Let's Save Science!

A summer program for top high school students to study science, CS, and math together free. BEYOND $30K means ADDITIONAL STUDENTS can attend.
Nancy Hua
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
United States
6 Team Members

We only need $30,000 to launch PGSS 2013! An external donor has pledged $150,000 to PGSS 2013 and another $150,000 for PGSS 2014!! We now only need $30,000 to make PGSS a reality again since we have already raised almost enough to match their amount! For every $5,000 donated beyond that $30,000, we will admit another student to the Class of 2013.

The Pennsylvania Governor's School for Science was a summer program for top high school students to study science, computer science, and math together for free. Many students said this program was the reason they went into science/engineering/technology (check out the inspiring testimonials below), that the program was the most intellectually stimulating and inspiring environment they'd experienced, and the first time they were surrounded by other kids who loved to learn about science. 

High school can be boring and frustrating for many students. Being a nerd in high school can be lonely because you're a minority and not a lot of people care about the stuff you're interested in. PGSS was different. The classes and homework were challenging and interesting. The team projects were collaborative and fun, ranging from experiments with superconductors (check out the youtube video) to discrete math. PGSS was a free program for top students to learn together, kids who couldn't otherwise afford it.

Unfortunately, the program was shut down in early 2009 due to state budget cuts. When the Commonwealth cut funding for PGSS, outrage among alumni and parents was resounding. Immediately following the announcement of the cut in funding, nearly 2,000 alumni joined a "Save the Govies" Facebook group which encouraged people to write their legislators and contact news organizations in an effort to restore funding. Regrettably, the funding was not restored, but PGSS alumni pressed on and have worked tirelessly over the last 3 1/2 years to locate alumni and fundraise with the intent to re-launch the program for the summer 2013.

All the money you donate will go to allowing a high school student who couldn't otherwise afford it to attend a superior, life changing, technical camp.

The more money we raise, the more kids can attend!  



Why should I support this nerd camp?
This camp is free to attendees so it allows top students to attend who couldn't otherwise afford it. Outside of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, most of Pennsylvania is filled with cows and 1000 year old underground mine fires (Really. Google "Centralia"). 
Many students try to get good grades but don't particularly enjoy any of their subjects. Potential scientists generally have no idea what doing research involves until well into college. For 99.99% of its attendees, this science camp is the first Real Thing (research, engineering project, technological invention) that they're doing. Most of the graduates go on to become scientists or engineers and credit this camp for taking them down that path. 
Many of the alumni are penniless graduate students but their work is important because science is how humans make progress as a species. Our lives would suck if it weren't for science and technology- we would all still be dying of plague. Invest in future scientists!

Why was this nerd camp shut down?
The program was shut down due to state budget cuts. No one knows what nerds in Pennsylvania do with their summers now. Hopefully they're learning stuff on the internet, but you can't really learn many aspects of science on the internet- you need labs and stuff.

Do I need a Paypal account to donate?
No. You only need a credit card with a billing address. After selecting "Pay with Paypal," enter your credit card and address information and you can ignore the "Sign up for Paypal" option. Because it only needs your credit card information, the "Pay with Paypal" feature is at least as convenient as paying directly via credit card, plus it has the added benefit of your payment being tax-deductible because the PGSS Alumni Association is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.




Alumni Stats:

More than 50% of alumni have earned multiple degrees, such as an MD, an MBA, a PhD, a Masters, or a JD in addition to a Bachelors.

More than 50% of alumni alumni go on to attend CMU, MIT, UPenn, Harvard, and Princeton.

PGSS has produced hundreds of science and engineering professors. We have about 30 teachers in grades 4 to 12 in public schools. We have two Peace Corps volunteers and officers in the Navy, Army and Air Force. 

We have multiple jugglers. 





Thad Starner (Class of 1986)
PGSS introduced me to a quality of education and level of personal performance I did not know existed.   It helped me stand out from the other MIT applicants so that I was admitted.   For the first time, I was introduced to what would become my peers in the field and established connections that last to this day.

