainly last the test of time as they end up in colleges with each other next year. As we heard about and glanced through countless pictures, blogs, and stories, the examples of collaboration both socially and via their work continued to be apparent time and again. Simply amazing. And coming home brought even greater benefits. Living in North Idaho, our skies are perfect for stargazing. We often sit outside at night - and looking up to the sky has become a passion. With Matt as our guide, we feel we have insights into the night sky that few people in this world are privy to. On countless evenings, experiencing Matt and Nick sitting outside on lawn chairs, looking up to the night sky, and chatting for hours and hours on end about their SSP experiences, asteroids, constellations, the universe, math & science issues, and life in general has brought tears of joy to Brian's and my eyes on more than one occasion. We've seen first-hand how impactful the Summer Science Program can be on individuals, and now on families. Both of our sons count it as the top experience of their life. Whether it be through TA'ing in the future, staying connected with alumni, and/or providing support both financially and publicly please know that our family is beyond grateful and looks forward to this program touching many other hearts and lives.

-Pam and Brian Induni, parents of Nick Induni '10 and Matt Induni '12

We thought our son gained an invaluable experience from attending SSP. Not only did he learn about what it is like to be immersed in a college environment, but he also got to meet many peers who are as motivated and interested in science as he is! We are confident that your program has given him a wonderful foundation for a future of learning and exploration. Thank you.

-Chuck and Cindy Joo, parents of Jonathan Joo '12

Eric clearly enjoyed his time at SSP, where he spent time with many students and faculty members with similar minds and passions to space and science. He considered the SSP one of his best learning experience so far. On a separate note, we "discovered" that Eric actually has some talent with softball. Though he was playing the game first time, he was two for two during the game between the students vs. alumni and faculty members.

We also like to take this opportunity to thank you, the faculty members, and all the alumni members who made this experience possible for Eric.

-Yuefeng and Xiaohong, parents of Eric Lu '12

Thank you for giving Tanay opportunity to spend this summer with other talented high schoolers from across the world. First thing that impressed us was that SSP is entirely alumni run and funded program. It shows the value of the program that the two generations of SSPers are enthusiastically supporting it.

For Tanay, this was a path altering experience. He is much more confident now about what he wants to do. We noticed the change during SSP -when his school guidance counselor contacted him to inform that one of the AP classes he had signed up for would not offered this year, he decided to self-study that subject. He also decided to write more advanced AP calculus test even though his school only covers the basic test. These are things he would not have done before SSP. SSP also solidified his interest in astrophysics and he wants to pursue it as his college major.

For kids who spent the entire academic year juggling standardized tests with school grades, it was a refreshing change that SSP had no grades. And yet everybody stayed up till late into the night to help each other with homework and programming. It showed them the importance of collaboration vs. competition.

One of the other impressive aspects of SSP was emphasis on honor code and discussion on the fine line between collaboration and plagiarism. When nation's leading college and a leading school are in the news for cheating scandals, it is important to reinforce these values when they are starting their college careers.

During the five plus weeks at SSP, Tanay built friendships that will last forever. Hopefully, they will motivate and challenge each other to achieve greater success in college and beyond. Special thanks to the faculty team that made this experience a memorable one for Tanay.

-Sandhya & Abhay Bhandarkar, parents of Tanay Bhandarkar '12

The program looked fantastic on the website and more than lived up to all James' expectations when he was there!

The workload and speed of learning was intense and unlike anything he had experienced before, but the support from staff, TA's and fellow students was exceptional. James absolutely loved being with a group of friends who relished the challenge of SSP, were hungry to learn the hugely interesting course material and actually enjoyed working harder and faster than they probably thought was possible!

It was such an amazing experience for James and we are immensely grateful to all the people who give their time and money to make SSP possible. He will never forget his summer in California or the friends he made there, many of whom he is still in daily contact with! The intense pressure balanced with cooperation, teamwork and a shared love of both fun and learning has forged incredibly strong friendships and given James the best summer he has ever had.

SSP is an enrichment program and that is such a perfect way to describe it. From the lectures and field trips to the very varied fun breaks, the observing and homework, every aspect of spending a summer, living and learning, with teammates, TA's and lecturers who were as passionate and interested as James about physics, maths and astronomy was definitely a hugely enriching experience for him on every level. Thank you SSP!

- Sue Wilkinson, mother of James Wilkinson '12

I cannot adequately convey how life-changing this was for Daniela. She saw possibilities for a future (and in no way to I mean merely academically) that were never clear to her before SSP. For the first time in her life, she was surrounded by an entire group of young people who were as intellectually curious, hardworking, and smart as she is. The work was incredibly challenging, allowing her to think about her academic interests and future plans in ways that otherwise would not have been possible until college. But most importantly, she had the chance to develop meaningful, wonderful social connections with her peers.

We feel tremendous gratitude to SSP and its sponsors for creating and maintaining such a fabulous program. We will be supporters for as long as it exists.

-Marcy Sacks and Rodolfo Zuniga Villegas, parents of Daniela Zuniga Sacks '12

SSP has been a wonderful experience not only for our son but also for us parents. Midway in the program, parents and siblings are invited to spend a day on campus to get a feel for the program. We were treated to an engaging talk by a guest lecturer who lifted our imagination by her perfectly choreographed slides and unconventional wisdom. The kids get to attend several of these eye-opening talks over the course of the program. We also got to peek at stars through oversized telescopes and discuss the latest trends in astronomy with professional astronomers who seemed to be there just for us. The kids get to use those very telescopes for their observations. Over dinner, before the stargazing session, we had the chance to talk with the faculty. An absolute delight! The professors are knowledgeable, personable, and, above all, a real pleasure to be around. If your child is talented, has a knack for math, and loves astronomy, I urge you to consider SSP. This is arguably the best astronomy program experience your child can ever get. Period.

-Jean Patrick Tsang, parent of Arthur Tsang '12

SSP is six weeks of my son's life that he will always cherish. He loved everything about the program: the observational astronomy, the lectures, the amazing field trips, and most of all the people. He feels the ensemble of students at SSP where the smartest, nicest, and most sociable students he has ever had the privilege to meet.

The Socorro location is fantastic with easy access to many attractions including the Very Large Array, the Trinity Site, and White Sands National Park. My wife and I visited the campus during the open house and were blown away. I'm not sure he nor we would have ever had an excuse to visit New Mexico had it not been for SSP and we are so glad we did.

Speaking of which, the Open House was a great day for all. We had a great time talking with all the folks and the softball game was a hoot. It was so nice to see Bryan enjoying himself and bonding with the other SSP'ers. College roundtable and guest lecture were both terrific. Stargazing at the on-site observatory in the evening was the perfect way to cap off a great and well organized day.

SSP reinforced Bryan's interest in astronomy which was to be expected. What surprised us was his new found love for physics in general and his willingness to be more hands on.

SSP often gets compared to RSI as the pivotal summer experience for high school math/science students. I can see why. I am very happy my son got the chance to experience SSP.

-Mike Brzycki, father of Bryan Brzycki '12

"It was an even better than I expected!" That is an actual quote from our son Drew. He loved every bit of SSP. Upon his return, he admitted that he had had some concerns prior to the program. Would he be smart enough to keep up with the other students? How would he fit in with a bunch of nerds? Would he have fun? And it worked out beautifully. He made some life-long friends and had a great time. It cemented his desire to pursue something in the computer science/physics/math field. The exposure to astronomy was interesting but he realized it wasn't for him. And he realized that he is part nerd and he is ok with that now. The time spent socializing and just hanging out was a special time.

I would recommend to all parents that they attend the open house weekend if at all possible. Having never been to anything like SSP, it was hard for me to imagine what Drew was experiencing. The open house weekend was an excellent snap shot of what the program is like. It was great to meet all the wonderful people that put on the program. We enjoyed exploring Socorro. And the softball game pitting the students against the faculty and parents was a blast.

Thank you for hosting such a great program!

-Andy Esquivel, parent of Andrew Esquivel, '12

I have been meaning to write and thank you, as well as offer a little feedback. It is an amazing program and I'm so grateful that Drew had the experience.

The thoroughness with which every aspect of the program was communicated and executed make this program excellent. Let me list some of my favorites: the student handbook, daily blogs, nurturing TAs, challenging math & science curriculum, academic enrichment (poetry & Roman history), fun/educational field trips, swing dancing lessons, snacks in the dorm, college advice, enlightening lecture series, mentoring by all the adults, perfect location (telescopes, weight room, who needs anything else?), cross-section of students selected, games on the quad, reunion weekend, conversations and friendships among the students, respect and appreciation among the students, collaborative learning environment. I'm sure there's more, but essentially you provided these kids with academic challenge in subjects they were already advanced in and will most likely pursue in college and as careers. You showed them what that future looks like. You affirmed that they're ready for success! But the program taught to the whole person. The kids leave more well-rounded and appreciative of all the wonderful things to explore in this world and in their future.

Thank you for all you do to make this program possible.

-Susanne Esquivel, mother of Andre Esquivel '12

SSP was an outstanding experience for our daughter Andrea. It changed her for good -double meaning intended. She is a different person now, and in very positive ways. She has more confidence in herself intellectually and socially than she ever has in the past. For the first time in her life, she had an opportunity to be with people who are "like her". Since coming home, she has continually longed to return (to that place and that time). Her hope is that college provides her with a similar experience. Thank you, thank you, and thank you!

-David Smith, father of Andrea Smith ' 12

My son, Anthony Gagliardi, had a wonderful time at SSP this summer. In addition to the well-thought program with great guest speakers, one of the greatest experiences that my son benefitted from the program is people he met. The students came from all different parts of the world and (he said) they are all very exciting, smart, and interesting. He will remember this summer's experience for the rest of his life!!!!

Thank you for giving my son the opportunity to be a part of this wonderful program.

-Yukiko Kinase-Gagliardi, parent of Anthony Gagliardi, SSP '12

I had a little apprehension how she will handle her works other than studies but she has become more diligent, courageous, independent and given her inherent strength for life. The experience of SSP has changed her vision to analysis and to decide her future course of studies.

This has given me confidence that my daughter can fine-tune to the forthcoming college years wherever she may join. Thanks to the SSP.

-Nirmala Krishnamoorthy, parent of Sushmitha Krishnamoorthy '12

We are very excited to see Shiyue changed a lot in SSP. She keeps talking with us about her first experience in America and how nice those people were. She enjoyed working with so many amazing, smart students and teachers together! She felt every moment in SSP gave her a lot of thinking and exciting experience. Also we are really happy that she not only expanded her horizon in SSP, but also made many great friends. I believe this experience will give her a lot better understanding of colleges in the U.S. and what she wants to do in the future.

-Jinyu Li, parent of Shiyue Li '12

My son had the best six weeks of his life while at SSP. He developed friendships with other students from all over the world who shared the same interests. He loved the lectures, collaborative group work, as well as all the fun-filled field trips. He returned home with memories that I'm sure will last a lifetime.

-Kim Holland, parent of Descartes Holland '12

Since Tiberiu returned home, we can say that he has come back being changed a lot.

SSP has had a huge impact on him and we cant't be more thankful to this wonderful program. Both of us remarked that Tiberiu has become more confident in himself and he can now surpass even more difficult challenges.

One of the most important things that a teenager needs is the chance to experience the college life from before actually going at college. Also, the teenager has to be very sure of what he wants to do in life. SSP offers the teenagers the chance to experience the college life and see if their truly vocation lies within the area of physics, astronomy, math or programming.

Even though we knew that Tiberiu didn't have any experience in astronomy and this would most likely be a great challenge for him, we supported Tiberiu in applying and after that participating at SSP. We knew that he was interested in this domain and the result didn't cease to appear in the end.

During the five weeks he spent at SSP we didn't comunicate with him as much as we would have wanted. His desire to learn and do his best academically, but also interact with the other students and have the time of his life kept him from making much time to talk with us. These weeks represented the longest period of time Tiberiu spent away from home, but, even so, they passed very fast for him.

SSP is an experience that the students and our kids can live only away from the home comfort. And even though it was hard for us to stay away from him these 5 weeks, we are proud of his accomplishment and happy for him succeeding in completing SSP.

We encourage every parent to support their child in applying for SSP and we can guarantee that he would enjoy every moment of it.

-Camelia and Costel Puican, parents of Tiberiu Puican'12

The SSP has had a profound, and hopefully lasting, impact on our teenager. She attends a demanding high school and has often felt anxious about learning the material to her somewhat perfectionist standards. Since she returned from SSP, we have noticed a remarkable shift in our daughter's perspective; she came back with a newfound confidence in her ability to survive in a challenging environment, not because she was able to learn everything perfectly but precisely because she couldn't! For perhaps the first time in her life, our daughter was not able to fully master, in the time available, the vast amount and range of knowledge she was presented with or required to learn in order to complete the project. The wonder of SSP is that it creates an environment in which feeling confused and overwhelmed is perfectly OK, as is accepting that there are limits to what a tired teenager can absorb and produce. At SSP, our daughter learned a new definition of success, one which has less to do with perfectionism and more to do with having the confidence to tackle a challenge knowing that a perfect result is perhaps out of reach (but forging ahead anyway). Since returning from SSP, she is much more likely to think positively about taking on a challenge simply because she is less afraid of failing - as she recently retorted in response to some expressed parental doubt, "After SSP, I can do anything!" As her parents, we are thankful to the program for offering our daughter the opportunity to discover the strength that can be gained from accepting and meeting a seemingly overwhelming challenge.

The SSP staff did a great job matching our daughter with a supportive, helpful, and friendly roommate. The friendship that developed between the two young women has been perhaps one of the most valuable, and unexpected, aspects of our daughter's participation in the program.

-Gill Court, parent of Rebecca Bauer '12

We consider SSP 2012 the best experience our daughter has had so far. There are some very positive, hence pleasing differences we have noticed since Crystal returned home.

First of all, our daughter seems more motivated to do her best both academically and extra-curriculum wise. Although she was already a top student before going to SSP, it was mostly a result of natural talent. She seemed to be content with where she was and did not show much intention to push any further. After SSP that we see that she is more upbeat and showing stronger desire to advance herself in every way: in academic, music, sports and even in her plan of college application. This change of attitude is reflected in her recent choices of taking more challenging courses for her senior year, adding extra courses beyond the regular course load, requesting to increase music lesson frequency and determination of carrying through her participation in the cross-country team, even if she has an injured knee. Apparently, she was greatly inspired by the students, TAs and faculty at SSP.

