University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
College of ACES
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Pre-College STEM Programs

The Pre-College STEM Summer Youth Programs introduce STEM disciplines and careers related to the food and agricultural sciences to rising high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors (ages 15-17). The two components are the Research Apprentice Program, and USDA Ag Discovery

Research Apprentice Program

Students in the Research Apprentice Program engage in teams of 4 or 5 members in a special four-week problem-solving activity designed by the disciplines in the academic departments within the College of ACES in partnership with professionals from business and industry. The first week will involve academic review of math, biology, and science writing. During the final three weeks, each team conducts a science/research-related project designed to demonstrate a basic understanding of math and science as it applies to food, human, and environmental systems. The projects tackle real-world problems and are designed by business and industry sponsors. Students visit their related business or industry sponsor and meet with professional managers and scientists as they study their assigned problem.

The deadline to apply for the 2019 RAP has passed.  Additional documents must be received by 5 p.m. CST, March 15, 2019.


USDA Ag Discovery

The USDA Ag Discovery program engages students in a special 4 week experience focused on biosecurity.  It is sponsored by the Animal Plant Health Inspection Service, which is the agency charged with safeguarding the U.S. food supply. The first week involve academic review of math, biology, and science writing. During the final three weeks, 14 students are selected to participate in a series of activities involving government veterinarians, plant and animal biologists, biotechnologists, and wildlife science professionals. These students will demonstrate a basic understanding of how the federal government works for the protection of plants and animals. 

The Deadline to apply to USDA Ag Discovery has passed.  Those selected to participate will be notified during the week of May 6th to May 10th, 2019.

2019 USDA Ag Discovery brochure

Apply for USDA Ag Discovery


The Week at ACES Experience and YSP Summer Programs are not being offered this year.

For More Information

The Diversity office conducts school visits to present information about STEM programs and opportunities in the food, human, and environmental sciences. To learn more contact:

Diana Rodriguez, M.A.
Coordinator, Urban Agricultural Education: Chicago - ACES
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Ph: 217/300-6322  Cell: 773/540-1990  Fax: 217/244-6537