Jason Ma (Class of 2005)
It was my first opportunity to do what I wanted to do, to learn what I wanted to learn. I can honestly say that it was the best summer I've had.

Brian Kroener (Class of 2005)
PGSS 2005 literally changed my life- I would not be an undergraduate at Penn, an Ivy League university, if I had not been exposed to the positive influence of academics and science at PGSS. mostly, PGSS taught me to always strive for deeper understanding in science and in life, and that science should be at the service of my fellow man.

Jeffrey Temple (Class of 1986; TA: 1993-4, 1996-8; Faculty: 1999)
My summers working at PGSS gave me my first taste of teaching science to high school students, and I went on to become a high school science teacher with Teach For America when I graduated college.... To say that I would not be where I am today without PGSS is a profound understatement. It is the single most exceptional and enriching program in science education that I've ever encountered, and I fervently hope it is given the opportunity to continue.

George Matcuk (Class of 1993; TA 1996-9)
Although I always had confidence in myself, I never felt a sense of belonging or a shared sense of passion for learning until I experienced PGSS as a student in 1993.

Alfred Schnabel (Class of 1994)
I'd have to say PGSS was a wonderful experience that remains the highlight of my high school years. For the first time in my life, I was surrounded by people who shared my love of science and who were as intelligent and curious as me; they also turned out to be pretty cool people… PGSS is a model for how we should structure programs for our most gifted students. All too often I wasn't properly challenged by my high school studies. The bar was set way too low. Governor's School was the exact opposite. It challenged me to work and study hard, skills I needed to learn to be successful in college. We need to find more ways to encourage and challenge our brightest students; push them to do more than they think they can.

Benjamin Campbell (Class of 1997; TA 2000-3; Faculty 2005-8)
I can think of no other event in my life that had more of an impact on my intellectual or social development than the Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Sciences. It was the first place I was exposed to likeminded intellectuals who shared my sense of discovery and achievement in academics. Seeing their shared drive and determination motivated me to work harder in life. PGSS is unlike any other educational experience. It is the most rigorous academic program I have endured.... PGSS pushes young students to their limits and beyond, forcing those who have never been challenged academically to learn how to ask for help and accept it. Teamwork isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity to survive the program.

My experience at PGSS as a student changed my life. I returned to high school with confidence and pride in who I was. The transition to college was easy the following year; PGSS taught me I was capable of far more than I had ever imagined… I have taught college courses, but have never encountered students like those at PGSS; the kind of students that make you love teaching because they are so eager to learn. They keep me on my toes, asking tough questions and stimulating thought-provoking discussions. ..

I know this program changed my life for the better, giving me lifelong friends and a passion for my career. Even more rewarding it has given me a sense of purpose, to make an impact fighting against the decline of America’s intellectual dominance in the sciences. People complain that America’s educational system is broken, but PGSS has a proven record of educational excellence.

Elizabeth Krichten (Class of 1997)
PGSS helped me to get into MIT… I credit PGSS with the direction my life has taken over the last 10+ years.

Beverly Jogan (Class of 1997)
PGSS opened my eyes to the academic possibilities available to me. Having graduated from one of the most notorious school districts in the state of Pennsylvania, I had little encouragement and even less guidance. The academic curriculum at PGSS was extremely challenging for me, but made me realize that I wanted to pursue a degree from an equally challenging college. .. PGSS also has the added bonus of providing socialization for a large group of self-proclaimed science nerds. Many of us spent high school being ridiculed and having a hard time making friends, and it absolutely changed my outlook on my peers. I saw for the first time that "nerds" could be popular, and can make excellent leaders. We didn't have to only sit behind a lab bench -- there were many ways that we could improve our communities and advance science. ..The greatest impact that PGSS had on my career is that it taught me that learning for the sake of learning is worthwhile and immensely gratifying. We go through school being pressured to get straight A's so we can stand on a podium and accept an award, but PGSS simply encouraged us to learn for no other reason than to better ourselves and be able to better the world around us. As a veterinarian, this concept is of the utmost importance in my career, because I must motivate myself to keep up with current knowledge in medicine and the most recent scientific studies. There is no money or gold star as a prize at the end of the day when I go through my stack of journals, and it was PGSS that showed me that it's worth reading them anyway.