Secondly, our daughter is obviously more confident compared to how she was prior to going to SSP. She told us she no longer feels intimidated talking to the most brilliant students in school. Instead, she now enjoys discussions with them and feels that she is a part of them. We believe that the challenges she met at SSP and the fact she was able to conquer the challenges and complete the research boosted her confidence level significantly.

The opportunity to work with a team of talented peers and to observe other teams was a great experience. She is much more confident in dealing with others in both collaborative and contentious situations. She also is more willing to acknowledge that she has an imperfect understanding of something and seek out assistance earlier.

Last but not the least, the friendship she established with some of the students in SSP is wonderful and precious. She was so happy there and is still in touch with some of them. She communicates with them with joy. She told us that she was thrilled to have met so many brilliant students who share common interests with her. The feeling that she is not alone and there are kids like her out there is very encouraging to her. In fact, she and another student from SSP have decided to work together to get their OD project extended somewhat. They have been collaborating and working on this project wonderfully.

Again, SSP has been a great experience for our daughter. We all feel fortunate that she had this opportunity which is an important step in her life.

-Pin Tang, parent of Crystal Cockerill '12


Billy said he learned more in one SSP lecture than in a month of high-school classes. Given his disinclination towards hyperbole, this is a striking statement.

SSP was an intellectual awakening for Billy. He was not only challenged, but also invigorated by the demands of the project. He was awed by the talent of his peers and expressed the highest regard for his teammates. SSP is probably the first time that Billy has had to rely on others for an academic endeavor--at school he would likely be leading, or helping classmates to solve difficult problems. Though initially concerned that he couldn't contribute enough to his team (lacking prior programming experience), he came to truly enjoy and appreciate collaborative scientific problem-solving.

SSP has moved Billy to a new level and given him tremendous confidence in his ability to tackle whatever is thrown at him. It's kind of like a graduate school experience at a very young age - you start to understand the incredible level of talent that's out there, in a way that builds your own ability to tackle problems beyond what you previously thought in reach. Thanks to you and your dedicated colleagues for keeping such an unusual program alive. It goes so against the unfortunate trend to spoon-feed everything to kids these days. SSP's "firehose" approach is so much more "real world", it's really refreshing. And the cooperative and social aspects of the program and also beneficial, since they teach very bright kids that a lot of research can be a team effort.

By the way, he also came home singing Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" in German, thanks to his roommate from Munich! Thank you for providing our son with a superb experience.

-Jocelyn and David Cox, parents of Billy Cox '11

SSP is really a wonderful program. David had a great time and learned a lot from the program. He met many smart people and still keeps in contact with them. The website SSP used during the program was very helpful to us, letting us know the activities that were happening there. We are much appreciated your effort in organizing this wonderful program.

-Jingyu Dai & Jian Ding, parents of David Ding '11

The overall exposure of academics & extracurricular activities at SSP 2011 for my son were very good, much better than my expectations of just academics at SSP.

-Ramesh Gubba, father Of Virup Gubba '11

SSP made a difference in my son's life. He exhibits a whole lot more responsibility, independence, maturity, and co-operation.

-Fidelis Agwamba, father of Kennedy Agwamba '11

Sam's experience was absolutely amazing. When he returned home he told everybody that his SSP experience was the best weeks of his life. There were several aspects of SSP that were truly extraordinary. First, the academics were intense and demanding, but the kids absolutely loved both the material. Sam said he has never worked so hard in his life, but he also never learned so much or had so much fun learning. He loves talking about orbital determinations, physics, astronomy and math - all the stuff that he learned at SSP. Second, the staff - the professors, the TAs and the guest speakers - were wonderful. Not only did they succeed in teaching the kids a tremendous amount of material, but they did so with kindness and in a manner that generated excitement and joy. My son LOVES astronomy and astrophysics and I credit the professors and TAs with imparting to him the wonder and thrill of science. Third, SSP tangibly teaches the participants that science is a collaborative effort. Sam learned how working together is a positive, necessary part of being a scientist. Finally, the bonds of friendship that Sam made with his summer classmates are some of the strongest I have ever seen. Sam still communicates daily with many of his fellow SSP classmates. I truly believe that this group will remain friends (and colleagues) for life. SSP did a wonderful job of working the kids very hard, but also maintaining a balance and ensuring that they had time to socialize and relax. This helped foster these terrific friendships.

We tell other parents that, if their child has a serious desire to study astronomy and related fields, this is the best program we have ever seen or participated in. The program is wonderful. As parents, we enjoyed reading the SSP blog, so I would encourage you to keep up the tradition of having the students work on that.

-Robert Holo, father of Sam Holo '11

My son, Jeremy, had a great time at SSP - the wonderful combination of lecturers and field trips opened his eyes to a world of possibilities in physics and engineering. He relished being, for the first time in his life, around a group of kids who were just as intense and interested in these subjects as he was.

-Diana Hyde, mother of Jeremy Hyde '11

SSP has positively transformed my son Lawrence in a manner that would not be possible through school, books, travel, private lessons, etc. It has taught him time management, focus, learning for the sake of learning and the sense of accomplishment from tackling difficult problems successfully. He has learned from his classmates how diverse the world is but yet he still has so much in common with all of them even though they are from a different corner of the world. Their similarities bring out their differences and their differences highlight their similarities. He was forced to think much deeper than he knew he was capable of at SSP. His greatest lesson at SSP is not astronomy, math or programming but an appreciation of the depth and complexity of science, math and the unknown.

-Lawrence K. Li, father of Lawrence Li '11

SSP was singularly the most challenging and fulfilling experience for Jasmine as a high school student. From the moment that she was accepted by the program (something that she did not expect) through to the completion, and since then, Jasmine has not stopped talking about the many positive ways SSP has impacted her self-confidence and desire to pursue a career in a Physics/Astronomy/Math related field. The educational field trips and guest lectures helped identify the broad areas of study that she may want to pursue.

It is clear that SSP was "hard" in the most intellectually challenging, frustrating, thrilling, and rewarding way. Trying to get some sleep while juggling homework and projects was quite an experience. Although Jasmine is not easily intimidated, there was certainly nervousness on her part about her ability to fit in and keep up with colleagues that are (or were perceived to be) quite advanced academically. SSP reiterated for her that a positive attitude, hard work, and a supportive and collaborative environment can do wonders and help one achieve one's goals.

-Mike and Janell Mithani, parents of Jasmine Mithani '11

Pratheek had a wonderful time at SSP. He was not only intellectually challenged, but exposed to new and exciting fields. He has fond memories of his time at Westmont and almost always brings up SSP in our conversations. We were more than pleased with his choice to attend SSP and genuinely happy to see him mature both intellectually and socially. He met kids from all over the world and forged new friendships that are invaluable. We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone at SSP. We sincerely appreciate the effort to keep us parents up to date with the blog website about their day to day experiences. The outcome of attending SSP for our son has been much more than we expected and we heartily recommend this program to future students and their parents.

-Geetha and Ben Nagaraj, parents of Pratheek Nagaraj

SSP has been a fantastic experience for Pato. All his school life he has been waiting for challenging courses and experiences with other young scientists. Previous enrichment experiences such as EPGY courses or scientific work at a research institute were always individualist. Academically, all his school life he felt like an alien lost on a strange planet where there is no chance for thriving in the satisfying environment for his species. Now everything has changed - he knows that there are others like himself! He now has friends who would love to join a team to work on his projects. We hope that his college experience resembles SSP as much as possible. Thank you so much for having selected him.

-Anna Maria Rall, mother of Patrick (Pato) Rall '11

It was transformational experience for my daughter; not only did she pick up a lot of new knowledge and kills but more importantly she had an opportunity to broaden her perspective in various areas. She definitely became much more mature after SSP.

-Namuh Rhee, father of Stephany Rhee '11

We had a number of objectives in sending our daughter to SSP, and we found the program exceeded our expectations. While we had heard from other sources about the benefits of the program, we were still a bit skeptical. This was truly the first time for our daughter to be away for an extended period of time, and we thought an extended camp experience would help her prepare for college, and help her determine what she wanted in a college experience, and whether that college experience would be in a location more than a couple of hours from home. We were also seeking a camp that would help her define her objectives with regard to college, and expose her to other sciences in a highly motivated collaborative setting. Committing to the five week program on the West Coast with a bit of uncertainty in the outcome was a little bit unnerving. Of course you already know the outcome, just like all of the kids before her. She had a fantastic experience, and came home a changed person. There are certain things in life that you can point to as defining moments or experiences that change your life, and you can count on SSP as one of those life changing experiences. While the work was certainly more challenging than she expected, and certainly there was some level of trepidation in the high caliber of work expected from the group, the chance to work on a project as a team, yielded lifelong learning experiences. The camp and support staff provided the right amount of oversight and leadership to support the students as they took themselves down the path on a journey to what is possible.

I can't say enough about the program, the professors, the field trips, the TAs. SSP has transformed my daughter, and provided her with valuable life lessons she now has in her backpack as she continues on her journey in life.

-Randall Stephens, father of Marissa Stephens '11

Neither my husband nor I have a science background and without the network of professors, camps and other parents we would not have known how to provide our daughters with the opportunities they needed in their areas of interest. As background I have one daughter, sophomore at MIT who attended math path, USA/Canada math camp, Princeton SWIM, RSI and National Youth science camp. Being a girl in the above fields can be very difficult. There are few girls in their high school with their interest. Camps are where my daughters found other females who shared their passions. Camps are a place where talking about quantum physics or a proof at the lunch table is not the quickest way to social suicide but a way to make friends. As Marissa wrote in her college essay - "we weren't going home (referring to leaving SSP) we were leaving it".

Before SSP Marissa was always homesick even when the entire family, including a dog and two cats, was on vacation at the grandparents. She thrived at SSP and was not homesick at all. CA colleges are now at the top of her list, something that would not have happened if she had stayed home this summer. SSP taught her how to make friends her family. Where she went to SSP thinking Purdue she left thinking MIT/Cal Tech/Harvey Mudd. I do not think until Marissa went to SSP she thought she could (or maybe wanted to) handle the work load at those colleges. I sent Marissa to SSP hoping she would find out what would make her happy and find the tools to help her obtain her goals. SSP did all of that and more. She found that she can work hard, that she can motivate herself (never thought she would get up and run while everyone was still sleeping) and that she can make her family anywhere. SSP helped her find out was important to her.

One more thing that I loved about SSP. Marissa mentioned that there were numerous lectures/talks of what was plagiarism and what was cooperation/reasonable help from/to your peers. I was so happy to hear that SSP spent a lot of time on this issue. We have heard numerous times of people having a problem with this issue and I think it is very important for the kids to understand it. This seems to be an area that most people (both kids and parents) are confused. Some people view cooperation as cheating and others see copying stuff off the internet as okay. All kids need good guidelines in this area

-Tanya Stephens, mother of Marissa Stephens '11

My daughter, Ellen Zhou, participated in several summer camps in the past two years. Ellen learned very much from every one of these camps, but SSP is unique in the sense it stimulated Ellen the most for working hard, resolving all the problems, co-working with the teammates, tendering an opportunity to experience the MIT-Caltech level intellectual challenges and appreciating them. In one sentence, the SSP experience succeeds in redefining the values of life and reshaping the personality of the kids.

Ellen says she will someday go back to the SSP, as a TA, and help more students share the experience.

-Ming Zhou, rather of Ellen Zhou '11

I just finished looking through the SSP yearbook. I also read every blog and looked at all the photos. I've listened to Zach's stories and watched him as he reads emails and messages from his fellow SSPers. He clearly had the time of his life. This program was everything it promised to be and more. Not only did he learn and study topics he's interested in but he had fun and seemed to experience joy every day (even if he dozed in class).

Please share my reflections with the staff and let them know how deeply grateful I am for making this summer experience outstanding. And a special thank you to you and all the alumni who clearly cherish the summers they spent at SSP and ensure its future for kids like my Zach.

-Naomi Atkins, mother of Zachary Atkins '11

I can guarantee you that Andreea had the best summer experience in her entire life! She learned a lot of useful things for her future and created great friendships with people all over the world! From the first moment at the airport, I was overwhelmed to see all the happiness and joy hat she brought from SSP. I can see that she has become a stronger person and he now has clear objectives and goals thanks to all the information that she earned with the help of SSP.

She continues keeping in touch by emails with a lot of friends and I always see her very dedicated to what she is writing, trying to express everything in the best possible way. Also, this summer she talked about SP over and over again! It is amazing so hear about her great experiences and am sure that a lot more are waiting for her in the future.

For other parents: Please encourage your child to apply to his extraordinary summer program! Seeing the joy of your child when he or she gets in and, after that, the great happiness of having lived through such amazing experiences is the best gift that you can have!

-Marioara Bobu, mother of Andreea Bobu '11

I am so glad that Kaylee was able to attend this program. She had a wonderful time and experience that I think she will always treasure (and, I don't think could ever truly duplicate). Besides the education she received, she also made long lasting friendships, many of which span basically the world! I find her online at 8:00 am engaging in a "planned chat". Some of these other participants are up at 2:00 am and other various odd times, depending on what country they are in, in an effort to stay connected.

This was also a good "dry run" for when she actually goes away to college. First time she has ever been away for that long. Easily harder on mom than on her! I would highly encourage other parents and students to consider this wonderful opportunity.

-Debbie Brent, mother of Kaylee Brent '11

SSP 2011 was wonderful opportunity and learning experience for my son, Jorrie Brettin. He met brilliant dedicated instructors, presenters, and teacher's assistants that motivated, guided, and encouraged him. He also met and made new awesome interesting friends of a life-time, from all over the world. It was a time of not only academic learning, but a time of fun and learning about others and himself. Jorrie's SSP experience was ultimately the most challenging intense program he'd ever been a part of, but it was also the most beneficial gratifying work as well. It was everything he expected and so much more. Thanks so much for making his dream a cherished reality.

