STEAM Summer Academies in Loretto, Pennsylvania | Saint Francis University
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STEAM Summer Academies in Loretto, Pennsylvania

The STEAM Summer Academies are one-week immersive programs in chemistry, engineering, pre-med, and psychology for high school students who are currently in grades 10 and 11 (and are at least 15 years old) and are interested in pursuing a career in science, technology, engineering, arts, or mathematics. 

* Please note: academies are now in person, but non-residential. *

  • STEAM Summer Academies Collage

    Summer Academies 2021

    Academies will be held the week of June 21 - 25, 2021.   Academy Program Fee is $300.  This includes all instruction materials plus lunch and dinner on our campus.  Limited Financial Aid is available.  See the application for details.   

    We recently learned that our academy students can  not stay on campus overnight due to the ongoing pandemic.  See FAQs for details of the changes.

    Participants will be eligible for a $2,000/year scholarship (up to four years) if enrolling as a full time SFU student within two years of high school graduation. 

    Teachers: We can offer a discount if you recruit a group of students from your school. Please email us for details.

    We are offering the following academies:

    • Chemistry Exploration Academy
    • Environmental Engineering Design Academy
    • Pre-Med Academy
    • Psychology and Neuroscience Academy
  • Chemistry Exploration Academy

    June 20 - 25, 2021

    Have you ever wondered what does a forensic chemist do? How did your chemistry teacher learn so much about elements? Can you turn your knowledge of chemistry into a career? Through this summer academy, we will show you the exciting avenues that you can pursue if you understand chemistry!

    Not only will you have the opportunity to conduct experiments and hands on activities relevant to cutting edge jobs, but you will also hear from SFU graduates who have turned their chemistry education into a career. Together, we will explore various tracks through which you can become a pharmacist or medical doctor, environmental chemist, forensic chemist, chemistry teacher, or researcher the emerging field of nanochemistry. 


       Instructor - Clark

    Dr. Rose Clark
    Professor of Analytical Chemistry earned a NSF Postdoctoral Fellow from Penn State University. Her research interests include cytochrome electrochemistry on self-assembled monolayers, surface analysis of mixed self-assembled monolayers, and development of new peptide self-assembled monolayers. She has been teaching at SFU for over 22 years.


    Instructor - Zovinka

    Dr. Edward Zovinka
    Professor of Inorganic Chemistry earned his Postdoctoral Fellow at North Carolina State University. His research interests include acid mine drainage remediation with focus on aluminum removal and atomic force microscopy of calcite surfaces. He has been teaching at SFU for over 25 years.


    Environmental Engineering Design Academy

    June 20 - 25, 2021

    Environmental engineering is the discipline most responsible for preserving and improving human health. Environmental engineers work on projects such as designing drinking water treatment systems and protecting soil, air, and water from pollution. 

    In the Environmental Engineering Design Summer Academy, students will gain first-hand, project-based experience using knowledge from science, technology, and math to design and construct a solution to an authentic issue in environmental engineering.  Along the way, students will learn problem solving skills and engineering design principles that have many real world applications.


    Instructor - Tasker

    Dr. Travis Tasker
    Assistant Professor of Environmental Engineering earned his Ph.D. from Penn State University. His research interests are in tracing the environmental and human health impacts of anthropogenic activities in addition to developing novel solutions for water and wastewater treatment. 

    He started teaching at SFU in August 2019.

    Instructor - Bandstra

    Dr. Joel Bandstra
    Associate Professor of Environmental Engineering earned his Post Doctorate from Penn State University.  His research interests include groundwater remediation using granular iron metal and surface evolution during mineral weathering.  He has been teaching at SFU for 10 years. 

    Pre-Med Academy

    June 20 - 25, 2021

    If you are interested in medicine, then consider participating in this one week academy to gain a better understanding of the human body.  During this academy, you will participate in the simulation of an infectious disease to determine patient zero, gain a greater degree of knowledge of your five senses, get hands-on experience with genetic testing, metabolic diseases, and cancer care.  You will also learn blood typing, blood pressure regulation, cellular and physiological stressors. Importantly, the academy will discuss best practices for gaining admission into medical school.


