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 (RAP), and USDA Ag Discovery.

Research Apprentice Program

Students in the Research Apprentice Program engage in teams of 6 or 7 members in a special three-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. During the 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.

 Final Extended Deadline for Online Application is Wednesday-April 15, 2020. All application materials MUST be received two weeks after students return back to school.


USDA Ag Discovery

The USDA Ag Discovery program engages students in a special three-week experience focused on biosecurity. It is sponsored by the Animal Plant Health Inspection Service, which is the agency in charged with safeguarding the U.S. food supply. During the three weeks, 18 students will be 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. 

 Extended Deadline for Online Application is Tuesday-March 31, 2020. Those selected to participate will be notified mid to late April 2020.

Apply for USDA Ag Discovery



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 in Chicago                                                                                                                                                                                        
College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES)
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Ph: 217/300-6322  Cell: 773/540-1990  Fax: 217/244-6537