-Terrie Brettin, mother of Jorrie Brettin. '11

Our family would like to thank you for your amazing summer science program. Our child, Duy Anh, was really happy since he could attend SSP. Duy Anh could not only broaden his knowledge of science but also improve his social skills so much. Furthermore, he met a lot of wonderful friends, with whom he can share both knowledge and feeling. Thus, once again, we would like to say that we really appreciate what SSP did for our child.

-Cao Son Doan, father of Duy Anh Doan Nguyen '11

A great summer science program. I am amazed at the way the program exposed the students to multiple disciplines in science. The way the students bonded and thought outside the box is very impressive. My daughter, Priya, enjoyed it tremendously.

-Vijaya Kalluri, mother of Pratyusha (Priya) Kalluri '11

SSP has provided my son, Travis Le, great experiences and challenges. SSP also allowed him to get a taste of college life and be independent. Yes, he's definitely benefited a lot from the SSP experience. He has learned to how to program in a new language and manage his time with rigorous schedules. He also made new friends from different states and countries who share the same interest in math and science. He learned to work as group and shared knowledge with others. He had much more fun than he expected and for him, he felt that the weeks went by really fast. He has become much more independent because of SSP and this was definitely been a positive experience for us, as parents, but also for him.

-Vince and Cammie Le, parents of Travis Le '11

SSP exceeded both my daughter's and my wildest expectations both in terms of academics and social gatherings. What a fantastic program to put gifted students with their peers. SSP opened her mind to a world of different career ideas. She made wonderful friends. SSP is worth every penny.

-Ruth O'Neill, mother to Ariel O'Neill '11

First, as Drew Schmitt's dad, I want to thank you and the whole SSP crew again for the great job you did! My wife Bronwyn and I were fortunate to be able to come to the closing ceremonies at the New Mexico campus and witness the amazingly close bonds that were formed in just the short weeks of the program. This camaraderie, obviously formed in the crucible of long hours of hard work, as well as blowing off steam together in impromptu gatherings and outings, was very plainly on display both among the students themselves, and between them and the staff. This was much more impressive and moving than any scripted ceremony with pomp and circumstance could have been. I know the kids all worked hard, many times not being able to finish or accomplish everything. But that's part of the valuable lesson they learned. The process of working together toward a goal can be just as important, or maybe more so sometimes, than achieving the goal. Drew got much more out of his time at SSP than just the information he learned academically, and the relationships he forged and the experiences he took away were more valuable to him than the knowledge he gleaned.

-Charles Schmitt, father of Drew Schmitt '11

Truly transformational. SSP laid the groundwork for our son's future in a holistic way. He loved the social aspects every bit as much as the intensely academic side. He has friends and colleagues for life from around the world.

How did you get him to stay awake after 10pm?

-Bronwyn Alexander, mother of Drew Schmitt '11

Renee was no stranger to highly demanding math and science programs, as she did well in the New York State Science Olympiads, SUNY Gifted Math Program, and Harvard Summer School before attending SSP. The most thrilling and surprising experience as, though, that she found competitive high-achievers could also work together in team environment and help each other to solve scientific problems in real research projects as well as in many other ways.

As parents, we were glad for her to be selected into SSP through the rigorous processes but a little concerned about she'd be in so far away from home by herself. It turned out alright. Renee really enjoyed the SSP social life as much as its scientific learning and the research project. She made quite a few very good friends, and danced more than she ever did throughout her high school years so far... We'd definitely recommend SSP to our friends (and their children in high school) as well as other science-oriented ids in our area. Thanks again for running and maintaining such a great educational program!

-Hong Sima, father of Renee Sima '11

The SSP program is one of the most amazing summer programs available and we are truly honored that our son was able to be part of it. The program challenged him without imposing the usual stresses and strains that often comes with academic rigor. The faculty, teaching assistants, and fellow students all worked cooperatively so as to create an ideal learning environment for him. He thought he had the best physics teacher in high school until he met his professor at SSP and realized that it could get even better! Our son connected with the professor, Dr. Woodahl, not only in his passion for physics but at a more personal level while playing sports, on field trips, and just while chatting during meals. All the teaching assistants were phenomenal and served as ideal role models. They were able to help him with any academic question and also when he faced any personal issues. He felt so comfortable with one of the TA's, Ben, that when he thought one of his friends was facing a difficult situation at home, he confided in him and sought his guidance. That speaks very highly of the quality of the TAs. The site director, Ms. Clarke, was caring and concerned without being overly protective. Our family had recently experienced a personal tragedy which Ms. Clarke was aware of, and she went the extra mile to ensure that our son was always comfortable and cared for. The program gave him confidence to rise to any academic challenge he faces and also gave him tremendous motivation for the future. He returned charged and enthused to tackle the college application process, write his extended essay for IB, and more broadly manage his senior year in high school. We are grateful to all of you at SSP for creating a lifetime experience for our son.

-Jay Mahajan

I am so glad to see that SSP greatly changed Tianshu in many ways. He came to learn what real science and scientists are like, got so Close to science by doing research in a team, and became so determined in applying to US colleges because of the exciting and awesome college-like SSP experience. She has kept in close contact with her SSP friends and faculty, and SSP seems like a second warm family to her. SSP is such more than a science program. It is a great platform for personal improvement and great preparation for college and future career. I would like to introduce to so many people as possible here in China.

-Mingxian Zhu and Zhengzhou, parents of Tianshu Zhu '11


Applying to SSP had been on Nick's radar for several years, and we can't even begin to describe the elation he felt when he was accepted. Little did we know that this would only be the tip of the iceberg that the experience would offer him. In his own words "SSP was basically the greatest experience I've ever had-and most likely the greatest one I'll have for quite awhile."

Being proficient in physics, calculus and programming, we knew that Nick would handle the academic nature of the research program with relative ease. What we didn't expect was the incredible growth he would obtain socially. He was finally able to experience a learning and social environment with true peers who shared the same passions and dreams, and among whom he felt comfortable simply being himself regardless of the situation (studying, guest lectures, the talent show, and beach trips, to name a few). As his parents, we know how much Nick loves his space, and wondered if six weeks with the same people in a group situation would become too much for him. As it turned out, he was nowhere near ready to come home at the end -- this group became a family that he hated to leave. As parents following along on the blog, we could easily feel this in every post by every student. The bond the team formed at Westmont will live on long after they return to their respective homes, and in fact there's not a day that goes by that some aspect of SSP is not affecting Nick's life in an amazingly positive way.

In a note that Nick wrote to one of his references, we were moved to see him write: "SSP is run by its alumni, and I, like all the other alums, do indeed feel the need to give back to this great program." In an age where programs and activities that our children are involved in are often fleeting, we think this says it all.

-Pam and Brian Induni, parents of Nick Induni, '10

Most striking is that our daughter has returned academically fearless. She is no longer anxious or concerned about any future scholarly challenges. She has become confident she can handle it and also have fun socializing at the same time. She has of course new interests in science but the change in her outlook seems more important.

Shortly after her arrival she developed a tooth emergency that required multiple dental visits. Mrs Martinez quickly arranged expert care and even was able to time follow up appointments between activities. When your daughter is across the country in a potentially stressful program it was extremely comforting you have such wonderful people taking care of them.

-Ron Wolner, father of Elena Wolner '10

There are times, in a youth's life, that a single teacher, a single pursuit, or a single activity becomes his or her life changing event. SSP was such an event for Jeffrey. Truly, SSP permitted him to satisfy his never ending hunger for scientific learning and discovery. But SSP did much more than just that. Through this single summer activity Jeffrey recognized that science is not only his passion, but that being around those "who are like me, who think like me, who act like me, and who understand me" is the educational Utopia he has been searching for, and the professional milieu he will no doubt seek. In other words, SSP answered the question that even as adults and parents many of us have not yet been able to answer: "What should I do when I grow up?" Thank you for allowing Jeffrey to participate in this immensely successful program.

-Rosette Sperling, mother of Jeffrey Sperling

Since Vivian returned from SSP, she shared with us many wonderful experiences she had. One thing that strikes me most is she made so many friends in a 6-week time. She has been in contact with these friends every week. SSP seems like a life-changing event to her. Vivian has matured greatly. She gained a great deal of social and academical skills from the camp, which bodes well for her success in college.

-Dong Wang, father of Vivian Wang '10

Our son thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of SSP. He benefited most from being surrounded by intelligent, enthusiastic teachers and students who shared similar interests. The environment was perfect for Nat, who craves interesting math and science ideas, and also loves casual outdoor activities like hiking and beach volleyball! At SSP, he had 24- hour access to smart people to talk to, or round up for a game of basketball. What could be better than that?

Here at home he's stuck with our public high school. He has many boring (and bored) teachers and very unmotivated classmates. I think SSP may have made him wish he could skip his last year of high school and jump straight to college!

Thanks for giving Nat such a great summer

-Ann Hendel, mother of Nat Hendel '10

It was even better than we were expecting. And the expectations were high.

In order to participate in SSP, our son had to give up taking part on the International Physics Olympiad - where he was selected after a lot of work and two series of tests. But he doesn't regret it - nor do we.

Our son said that the most important benefit for him was to meet so many interesting people - students and faculty members. And to make friends. They continue to talk to each other and they have already plans to meet again.

We think that the most important thing is the opportunity for him to test himself so far away from home, and also to enrich with a very important experience, at the suitable age, about how things can be done. And to meet possible models for his life.

For other parents, especially for those far away from CA: it's hard (more for parents!), but it deserves, be trustful, our children manage better than you think and they can spend at SSP a very special and fruitful time. For SSP: THANK YOU and God bless you, please continue your wonderful work!

-Ionela Tiron and Iosif Giurgica, parents of Tudor Giurgica-Tiron '10

When we dropped our son off at Westmont for his summer adventure we were told in no uncertain terms that he'd come back changed. We looked at each other and thought both "well, probably there is some truth in that, it's an exciting experience after all" and "wow, that's a bold statement." It was bold but it was true.

I could write a book on everything my son and his friends got out of SSP, but the two most important aspects can be summarized in a nutshell. First, all the kids at SSP are used to dwelling in a fairly rarefied space at the top of their schools, and being in a stimulating and challenging environment with like-minded peers was enriching, educational, and reassuring. My son misses those intellectually stimulating interactions enormously. They all came from different backgrounds, some self-styled "Calculus virgins," some having taken no physics, others having studied physics for years, and yet others having studied everything in different systems and languages. They all learned quickly the need and pleasure of collaboration and sharing of work and play. In the process, they recognized their likes and dislikes, their strengths and weaknesses, and learned to give and to ask for and accept help. Our son Ariel certainly is living proof to that-he blossomed.

The second is a more practical aspect: as a college professor myself I see many a freshman every year falling by the wayside ("hey, I don't have to do the homework if I don't want to, nobody's watching me" or "I can do what I want-party!") only to realize late in the semester what's really going on and then having to paddle upstream very hard. Many do ultimately make it, some don't. SSP graduates have already learned to budget their work and off time (though I wish they had occasionally slept a bit more, but then there was the little detail of orbiting asteroids visible only in the dark hours), to do laundry, and to be where and when they were supposed to be. That's something so valuable it can't be overestimated.

All in all it was a most amazing experience for our son. He is more self assured, more mature, more knowledgeable in some areas, more secure in his preferred future path, and an even better version of the awesome son we sent over there. And I myself have gained some new friends, made when I had the opportunity of spending a day with him and everybody else on reunion day. Thank you.

-Alexandra Amati-Camperi, mother of Ariel Camperi '10

Use Michael's words "SSP is the best summer program in the world"! We could never imagine Michael would enjoy a summer program this much! It has been about a month after the program, and Michael is still talking about SSP at dinner table.

Michael has benefited so much from SSP. His love for science has dramatically increased from the experience. He was so excited and happy to get a chance to finish a science research project. He also learned so much about team work and friendship from the camp. He could not believe how much fun it is to spend 6 weeks with a group of teenagers that having the same interests, especially from other countries. The program also given him a taste of college, he is so ready and looking forward for college now. Michael has become more confident, happier and full of hope for the future.

According to Michael, everything about the program is excellent. SSP is way beyond our expectation. I could not tell you how much we appreciate the program. SSP has provide a chance for our future "scientist" to really fall in love with science and also having so much fun in the same time. We feel like everything about the program is perfect. Thanks you so much for this wonderful chance and experience you have provided for Michael!

-Kathy & Alan Xu, parents of Michael Xu '10

Upon Jenni's return, she expressed her satisfaction with the program and its participants. That was after she spent the first week catching up on her sleep. I asked her if she thought it was worth 1/2 her summer and she unhesitatingly replied, "definitely."

She is normally a bit reticent with her parents (calling us on occasion "the parentals"), so I was happy to have an interaction with her on this subject. She showed us various certificates and knick knacks she had collected from the program, and I have no doubt she made some lasting relationships (as evidenced by her skyping). Thank you for providing an aesthetically-pleasing venue (Santa Barbara) and a wonderful learning experience.

-Thomas P. Walsh, father of Jennifer Walsh '10

The SSP program surpassed our expectations. Our son has always excelled in the science and math classes. He outgrew the classes available at his high school and was never seriously challenged academically. He discovered this program while searching online for a summer program that would be challenging and provide an opportunity to be with other academic-minded people.

From day one, our son was intellectually stimulated by the curriculum, staff and peers. The pace of the program was rigorous and pushed the students to perform at higher levels. My son learned to work in small groups towards a common goal. In fact, the work is group generated is being submitted for various competitions/scholarships. The students accepted were limited to a small number so that deep and lasting friendships could and did form. The guests speakers and field trips opened up areas of interest my son had not yet thought about.

Overall, an incredible experience.

Thank you to all those who worked so hard to put together such an amazing program.

-Rodi & Stewart Vogel, parents of Ari Vogel '10

Again, thank you and the SSP staff very much for what you have done for all of the SSP kids.

SSP is a fantastic program. I still remembered that when Jianan returned home, he had been sad to leave SSP as he missed so many things there. Jianan become more mature. He is more strict with himself to prepare the college application and the summer home work preparation. He has benefited from the SSP for his academics and college life in the future. Yes, he was changed for the better although he had been a good kid.

Actually, even before he came home I already started recommend SSP to a few of my friends when I thought their kids are promising ones. For example, Jeff, the son of my schoolmate and good friend, will apply for SSP.