    Instructor - Wolf

    Dr. Irene Wolf
    Associate Professor of biology and master of cancer care program earned her Ph.D. from the University of Toledo College of Medicine in Biomedical Sciences. She teaches classes and labs on physiology and anatomy, molecular biology, and pathophysiology of cancer. Her research interests are characterizing apoptosis of pancreatic caner cells following treatments of non-traditional chemotherapeutic drugs.    

    Psychology and Neuroscience Academy

    June 20 - 25, 2021

    At the Psychology and Neuroscience Academy you will explore the mysteries of the human mind, discovering the biological, cognitive, developmental and social factors that influence our normal and abnormal behaviors. 

    Students will investigate the connection between the brain and human behavior while dissecting brain specimens, explore perceptual illusions while dissecting eye specimens, explore the effects of various psychotropic drugs while applying them to the daphnia system, and practice the science of learning and memory while training live rats and dogs.  


    Instructor - Flaisher-Greenberg

    Dr. Shlomit Flaisher-Grinberg

    Assistant Professor of Psychology, earned her postdoctoral from University of Minnesota. Her research interests include neuropharmacology of mood and anxiety disorders, the neurobiology of neurodegenerative and neurodevelopmental disorders (with an emphasis on autism spectrum disorders), and the development of novel animal models for different psychopathological conditions (such as obsessive compulsive disorder and bipolar disorder).


  • Application Process 

    Applications are closed for 2021.

    • Student interest and optional financial aid essay
    • High school transcript (unofficial transcripts will be accepted)
    • Non-refundable application fee of $25 is required

    1. To apply for the program, please write a single paragraph explaining your interest: why would you like to participate in the summer academy at Saint Francis University?

    2. Optional: If your first choice for Academies is full, indicate in your essay if you would be interested in a second, third, or fourth choice from our Academies

    3. Optional: To apply for financial aid (up to $100), please write an essay (500-750 words or 2-3 pages) describing, in your own words, a leader in science, engineering, or medicine who has inspired you. Please include citations and references. Additional details can be found on the online application.

  • Contact Us

  • Frequently Asked Questions

    What is the academic value that students receive?

    Selected students will be provided with lunch and dinner and all course supplies and materials. Students with an interest in pursuing a career in the sciences or technical fields are encouraged to apply.

    How are students introduced to the college experience?

    Academy participants will dine and have afternoon activities. The mentors are selected based on their expertise in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and their maturity and experience mentoring younger students. SFU Student Mentors will mentor the participants in and out of the classroom to support the goals of the summer academies and to provide the students with an excellent experience.

    The Application Process

    Who is eligible to apply to Saint Francis University Summer STEAM Academies?

    We accept applications from rising juniors and seniors (currently sophomores or juniors that will be juniors or seniors the school year following the summer academy) in high school who are in good academic standing and are interested in the sciences, engineering, technical, or mathematical fields.

    When is the application deadline?

    All completed applications must be submitted no later than April 15, 2021 at

    The Acceptance Process

    When will applicants hear about their application status?

    Summer STEAM Academy applicants will receive notice via email of their application status by May 14, 2021.

    What if a student is notified that they are on the waiting list?

    Students are accepted into the Summer STEAM Academies based upon the materials in their application packet (application form, letter of recommendation, transcript, etc.).  After reviewing the applications, the selection committee ranks the students who qualify for acceptance into the program.  Those students are then assigned a slot in the program by their ranking until the maximum number has been reached.  If a student who was assigned to the program does not complete their acceptance documents and submit the balance due by the due date provided, they decline their position and their slot is then offered to the next person on the waiting list.

    What are the acceptance packets and why are they important?

