Run an experiment in space. Make a movie using stop-motion animation. Get to know the mammals of the Arctic. Learn skills to boost your score on college entrance exams.

These are just some of the engaging possibilities at this summer’s Sally Ride Science Junior Academy, which carries on the legacy of America’s first woman in space with innovative STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) workshops. Registration is now open for the 2019 academy, to be held from June 24 to July 19 at University City Center, 6256 Greenwich Drive, San Diego.

The dozens of offerings include popular workshops from past years – including Astrobiology, Tiny Houses, Messy Science and Culinary Chemistry. There are also exciting additions this summer:

  • Elementary workshops: Along with classes designated for middle school or high school students, there will be elementary workshops for kids going into grades 4 and 5.
  • Fun new topics: New workshops range from Gemology to Wind Power and from The Science of Harry Potter to Advanced Robotics Programming with JavaScript.
  • Science in space: In a workshop offered in conjunction with Space Tango and Quest Institute, students will learn to program a heat-transfer experiment and then actually run their programs in microgravity on the International Space Station.
  • Test prep: High school students can take a 16-hour course to master proven strategies for success on the SAT exam.
  • Program Your Future: In this certificate program, high schoolers will learn the basics of three major programming languages and then choose one of the languages to use in a project addressing a problem in the world.
  • Parent workshop: There’s even a workshop for parents offering research-based pointers on how to support children’s engagement in STEAM.

See the full Junior Academy course lineup here.

Sally Ride Science became part of UC San Diego in 2015 and launched the Junior Academy in 2016. Sally Ride Science is based at UC San Diego Extension.

“This year we are taking Junior Academy to a whole new level by offering more rigorous courses that are focused on workforce priority sectors,” said Megan Lancaster, program manager for Extension’s Pre-College Programs. “Students will be exposed to unfamiliar areas and develop a passion for learning about new things.”

Each Junior Academy workshop enriches a science or technology topic by incorporating an art component. Instructors include graduate students from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, undergraduates from UC San Diego, and local artists and science educators. In addition to teaching the material, the instructors serve as role models.

Courses are open to students entering grades 4–12 in the 2019-2020 school year. Sally Ride Science has a focus on encouraging girls in STEAM fields, but both girls and boys are welcome at the Junior Academy.

Like last year’s program, the 2019 academy will offer four one-week sessions of half-day workshops. The morning session will run from 9 am to noon, followed by a half-hour lunch break. The afternoon session will be from 12:30 to 3:30 pm. Parents can enroll students in morning sessions, afternoon sessions or both. As in 2018, there will also be 2-week and 4-week half-day courses that will allow high school students to earn college prep credits.

Different rates apply for 1-week, 2-week and 4-week courses. Get an early-bird discount by registering between Jan. 2 and March 12 and using the promo code UCSD4SRS. There is also an option to pay a fee for early drop-off and late pickup of students. Junior Academy scholarships will be available for students in the San Diego Unified School District.

Sally Ride soared into history aboard the space shuttle Challenger on June 18, 1983. After leaving NASA, she became a physics professor at UC San Diego. In 2001, Ride joined with her partner, Tam O’Shaughnessy, and three friends to found Sally Ride Science. Ride was CEO of the company until her death in 2012. O’Shaughnessy now serves as executive director of Sally Ride Science at UC San Diego.

Lancaster said it’s gratifying to watch students delving into the academy’s hands-on workshops. “These students never cease to amaze us with their knowledge and skills, and this year will prove no different!” she said.