Alumni Experiences

The mission of SSI is not only to teach students data science research but also to equip them with the mentorship and life skills to reach their full potential in any pursuit. The greatest joy of our staff is helping students grow and mature as scientists and leaders. Below are past messages our staff has received highlighting past student experiences in the program. All messages are shared with student and parent permission to help provide future students with an idea of what it is like to attend SSI.

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"I learned SO much and will continue building upon the strong foundation that I acquired through this program... I was able to meet so many interesting students with interests very similar and vastly different from mine, work with absolutely amazing and generous mentors, and I was actually able to speak to a few very helpful academics in my field that I will be keeping in touch with, which I think is super cool. The topics SSI taught were very varied and extensive, ranging from machine learning to writing research papers to learning how to write an effective cold email, so to say that I learned a great deal is putting it very lightly, and I am endlessly grateful to have learned so much... I will continue to build upon what I have learned here, which includes continuing to conduct research projects on my own... The opportunities, connections, friendships, and knowledge I acquired from SSI are invaluable."

- Amanda L.,
SSI student from the United States

"Honestly, I do not even know where to begin in order to fully encompass how grateful I am for SSI. When I found SSI, I was so excited to continue to pursue what I love in science research. I will never regret those constant research emails I sent to the SSI admin because of the amazing mentor I met. [My mentor] goes out of her way to set up one on one meetings if I am struggling and she lends support not only through my research, but also as a friend. Her constructive criticism has helped me grow into a better presenter and programmer... She is truly an inspiration to me. Masterclasses have been the highlight of my time at SSI. Every amazing individual speaks on their life experiences or lessons that they learned as students and I always take away unforgettable messages that guide me on my worries for junior year and the rest of my high school career... In addition, the Weekend Challenges were a great experience. From creating VisionSpark to ReefAlert, my imagination was allowed to run wild and the personal feedback from the team really helped me grow as an entrepreneur I never thought I could be! Being a part of the research program has been so memorable. Not only have I made new friends from all over the country, but I have been able to expand my scope of research interests into sustainability and data science! ... Every step of the journey has led me closer to my future aspirations and my enthusiasm for knowledge and computer science applications. SSI has overall been a place for, amazing learning experiences, valuable mentorships, sky-bounding imagination, and fuel for the next generation of young scientists alike!"

- Kayla S.,
SSI student from the United States

"Jacob [our son] is just finishing his check in with Ethan [his mentor] and runs outside, 'it's the most learning I've done in my life!' It's an honor to be a part of your extended family this summer and we can forecast with great certainty that you have changed lives. In Jacob alone, your program, your staff and team have inspired and provoked his thinking and doing to new levels."

- Mike M.,
Parent of SSI student

"I acknowledge you for enabling me to experience this intensive and fascinating program! Both the academic intensity and excitement were perfectly balanced in my point of view. Within the help of these lectures, I found the confidence to reach KOLs and leading research facilities in my field. A few weeks ago, I applied and became one of the data accessors of the MWA telescope, which is a leading facility in my research topic that hosted the majority of pilot experiments and frontier projects. All in all, SSI had an inutterable role while reaching my professional academic pursuits."

- Alper T.,
SSI student from Turkey

"As you've heard many times, thank you so much for the incredible virtual summer experience. I learned so much invaluable information these past six weeks and I truly enjoyed listening to everyone's lessons and talks... This past weekend I entered a neuroscience program ideathon that you may have heard of, and I got to use the skills from SSI to create some code the judges were impressed by! I'm so grateful that I'm able to continue to use what I've learned these past few weeks. Aside from spreading the word about my experience at SSI, if there's any way that I can help you guys out I'd be more than willing to offer a hand."

-Chuyi Z.,
SSI student from the United States

"SSI has been great so far and if I were to rate it, I would give it ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐. Please please continue this program, it's just amazing and super impactful. I bet my younger sister would love to join once she's old enough. It's funny to think how different I was 5 weeks ago and now. I would definitely mention SSI for any future application essays as one of the most impactful events in my life!"

- Phoebe X.,
SSI student from the United States

"Before this program I had never really been exposed to research before, but after listening to all the Masterclass speakers and learning the proper skills that SSI has taught me, it has really motivated and inspired me. I recently reached out to a mentor in Canada who told me that I would have an option to work with him next summer, and I believe that he only gave me this opportunity because I mentioned I attended SSI and learned many research skills."

- Anooshka S.,
SSI student from Canada

"Thank you for the time and effort you put into giving me all the feedback which was encouraging. My time in SSI this past summer was a great learning experience. I really appreciated the mentorship and learned a lot along the way... I only wished that there were more hours in the day to fit everything in! I am going to continue to pursue my interest in coding and STEM related research. Because of SSI, I am chipping away at another course on Python to continue mastering that programming language...and I am eager to build on my foundational knowledge in Machine Learning, especially topics geared toward the brain!"

