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January 17, 2000

UC to host math and science academies for state's top high school students

By Terry Lightfoot
Office of the President

California's top high school students will have the opportunity to explore and study advanced mathematics and science with leading researchers from the University of California during intensive, month-long summer school academies to be established at UC Santa Cruz and UC Irvine.

Students participating in the California State Summer School for Math and Science (COSMOS) will be offered a challenging curriculum, some of which is not traditionally covered in high school courses. Areas of study will include astronomy, biological sciences, chemistry, computer science, earth sciences, engineering, mathematics, ocean and marine sciences, and physics. Subjects offered at each campus will reflect their specific areas of research expertise.  

The goal of the COSMOS program is to motivate the most academically talented and creative minds of the next generation of prospective scientists, engineers, and mathematicians to participate in the business and higher education sectors of the state.

Students in grades nine through 12 will be eligible to apply. Students chosen to participate in the COSMOS program must exhibit academic excellence in the sciences or mathematics, both in the classroom and through extracurricular activities such as science fairs or performance on standardized tests.

Each academy will host up to 250 students, who will live in on-campus student housing. The month-long programs will begin on June 26 at UC Santa Cruz and July 5 at UC Irvine. The state is providing $1 million in annual funding for COSMOS.

At UCSC, the program will be overseen by Carrol Moran, director of the Educational Partnership Center, Lynda Goff, vice provost and dean of undergraduate education, and Francisco J. Hernandez, vice chancellor for student affairs.

At UCI, the academy will be administered by Juan Francisco Lara, assistant vice chancellor of enrollment services and director of UCI's Center for Educational Partnerships, and Ronald J. Stern, dean of the School of Physical Sciences.

Similar to the California State Summer School for the Arts founded in 1987, COSMOS will offer students college experience and the opportunity to study with leading secondary school teachers of mathematics and science as well as university mathematicians, scientists, and engineers. Academic activities will include hands-on laboratory experiences and team problem-solving competitions.

At UC Santa Cruz, students will have opportunities to visit the University of California Observatories/Lick Observatory, the Joseph M. Long Marine Laboratory, the Tech Museum of Innovation, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the NASA-Ames Research Center, and technology firms in Silicon Valley.

In addition, students will be introduced to an array of academic resources offered at and nearby the host UC campus. At UC Irvine, such visits may include the Beckman Laser Institute, the UCI Brain Imaging Center, the UCI Observatory, and the San Joaquin Freshwater Marsh Reserve. Off-campus excursions may include visits to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the California Institute of Technology, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, and research-and-development facilities at area high-tech companies.

At both campuses, a strong residential life component will round out the experience.

A statewide advisory board will be formed to guide the planning and administration of the COSMOS program. Its members will include faculty from UC and other public and private universities and business leaders. In addition, a team of faculty, deans, and directors from UC and other academic institutions will develop curriculum and activities.

Students will apply to the campus where they want to study, and participants will need to cover the costs of transportation to and from the academy. A fee of $1,000 will cover all activities, as well as room and board in campus student housing. Need-based scholarships will be available. The deadline for applications is March 15, 2000.

Applications are available at the following Web sites: UCSC COSMOS and UCI COSMOS.

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