Austin Richardson, rising senior of UWG’s Advanced Academy of Georgia, spent nearly 40 days this summer performing astrophysics research in Santa Barbara, California at the Summer Science Program at Westmont College. During this time, Austin operated a telescope to take images of a near-earth asteroid, and wrote his own computer software to measure its position precisely and calculate its orbit around the sun.
The UWG Advanced Academy is a residential, early entrance to college program for high ability high school-aged students who are interested in accelerating their academic careers. One of only a few programs in the country that offers students the opportunity to earn concurrent high school and college credit in a residential setting, the Academy provides a supportive environment among like-minded peers who value academic achievement.
“Participating in the Summer Science Program was immensely rewarding,” says Austin, a Summerville, Georgia native. “What I enjoyed the most about the program was that it provided the opportunity for me to live in an environment very different from what I’m used to. It gave me an opportunity to interact with an extremely diverse group of people.”
Austin was chosen from 742 applicants around the world because of his extraordinarily high aptitude and interest in science and mathematics. He experienced the program with 35 other top science students for learning, late nights and collaboration at the Summer Science Program.
“Being one of such a small number of applicants accepted into the program was a great honor,” he says. “Both the social and intellectual aspects of the program were very stimulating because of the carefully selected group of students. Overall, SSP was an invaluable experience that has had a profound impact on my plans for the future.”
SSP is a residential, non-credit enrichment program held in California and New Mexico. Now in its 55th year, it is one of the oldest and most prestigious pre-college science programs. The program immerses gifted students in a rigorous, fast-paced academic environment that encourages collaborative learning and personal growth.
Austin and his colleagues worked closely with university professors, met prominent guest speakers and enjoyed behind the scenes tours of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Caltech and Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics.
For more information on about SSP, visit www.summerscience.org.