SAO Summer Scholars Program
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The SAO (Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory) Scholars Program is a Summer Research Experience for High School Students with the academic background and professional ambition to pursue an astrophysics research project with an SAO/Harvard scientist. This program is a unique collaborative between SAO and the Cambridge Mayor's Summer Youth Employment Program. In 2015, the program will run for six weeks dates from July 6 to August 14. See below for more details regarding eligibility and application materials.

Potential areas of research include:

  • Observational and Theoretical Cosmology
  • Extragalactic and Galactic Astronomy
  • Interstellar Medium and Star formation
  • Laboratory Astrophysics
  • Supernovae and Supernova Remnants
  • Planetary Science
  • Solar and Stellar Astrophysics

High School Interns work with an SAO/Harvard staff member on a research project for the duration of their stay. They are also supervised and counseled by a staff member of the Mayor's Summer Youth Employment Program (MYSEP). Additionally, they engage in timely field trips, lunch seminars, college information sessions, as well as career workshops, and a special summer colloquium series. Lastly, high school students will be invited to meet with the summer undergraduate REU (Research Experiences for Undergraduates) students to learn about different college programs and opportunities.

The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) is part of what is arguably the largest and most diverse astrophysical institution in the world. A broad program of research in astronomy, astrophysics, earth and space sciences is carried out by a highly diversified staff. The CfA is the center of pioneering efforts in the development of orbiting observatories, large ground-based telescopes, the application of computers to astrophysical problems, and the integration of laboratory measurements, theoretical astrophysics, and observations across the electromagnetic spectrum.

Located a short walk away from the main Harvard campus and the famous Harvard Square, CfA is close to restaurants, shopping, and museums. The abundance of public transportation makes travel to and from the Center accessible and easy for students.


This program is open to current (2014-15) 10th, 11th, and 12th graders who are Cambridge residents and who attend Cambridge Rindge and Latin School or another public Cambridge high school. Students must also apply to the City of Cambridge Mayor's Summer Youth Employment Program (MSYEP). Deadline for MYSEP is May 8.


A completed application consists of the on-line application form, letters of recommendation from one science and one math teacher, and high school transcipts.

Summer 2013 about 12 high school students participated in internships, See 2013 Program for more information. Summer 2014, 18 high school students participated in internships, See 2014 Program for more information.

We are an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer where all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, creed, color, sex or national origin.


Clay Fellow Warren Brown