2020 Student Science Training Program

CANCELED DUE TO COVID-19 - PLEASE CHECK BACK FOR 2021 DATES AND INFORMATION

Eligible for students entering grade 12
sstp@cpet.ufl.edu 

The University of Florida Student Science Training Program (UF SSTP) is a seven week residential research program for selected students entering senior year and at least 16 years old by the program start date who are considering science, 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 interested in attending the UF SSTP must possess a high level of maturity, an ability to live and learn independently, a desire to work collaboratively, and a sincere interest in research. 

The UF SSTP is a rigorous and fast paced program for academically talented and motivated students.   Students engage in the ongoing research of the faculty-mentor for 30 hours each week, attend a daily lecture series on current research topics, and participate in a UF honors seminar class.  Additionally, students develop important interpersonal, leadership, professional communication, and organizational skills through academic, social, and service activities.  Students enrolled in a Florida high school have the option to earn dual enrollment credit.

Important Information: Students must make a commitment to attend and participate in the entire program.  Please confirm no other academic, school-related, sports, or family events will conflict with the program dates.  Due to the program’s rigorous scheduling, departures from the UF SSTP for other commitments are not allowed.   Weekend fieldtrips, social events, and service activities are important and enjoyable parts of the program.   Should a one-time family event (such as a wedding) require a student’s departure from the program (departing Friday afternoon and returning Sunday), requests must be made in advance to Dehlia Albrecht, CPET Youth Programs Coordinator. 

Application Fee:  $50

Program Cost: $4,800 which includes housing; staffing and supervision; program-related fieldtrips, social, and service activities; insurance (primary or excess depending upon parent coverage); and program-themed supplies.  Daily meals are not included. 

All interested and qualified students are encouraged to apply for the UF SSTP regardless of ability to pay.  Limited need-based scholarships are available for students attending a Florida high school. 


What SSTP Offers

The three academic components of the UF SSTP are laboratory research, a science lecture series, and a UF Honors Program seminar class. UF SSTP student's 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.

Example Schedules
ScheduleFlyerHandbookApplication
SSTP Schedule 2018  SSTP Flyer 2019  SSTP Handbook 2019  SSTP Application 2019
Application Requirements for SSTP

The on-line application portal link is www.cpet.ufl.edu. Applicants must create an account in our online application portal in order to apply for any student programs offered by UF CPET. The online application portal is www.ufcpet.smapply.us.  All components are submitted using the online application process unless noted.  After all the below components of the application are completed, student must log into their account and SUBMIT their application.

A UF SSTP Application consists of:

User Information: Provide applicant and parent/guardian contact information.

Application Form: Provide additional information such as student involvement and responding to two writing prompts.  The two writing prompts are as follows (each is limited to 500 words):

  • Prompt 1: Which STEM field interests you most? For example: Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Environmental Science, Mechanical Engineering, etc. Describe your interest in this field.
  • Prompt 2: Where do you see yourself academically and professionally in 10 years? How do you anticipate achieving these goals?

Teacher Endorsement Form 1 and 2:  Two Online Teacher Endorsement Forms from a high-school or college-level math, science, research, or computer science teacher or mentor are required. 

  • Endorsers are asked to evaluate the student’s maturity, collaborative learning capacity, and ability to work in a University-level research lab. Applicants should think carefully about which teachers know the student the best and will be able to evaluate according to the criteria.
  • Endorsers will receive an automated request from noreply@smapply.io once a student has requested an endorsement in their online application. However, we recommend that students contact their teacher prior to filling out the online request.

  • If they do not receive an email from our system, please double-check that you have their correct email address before contacting us. This is the #1 reason why teachers do not receive the endorsement form.

Academic Record Form(Offline Task*, see note below): The Academic Record Form is to be completed by a Guidance Counselor or similar administrator. Students are not required to have taken pre-college entrance exams, such as the PSAT, SAT, or ACT. However, if previously taken, they should be reported. The Academic Record Form is available for download from the application portal (students will also receive this form as a PDF via email once an application portal account is made).   The Academic Record Form must be sent directly to the CPET Office by the Guidance Counselor or school office via e-mail, to our mailing address, or faxed.

Official High School Transcript (Offline Task*, see note below):  Hardcopy of a student’s transcript must be mailed or faxed directly to the CPET Office by the school office.  Your Junior Year’s first semester grades required. 

  • Our mailing address is UF CPET/SSTP, PO Box 112010, Gainesville, FL 32611.
  • Our FAX is 352-392-2344 (Not sure how to FAX? Ask your guidance counselor for help.)
  • Our fax machine gets really busy during application season, especially as deadlines approach. Make sure your fax sends before walking away!
  • Students are required to have started the UF SSTP Application before transcripts are received. Transcripts received without an associated on-line application account will be destroyed.
  • Application Fee (Offline Task*, see note below):  The link to pay the $50 Application Fee is available from our How to Pay Page.  Students attending a Florida High School who qualify for free and reduced may request an Application Fee Waiver. 