-Jinming Huang, father of Jianan Huang '10

SSP has been a mind blowing experience for Vishnu. As a result, he can't wait to start college. He seems to have enjoyed the brain challenging work. Thank you so much for having selected him in the first place to participate. Westmont College is a very ideal location for the program. I am definitely recommending SSP to other teenagers.

Once again, thank you. Convey my thanks to all the professors, directors and teaching assistants. They made his stay memorable.

-Revathi Sundaresan, mother of Vishnu Sundaresan '10

My daughter Joyce has had the best time at SSP. She gained not only academic knowledge but also life experience. She was inspired. She became more diligent and responsible at school and home. We feel very fortunate she was accepted by SSP, and we made right choice to send her to SSP this summer.

-May Xue & Gary Shi, parents of Joyce Shi '10

SSP was an absolutely wonderful experience for Lucas. The program really is the perfect combination of challenging academics and fun. Not only did he learn an incredible amount, but he had an amazing time as well. Thank you for everything.

-Leslie Lavin Pena, mother of Lucas Pena '10

Neil, our only son had been away from us for one & a half months, the longest period ever till now. We had very little contact with him, because he was keeping himself so busy. His standard reply was "I am fine. If anything goes wrong I will contact you, don't worry about me. I can't talk right now. I will tell you everything when I get back".

When we went to pick up our son at the airport as he was returning from SSP, we were in suspense as to how he was. His first words to us at the airport were "it was the most awesome summer of my life, the most amazing experience ever". These two sentences said it all, we needed no further assurances.

After returning he slept nonstop for 30 hrs to compensate for all the sleep deprivation, after his return we found that he had matured to the next level all of a sudden. Nowadays whenever I see his Gmail or Facebook, it is full of his SSP friends more than his school friends, he really misses them, and video chats with them whenever possible. He is hoping to meet them in college again what with all of them smart enough to get into Caltech, Stanford, MIT, etc.

The number of photos of SSP 2010 just show what fun they had besides studying & sleeping in class :. I don't have enough words to express my satisfaction & gratitude for the way Neil was taken care of, taught, & the experience provided. It is a really commendable effort from the SSPers & now with Neil having joined these ranks I can understand much better the strong bond that they share.

-Dr. Prity Satra & Dr Surendra Satra, parents of Neil Satra '10

I am more than happy to let you know how impressed I am with SSP. I did not know about SSP until James applied. After learning about it I was thrilled when James was accepted, and so proud of him.

I think those six weeks were excellent preparation for college. After he got into the routine he enjoyed the pace. I didn't hear from him very often, and I felt like that was probably a good thing. When he returned home, he found life a little too slow to suit him! He really missed the environment and all of the people- students and faculty. He said he felt like he had changed in some ways. I notice that he is more self-directed and motivated. He assumes responsibility for what he needs to do and needs fewer reminders from me. He is a little more organized, too. Some of these characteristics are things that simply come from maturing into an adult, but life experiences shape that development and I believe that SSP has been a very positive experience.

James says SSP was the best experience he ever had, and I guess I have to agree with him. He has been enthusiastic about physics since last year, but now he is just ignited. He is staying in touch with some of his SSP colleagues which I think is great. He hopes to meet up with some of them in college.

I thought James might get a little homesick, but he didn't (maybe a day or two). He had a lot of fun. He even enjoyed the dreaded talent show and swing dancing!

You have a wonderful program and I am so glad that James got to go. Thank you for inspiring and encouraging my son and all of the students.

-Karol Schulman, mother of James Schulman '10

Thank you, first of all, for selecting our daughter, Tierney. I don't think we were prepared for how much she would benefit from SSP! Tierney came home a different person, more aware of her strengths and weaknesses, eyes wide open about the world outside of our little town! I truly think it is the best experience she's ever had and will always cherish her experience there. For the first time, she realized she wasn't the smartest one and had to rely on other people to complete the projects. I am sure she's made friends with the people she will keep in her life well into adulthood. She came home thirsty for more and for that I thank you again! SSP is really one of a kind!

-Susan Larson, mother of Tierney Larson '10

Our daughter Catherine had a truly terrific time and eye-opening experience at SSP. As a student athlete, Catherine has always spent her summer vacation on training and competitions. So for the summer before her high school senior year, she wanted to do something different and attend a challenging academic program. Her experience at SSP has far exceeded her expectation. Staff and advisors were caring and supportive. The classes and projects were among the most challenging she had ever had. More importantly, she met a group of smartest kids she had ever met, and developed friendship that would last for a long time.

As parents, we can't be more pleased with Catherine's experience at SSP. We thank you wholeheartedly for offering her the opportunity to attend SSP, and also for providing science-loving high school kids with this wonderful program.

-Tracy and Henry, parents of Catherine Wang '10

Calvin attends a good public high school in a school district that is too small to afford specialized offerings for gifted students. The staff there is dedicated, but even so, they are unable to provide a student like Calvin with the depth and range of academic options he craves. SSP has been an integral part of how we are helping Calvin fill in the gaps.

We would tell other parents a few things:

- Your support staff was extremely helpful and accommodating with insuring our son's dietary needs were met. Thank you.

- Our son came home very excited over the lectures, in particular over some lectures that were not related to astronomy. He really appreciated your inclusion of multidisciplinary topics in your program, while maintaining the focus of the program squarely on astronomy. He showed us lots of pictures and video of the classes, making his enthusiasm very evident.

- Calvin made several friends at SSP. He really seemed to relish the company of other young people from various cultural backgrounds but similar levels of intellectual and academic curiosity. He's even managed to meet and spend time with some of them since the end of SSP.

- The promotional and informational materials you make available about SSP are accurate.

- Calvin enjoyed the field trips. He also liked the New Mexico lizards and the bugs. (We got cell phone pictures from him of various examples of each late at night.) Again, he appreciated that the field trips were not strictly astronomical. Bandelier was a big hit with him, as was White Sands.

- Calvin went to SSP for the astronomy, and he was not disappointed. He really enjoyed the way your professors developed the astronomical concepts mathematically and experimentally. And, of course, making observations, writing computer code, and calculating the orbit of an asteroid with a like-minded team was the height of excitement for him.

Thank you for putting on such a good program.

-Luis & Ursula Maldonado, parents of Calvin Maldonado '10

SSP was a great gift to give an upcoming Senior. It not only gave our son a taste of what college can be, but it showed him how much he is going to enjoy the great challenges his future is going to offer him. He was thrilled to work with people as motivated as he is. We looked forward to talking to our son and hearing the excitement in his voice as he relayed all he was learning and getting to encounter. He was so delighted with the orbit program he wrote he came home and spent days expanding on it. I'm thankful our son was able to experience such an outstanding program.

-Kate Sanchez, mother of Reed Sanchez '10

Having already taken a local astronomy program while he was in eighth grade, our son Ian already had high expectations for SSP. Even so, the program, which was offered at New Mexico Tech, exceeded his expectations right from the start. While he was there, we were fortunate enough to visit for a couple of days and observe the program, first-hand. Not only were we very impressed by the rigorous programming and mathematics, as well as the top-notch students and the dedicated faculty and staff, but also we found the dormitories, classrooms, and cafeteria to be equally impressive. Also, regardless of whether the students were working or playing, they were always together and seemed to get along like a closely-knit family, often talking with enthusiasm about what they were learning. Every one of them seemed well adapted and good natured, and their bantering and prank-playing was never mean-spirited (Ian claimed that everyone's pranks, including his, were 'first-class!'). Certainly, the difficult goodbyes he had to make stand as testament to SSP's positive impact. We offer a big thanks to the SSP sponsors for providing this one-of-a-kind experience.

-Christopher Choi and Soyeon Shim, parents of Ian Choi '10

SSP exceeded our expectations. It gave our child insight into college life and was a great educational experience. Thank you!

-Yuehtzwu Hwang and Neinyi Li, parents of Sophia Li '10

I will forward this to Lin's Parents in the PRC. I am her host Dad in the U S as she was an exchange student here. I can tell you that SSP for her was a life changing experience. It took a lot of work and new thinking on her part and on the part of officials in her home country just to get the ability to stay long enough to participate in the program. When she arrived at SSP she found a whole new world. What she studied, with whom she studied, and the lasting relationships she made there have already had a profound effect on her life and will no doubt continue to do so for a very long time. All I can do is say thank you for me, for her, for her parents back in China and also for all the people that she will positively effect in the future.

-Charles B. Poore, host parent of Lin Cheng '10

My son Mason had great time. This is a wonderful program for youth. Not only Mason did learn a lot of Science, Programming and Astronomy but also he made a lot of friends. This will significantly benefit his future academic and social life.

We really want to thank the SSP organizers, professors, teaching assistants and staffs who organized and helped on this program to provide this wonderful opportunity for my son and other students. We very very much appreciated your hard work and efforts.

We highly recommend this program to other high school students.

-Li Liang and Qichan Liu, parents of Mason Liang '10

My son enjoyed every minute of SSP: challenging and stimulating classes and presentations, making new friends, working on calculating the asteroid path, wonderful field trips....

Huge THANKS to the staff, teachers, professors, guest speakers, everyone who made this program possible. You are the BEST!

Thanks for allowing my son to experience science the way he never had before; SSP confirmed his determination and passion to pursue career in science and research. The SSP was the best experience he ever had.

-Marijana Ciric, mother of Strahinja Ciric '10

We cannot find enough words to thank SSP Faculty, the Executive Director and all the teaching staff. SSP is a great program that is unique in many ways - the structure, the hands-on project, the teamwork, the intellectual curiosity. Participants build up a result-oriented research temperament and last but not least, a lifetime opportunity to build unique bonds with the faculty and friends. Anand was indeed very lucky to have attended this year's SSP and benefited a lot from all the threads of the program. He has worked hard with his team members and learnt a systematic way of doing a research project and finally earned the coveted distinction of becoming the SSP Alumni that he is going to be proud of, lifelong. And so shall we parents be too always. SSP is a great enriching program, six weeks just whizzed past with so much learning experience happening for Anand.

Thank you so much, Mr Bowdon, Dr Anderson, Dr Sivron and all the invited Distinguished Guest Speakers and everyone else who has helped to make this entire program most sought after in the student and parent community. We remain truly grateful and would like to reciprocate our gratitude whenever a future opportunity allows us to do so. Thank you so much.

-Dr Chinmai Khare & Dr Anil Khare parents of Anand Khare '10

It is an honor for me to show my gratitude for the good effect SSP had over my daughter, Ana-Maria Constantin.

I recognize that in the beginning I thought everything is a fairytale, an attempt of my daughter of filling her free time while doing the application for SSP. But after a while I realized that everything is real, when we were called to accompany her at the US Embassy for obtaining her visa.

Our emotions grew when Ana-Maria took the plane to the US and touched their maximum when she landed on the American continent.

There aren't enough "thank you" words in order to express my gratitude to the family DeBenedictis, that hosted her on the 19th of June and most of all to the teachers that have coordinated her during the program. Thanks also to the cafeteria and Driscoll stuff, that made her feel safe and secure during the program, though she was so far away from home.

The kindness of the teachers, the materials and the equipment used during the program, everything about SSP made Ana- Maria to wish to come back in the US, especially for college. I have never seen her that motivated, with such great enthusiasm.

A lot more confident about herself and the others and obvious more open-minded than before, Ana- Maria returned back at home really sad that SSP ended. All her stories start now with "When I was in SSP…", or "In the US…".

I am deeply grateful for changing my daughter so much and I wish you good luck with everything!

-Eugenia Constantin, mother of Ana-Maria Constantin '10


For my son, SSP was all we hoped it would be. He made good friends from around the world, he was challenged to his fullest, and he was exhilarated when he rose to that challenge. He loved working in such a collaborative, friendly environment. From my perspective, he was safe, happy, and had lots of good food. -Melinda Elmore, mother of Andrew Turner '09

Jane's experience at Summer Science Program (SSP) only strengthened her determination in majoring in physics at university. Not only she learned advance science, but she also met numerous intellectuals and friends, whose thinking processes are very similar to that of my daughter. I expected her to struggle through even just completing given tasks. However, in midst of hectic schedule and gargantuan amount of assignments and tasks, my daughter was able to fully enjoy collaborating with peers, teaching assistants, and her two most amazing professors. What an exhilarating experience! Thank you! -Hyun Joo Shin, father of Jane Hae Soo Shin '09

Ekin was very excited for being admitted to and quite enthusiastic about participating in SSP this summer. After the program, he came home actually a more mature young man with a much distinct sense of direction and confidence as to his plans for college studies and beyond, in his career. I believe this was a timely and important opportunity for him other than just being a source of excitement and joy as seemed to be case initially.

I am confident that he will benefit from his affiliation with SSP greatly not only in the remaining years of his education but in his life. -Nebil Ilseven, father of Ekin Ilseven '09

We would like to thank you and your team for this terrific experience you have provided to our son Ekin. SSP has been a very valuable experience for our son both academically and personally. SSP program was very different from his past experiences in the same field in terms of its seriousness, scope and work load. But its contribution to the personal development of our son was just as important. First time out of his rather protected educational environment where he has been quite a star; he has achieved a new perception about himself and his whereabouts in a more global, competitive and challenging world. He had a chance to see his weaknesses and strengths and to reach a sharper awareness about his potential and what he can achieve with lots of hard work. Throughout the program, we were amazed at his enthusiasm and the effort he has put into his work. Clear sign that he has really enjoyed the experience!

