Quest for Excellence: STEM

The Quest for Excellence STEM Award gives high-achieving, low-income high school juniors with career interests in the sciences, technology, engineering, and/or mathematics access to residential summer enrichment programs, grants for technology and supplies, funding for college visits, as well as opportunities to engage with industry leaders. These awards are intended to encourage and support students in pursuing and succeeding in a variety of STEM fields in college and beyond. This initiative is made possible through the generosity of several donors.

View the 2017 Quest for Excellence STEM Flyer

All College Prep Scholars selected for the Quest for Excellence STEM Award will receive:

  • Up to $1,000 in technology (new computer, tablet, or laptop) OR

  • Up to $1,000 in STEM related supplies or software OR

  • Up to $1,000 coverage in travel costs to QuestBridge college partners of your choice OR

  • A full scholarship to a residential summer program (see full list below)

2017 Summer Programs:

How to Apply

  1. Start a College Prep Scholars Program application. 
  2. In the “Awards” page of the application, complete the Quest for Excellence STEM Award short essays.  

  3. If you are interested in being considered for the residential summer programs exclusive to this opportunity, select the programs you are interested in below the essays and review the requirements for each program.

  4. Complete and submit the College Prep Scholars Program application by the deadline (Wednesday, March 22, 2017).

  5. If applicable, review and complete the supplemental requirements of the residential summer programs by the deadline (Sunday, April 9, 2017).

If selected as a College Prep Scholar, recipients of the Quest for Excellence STEM Award will be notified via email. If you have additional questions about the Quest for Excellence STEM Award, please send inquiries to

Full Scholarships to Summer Programs offered to Quest for Excellence STEM Award Recipients

Biomedical and Surgical Research at Boston Leadership Institute

Longwood Medical, Boston, MA. June 26-July 14, 2017 OR July 17-August 4, 2017

The Boston Leadership Institute’s Biomedical and Surgical Research Program provides students with a tour through different fields of surgery and surgical illnesses.  In the laboratory, students first learn how to tie surgical knots as well as suture incisions on models of skin.  Students then apply these newly learned skills to mock surgeries which encompass various surgical subspecialties. As an example, students will learn to perform a mock cardiac bypass graft procedure on a real cow heart. The goal is to provide students with the feeling of what it is like to be a surgeon by working with real mammalian organs as well as fetal pig specimens.

Learn more >>

Carleton Computer Science Institute

Carleton College, Northfield, MN. July 16 - August 4, 2017

The Summer Computer Science Institute (SCSI) at Carleton focuses on understanding how to think about these processes, how to program computers to implement them, and how to apply computer science ideas to real problems of interest. During a 3 week program, SCSI students, faculty, and Carleton undergraduate research assistants will engage in lab-based and classroom-based computing research related to faculty and student interests. Each participant will self-select into a research group consisting of 12 students. The students will take courses and conduct collaborative guided research in small groups guided by SCSI faculty members and Carleton College undergraduate Research Assistants. Students will complete a collaborative guided project which will culminate in a demonstration at the SCSI Research Symposium held at the end of the program.

Learn more >>

The Island School

Cape Eleuthera, Bahamas.

Marine Ecology and Sustainable Systems, June 25 - July 25, 2017

The Island School Summer Term is a 30-day intensive program focused on questioning what it means to live well in a place. Through a rigorous course of study that includes field work in local ecosystems, explorations of local settlements and the socioeconomic impacts of development, and dynamic involvement in the systems and resources upon which we rely, Summer Term students grapple with how communities –whether on an island in The Bahamas or in a town in the states – can live most sustainably.

Marine Ecology Research Expedition, June 28 - July 29, 2017

The Island School Expeditionary Summer Term is a 30-day program that centers around a nineteen-day sail from the island of Eleuthera to The Exuma Sound. While on the expedition, students will participate in hands-on research critical to policy and conservation efforts in The Bahamas. While onboard, students will also develop sailing and navigation skills. At the end of the journey, students will present their research projects to the scientific community of The Island School and the Cape Eleuthera Institute.

Learn more >>


University of Puget Sound, Tacoma, WA. July 2 - August 6, 2017

An intensive 5-week-long summer program for mathematically talented high school students, designed to expose these students to the beauty of advanced mathematical ideas and to new ways of thinking. Mathcamp is a vibrant community, made up of a wide variety of people who share a common love of learning and passion for mathematics, where students can explore undergraduate and even graduate-level topics while building problem-solving skills that will help them in any field they choose to study.

Learn more >>

Pioneer Academics Research Program

Online (students can be in any location with Internet access), Late June – August

The Pioneer Research Program offers college-level research opportunities to exceptional, motivated high school students globally. Selected students work one-on-one with leading professors in cutting-edge study of their interests, culminating in original research and authoritative evaluations from their professors. The Program is conducted entirely online, allowing high school students from all over the world to participate. Students from 22 countries researching more than 20 academic areas have participated in the Program in the past five years.

Learn more >>

The Summer Science Program

In Astrophysics:

  • New Mexico Tech, Socorro, NM. June 18 - July 26, 2017
  • University of Colorado, Boulder, CO. June ​25 - ​August 2, 2017

In Biochemistry at Purdue University, ​West Lafayette, IN. June 18 - July 26, 2017

SSP is an immersion into experimental science, designed to challenge and inspire talented rising seniors from around the world. Working in teams of three, participants complete a research project from beginning to end: either in Astrophysics – near-earth asteroid imaging and orbit determination – or Biochemistry – fungal enzyme inhibition and drug discovery. Each team acquires its own data and performs its own analysis. Field trips and guest speakers round out an intense 39-day schedule.

Learn more >>

University of Pennsylvania Management and Technology Summer Institute

Philadelphia, PA. July 2 - July 22, 2017

Through this intensive three-week program, students learn how to bring together technological concepts and management principles. Students will learn from leading Wharton faculty, develop plans for high-tech product ideas, and take field trips to companies such as: Morgan Stanley, Radiate Media, and Harlem Biospace.

Learn more >>