- John C.,
SSI student from the United States

"I just wanted to drop you an email saying thank you for all the effort you put into SSI. I have really enjoyed the program and not only have I gained a tremendous amount of knowledge in a completely new field, but I loved getting to interact with the brightest minds of our generation and hearing about their experiences and opinions. Data science was a completely new field for me, and honestly, I had very limited experience with both programming and statistics, but through the program, I have really grown to love these two fields and have begun to even consider it as a career path."

- Tarini K.,
SSI student from Singapore

"It’s hard to believe that we are approaching the final week of SSI.  My daughter is currently working in the research track of SSI. It didn’t take long for me to realize the dedication, passion and talent of all the mentors, speakers and the organizers. Your team definitely delivered what you promised and beyond. The topics that were discussed in the Masterclasses are inspirational, informative and great tools for not only in research but throughout college and life. Your honest and transparent management and communication through daily and weekly recaps reinforced and organized the lessons in each session.  I can’t applaud the SSI team enough for the opportunity you provided my daughter, especially during this COVID-19 pandemic.  It’s very obvious that your team members are where they are because of their commitment and hard work... This program is certainly an intensive research program and one that will certainly have my daughter thinking, long after SSI. Thank you for your tireless endeavor to make this program a success!"

- Kelly S.,
Parent of SSI student

"I just wanted to thank you all so much for all of the help and advice that you gave me throughout the course of this program. The course was certainly a challenge and at first I really disliked that challenge, but I learned so much both content wise and about myself because of that. It really pushed me to learn to face a challenge head on and to work hard and advocate for myself along the way, which is something I have always struggled with. I often didn't understand the concepts and it took me multiple times (and many questions) to figure out how to do it, and I'm so happy that I was put into that situation. As a result of the virtual platform, a lot of my anxiety and stress about asking questions and appearing stupid decreased. I also want to say that the workload and challenge is unlike anything I've experienced in school (where I am typically bored out of my mind) and I mean that in the best way possible."

- Abby S.,
SSI student from the United States

"Having done the final research presentation I feel so emotional. I'm so grateful for this experience.  I got to meet such awesome people. And with all the things I learned this summer I feel so proud. This is truly an unforgettable experience. I learned so much and I really, really enjoyed SSI! I think the beauty in SSI is that it is unlike other programs. This one taught me many skills, not just one, and they were all very valuable. Even though the classes were indeed very challenging, I was able to eventually comprehend all of the concepts, and I'm gong to go deeper after the program is over. While the technical concepts that I learned through the course were priceless, I would also like to stress another aspect that might be overlooked: self-discipline and being ready for college. An easy program wouldn't teach me what it takes to be a college student. And because of that, I learned how to deal with difficult concepts, time pressure, and heavy workload."

- Ammar A.,
SSI student from Saudi Arabia

"I would like to thank your whole team for organizing this opportunity this summer!! It was so productive and I got to learn so much that I would have learnt years down the line or maybe not at all, opening my eyes to a whole new world of opportunities. I as well as my parents are thoroughly thrilled to have been a part of SSI. I have recommended and will continue to recommend SSI to my friends and family!!"

- Jia D.,
SSI student from the United States

"I had an awesome summer and will really miss everyone! I think it's wonderful that there have been so many opportunities and resources available even after the program ends. There were just so many fantastic things...  I wanted to thank you for making the program so personal. That's what really made it special. I wish I could give everyone a hug!"

- Adrija R.,
SSI student from the United States

"Thank you so much for this wonderful opportunity! It's an honor to be surrounded by students and mentors who are so driven and hardworking. I really appreciate all the IT that went into the program, and it's very impressive to see how well everything was executed. Typically things like this experience lots of technical difficulties, but this program rarely had to deal with them and if something happened it was solved ASAP. That is such an important aspect of a program like this, and this made the experience all the more better."

- Kathryn B.,
SSI student from the United States

"SSI has been so amazing these past few weeks!! The instructors did not exaggerate when they said that this bootcamp will be challenging... I have learned so much information from the discussions as well as the masterclasses! As a student who researches in the wet lab, I find the shift to data science quite difficult especially with changing the approach on research questions. I always had a strong interest for programming but I had difficulty in creating projects that can have an impact. However, the support that all of you give is enough for me to effectively learn and improve my skillset. I'm happy to say that SSI really helped me learn how to apply my knowledge and create meaningful projects! Overall, SSI has met and even exceeded my expectations!!"

- Josef A.,
SSI student from the Philippines

"SSI opened a lot of doors into research and STEM for students not only in the US, but also all over the world. For me, SSI exposed me to data science research, which I wouldn't have otherwise even considered trying. It helped me tremendously with writing emails (I got a response all thanks to you guys!), building strong statistical and programming foundations, and even with preparation for some AP classes I am taking next year! Most of all, SSI provided me the inspiration that even as a high schooler, I can still make a difference whether it be through research or starting a club."

- Brandy X.,
SSI student from the United States