Thanks again for giving him this opportunity. SSP will definitely be an important benchmark in his life. -Seden Ilseven, mother of Ekin Ilseven '09

Miruna had a great time at SSP ! So she told us..... She found out that she can work hard and play as well, at the same time. And, very important for her, she understands that theory in science is great, but applied science is even greater. Thank you for having good care of our children! -Daiana Oprescu, mother of Miruna Oprescu '09

My daughter is ranked second in her class at the high school she attends of about 3,500 students but had not taken physics and was at a bit of a handicap. She learned to adapt and work with others and her teachers to compensate for not knowing physics and python. I bought her a few extra guides for python that helped, but it was the communal environment where everyone helped each other that enabled her to learn enough physics and computer languages to finish well in the course. These relationships I see her cultivating by being online with the other students and teachers. College is very competitive and I do not know that she will get the same experience from teachers and students. As she moves in her career, I hope the friendships she made at SSP will be life long. -Mike Laga, father of Stephanie Laga '09

I can't express the gratitude I have for the experience that Stephanie gained at SSP this past summer. At the beginning of the program she was feeling a bit defeated. She had never been anywhere but at the top of her classes. What a difficult challenge to work through. However, she ended up enjoying it so much that she did not want it to end. Not only did SSP stretch her academic limits, it allowed her to make friendships across the world. These young adults at SSP learn a tremendous amount not only academically, but personally. What an invaluable lesson for all of them. I know that she has made friends that will last a lifetime. -Teri McClure, mother of Stephanie Laga '09

SSP has made an irrevocably wonderful impression on my daughter, who has done nothing but praise the 6 weeks that she spent working harder than ever before. When she arrived home, she spent the next few days catching up on all the sleep that she had gladly missed. She had been striving to find challenge, especially in the past year, and I am very glad to see that she found it in Ojai. I am grateful to you and the program for giving her the opportunity to have such an experience. We couldn't have asked for anything more. -Khatuna Kakhiani and Kakha Tsereteli, parents of Ketevan Tsereteli '09

Abhimat enjoyed his stay tremendously. Not only did he find the program intellectually stimulating and challenging but also was impressed with the food provided during his stay, tasty and healthy in his words. He plans to continue working on Asteroid orbial determination for his Senior Project a High School Graduation requirement here. He is working with a local amateur astronomer in our town for this. -Amitabh Gautam, father of Abhimat Gautam '09

Coming into the program, we expect that my daughter would learn a great deal in math, physics, astronomy, and most importantly, conducting research. The wonderful surprise for us is the lasting friendship she made with many of her classmates at SSP. Getting to know other talented and highly motivated students inspired her to be even better and to reach even higher in her pursuits of education and research. I believe SSP is the best summer program for students interested in science and engineering. -Jinxue (Jim) Wang, father of Helen Wang

It is a very helpful and inspirational program for my son to select his study in university. Thank you very much. -David Chiu, father of Justin Chiu '09

Abhishek had an experience of a lifetime at SSP. He has returned back a much more confident young man and with self realization of his capabilities. He was a somewhat introvert, quiet and diffident boy when he left for the camp, but has returned a very confident, friendly and smart young man. Thanks to SSP. I had read comments from past SSP alumni and their parents and wondered if SSP really had such an impact on these young people. Well, when I see the impact SSP has made on Abhishek, I know, it's better than what I could have ever imagined.

SSP provided a fantastic peer group with whom Abhishek could connect instantly. He has made great friendships at SSP. According to him, studying for the sheer pleasure of gaining knowledge, with no pressure of scoring good grades or marks, made SSP a very enjoyable experience. Back here, in India, the whole focus is on getting good grades for gaining admissions to premier institutes. We were a bit worried about his food, as he is a strict vegetarian. But he was very happy with the food and all other arrangements. Anyways, there was so much knowledge for food, it wouldn't have mattered.

Talking to Abhishek, we realized he would always want to be associated with SSP in the future, in whatever way he can. That speaks highly about the fantastic experience SSP provides to these children. Thanks once again. -Dr. Bharat Oswal & Dr. Bina Oswal, parents of Abhishek Oswal '09

SSP was an extremely positive experience for our son. The advanced material and intense workload showed him what a real intellectual challenge could be like, and helped him to discover inner strength and capabilities he didn't know he had. The experience of working collaboratively and independently with so many talented kids from around the world was an opportunity he could not have had elsewhere. He really enjoyed the high expectations and the high level of trust and respect that the profs and TAs treated the students with. He came back from his Ojai immersion with a new level of self-confidence, and with a much clearer sense of what he wants out of his college experience. Oh, and he said the food was great!

Thank you for making this amazing program possible! -Gene & Vicki Becker, parents of Dominic Becker '09

Thanks to SSP, Isaac had a very special summer. He enjoyed it thoroughly from the acquaintance with his peers, to the lectures, to the late night snacks and homework. Thank you for his memorable experience at SSP. -Ivy Kim, mother of Isaac Kim '09

My daughter's attendance to SSP which is a very old and successive program, made me very happy and honored. I believe SSP is very well organized summer program; this gives me an ultimate trust. Even thought I sent my daughter to another continent I wasn't worried about her. When she was back, I was really glad to see that she made good friends who are passionate about science from different parts of the world. I'm so happy that Damla became a part of this community. -Duriye Damla Sevgi, mother of Damla Sevgi '09

After returning home from SSP, I found my son is more self-motivated and more organized in his daily life. I think the excellent experience he gained from SSP this summer will definitely benefit his whole life both in study and in career. I really appreciate the precious opportunity for him to spend six weeks with this unforgettable SSP. Thank you so much! -Kai S. Chang, father of Wesley Chang '09

SSP has been the most amazing 6 weeks in our son's life. James has attended a few camps that he vaguely recalls, but SSP was something special. He still talks about SSP, about his late-night observing sessions, difficult problem sets, and life-long friends. Socorro '09 has even been discussing a Europe trip these students are planning for next summer. SSP has given my child abilities beyond the scope of his high school, and has made him into a new person. Thank you so much for giving him this opportunity. -Yun and Qing Chang, parents of James Chang '09

How can we say thank you enough for this wonderful, life-changing program? Our son has grown up in rural Idaho with a passion for math and science. He has fed these passions through online classes, but peer interaction has been deeply lacking. SSP was the best thing that's ever happened to him: being academically challenged alongside 30-plus other students who share his passion for math, music, science, and life. After experiencing this taste of what college life will be like, he is energized and focused on applying to colleges and looking forward to the opportunities that lie ahead of him. Thank you! -Carole Freund, mother of Brendan Freund '09

SSP was, by far, the most impressive program Charlie has ever attended. I cannot remember him ever being so excited. He learned so much and was challenged in ways that he never is within his typical academic environment. Thank you so much for this opportunity. -Ginny Kelly, mother of Charlie Kelly '09

The major difference I have seen in Maitreyi after coming back from SSP has been in her appreciation of how different the teaching systems are in America compare to India. She found the learning process to be more pro-active, concentrated and hands on as compared to the bookish teaching in India. She has also appreciated the way other students were willing to explain to her if she had any difficulty but the application and actual working out of problems still had to be done by her. She is a little in awe of the other students being, in her opinion, brighter and more talented than her. However this experience has made her determined to attend the American Universities at least for the post graduate studies if not for undergraduate.

She also seems to have enjoyed staying away from the family for the first time and also the field trips. On the whole it was a learning experience for her, especially the lack of sleeping time, and she thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I am quite satisfied with her experience and have in fact recommended to several of my friends whose children are in similar or lower classes to also consider applying for the SSP program. -Bharat Sangal, father of Maitreyi Sangal '09

My son enjoyed every bit of the program. He came back with a higher passion in science and engineering. Thank you very much for all you've done for the program! -Edward Hong, father of Chris Hong '09

Dennis says SSP was an "AWESOME" experience ever. He is completely satisfied with the fact that he, through SSP, could make 35 life-long friends who share the same talent and interest in math and science. As a parent, I liked the diversity of the participant students. I wish SSP could continue to be recognized as an internationally competitive summer camp for all math and science oriented students from all over the world. -Sunglim Hah, mother of Dennis Won '09

Going to SSP is a life-changing experience for our son. Not only did he have the opportunity to work on an interesting topic with his "real peers" and learned a heck of lot about subjects that he was not familiar with, he also had a taste of an intensive college program. We strongly recommend SSP to any high school juniors who are dedicated to academic excellence, because it is simply the best program around. -Kuei Chiu, father of Sebastian Chiu '09

As we drove away from the (very) small town of Socorro, we had our doubts about leaving our son in the middle of the vast New Mexico moonscape desert. When we would call, his rather muted response to the program the first few days was sobering, and we were anxious for him; the workload was intense, and he was worried he couldn't keep up. After about 2 weeks, the tide turned, and in the end, he conquered the material, learned a lot, and made wonderful friends. The SSP experience helped catapult him to a new level of self-reliance, and self confidence. It was the single best thing we could have done for him before sending him off to college. It wasn't easy, but now our son is more resilient intellectually, emotionally, and practically, for the rigors of life on his own! SSP delivered on all of its promises, and we are total fans. -Leslie and Terry Tamminen, parents of Jake Rubin '09

The assistant principal of Kendall's high school ran into me at school the other day and asked: "What happened to Kendall? She changed over the summer. There's an ease, maturity and confidence about her that are noticeable." My answer was simple: "SSP happened." Going into what was destined to be her most stressful time, applying to universities, she feels confident she can handle anything. I cannot tell you how often I've heard that SSP was the greatest experience of her life. She started out wondering if she could keep up and ended with a sense of mastery. SSP opened her eyes to limitless possibilities and gave her the confidence to reach for the stars.

How does one even begin to thank the dedicated faculty and staff that made SSP the experience of a lifetime? Kendall cried at the thought of having to come home, is lamenting being home, and can only talk about SSP. Though most of what she describes [outside of the social aspect, and how wonderful that all was] is in a foreign language [helions and interpolation and such] I get the drift. Indeed, for the first time in her life she felt challenged and humbled and honored to be in the presence of "the most uber-smart kids" she'd ever met. And finally, she feels empowered. Going into the college application process, this is a wonderful thing. Before SSP she questioned if she could truly succeed in a college environment. Her attitude now is: bring it on! From the bottom of my heart, thank you SSP. -Nikki Capshaw, mother of Kendall Capshaw '09

Aaron had a wonderful time at SSP, in several ways. It was the first time he had ever felt "average". He felt as though he fit in with this group of young people, sharing musical, scientific, social and spiritual interests. He felt challenged, supported, free to be open and free to explore thoughts and feelings. Aaron came away from the program with strong connections to the other students as hard-working friends, not as competitors. He beams when he talks about what he learned, how great the other people were and how much he is enjoying keeping the connections alive.

From a parent's perspective, for all the reasons listed above, we could not be happier that Aaron was able to be a part of SSP. -Dale Lewis, father of Aaron Lewis '09

My son Shankara Pailoor had a terrific experience at SSP. I would recommend it to anyone interested in science. -Sunita Pailoor, mother of Shankara Pailoor '09

First, I want to say "thank you" to all of your staff. It's very good experience to my daughter. After participation in SSP, she has changed at the attitude for studying. I think that she can see more large scale of society in the world. She has changed to more progressive and positive attitude. -Kyung Ha Lee, father of Eun Ji Lee '09

I expected SSP to be challenging, exciting and enjoyable: it was so much more than that. I can honestly say that this opportunity was a life-changing experience for my daughter. It pushed her and redefined her boundaries, both intellectually and emotionally. She had enormous respect and regard for her peer group, and the professors encouraged intellectual curiousity and creativity. It was a great summer--a lot of hard work--but if anybody gets the chance to attend, they absolutely should! Thank you all for a fabulous program. -Abha Sinha, mother of Kirin Sinha '09

Ryan truly enjoyed his summer at SSP! I know the experience, both academically and socially, meant a great deal to him-it's the topic of his college application essay. Now the hard part is finding a college that will not pale in comparison to the level of challenge and camaraderie he experienced in those 6 weeks. -Ruth Pyle, mother of Ryan Pyle '09

I am so glad that our son got this great opportunity. The best thing was that SSP provides an excellent environment for all the kids to learn. The experience is so important to help him choose his major in college. We feel that he got a lot of confidence to face challenges. Definitely, I will recommend SSP to my friends, in fact, I have already. Thank you again. -Elizabeth Ling Zou, mother of Charles Liu '09


Our son's SSP summer was exhilarating, rewarding, challenging, exhausting, and, ultimately, wonderful. When he returned, it was almost as if he had been away at college for a semester. OK, so he didn't enjoy the program; he simply loved it. For that, we are extremely grateful. -Lisa Shapiro, mother of David Steinberg '08

Michael knows, now, what an "intense educational experience" really is. Math and science have always been for him his work; through SSP, we believe, it became much more than that… Thank you so very much for granting our son such a priceless gift. -Gary and Rosara Gandelman, parents of Michael Gandelman '08

SSP gave our son maturity and confidence few weeks after returning home to walk into the Astrophysics department of Villanova University and ask if he can collaborate on any of the projects they are working on, and get the internship. Thank you, SSP. -Alissa & Alexander Kouriatov, parents of Arsenij Kouriatov '08

What is remarkable is the fact that despite the tough schedule which the students went through, they always not only seemed to be up to it, but were enjoying it. After getting home, everyone of them seemed to be missing the action and were wanting to get back. Need one say more! -Renu & Kamal Pasricha, parents of Kanika Pasricha '08

Last summer Maria spent two month at Summer School at Harvard. She was very happy there and came home with a lot of excitement and many new friends. This year to say that Maria was excited will mean to say almost nothing. These six weeks were the best time of her life so far. The experience she got there was priceless. All the kids and staff members became part of her new family. -Gozel Pshenichnaya & Yury Altyev, parents of Maria Altyeva '08

SSP was probably the single most enriching experience of our daughter's life. The academics were amazing, but being immersed in a college setting with peers of similar interests and teachers with high expectations gave her and us the confidence that she will thrive in college. One caveat: Beware post-SSP depression! Our daughter cried on the ride home from the airport because she missed her friends, and she has maintained close contact almost daily with the other participants. -Heather and Henry Robaszewski, parents of Joanna Robaszewski '08

The benefit that Wesley received from SSP is a lot more than I expected. I think SSP prepared him well for the demanding challenge from prestige colleges. SSP taught him team collaboration and was a big plus for him in applying for college. -Paul Leung, father of Wesley Leung '08

Stephanie found it challenging in the beginning as she felt she did not have the educational advantages of some of her fellow students, and struggled to keep up. However, she found both the students and faculty especially helpful and soon regained confidence. I thank you once again for the wonderful program. -Cushla Thompson, mother of Stephanie Thompson '08

Matthew felt that the workload, which was intense, will be invaluable preparation for college, (although it is now making his senior year - 4 AP classes and dual enrollment at the local college taking Physics II with Calculus) look like recess. Matt also discovered some new talents including swing dancing and essay writing. After the six weeks at SSP, Matt came home even more mature, capable and confident than when he left. -Terry Goodwin, father of Matthew Goodwin '08

