STEM Summer Programs in Chicago for your K12 Student

This week I ran into a Facebook post where a mom was proudly flaunting her son’s, who is a high school student, accomplishments and it got me inspired. I look forward to seeing what has yet to come from future generations. I also started wondering at what point did my STEM career get started. It was somewhere between 7th grade and high school when I started thinking about my strengths.

Thanks to the help of my mom, high school counselor, and teachers, I was at somebody’s summer program EVERY YEAR doing something. It gave me a gauge for what I did like and what I did not early so that when it came to choosing a program in college I had a better idea of what to lean toward and away from. Although I did not have it all figured out (still don’t), I know that those summers helped guide me in life.

With that, I went searching for programs for our next generation of greatness! The kids who will be running the world one day. Below is a list of summer programs in STEM for students in kindergarten through high school.

This is not a comprehensive list, but you can start here.


The University of Chicago 

Research in the biological sciences (RIBS) is a program where student learn about biological research and work in lab facilities. 

Audience: High school students

Click here to learn more.

Purdue Gifted Education Research and Resource Institute’s (GER2I) Summer Residential Camps  

GER2I is a center on the Purdue University (Lafayette) campus seeking to develop individual thought leaders. They host multiple camps where the students can stay overnight on campus to give them that college experience. 

Audience: Students grade 5-12 

Application opens February 1st here.

Fermilab Education 

Fermilab is a physics laboratory that is working to answer questions about the things that we see around us. They offer endless opportunities for K12 students to learn more about science. I attended one of their programs back when I was in high school. It is a far journey to get to the program daily, but it was well worth the trek.  

Audience: K12 

Click here to learn more.

National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) 

NSBE developed an outreach program to encourage young students to study in the STEM fields. The Summer Engineering Experience for Kids (SEEK) is a contribution to increase black representation through encouraging pursuit early. 

Audience: Students grade 3-5 

Click here to learn more.

University of Illinois at Chicago 

The College of Pharmacy has a High School Pharmacy Camp #HSPC2019 led by pharmacy students that allows students to explore pharmacy through instruction and activities. I attended a camp that they had when I was in HS that was a bit longer where I worked at CVS Pharmacy for a summer, but I am not sure whether they still offer the program. They now offer a one-day program (April 13, 2019). 

AudienceHigh school 

Click here to learn more.

The College of Engineering seems to be having a summer camp geared toward introducing high school students to mechanical and industrial engineering. No information is provided yet but keep an eye out for it. 

Audience: High school students 

Click here to learn more.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 

Of course, I had to mention my alma mater. Over the summer, UIUC hosts and collaborates to produce many summer programs geared toward STEM. Many of the programs allow students to stay in private housing on campus. A few that stood out to me were: Electrical Engineering Camp (Women-Focused) and ResearcHStart Program for High School Student. 

*Note that special arrangements will be made to accommodate any conflicts with the public-school schedule. 

Audience: K12 

Click here to learn more.

Illinois Institute of Technology  

This is a technology-focused research university that offers a wide range of programs for the summer. They offer programs everywhere from Robotics to biology.  

Audience: Middle and high school students 

Click here to learn more.

Governors State University 

The university has composed science, technology, art, and math (STEAM) camps that are taught by science faculty and graduate students. 

Audience: Middle and high school students 

Click here to learn more.

Like I said before, this is in no way a comprehensive list. If you are looking for a program for your student this summer and not see anything that interests them, I recommend visiting the website of a nearby community center or university. 

Also, when looking up programs, I ran into a blog by Kim over at, where she outlines an EXTENSIVE list of more programs for students at every age.
The list is here.

Please comment below if you recommend any summer programs for K12 students in the Chicago area.