Patricia Foo (Class of 2000)
PGSS was instrumental in convincing me that I was and could be successful as a scientist. It truly opened my eyes to the process of scientific research and prepared me for the rigorous academic coursework that I would encounter in college...PGSS convinced me that it was socially acceptable to be a nerdy scientist! It was the first time that I was able to relish being a lover of science and make esoteric scientific jokes about special relativity and feel celebrated and socially accepted for it. I am now a devout scientist for life, pursuing an MD-PhD in Health Policy with a focus on health economics.

Toby Liss (Class of 2002)
I would not have made the decision to pursue degrees in the sciences or experiences in undergraduate research had I not attended PGSS. The sense of community and kinship I felt there with the other students and the unwavering appreciation for learning and collaborative efforts that thrives in the PGSS community is unlike that in anything else I've ever experienced. The program has deepened not only my love for the sciences, but for quality education as well.Today, as a corps member of Teach for America, I teach 5th grade science in Houston, TX. I work for a charter school called KIPP Academy, part of a national network of college preparatory charter schools that serve low-income students. It is as a direct result of participating in PGSS that I followed these paths and became the person I am today.

Jeremy Hurwitz (Class of 2003)
I can confidently say, without exaggeration, that PGSS is responsible for who I am today. The experience of being surrounded by 89 friends who were just as talented and passionate about science as I am was mind-boggling. In fact, I often joke that the primary difference between PGSS and MIT is that I worked harder at PGSS. The self-confidence I gained during my 5 weeks at CMU has been invaluable.
This probably sound like hyperbole. The summer before attending PGSS I attended a math camp at Hampshire College. I know many people who attended other "nerd camps". I can say with confidence that none compare to the experience provided by PGSS.


raised by 218 people in 30 days
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$30,000 USD goal
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  • $5USD
    High Five

    Past and future nerds all give you a virtual high 5! Richard Feynman was an American physicist who defeated Nazi's, played bongos, and won the Nobel prize for his theory of quantum electrodynamics. Want a high five from his ghost? Claim this perk!

    15 claimed
  • $17USD
    Science Laptop Decal

    Slick laptop decal shows your stylish support of science education. Without the scientific method, the world would suck. Can you imagine living in the middle ages? Yuck!

    37 out of 1000 claimed
  • $59USD
    Unique Science Poster

    Limited edition science poster.

    19 out of 100 claimed
  • $98USD
    Awesome Science T-shirt

    Attractive shirt demonstrates your support of science education. Laptop decal also included. You will be contacted for sizing info after the campaign ends.

    55 out of 200 claimed
  • $271USD
    Special Limited Edition Shirt

    Extra cool limited edition science shirt demonstrates your support of science education. Laptop decal also included. You will be contacted for sizing info after the campaign ends.

    4 out of 50 claimed
  • $499USD
    Solar Powered Phone Charger

    Charge your phone wherever you are as long as there's sun while wearing your cool shirt typing on your sweetly decorated laptop. Charger has a cool science logo on it.

    13 out of 100 claimed
  • $1,381USD
    Scientist Glasses

    Custom Oakley glasses will keep you stylish and safe while you perform your top secret experiments, or whenever you're exposed to UV rays. You will be contacted for style information after the campaign. Plus charger, shirt, etc.

    5 out of 60 claimed
  • $3,141USD
    Mystery prize

    We haven't decided exactly what this is going to be, but we wanted there to be a prize priced at pi*1000. It'll be something that our unique alumni base will offer and something for which it would be difficult to generate more than 15 of. So reserve your limited edition mystery prize today! Plus charger, shirt, etc.

    1 out of 15 claimed
  • $5,000USD
    Another Student Joins PGSS '13

    For every $5000 that we raise, another student will be admitted to the PGSS Class of 2013. And you get the phone charger, shirt, etc.

    2 claimed
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