As a parent of a bright child, I welcomed the chance for Marie to experience not being head and shoulders above her peers. It was a shock to her to really have to apply herself, but it was totally positive. -Sally Bales, mother of Marie Fulmer '08

I felt like this experience is helping shape my daughter and give her direction for her future contribution/gift back to the world. Thank you! -Dana Kilgore, mother of Paloma Tamminga '08

We live in a relatively small town in rural Virginia. While Jacob has excelled in the local academic environment, we were interested in seeing if he could "hold his own" in a national, even global academic setting. Jacob did well and fit right in. He came home confident in his abilities and assured that physics as a college major is the right choice for him. He met his peers at SSP -- the same people who may one day be co-workers or co-researchers searching for answers to the same questions. On another note -- 6 weeks is the longest Jake has been away from home. SSP was an excellent "practice run" in preparation for college. He survived . . . even thrived, without being home sick. And his mother realized that she'll be okay too. -Vince and Joanne Leonardis, parents of Jacob Leonardis '08


As scientists, my wife and I were incredibly impressed by the experience our son had. We could have gotten him a lab "internship" for his junior summer, where he would have done a fragment of a scientific project and got some exposure to working scientists in a lab. Instead, he went to SSP, where he had the opportunity to take a real, scientific problem in physics from start to finish. He learned the background of everything he was doing in demanding, in-depth lectures, did the observations repeatedly until they were right, did the analysis by hand himself, created the programs for computing the data, wrote up the entire exercise and presented it. This was no physics lab, it was a complete, meaningful scientific experience. The genius of the program is a more or less guaranteed, in-depth, no holds barred scientific experience which is orders of magnitude better than a lab experience at this stage in his knowledge and experience. He now understands the process of real science, which many scientists don't really learn until they are in graduate school. In addition, he had great fun with a bunch of really nice peers and had some inspiring lectures and off-site visits. -Paul Bleicher, father of Isaac Bleicher '07

Daniel absolutely loved every aspect of his SSP experience. It changed his life. His six-week search for 21-Lutetias orbit in the nighttime skies is an apt metaphor for his search for himself. At SSP, he found both. For the first time, really, Daniel discovered the pure joy of working way too hard on a problem not for grades or glory, but rather for unadulterated satisfaction of discovery. The fact that he went through this intense personal growth experience surrounded by supportive SSP teachers and thirty-four amazing, like-minded fellow SSPer's made it all the more rewarding and memorable. He came back from SSP with a renewed sense of purpose, an even stronger work ethic, a group of superb friends, and the inspiration to follow his dreams. -Ely Dahan, father of Daniel Dahan '07

Thank you for taking care of our daughter, Daksha Rajagopalan, during SSP07. This was the MOST PERFECT learning and living experience Daksha has ever had. She was completely delighted with this once-in-a-life-time experience. The academic work, while challenging and rigorous, was very enjoyable, the teachers and staff were superb, the student community and the bonding was outstanding and the campus and outings were wonderful. My daughter could not have chosen anything else in the world to match what she got out of SSP. Thanks a ton, and our deepest appreciation to all of you at SSP. -Raghu Rajagopalan and Lakshmi Venkatesan, parents of Daksha Rajagopalan '07

SSP offers excellent learning projects and place for high school students. I will surely share my good experiences with my friends who still have kids in high school. Thanks for all your hard work for my two kids! -Chris Chai, mother of Joyce Chai '07

First, we would like to thank you and the entire SSP staff for allowing Sydney the privilege of attending the SSP. Her excitement about the program is contagious.

One evening Sydney injured her knee playing Ultimate Frisbee. We were trying to assess the extent of her injury over the phone as she was transported to the hospital. As we tried to hide our concern, Sydney took control and stated very firmly, "I'm not going to miss the rest of SSP! I can crawl out to the dome to do my observations if I have to." Sydney finished the program on crutches. Could there be a stronger testimonial for the intense passion that the students feel for this program?

We were prepared for Sydney to feel pressure early in the program. She did. We were confident she would work through that difficulty and self-doubt as the program progressed. She did. What we weren't really prepared for were our own worries and insecurities and having to survive on only one phone call a week, but we did. The students aren't the only ones who can learn from this program. -Shelley and David Goings, parents of Sydney Goings '07

I agree with ALL the comments of all the other parents. My daughter Ilona had a WONDERFUL time at the SSP in Ojai. I heard her telling her grandmother over the phone afterwards that it was the best summer she had ever had, and this from a kid who is not by nature overly exuberant. When I picked her up in Ojai, she was totally exhausted (slept for 3 days), and then all she would talk about was the program and the friends she had made. She is still in close contact with many of them, two have even visited her here in Ithaca, and she is already determined to attend the reunion next summer. I think it was the first time that she had the opportunity to be around other people her age who were academically curious, adept at science and exploration, and had a sense of humor that she shared, along with a love of games and puzzles --- it was a whole new world for her both in learning and in social interactions.

Since the program she switched her school schedule so that she could take AP physics her senior year and she is now considering engineering as a college major.

My mom (her grandmother) says it is hyperbole to say "it changed my life" but I disagree with her in this instance. I do really believe it has changed Ilona's life in a profound way, academically, scientifically, and socially. I am so happy that she was admitted and I can't thank you enough for giving her this opportunity. -Melanie Phipps-Morgan, mother of Ilona Phipps-Morgan '07

Our son, Nathaniel, had a wonderful time at SSP in Ojai this summer. This was the second great SSP experience for us. Our oldest son, Marshall, participated in the program at the Socorro campus a few years ago and also loved it! Many thanks for everything that the SSP Team does to make the program so special, -Marty Fox and Ellen Graff, parents of Nathaniel Fox '07

SSP has certainly opened a new dimension on my son's outlook. He's always done well at school, but until SSP I don't think he had made the connection between what he has learned and what he can do with what he has learned. Since SSP he has continued a research project started at the end of SSP with some SSP-mates, and this represents a whole new level of scientific involvement for him. -Robert Haw, father of Magnus Haw '07

Before we send Wendy, I was very skeptical about this camp. As weeks progressed, all news we heard were positive. Wendy enjoyed it totally. The largest benefit I perceived is that Wendy gained many friends (some internationally) who have same level of intellectual curiosity and drive to learn. It is also pleasant to know that the social activities were colorful for such a "nerdy" camp. I would certainly recommend this to other parents. -Qing Lin, parent of Wendy Lin '07

It is impossible to describe in a few words the impact of SSP on our son's life. After a magical six weeks, he came back with a new wanderlust in his eyes a young man who had rediscovered himself as much as a scientist as a citizen of the world. Not only did he learn so many new and exciting things in physics and astronomy, but he also came to bask in the fun, the camaraderie, the spirit of science's universalism that caught up with him and his friends as stargazing dissolved all earthly boundaries. SSP enabled him to discover his true potential and gave him lifelong friends. A truly magnificent, life-altering experience not only for him but for every one of us! -Jayanta and Aparajita Sengupta, parents of Rik Sengupta '07, Kolkata, India

Jacob had an incredible time at SSP, and for the first time in his life felt surrounded by peers who shared his interests. SSP is an amazing program, and we are very grateful for its existence. -Scott Shenker, Father of Jacob Shenker '07

I couldn't be more pleased. My son was intellectually challenged, learned a lot, had a great deal of fun with other physics lovers, and came back a much better guitar player ;) He came back fired up to go to a college that would provide the same intense environment where kids live and breathe science. It was by all accounts a wonderful experience. -Ben Hobbs, father of Paul Hobbs '07

Thank you for offering a program that my son Paul enjoyed so much. The thing he loved most was interacting with the other students - he loved his "team" and made many other fast friends. When I asked after being there a few days about making friends he launched into a long explanation of a new way that he had discovered to solve a math problem that had perplexed him. It turns out he and his new best friend had worked the solution out together and this was the foundation on which they built their friendship. -Julie McDill, mother of Paul Hobbs '07

Dmitri is very excited about his SSP experience. He advertises the program among his high school friends (as I do among my colleagues). He is in contact with his SSP colleagues all the time, discussing books to read (physics, mostly) and pining for a New Mexico landscape. I think SSP has been a tremendous positive influence for him. -Michael Gekhtman, father of Dmitri Gekhtman '07

Mary first bookmarked the SSP site when she was 12 years old, and her interest in physics and astronomy has only increased over time. The summer was simply a superlative experience for her. She loved being with other bright, focused, science-minded kids, loved her observation experience, loved crunching the data, loved the special lectures and loved staying up most of the night talking with friends about the stars and The Meaning of Life. She has come home and linked herself up with a Brown physicist to help with research during this school year, and is more than ever determined to have a career in the field. She came back from SSP happier than I've ever seen her, and the friendships made this summer are continuing. Thank you - we are very happy and satisfied parents, and are glad to sing SSPs praises. -Clare Fischer-Davies, mother of Mary Davies '07

Our son Michael had a wonderful time at SSP. At first, we were not sure what to expect. We had looked at other summer programs but kept coming back to the SSP website. When we received notification that Michael had been accepted into this program, I still was concerned as a parent. I emailed Richard Bowdon, SSP Executive Director, to ask a number of questions. He personally called me to answer all my concerns. We sent Michael to the Socorro campus. The first day or two was a time of adjustment. The phone calls became fewer and fewer as the week progressed. When Michael did get a moment to call, his voice was full of excitement. He loved the courses. He enjoyed the long nights observing his asteroid with his teammates. He was making friends and they were all working together. In fact, the last week of SSP he remarked to us that he was now ready to move on. He knew that he was ready for college. The course work was challenging, the guest lecturers were outstanding, and the field trips were fun and educational. Michael still corresponds with his SSP friends and has remarked to us that he would like to attend the reunion next summer. Finally: the SSP staff was fantastic. Many thanks for this wonderful opportunity. -Linda Akenhead, mother of Michael Akenhead '07

Our daughter Elizabeth cannot say enough good things about SSP. Overall it is truly one of the best experiences she has ever had. Academically, what better way is there to learn than in a noncompetitive environment working in teams which nurtures the free flow of information from such intelligent and thoughtful kids? She understands her calculus class this semester so much better as a result of her 6 weeks in SSP. But the social interaction was just as important as the academic experience. It provided a wonderful introduction to college, both for her and for her parents. The academically intense yet socially relaxed six weeks of only 36 kids living and doing everything together, from all walks of life, created wonderful friendships and memories that we will continue to hear about for some time to come. Many a long evening did she and her friends talk about everything under the stars ... she encountered new perspectives that have truly made her a more complete person. It took the school year to start in order to stop her from pining away about her time at SSP in Socorro! We just wish there were a follow-on program! -Catherine Cowie & Keith Rust, parents of Elizabeth Rust '07

I would tell other parents that my child benefited significantly from the experience, ranging from specific technical and theoretical information learned, to the benefit of being surrounded by thought provoking, inquisitive minds - both instructors and students alike. The ability to learn and to see new things, the lessons learned as a result of having to organize one's self and one's work and to allocate precious time were also invaluable. The net result has been tremendous personal and academic growth. The practical result is that my son came back well suited to undertake an astronomy course at a local college - to continue to learn and to excel in this field of study. I have nothing but praise for the program, the organizers, the administrators, the instructors and the other students my son was fortunate to spend his summer with - learning, growing and having fun. My thanks to you and to the entire SSP staff! -Hope Plavin, mother of Sam Grondahl '07

I'll gladly add my voice to the chorus of praise for SSP: In six short weeks, Sam's social and intellectual maturity was stretched in so many new and positive directions. He got to: fly across the country by himself (yeah, Mom, changing in Chicago is no big deal); settle into a totally unfamiliar environment (heavy on stars, light on trees); delve into college-level math, physics, and programming (tough stuff, but he pulled only three all-nighters); and work/play/hang out with bright, motivated, and supportive peers (really smart, really cool people). SSP exercised his brain, widened his perspective, helped him focus his academic goals as he looks toward college, and gave him many good friends he still keeps in touch with. What an extraordinary program! -Susan Wing, mother of Samuel Markson '07

SSP is a program that puts your child to exciting academic and social challenges. Over time, these challenges make up your child's character and help him/her become a more independent and determined individual. -Crystal Wang, mother of Jerry Yeh '07

My son enjoyed immensely the activities and friendship at SSP. As a matter of fact, he would like to attend another SSP, if allowed. Thank you so much for doing such a wonderful job!! -Frank Huang, father of Morris Huang '07

I am very pleased with the opportunity my son had at the Summer Science Program. I would recommend this program to any individual who has a passion for mathematics, astronomy, physics and computer programming. My son came back very excited from the experience he had. He loved the people there, and he made so many new, brilliant friends. I'm sure if he had another opportunity of this caliber he would do it again. -Zekija Salkanovic, parent of Alan Salkanovic '07

SSP provided my son with a new and broader perspective on his future … college options and his life in general -- very useful to a seventeen-year-old as the college process unfolds. Making friends from across the country, and globe, who also have high aspirations and potential is a wonderful, and worthwhile, learning opportunity and personal growth experience. Thank you so very much for making this opportunity possible. This experience provided opportunities for personal growth and a huge academic challenge. It was a privilege and we are so very grateful for this opportunity. With a sibling already in college the tuition of SSP was a potential obstacle --- SSP helped to make it possible for us. We are very grateful! -Carol Mitchell, mother of Alan Mitchell '07

SSP was a genuine opportunity for our son to participate in the excitement of "hands-on" science. After completing this rigorous program, he returned even more confident in his ability and desire to study physics in college. Thanks for maintaining such a unique and high quality program over the years. -Fred Dopfel, father of Freddy Dopfel '07


Danielle has gained not only knowledge, maturity, and a taste of the "outside" world beyond the east coast, but friends for a lifetime that are of the same mold as herself. It was a summer she'll always remember and hold close to her heart forever!! --Barbara Piskorz, mother of Danielle Piskorz '06

After SSP Anshul is a different person. There was a complete transformation in him. He now knows how fun and academics can coexist and he has learned the art of balancing both. Anshul has matured and is now much better prepared for college life. SSP's collaborative environment is now an important benchmark for him in choosing a college. Thanks SSP! --Sandeep Bhagi, father of Anshul Bhagi '06

According to Kirit, it was the most grueling, but the coolest learning experience of his life. He felt challenged, and really liked the collaborative nature of the project. --Subhash Karkare, father of Kirit Karkare '06

The most important outcome was that Russell gained real self-confidence in his math and science abilities. Although he has always done well in school, he never had the chance to work with others who challenged him in a way that allowed him to test his limits. He did that very successfully at SSP. --Michelle Wolf, mother of Russell Wolf '06

We are truly amazed at how David had matured both emotionally and intellectually over the few weeks at SSP. He learned to analyze real experimental data, but most importantly, he had the opportunity to work like a scientist in a nurturing team environment. The SSP experience affirms his plan to major in physics. To put it simply, SSP is well worth the cost - the experience is priceless. We are grateful to SSP for paving the way for our next generation of young scientists. --Manyee Gee, father of David Gee '06

If you send your child to SSP, expect that your kid will phone home terrified during the first week, will alternate enthusiastic and scared messages during the next ten days, will not have time to respond to calls during the following three weeks, and will hastily phone you as a very busy adult during the last days at SSP. Have you ever watched a butterfly emerge from a chrysalis? For a single parent, sending his son alone 10,000 miles away for almost two months is a decision painfully made. I can confidently say that it has been one of the few most inspired decisions in my life. He came back exhausted and thinner, but what an assured young man I embraced at the airport! --Horia-Nicolai Teodorescu, Romania, father of Mike Horia Teodorescu '06

We had no doubt from the beginning that Adrian would have a positive experience at SSP. It turned out to be even better than we had expected. Thanks, and good luck with the future development of the program. --Fulvio Melia, father of Adrian Melia '06

Our son describes six weeks of nonstop fun and learning, and the best summer experience of his life. He was not the only "math and science guy" at SSP; there were 36 equally motivated students from around the world, eager to explore new, advanced topics beyond the scope of a high school curriculum. Months after the program, this unique group of friends continues to communicate daily, sharing their lives and future plans. Their paths are sure to cross again. Thanks for having a great program for these kids. It was all we hoped for and more. --James and Kathy Bartz, parents of Steven Bartz '06

We read everything we could online about SSP. It was a stretch for us financially but did seem like a well established, highly credentialed program with a lot to offer. For six weeks, it was a bargain. We invest in our kids. Zach has Type 1 diabetes. For six weeks Carol and I were comfortable in our knowledge that Zach was being cared for; not only medically but as a seventeen year old young man who was having his first real experience of the college lifestyle. He called several times each day when he first arrived in New Mexico but before long we had to gripe at him just to get the occasional update. Again a parental heartfelt thanks to the Staff for keeping in touch. The Summer Science Program itself showed the benefits of being fifty years in the making. The advanced math, the hands on science, the quality facility, the perfectly chosen Staff, the attention to friendship, class and team building; these were the obvious result of years of experience at educating young people and developing their character and interest in learning. What else did Zach do besides spend six weeks looking at starry skies? He learned about himself. He learned that lots of people really care and are very good at what they do. He learned that he is ready to go away to collage. He learned that he can always come home to family and that his emotional and spiritual growth will be acknowledged and appreciated. Thanks for helping us to raise our son. --George and Carol Johnson, parents of Zach Johnson '06

The entire SSP experience was invaluable to Ryan in multiple ways. Afterward the first thing he said was, "I didn't want to come home!" Ryan also shared that "SSP was the first time I worked with other students who were as passionate as I am about science; living together and working long hours on science projects was intensely rewarding and gratifying. I already miss my SSP friends!" We wholeheartedly recommend this program to any highly motivated high school student interested in pursuing a career in science. --Amy & Bill Dahn, parents of Ryan Dahn '06


For the first time in her life, Mary was surrounded by her peers. She has quit saying 'I'll never get into MIT...' She will move heaven and earth to get back in that environment -- it was home for the first time. She doesn't do homework to get an 'A' anymore. Yesterday, she was deriving the Bernoulli differential equations in her chemistry book just for fun. Thanks, SSP! --John Masterman, father of Mary Masterman '05

The SSP was a great experience for our daughter and we would recommend the program to other parents as a great personal growth opportunity and science experience for youth. --Jane C. Johnson, mother of Elaine Johnson '05

Danice has participated in several summer programs over the years. She commented that SSP seemed to be the most worthwhile program that she had ever participated in. Last week her teacher mentioned that Danice seems to be more outgoing and has opened up more with the other students. She credits SSP with this positive change. --Linda Chou, mother of Danice Chou '05

Mary returned a more mature and confident young lady. I definitely plan to send our son in two years. Thanks for keeping programs such as this alive and well. --John E. Bishop, M.D., father of Mary Bishop '05

Our son Robert had the best experience of his life at SSP in Socorro last summer, and that's saying a lot since he has been lucky enough to study in Spain, raft through the Grand Canyon, participate in sports camps, travel in England, etc. etc.

Why was SSP so great? Simply put, for the first time Robert found himself with a group of peers who were highly intellectual and learning for the sake of pure knowledge, not for grades or accolades. He loved studying the principles of calculus and astrophysics during the day . . . and then putting them to use in a real-life observatory. The instruction was top-notch, led by full professors and supported by a strong cast of graduate students. The 36 students also evidently had plenty of fun, if stories of frisbee, pizza, MP3 downloads, and wholesome shenanigans are to be believed.

Robert came home literally gushing with excitement about college -- and at long last really understanding why we hope he goes to a top-notch university where his classmates will be other motivated, high-caliber students. --Andrew P. Corty, father of Robert Corty '05

My son loved every minute, was sorry when it was over, and more than once said, 'I am so glad that I did SSP this summer.' It helped him prepare for college in a non-competitive but intense way.

I would recommend it to any student who would like a taste of college without the pressure of grades and credits. Both the students and faculty were supportive, interesting and fun. Thanks for giving Spencer such a wonderful opportunity. --Carol Backus, mother of Spencer Backus '05

My son wanted to attend SSP for three specific reasons; one, to learn about astronomy because his high school does not teach this subject, two, to see whether or not he would like living and learning in an environment with exclusively really bright students, and three, to learn if he could live away from home for a long period of time and still function and be happy in case he decided to apply to colleges far away from home. Evan enjoyed the astronomy and returned home knowing that he can apply to colleges anywhere with any kind of student and be productive and happy. He learned a great deal about himself, including a new perspective on his strengths and weaknesses. SSP was a totally positive experience ending with life-long friendships that span the globe. He is looking forward to the reunion! Thank you everyone who makes this great experience possible. --Michele Miyazono, mother of Evan Miyazono '05

I cannot find enough words to convey how much the SSP program helped Erin to make final decisions toward a college career. Your program needs to be shouted from the roof tops. I plan to do an article for our local paper next fall about the program and how much it helped our daughter to not only be able to experience the wonders of the astronomy and math but to meet professors, professional people, high quality learning partners, and also to realize the committment that other people in our community and our world have for its youth.

Your program helped shape Erin the student. She continued her academic quest for knowledge by taking Vector Calculus & Differential Calculus plus Physics with Calculus this year at the local community college in addition to her academic load at the high school.

The lessons she learned by having the SSP alumni scholarship folks invest in her and by doing the fundraising that enabled her to go, helped shape her ability to realize that if you want something badly enough, you can find a way to make it happen. Thus, her acceptance at all colleges that she applied for and the awarding of scholarships to enable her to attend Yale as a college of her dreams.

Your program made a tremendous impact on our daughter and we would like to convey our small, but humble word of thanks to you all. Continue..... Continue...... The worth far outweighs the work I know that it takes to make it happen. --Linda Miller, mother of Erin Miller '05

Yes, still Lucas speaks with about his experience at SSP last summer. I think the key elements of his reflections are: to be surrounded by kids his age, each one in his/her own terms extraordinary, and the expectations to work and deliver academic results well beyond any prior expectation in is HS career. We will remain very grateful for the opportunity offered to Lucas. Thank you again. --Carlos S. Baradello, father of Lucas Baradello '05

We had the advantage of visiting the Socorro campus in the middle of the program so we could observe Greg in action. He appeared well adapted to the schedule and the environment. The students all were actively engaged in their projects, even on Saturday morning! The best part was when we had a tour of the observatory and Greg operated the equipment to show us what he had learned over the past 4 weeks.

We were truly impressed with the faculty members we met and the alumni who were visiting at the same time. Greg admits that the best part of the program was the opportunity to meet other students with the same interests. He enjoyed the classes and the computer lab, but the field trips to the Trinity site, the VLA and Los Alamos were extremely valuable experiences for him. He stays in e-mail contact with the friends he made at SSP. --Lynne Batchelder, mother of Greg Wilbur '05

My son Michael felt SSP was a great experience and he really enjoyed the research opportunities that came with the program! Overall, the program was extremely beneficial. He enjoyed meeting other students from all over the country and the world. He still keeps in touch with many of them which I think is one of the strengths of the program. The kids all click because they have a lot in common. Thank you again for a great summer. -- Ellen Feldman, mother of Michael Feldman '05

Our son had a great time at SSP, both for the academic and the social experience. The SSP experience was also well-structured and gave no cause for concern to us about his safety, his insertion into the group, etc. We always knew that he was well-cared for, an important factor for us, as he was far, far from home.

As an American raised in Europe, it was a particularly important experience for him to test his language skills, to measure up against a select group of American students, to be introduced to American student culture, and to learn about options for university study in the US.

Overall, I would wholeheartedly recommend the program to parents with kids who are motivated to challenge themselves with a learning experience and learning environment that lies off the standard path. -- Thomas P. Lockhart, father of Guglielmo Lockhart '05

First of all, many thanks for Masha's happy and inspired face when we met her at the Boston Airport after SSP.

Although when we found the program website we immediately got the feeling that this program is an excellent match for Masha, the results still exceeded all our hopes and expectations. Some components of the inspired look were partially predictable from what we have learned about the program: demanding courses in Astronomy, Physics, and Math, bright people, and a challenging environment that Masha loves. Also we understood how important it is to experience routine research work before going into science.

What seemed impossible considering the workload, late night study, and all-night observations was Masha's confident, relaxed, and healthy appearance. Masha made a lot of friends, with whom she is still in constant contact; and she still has that 'airport' expression on her face when she talks about SSP.

We were worried very much sending Masha alone to the opposite coast for a long six weeks, but we are very happy that we have made this decision. Best wishes for the next SSP! --Lera Baru and Igor Baryakhtar, parents of Masha Baryakhtar '05


The SSP experience for my son was nothing less than wonderful. It was worth every penny! It fulfilled and exceeded my hopes and expectations. Kevin returned felling great about having challenged himself. He has a renewed enthusiasm for learning and a greater appreciation of himself. Anytime he speaks of SSP his pleasure is obvious. One small comment he made that stays with me: "The people there, all of them, got my jokes. They really understood what I was talking about." Kevin has thanked his father and I more than once for sending him to SSP. --Diane Andrus, mother of Kevin Andrus '04

We picked up Mary at the end of the session and I was struck by the happiness in her face and the comradeship of the entire group. The enthusiasm has not diminished! I am certain that this boost is helping inspire Mary this year. --Louise Bush, mother of Mary Bush '04

We had been worried regarding to homesickness and an environment keeping Benedikt isolated and not part of the group. Homesickness was never an issue. Benedikt was very well integrated in the SSP community. Self-confidence and taking on responsibilities improved substantially. He gained more confidence to study mathematics and physics. To achieve his objective he increased his effort to achieve outstanding results in his SATs, APs and IGCSEs. --Sieglinde and Martin Riedel, "the very happy parents of Benedikt Riedel" '04

Noele came home raving about her SSP experience. She has called those the most amazing and intense six weeks of her life. She loved the academic challenge, her teachers, the lectures, and her nightly adventures in guiding and measuring. Equally important, she met like-minded peers who shared many of her passions and introduced her to other interests. --Lorena Norris, mother of Noele Norris '04

Few experiences you engage in exceed your expectations. The SSP program did just that. Josh found SSP and pointed out to me that very few if any summer study programs allow a high school student to do research. He went to Socorro with the hope to have an academically challenging summer. The academics were first rate, but he got much more. The outside speakers were wonderful, the field trips were incredible. He had a blast.

As a parent of an academically advanced student I never worry if he can do the work. I worry if he will fit in socially. This was the unexpected highlight of the experience. He made "fast friends" and many of them. I expect these friendships may last for many years to come. This experience accelerated Josh academically as well as socially. What more could you ask for? --Robert and Karen Dillon, parents of Josh Dillon '04

SSP was undoubtedly a real highlight of our son Jonathan's life. He had an absolutely amazing experience. It wasn't just learning all kinds of wonderful things about astronomy and physics from some of the top people in the business, and the thrill of tracking his pet asteroid. It was meeting 35 other interesting and equally motivated young people. His roommate was from Turkey, and his teammates were from all over the place. He made friendships that I know will last him a lifetime.

