The Pennsylvania Governor's School for the Sciences (PGSS) is a summer enrichment program in mathematics, computer science, physics, chemistry, and biology for rising high school seniors throughout the state of Pennsylvania.
Between 1982 and 2008 and starting again in 2013, PGSS is hosted at Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA for 5 weeks every summer, typically from end of June until the beginning of August. It features a cutting-edge curriculum and hands-on laboratory research that makes use of the sophisticated technology and facilities of Carnegie-Mellon. For many high schoolers, it is their first exposure to college-level academics and an inspiration to pursue further studies and careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.
In this age of information explosion, scientific research is constantly developing new frontiers and the technology with which to conquer them. It is understandably difficult in terms of budget, scheduling, and heterogeneous talents among student bodies for local schools to deliver the front line in science and mathematical experiences to students with special abilities and talents in these fields. PGSS Campaign, Inc. is dedicated to maintaining the presence of this unique and valuable program to future generations of Pennsylvania high school students.
Academically talented high school students who are current juniors and residents of Pennsylvania at the time of the application deadline can apply to the PA Governor's School for the Sciences. Applicants typically demonstrate academic achievement, especially in the sciences and mathematics and a record of pursuing this interest beyond the classroom. For the 2013 program, there were 515 applications for 56 spots, later raised to 60 through the generosity of PGSS Campaign.
Admission to PGSS is solely-merit based. Applications are typically due at the beginning of the calendar year (January). Following initial reading by faculty and staff from the Pennsylvania Governor's School for the Sciences, applications are classified into Intermediate Unit region groups by geography. Admission decisions are made by judging applications within each group, and not by comparing applications to the entire pool.
Expenses for a 5-week PGSS program include tuition, instructional materials, and room and board so that students can maintain residence on the Carnegie-Mellon campus. From 1982-2008, services were fully subsidized by the state of Pennsylvania, and all students were enabled to attend PGSS at no financial cost to their families. In 2013 and 2014, the state of Pennsylvania and PGSS Campaign, Inc. have funded the program together so there is still no cost to the families.
PGSS Campaign, Inc. is establishing public and private partnerships with the state of Pennsylvania and various companies so that future PGSS programs will continue to be free of charge to students and their families.
The Commonwealth of PA has promised $150K which must be matched by the PGSS Campaign, Inc. This match is met each year through the generosity of alumni and their families and friends as well as corporate sponsors secured by PGSS Campaign, Inc.
A line item is now in the Governor's budget and will hopefully be approved by the legislature (as of 2/14). This is only for $50,000 for PGSS 2015 but we hope the legislature will commit an additional $100,000 for PGSS. PGSS Campaign has pledged to continue to secure private donations and grants for the perpetuation of PGSS. It is our hope that there will be a continued public-private partnership with the Governor's office and that the PA legislature will also make PGSS a priority in the budget for upcoming years.
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