    Once a student is accepted into one of the Summer STEAM Academies they will be notified via email by May 14.  Followed by an acceptance packet via email, the student will be provided with further instructions on completing the necessary forms and submitting them by the due date provided.  Failing to return the completed forms along with the balance due by the due date will result in the student declining their acceptance into the program.  The student's slot will then be given to the next student on the waiting list.  Students who have not completed and returned their forms and balance due will not be permitted to enter or stay in Saint Francis University housing or attend any aspect of the academy.

    What is the deadline to return the acceptance packet?

    Acceptance packets (including all completed forms and payment of balance due) MUST be received by June 4, 2021.  Failing to return the acceptance packet will result in the student declining their acceptance into the program.  The student's slot will then be given to the next student on the waiting list.

    Preparing for Saint Francis University

    How are we managing the coronavirus pandemic?

    Right now, we are planning to have the STEAM academies on campus, with learning in the classrooms and dining in our dining hall. We can not, however, allow our participants to reside on campus. We are following safety protocols such as social distancing and mask-wearing. At this point, we plan to continue with the protocols that have been in place for the spring semester (see, but we will make adjustments as needed depending on the state of the pandemic. Your health and safety are our first priority!

    Is a laptop computer required?

    No.  Summer STEAM Academy students will be provided with a laptop to use during their participation in the program.  The laptop will be set up for each student to use with all of the software needed while attending the academy.

    Is there a dress code?

    Jeans, shorts and tee-shirts can be worn for most of the program instruction and activities.  Long pants, shirts with sleeves, and closed-toe shoes will be required for labs. The Summer STEAM Academies require that students pack closed-toe shoes and pants they do not mind getting wet or dirty.

    Will students need to purchase books?

    All course materials and supplies are included in the program fee.  The student will not be required to purchase books or course materials while they are participating in the Summer STEAM Academy.

    Do students need to have spending money?

    Summer STEAM Academy students may want to bring some spending money with them.  The campus bookstore will be open and available for students to purchase items.  There are also snack and soda machines around campus that students may want to purchase from. 

    Do students need to bring food?

    Summer STEAM Academy students may want to bring snacks, though lunch and dinner are provided.  The mentors will have a small amount of snacks for the students to enjoy throughout the week.  Students may bring their own snacks.

    What if a student has an allergy or needs to take a certain medication?

    List all allergies of the student and any medication they take on the Medical and Emergency Contact form included in the acceptance packet.  The student will be responsible for securing and taking their medication during their participation in the Summer STEAM Academy.

    What time is check-in/check-out?

    Summer STEAM Academy students are to arrive on campus by 8:55 am on Monday morning.  A short informational session about the program with instructor, mentors, and student introductions will take place around 9:00 am with light refreshments, before classes start. Check out/Farewell will take place on the last day of the academy at 2:00 pm where guests (2 per participant)  are invited to celebrate student's accomplishments in the academy.  Students will give a brief presentation on their projects for the week.  Detailed information will be provided in the acceptance packet.

    Daily Schedule

    The week's daily schedule will run from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm Monday - Thursday, and 9:00 am to 2:00 pm on Friday.  Classes will be from 9 am to noon, lunch from noon to 1pm, classes from 1pm - 4 pm and our mentors will join you for activities and dinner around campus from 4 pm - 7 pm.  Friday's activities include: Classes, 9 am to noon, lunch from noon to 1pm, and check out/farewell will begin at 2pm to conclude the week.  

    View additional information about our area.

    What is the extent of supervision that students receive?

    All students are closely supervised by their assigned Summer STEAM Academy Mentor, Faculty, and Academy director.

    Can I earn a scholarship?  

    At completion of the academy, participants are eligible for a $8,000 Scholarship ($2,000/year over 4 years) if enrolling as a full time SFU student within two years of high school graduation.

    Can I earn more than one scholarship?

    No, only one scholarship per student will be awarded at the completion of the academy. If you attend academies two years in a row, you are still only eligible for one scholarship.

    How can I stay in touch with the instructors, other students, and Saint Francis University?

    There are a variety of ways to reconnect with everyone involved in the program including Facebook, email, and the Saint Francis University website.  Like the following pages of interest on Facebook: