Student Science Training Program
Summer 2019 will mark the 61th consecutive year of the University of Florida Student Science Training Program (UF-SSTP). More than 5,000 academically talented students from around the world have completed this rigorous summer residential research program since its inception in 1959.
The UF-SSTP is a seven week residential research program for selected rising juniors and seniors who are considering medicine, math, computer, science, or engineering careers. The program emphasis is research participation with a UF faculty research scientist and his or her research team.
Students engage in the on-going research of the faculty-mentor for 28 hours each week, attend a lecture series on current research topics, and participate in a UF honors seminar class. Students enrolled in a Florida high school have the option to earn dual credit enrollment credit.
UF-SSTP alumni have gone on to attend the University of Florida and other prestigious universities such as Harvard, Oxford, Johns Hopkins and Stanford. They have become doctors, researchers, educators, engineers, and CEO’s of their own companies.
Program Dates: June 9, 2019 – July 27, 2019
For application information, download and read the How to apply handout.
The three academic components of the UF SSTP are laboratory research, a science lecture series, and a UF Honors Program seminar class. UF SSTP students’ academic success is supported by residential and academic counselors who lead small group discussions, meet weekly with research faculty mentors, hold weekly individual meetings with students, assist with students’ understanding of scientific articles, and provide guidance and feedback on academic assignments.
The program’s academic requirements include participating fully in all program activities, submitting weekly lab notes, developing and writing a scientific research paper, presenting a research poster, and giving two oral presentations. Additional academic requirements include assignments given by instructors for the UF Honors Program seminar class. The assignments vary, however students can expect to be evaluated on class preparedness and participation in addition to graded assessments such as quizzes, presentations, reaction papers, and projects.
The UF SSTP creates an environment that promotes the academic and personal growth of students, helping each develop important interpersonal, organizational, professional communication, and leadership skills in an academically enriching setting. UF SSTP participants gain effective communication and leadership skills through small group discussions, oral presentations, workshops, and practical experiences. Peer support and feedback builds critical thinking, interpersonal, and technical writing skills
SSTP participants engage in service-learning through a coordinated creek clean-up service project with the UF campus and surrounding Gainesville community.
Weekend events include social and service activities, as well as fieldtrips to a theme park, local springs, and other fun Florida places of interest. Participants attend all UF SSTP-sponsored social and weekend activities together. The UF SSTP schedule also includes unstructured time for students to network and build long-lasting friendships with their peers.
Overall, SSTP offers the motivated student a unique and intensive learning environment designed to provide challenging and inspiring experiences and to stimulate interest in science-related careers. A sample general schedule is available to explore the activities you would expect as a participant in SSTP.
Research, Lectures and Seminar
UF research faculty engage SSTP participants in university-level research as part of the lab team. Each SSTP participant will be individually assigned to a research lab based upon his or her interests and experiences. During the summer, SSTP participants will assist in the on-going research of his or her assigned lab. Participants develop a working knowledge of the research conduct in his or lab through reading scientific literature, learning lab procedures and how to use lab equipment, and then implementing a research plan as directed by the student’s faculty mentor. The research experiences offered at SSTP vary and may include clinical research, bench research, engineering projects, computer-based projects, or field work. Participants are also mentored in best lab practices, scientific inquiry, and research careers. SSTP participants write a research paper, give two research talks, and present a research poster based the work conducted in the research lab. SSTP participants from a Florida high school may earn dual enrollment credit for this competent of the program.
The interdisciplinary lecture series is presented by UF research faculty who highlight the concepts, experimental approaches, and applications of current research. All SSTP participants attend the lecture presented each day. Lecture topics cover research in the biological sciences, physical sciences, mathematics, engineering, and medicine. Ethics, technical writing, laboratory safety, and the role of the humanities in science are also presented. Lecture topics for previous years include: The Mathematics of Randomness, Ethical Controversies in Science, Micro Air Vehicles and Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems, The Art of Writing in the Sciences, The Challenges of Tropical Diseases in the Modern World, and Climate Change: Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies in the South.
