Carnegie Mellon University
June 15, 2017

Pennsylvania’s Top High School Science Students Come to Carnegie Mellon for Governor’s School for the Sciences

By Emily Payne

The Pennsylvania Governor's School for the Sciences (PGSS) returns to Carnegie Mellon University this summer thanks to the support of the PGSS Campaign, Inc. The alumni driven campaign raised enough funds to support the program this year, and hopes to be able to continue to support the program through 2019.

July 2 though Aug. 5, 58 rising high school seniors will fill the residence halls of Carnegie Mellon as part of the 5-week summer intensive enrichment program. The students were chosen from 423 applicants from across Pennsylvania’s 29 intermediate units.

“There are few things as rewarding as being able to help young scientists experience the thrill of exploration and discovery.”

They will take core courses in biology, chemistry, physics, computer science and mathematics, participate in team research projects and explore a range of electives during the program. The students also will gain hands-on experience through lab courses in organic synthesis, classical and modern physics, microbiology and genetics or programming, and attend guest lectures from leaders in the scientific field.

The program is unique in exposing students to scientific research and specialized scientific study, which has helped propel many of its alumni into successful careers in the sciences. “There are few things as rewarding as being able to help young scientists experience the thrill of exploration and discovery,” said Barry Luokkala, teaching professor of physics and PGSS program director.

Since its inception in 1982, the Mellon College of Science has hosted the PGSS, which was funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Education until 2009 when all Governor’s Schools of Excellence in Pennsylvania were cut from the state budget.

Recognizing the need for the program and how it changed their own lives, PGSS alumni established the nonprofit PGSS Campaign, Inc. and have been raising funds from individual donors and corporate sponsors to keep the program going.

“To put it simply, the Pennsylvania Governor's School for the Sciences changes lives. Testimony to this is the outpouring of donations from alumni of the program and parents of alumni, as well as corporate sponsors, all of whom helped to revive the program in 2013 and have kept it going since then. The generosity and determination of the PGSS alumni will ensure that the program will continue to inspire and change the lives of more young scientists,” said Luokkala.