FSU Young Scholars Program
Erica Staehling andBarbara Shoplock
FSU Young Scholars Program (YSP) is a six-week residential science and mathematics summer program for 40 Florida high school students with significant potential for careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The program was developed in 1983 and is currently administered by the Office of Science Teaching Activities in the College of Arts and Sciences at Florida State University. For more details, please visit the official program webpage: http://www.bio.fsu.edu/ysp.
Each young scholar attends a total of three courses in the fields of mathematics, science, and computer programming. The courses are designed specifically for this program—they are neither high school nor college courses. For current course offerings and descriptions, visit the official website: http://www.bio.fsu.edu/ysp/courses.php
Each student who attends YSP is assigned an Independent Research Project (IRP) based on his or her interests. Students join the research teams of FSU professors, participating in scientific research for two days each week. The fields of study available range from robotics, molecular biology, chemistry, geology, physics, to zoology. At the conclusion of the program, students present their projects in an academic conference, documenting their findings and explaining their projects to both students and faculty.
The program is co-directed by Erica Staehling and Barbara Shoplock, members of the Office of Science Teaching Activities, Florida State University. Instructional faculty includes Dr. Steve Blumsack, Emeritus Professor of Mathematics; Dr. Dan Oberlin, Professor of Mathematics; Drs. Harrison Prosper and Horst Wahl, Professors of Physics; and Dr. Lloyd Epstein, Professor of Biological Science. Twenty additional Florida State science and engineering faculty members mentor the students in their independent research projects.
YSP admits students who have completed the eleventh grade in a Florida public or private high school. A few exceptionally qualified and mature tenth graders have been selected in past years, though this is quite rare.
All applicants must have completed Pre-Calculus and maintain at least a 3.0 unweighted GPA to be considered for acceptance. Additionally, students must have scored at the 90th percentile or better in science or mathematics on a nationally standardized exam, such as the SAT, PSAT, ACT, or PLAN. Students are required to submit an application package, including high school transcripts and a letter of recommendation.
Selection is extremely competitive, as there are typically over 200 highly-qualified applicants competing for only 40 positions. The majority of past participants graduated in the top ten of their respective high school classes, with over 25% of students entering their senior year ranked first in their class. The average PSAT score of past young scholars was in the 97th percentile in math and 94th percentile in critical reading nationally.