When we went around "college shopping" this summer, he talked excitedly about SSP to every science professor and grad student that he got to talk to. Many had heard of the program and thought highly of it. --Steven Tucker, father of Jonathan Tucker '04

I didn't know what to expect when Vickie announced she wanted to go to New Mexico for the SSP program last summer. I was delighted to hear (although sporadically and from an exhausted daughter) the updates while Vickie was in the program. When she returned home, she talked non-stop for hours about all the exciting times she had, the interesting people she had met, and all she had learned. Vickie returned home more self-assured and directed. The curriculum helped her become a recognized contributor in her classes this year. I definitely recommend the program. --Julia Snow, mother of Victoria Martin '04

Michael worked harder than he ever has in his life, and learned more in six weeks than most people his age learn in a year. He also had the time of his life. I think that as much as he enjoyed (and was challenged by) the curriculum, the part of SSP Mike enjoyed the most was the people. The instructors and TAs were outstanding, and he has never been part of such a large group of people who shared his love of math and science. Mike loved being able to stay up half the night discussing everything from physics to Monty Python. Mike came away from SSP with a new group of friends, stronger math and science skills, and best of all, a much clearer picture of what he both wants and needs to do in college (and beyond). I think that the very best education helps you to discover your passion and gives you the skills and knowledge that you need to pursue that passion. SSP did both. --Cindy Pogwizd, mother of Michael Pogwizd '04

My daughter has an entire new set of friends that she is now in constant contact with electronically, and the post-SSP experience seems just as intense as their summer together. I think the thing that struck me most as a parent was hearing my daughter reveling in the experience of staying up to all hours for the purpose of actually doing scientific research; it was interesting to hear her talk about starting to realize what it is that scientists do. I can't imagine a better taste of science for a high-school student than the SSP. --Andy Hanson, father of Sonya Hanson '04

Jameson had a fantastic experience at SSP, both academically and socially. We would definitely recommend the program highly and would be glad to respond to any specific questions any prospective students or parents might have. --Maureen Neff, mother of Jameson Neff '04

I believe SSP was a turning point in Erik's life, and the community created there continues to support and nourish him. He will use this experience to give him confidence in the next big transition, heading out of state to go to college. I have seen his sense of responsibility and ability to take care of himself increase dramatically this summer. SSP is a great program. Thanks so much. --Nancy Kuefler, mother of Erik Kuefler '04

This is a terrific program and I can only highly recommend it. Arthur was so enthusiastic; and it helped him mature a lot. --Pierre Ewenczyk, father of Arthur Ewenczyk '04

Teressa has never felt such a common bond with a group of students before. The thought of never again having the same "meeting of the minds" made her cry buckets of tears when she left California. Thank you again for letting her experience SSP 2004. --Grace Van Diest, mother of Teressa Van Diest '04


SSP was a defining moment in my son's academic career. It was his initial exposure to an academic program that moved at a pace he was comfortable with, over material that he was interested in. It had the additional benefit of removing the college anticipation jitters - he's seen his academic future and it is good! The friendships the students developed was unexpected, and strong enough that they are still in contact with each other. Well worth both the money and the hours I spent on the internet searching for the program. --Janet Mattingly, mother of Sean Mattingly '03

Our son had an outstanding experience at SSP. He was intellectually challenged, and enjoyed and benefited from the close teamwork with his peers, and from the superb teaching and mentoring by program faculty. The program is awesome! Keep up the fantastic work. --Susan D. Block, MD, mother of Gabe Billings '03

SSP helped my son better understand his interest and commitment to science and math. This will help him understand where to focus when he goes to college. So, in exchange for $3000 (the cost of SSP), I think he will get better use of his time in college (which costs far more!) --Nancy Taubenslag, mother of Alex Rosenthal '03

My daughter loved the program. She could talk of little else for weeks after she got back. Some details have changed over the years -- for instance I tell my kids about the ancient mechanical calculators we had to use -- but the heart of it has not. --Mary Deyo '69, mother of Eric Deyo '98 and Christine Deyo '03

SSP was fabulous in every way. My son came home thrilled with all aspects of the experience. I think that one of the most important things he took away from SSP was the confirmation that being challenged to work hard was one of the things he loves most in life (as opposed to relaxing with video games or tv). He also felt like he "belonged" more than he ever has anywhere else. His first words to me about the program in our first phone call were, "Mom, everyone here is just like me!" --Carol Foote, mother of Paul Mandel '03

This was an experience of a lifetime for Roseanne. She enjoyed the work and even the long hours of homework, star gazing and computer programming. The blend of hard work, trips to the beach and outings to the JPL, Mt. Wilson, etc. made for a fast-paced and enjoyable 6 weeks. --Brent Warren, father of Roseanne Warren '03

As parents of a student attending the SSP program in Socorro, New Mexico, we had the privilege of seeing first hand how remarkable the program is. My husband and I visited during the same weekend that the board of directors was present for the new astrograph dedication. We had a chance to visit with them and were impressed with the enthusiasm of everyone we met. It was astonishing to hear of the enormous amount of effort that is put into SSP behind the scenes to keep it going.

We had the opportunity to see the students during their observation at the astrograph one evening, which was absolutely wonderful. The students loved the campus (New Mexico Tech) as well as working with the instruments. The entire Orbit Determination process was unlike anything our son could experience at school back home.

SSP is an amazing program and we highly recommend it for anyone interested in science and math. The experience opened to the students is incredible and truly deserves support! --Mr. & Mrs. Oehlerking, parents of Austin Oehlerking '03

When Ugur first mentioned SSP and the idea of going to Los Angeles, we as parents were hesitant to send our son 7,000 miles away from home. But now we see that SSP is the best choice for a child of that age. --Nasuhi Sonmez, father of Ugur Sonmez '03, Istanbul, Turkey


SSP was an exhilarating experience for Rajiv. He enjoyed the company of like-minded students, the stimulating discussions, the mentoring of the faculty and the T.A.'s and the feeling of being part of something special. He enjoyed it so much, he is determined to return as a T.A. --Sash Eranki, parent of Rajiv Eranki '02

I did not hear too often from my son while at your program because he was so excited that he even forgot to call me. When he did, he explained to me that he is having such a good time that he did not realized that two or even three weeks passed between two calls.

Although, from what he was writing to his friends I do know that he had the time of his life. Here is what he was writing to two of his classmates:
>How are you? I'm still in California. This program is SOOOOO cool. It's probably the coolest summer program ever. It's really, really amazing. It's a lot of work (notice I'm writing you @ 3:00 in the morning--I have a programming hw due on Thursday) but you learn so much. They teach you math(I've probably done the whole AP AB and BC calc course in less than 3 weeks) physics, and programming! ...."
--Daniela Munteanu, mother of Andrei Munteanu '02

Not only did Ben learn a tremendous amount of math and science from the talented faculty at SSP, but he was also exposed to some remarkable guest speakers, and, perhaps most importantly, he had a blast. His experiences there have helped him in his decision about whether or not to pursue engineering in college. It was a huge sacrifice for us to let him go, but it was definitely worth it. Mac and Bill DeLoache, parents of Ben DeLoache '02

Our son loved everything about SSP: the faculty, the demanding curriculum, the nighttime observations, the field trips, the guest speakers, the Ultimate Frisbee, the beach trips, the food. But perhaps more than anything else, he enjoyed the company of his fellow students. What a wonderful group of kids you assembled there!

Sending Ravi to SSP would have been nothing more than just wishful thinking, however, had it not been for the very affordable price of the program and the chance for financial aid. We knew that if Ravi got accepted to the program we could somehow manage to scrape together the money to send him, but the generous grant we received made it possible for us to send him without having to deny our other son a chance to also do something with his summer. Thank you again for the financial aid.

Ravi benefitted from SSP both in ways we expected and in ways we hadn't anticipated. Ravi has always been mature and responsible, serious and dedicated to his work. At home he never has much time to have fun. At SSP he learned to loosen up a little bit. He took time to have fun. We hadn't expected that. In fact, the one big surprise about SSP was that it was a lot more fun than we had expected it to be.

As expected, the college atmosphere of SSP was a great learning experience, both academically and socially. Ravi learned a great deal of new material, and he gained confidence in his ability to handle heavy workloads and difficult subject matter. He also learned a lot about time management. He could stay up til 3 AM socializing, but he learned what the consequences are for that in terms of energy and performance level the next day.

The chance to live and work with students from across the nation and from several foreign countries was another very positive aspect of SSP. Ravi loved that part of the experience.

We would definitely recommend SSP to any bright, motivated student who is interested in math and science and who likes to work hard and play hard. Ravi has told us that SSP is an experience he will remember with fondness for the rest of his life. When he came home he actually thanked us for sending him! --Candy Miyamura and Mukesh Gupta, parents of Ravi Gupta '02

I would have to say that I was a little apprehensive about my son spending 6 weeks away from home. However, SSP was the best thing that has ever happened to him! He loved it there, hated when it ended, and made friends that he chats with daily on the internet. Even though he says he learned way more than he expected and really enjoyed what he did and learned, I think he enjoyed it even more for the social aspect. It was definitely a life-changing experience for him! And, as for me, I now know he will not only will be ready, but will thrive when he goes away to college. We are more than grateful that he was given the opportunity to have this awesome experience at SSP! --Joan Sinnet, mother of Ryan Sinnet '02

We have a younger daughter and we have already discussed with her our hope that she will attend SSP too. I would not hesitate to recommend the program to anyone with a serious interest in math and science. --Mindy Chanan, mother of Greg Chanan '02.

Anna claims that she had the best summer of her life at SSP! The kids formed such close knit bonds in such a short time. She appreciated that the program fosters collaboration instead of competition. --Barbara Richardson, mother of Anna Richardson '02

Our son came back with more of a desire for learning. He was more curious, and more excited about research. He also keeps mentioning SSP and how much fun he had, and about the field trips he took. It has really helped him. --Malvinder S. Makhni and Parveen B. Makhni, parents of Melvin Makhni '02


This community of enthusiasm and learning that you worked to create in Ojai has done wonders for Nora. Evidently, these kids developed a tremendous bond in six short weeks. Nora is in e-mail and phone contact with many of them. We suspect some SSP 2001 alumni will still be friends in 2050. --Walt Matell, father of Nora Matell '01

This program is great. When our son first began the application process, we were a little hestitant concerning the program. It sounded good when looking at the information available, but we weren't positive about the actual implementation. When he was accepted, we learned much more about the program and saw the detailed arrangements that had been made. This is an excellent program that has done wonders for our son.

Probably the best part of this program was allowing our son to work with some of the best young minds in the country. Our son attends public school and has done quite well, but he had never been exposed to the level of students that were present at SSP. This exposure broadened his perspective about his own abilities as well as his knowledge of the "competition" from other high school students.

SSP provided several excellent benefits to our son. The obvious benefit was the excellent science and math instruction and the application of the classroom material during the observation time. The second benefit was the maturing that our son did while he was at the program. He came back more focused and more interested in science.

If your child is interested in this program, please encourage them to apply. As you become more familiar with the program, I am sure that you, too, will be extremely impressed with the high caliber of this program. --Jim Tarter, father of J.B. Tarter '01

SSP was a unique, fascinating, enjoyable, and educational experience for our 16 year old son. While the long nights produced little sleep, it also provided great memories. SSP was the first time that my son associated with fellow students with similar interests. The experience both excited him intellectually and produced what I presume to be long lasting and deep friendships. --Stephen Gottlieb, M.D., father of Josh Gottlieb '01

We thank you for the opportunity to be able to share with you and others the wonderful experience Katy had this past summer [2001]. From the first contact we had with SSP to present, we have been dealt with in a most courteous and caring manner. We were extremely impressed with every detail of planning and concern for the well-being and safety for the young men and women while under the care of SSP. The staff was genuinely concerned for our daughter.

SSP changed our daughter from a good student to a "mature thinking" great student. Your program gave her the challenge that changed her thought process into that of a college student - which is where she is heading. The experience she had at SSP enriched her study habits. The friendship with staff and peers helped her minimize fears of being away from home. SSP could also stand for "Student Success Program." Thank you for giving our daughter the summer she will never forget.

If we can be of further assistance to you in any way, please do not hesitate to call on us. We have nothing but praise for SSP! --Jan and Sylvia Kapphahn, parents of Katy Kapphahn '01

Jim's experience at SSP was the best of his life, it has left him a different person. His world view was broadened by his exposure to so many young people with such varied backgrounds, and his love of science was strengthened by the demanding yet exciting program. It has intensified his interest in colleges that he hopes will give him a similar intellectual experience. It is the benchmark that all other schools have to meet, quite a tall order!! --Linda S. Kreft, mother of Jim Kreft '01

When our son, barely 16, applied to SSP, our biggest concern was how he would fare being away from home for six weeks. Six weeks is an awfully long time. But, we also realized that the unusual length of the program would foster better friendships and allow many of his interests to be explored in something more than a superficial way. In the end, we, rather than our son, had the biggest difficulty with the long separation. Despite frequent conversations with him via phone and email, we missed him a lot. He, on the other hand, was able to experience a degree of independence and a level of challenge he hadn't known before, while still being in a safe environment. He had a wonderful time and we survived. We are very grateful to all the staff and supporters of SSP for making it possible for our son, and so many other teenagers, to have such a personally rewarding summer experience. --Doug & Maile Jachowski, parents of Matthew Jachoswki '01

Last April when Rohit applied and he was accepted to SSP, we were little apprehensive to send him alone all the way to California from Amman Jordan where we were posted at that time. We have to thank SSP for an unforgettable summer that he had. Rohit was an international student but he was very well taken care of, and we as parents were very relaxed although he was so far away. He would have loved to have SSP all year long! --Subhash Gupta, mother of Rohit Gupta '01

My son Arjun immensely benefited from SSP. He normally is a person of few words, but he did share a great deal of his 6 weeks experience. He particularly liked and felt enriched on the group activities and the value of academic content.

Despite sometimes tough routine of finishing work, he seems to have learned, and enjoyed his stint. He also made some good friends. Overall we are truly delighted we sent him for the SSP. --Chitra Talwar, mother of Arjun Talwar '01


When I read your code of honor, I was thrilled. You are emphasizing the importance of camaraderie and respect for one another, which High School unfortunately seems to so often overlook. I guess you all remember what it was like to be an innocent but smart adolescent in a world that does not always value people with a sincere love of learning along with compassionate hearts.

Solomon found this program by himself on the Internet and since it was all the way across the USA, my husband and I were a little skeptical at first. Solomon insisted that it looked like a superior program from all the others he had researched that were closer to where we live. We told him to apply not really thinking he would get in. We had to let him go because "we promised." I am thankful we listened to our son because he usually has pretty good insight about these things. He sounds like he has found a wonderful niche of friends whom he hopefully will E-mail and stay in contact with long after he leaves.

We are thrilled with your organization and planning. He seems to know exactly what is expected so he can try to plan his work accordingly. This will be a great steppingstone for him to adjust to college.

Solomon is truly on his own for the first time in his life. He is learning as much about himself and his own growth as he is about academics.

It is a scary world out there. Thanks for making the road to adulthood a little more pleasant for our son. Continue in your encouragement of academic and personal integrity for adolescents because it is well worth the effort. You have our sincere appreciation and respect. --Jill and Jeff Bisker, parents of Solomon Bisker '00

Thanks yet AGAIN for the program that Jake is learning so much from - I think it's been the best of all possible programs for him this year. He has said that this is the first time he's been part of a group of equally smart and yet totally supportive and non-competitive kids - they all work together on a hard project and, when it's done, they all feel such a wonderful and new feeling of exuberance - it's great! I feel like he is so much more ready for college in a year now that he's experienced this program. So the future is bright, I think - thank you again! --Margie L. Pinheiro, mother of Jake Pinheiro '00