For teens, school is a full-time job, but there are other opportunities out there, beyond bussing tables, for them to earn extra money towards college, or develop the skill set they’ll need later in life. The percentage of teenagers holding jobs while also enrolled in high school classes in 2015 was around 18 percent. More than likely, the majority of that 18 percent were doing something that will just pass the time. But, what if there was more? What if their job options and Summer activities got them one step closer to where they might eventually end up?
The Army Education Outreach Program (AEOP) offers an opportunity for “current high school juniors and seniors with an authentic science and engineering research experience alongside university researchers sponsored by the Army Research Office.” The High School Apprenticeship Program (HSAP) puts kids inside university laboratories to learn research methods, how to use advanced research equipment, and how to be part of a research group.
For teens and parents interested in the chance to participate in HSAP, it’s important to know that it is a commuting opportunity, meaning it is only offered for teens who can get themselves there. There is no housing allowance or meal plan provided. It is not a Summer Camp. Students involved receive educational stipends equivalent to $10 per hour.
The Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) at Johns Hopkins University offers a STEM program to help students realize and explore STEM-related careers. The program offers competitions, information about career paths, an opportunity to become part of APL’s Space Academy, Science Fairs, and more. The website offers a Career Profile Tool that allows kids to choose from a long list of potential job titles and see which high school (and even middle school) classes are recommended as stepping stones.
The APL offers the ASPIRE High School Mentoring Program for juniors and seniors to be paired up with staff to work on technical projects in students’ areas of interest. The program does require an application, and it’s tough to get into. However, for those participating, they could receive credit towards graduation or a certificate of completion.
Most little kids want to grow up to be astronauts at some point, but many don’t know that they could be involved in an internship program at NASA by the time they’re in high school. Internships, fellowships, and scholarships give students the chance to research or have experiential learning opportunities under the guidance of a NASA mentor. These spots are coveted so there are some stipulations to being eligible. Kids must hold a minimum 3.0 GPA and be at least 16 years old. Those high school students looking for even more beyond the experience, NASA offers undergraduate scholarships for students who eventually pursue STEM degrees.
Beyond the high school internships, there are student activities offered by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. The STEM Engagement has public events, experiential learning opportunities, and challenges meant to inspire, engage, and educate students in STEM unique to NASA.
These summer and overnight camps are for ages six to 18 and held on campuses like Stanford, MIT, Princeton, and UCLA. They load their summer camps full of new, real-world curriculum and professional software like Adobe, Apple, Microsoft, and more. Teens have a wide range of topics to explore at camp, from coding, apps, and VR at iD Tech Camp, to robotics and 3-D printing at Teen Academies. They even offer an all-girl camp called Alexa Cafe where ages 10-15 can learn about web design, filmmaking, coding, game design, philanthropy, 3-D printing, and the list goes on.
iD Tech boasts alumni who have started companies, founded nonprofits, organized robotics clubs, and landed jobs at Facebook and Google. Their faculty are top talents in the industry, offering over 60 technology courses, and iD Tech guarantees an 8:1 student to teacher ratio; meaning teens get the sort of small group attention they deserve.