    *Offline Tasks: In the application portal, students are required to acknowledge the requirement of the each of these “off-line” portions by clicking “submit for approval”. The CPET office will log receipt of the each requirement.  After the requirement is logged, students will need to complete the section by clicking “complete” in the on-line portal.  After all portions are complete, students can then submit their full application.

Application Deadlines & Notifications

There is no application deadline.  Application review and selection will begin March 1st.  UF SSTP has a rolling admission process which means applications will continue to be reviewed until the program is filled.

Students will receive automated emails from noreply@smapply.io to the “Student’s E-mail Address” provided on the application confirming his or her application in complete. It is the student’s responsibility to provide a working email address and check that email address regularly for communication from the UF SSTP program. 

Participant Selection: Notification of Selection will be made via email to the student email address provided on the application.  It is the student’s responsibility to provide a working email address and check that email address regularly for communication from the UF SSTP program.  Failure to respond to email in a timely manner may result in the student being placed on the wait list.

Students invited to participate are required to respond to the invitation within 10 days of the email being sent.  Students accepting their invitation are required to make a $500 non-refundable deposit to hold his or her spot in the UF SSTP.  Final paperwork and fees (additional $4,300) are due via e-mail form submission or postmarked April 25, 2020.  The non-refundable deposit may be waived for students applying for a need-based scholarship.  Students invited to attend, but not ready to commit to may defer his or her invitation.  No deposit is required, however the student’s spot will not be held.  At the time the student is ready to commit, he or she will need to call the office to inquire if a spot is still available.

The UF SSTP does not fill all available spots during the first rounds of application reviews.  Therefore, students may be placed on a waitlist if not invited during the first time his or her application is reviewed.  This is an active waitlist and applications will continue to be reviewed until the program is filled.  Students must confirm their place on the waitlist to continue being considered.  The waitlist is not ranked.

The UF SSTP program and CPET staff abide by FERPA and University application standards and therefore do not discuss applications, applicant data (individual or aggregated), nor selection with students or parents.   Neither originals nor copies of a student’s application material will be returned.  Once an application is submitted, students may view and download, but not edit, their application through the online portal.

What does the fee include?

The program fee for summer 2020 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 meals at a theme park; 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.

SSTP Academic Content

Research Component

 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 her 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.

Lectures

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.

Seminar 

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 free dual enrollment credit for this competent of the program.

SSTP Housing & Daily Life

Housing

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. Students 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 fieldtrips to destinations such as the Whitney Marine Lab, St. Augustine Beach, a theme park, and swimming/tubing at a local spring.

Meals & Dining 

Beaty Towers suites come equipped with small kitchens, shared by the roommates and include a fridge, stovetop and microwave.  We provide weekly grocery runs. Additionally there are many local restaurants on campus and in the immediate area. 

Social Activities & Weekends

While the SSTP schedule is fairly full, some down time is provided.  Students have access to campus facilities for recreation.  Each Saturday is booked with a full day field trip or volunteering activity.  Sundays are given for down-time, grocery shopping, and working on projects.  

More specifics on daily life and what to expect are provided once a student is accepted into the SSTP Program. 

More Questions?

Visit the SSTP FAQ Page


SSTP Alumni Testimonial

As a participant of the 2019 UF SSTP program, I was one among the 82 other science fanatics. I worked in a computer science lab, and when I first found out about my lab assignment, I was baffled because I’m a complete neuroscience and biology enthusiast whose past research experience comprised only of those fields. However, now that I’ve had time to reflect on my seven-week journey, I have come to love and appreciate the research that I conducted which so harmoniously amalgamated my interests of cognitive science and ophthalmology. In essence, what I’m conveying is that without being in this program I would have kept a very narrow scope and continually refused to ever look beyond it. I’m eternally grateful for my lab for welcoming me so graciously, being so kind to explain everything to me when I was the most confused one in the room during lab meetings, and most importantly treating me like a colleague, allowing me to formulate my own project, and cheering me on every step of the way.

Besides from experiencing a complete revelation of the fact that the applications of computer science research are so vast in the real world, I also came to value research wholeheartedly. Certain aspects of the field repeatedly remind me of how incredible it truly is. Research simply is powerful because the innovation scientists forge has the power to overcome the challenges of our world. We as researchers have the potential to create new knowledge and employ it for the betterment of all that treads the earth. Research forces us to become comfortable with what makes us uncomfortable. Shying away from something that scares you because it is out of your comfort zone is a truly detrimental process because it is when you dive into the unknown, that research truly becomes thrilling. Research challenges you in ways you never thought possible. Whether that be analyzing data to extract all the possible conclusions, reading immense amounts of papers just to formulate a research question, or failing with no possible solution in sight. Research truly is built for those who persist and fight to bring their ideas into reality. It can be so frustrating at times when nothing seems to fall in line with your plan, but the trial is well worth it when you see your work finally come to life. Research never ends. The world will keep changing, problems will continue to arise, and we will always be faced with the next imminent danger. In those situations, the process of questioning, thinking, and solving is what makes the biggest difference, and leads to a lasting imprint on our world.

All in all, a key point I’ve been able to extract from this experience is that in research you need to dream, have confidence, learn from your failures, and enjoy your successes.