All SSTP students participate in a UF Interdisciplinary Honors Seminar Course. These small group classes (limited to 12 students) emphasize cutting edge research in the specified topics. The class curriculum incorporates lecture, library research, discussion, reaction papers, oral presentations, and quizzes. Active participation by the SSTP student creates a dynamic classroom setting. Courses are taught by post-docs, PhD candidates, and medical school students who are currently conducting research on the topic presented during the course. Students indicate a preference for which seminar classes each is assigned. Topics change yearly and have ranged from Cancer Biology and Therapeutics to Carbon Nanotube Technology for Energy Applications to Science in the News. SSTP participants from a Florida high school may earn dual enrollment credit for this competent of the program.
SSTP participants and residential staff live in the Beaty Towers residence hall on the UF campus. The Beaty Towers residence hall has suite-style rooms where each suite has two double-occupancy bedrooms, a kitchen, living area and a bathroom. There are eight suites per floor with two residential counselors per floor. The Beaty Towers Commons offers participants a place to gather and offers activities such as pool, table tennis, a TV, lounge space, and a study hall. Additionally, students will have internet and Wi-Fi access both in the residence halls and on the UF campus (please refer to the FAQ for details on how to access these services).
SSTP residential counselors facilitate campus living through community building and help participants adjust to living away from home. Students get to know one-another through floor activities, shared meals, student socials, and small group get-togethers. Counselors engage students in activities such pick-up basketball games, running/walking groups, playing guitar/musical instruments, and other share interests. Cooking help, laundry how-to lessons, and other practical advice is provided by counselors.
One focus of SSTP is to create a multicultural community in which students are encouraged to live and learn with students from varied backgrounds and experiences. Towards this goal, SSTP does not accept roommate requests and students from the same high school are not roomed together. The program does take into consideration such factors as a student’s study preferences, house-keeping preferences, sleep preferences, and general interests when making roommate assignments. Student selected to attend SSTP complete a Roommate Matching/Personal Interest Sheet on which he or she may indicate such preferences.
While at UF, students have the opportunity to enjoy participating in outdoor recreational activities with a membership to the Broward Outdoor Recreational Facilities (BORC). Students also have access to outdoor swimming pools and outdoor green space for both program-organized and self-organized activities. Students enrolling in the UF Dual Enrollment Program will have access to indoor gym facilities.
All SSTP students participate in program-sponsored social activities, fieldtrips, and a service project. Weekly activities include a variety of social events, such as dinner socials, dances, bowling and game room activities at the Retiz Union, and UF sponsored Gator Nights. Additionally, SSTP sponsors weekend fieldtrip to destinations such as the Whitney Marine Lab, St. Augustine Beach, Disney World, and swimming/tubing at a local spring.
The program fee for summer 2019 is $4800. The program fee covers on-campus residential housing, staffing, insurance, membership to outdoor gym-recreational facilities, laboratory manual and research text book, a program t-shirt, and most program-sponsored activity expenses such as entrance tickets to parks, transportation and meals for field trips, weekly social activities and events, a formal banquet, a student-faculty-parent research poster reception, closing ceremony, and a group picture. The cost to attend the UF SSTP does not include daily meals.
Limited financial aid may be available for students attending a Florida high school. Financial Aid Applications should be submitted with the application or as soon as possible after the application is completed. Students qualifying for potential scholarships will be waived the program deposit if accepted to the UF SSTP.
The amount of personal spending money required for the program varies. Students should budget for the following: grocery shopping; the number of meals he or she plans to eat out; non-program-sponsored social activities such as going to the movies; souvenirs from the UF bookstore and fieldtrips; drinks, snacks, and one meal at a theme park (UF SSTP will provide one meal); and some academic expenses such as printing in UF computer labs and printing of the final research poster.
Transportation cost for travel to and from Gainesville are the responsibility of the students and their families.