Youth Watershed Summer Institute

Young Women's Summer Institute logo

What is the Youth Watershed Summer Institute?

YWSI is a week-long program sponsored by the Ohio Supercomputer Center (OSC) for middle schoolers in Ohio. Designed to provide hands-on experience with computers, math, science and engineering, YWSI helps youth develop an interest in these subjects by allowing them to work on practical, interesting scientific problems using the latest computer technology.

YWSI was established by Steven Gordon, who stewarded the program from 2000 to 2018. Gordon served in various roles at OSC, including interim co-executive director, deputy director and senior director of education.

Teachers: Download our camp flyer to post in your classroom!

Who is eligible to apply?

Ohio residents in 6th and 7th grade (in the 2023-2024 school year) and K-12 science and math teachers. 

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Past YWSI class standing at the entrance of OSC.

Program Details


YWSI will take place twice in the summer of 2024.

Applicants can apply for either session of the program, or both with an opportunity to indicate a preference between the two. Due to limited capacity, applicants that indicate availability for either program will have an increased likelihood of acceptance.

1st session: June 23-28, 2024.

2nd session: July 7-12, 2024.

Applications open January 1 and close on April 1. Accepted students are notified in May.

Application Deadline

Deadline extended: April 15, 2024
We will begin notifying accepted students in early May 2024.


$360 per attendee.

This fee of $60 per day covers housing, meals, program tuition, laboratory visits, insurance, chaperones, social activities, and equipment costs. It's worth noting that the program costs are heavily subsidized by external funding sources, as it actually costs OSC approximately four times more than what attendees are charged. Essentially, all participants are recipients of program scholarships, and, therefore, individualized scholarships are not available.


Ohio Supercomputer Center
1224 Kinnear Road
Columbus, Ohio 43212

Past YWSI attendee testing a water sample at Batelle Darby Creek.


YWSI is designed to offer an enriching educational and recreational experience by combining engaging lectures, interactive tours, and group project work with frequent recreational breaks and exciting evening activities on OSU's campus.


Example Academic Activities​


  • Introduction to Watersheds
  • Water Ecology / Analysis
  • Fundamentals of the Water Cycle
  • Presentation Skills
  • Betty Lise Anderson Engineering Presentation / Activity


  • Big Darby Creek
  • Byrd Polar
  • Chadwick Arboretum


Attendees will participate in projects that require them to analyze data and visualize results. Individual projects introduce fundamental computer skills and provide students with an understanding of a variety of computer applications. During the program, students will become familiar with spreadsheet and presentation software. Read more about these projects.

Example Recreational Activities​

  • Swimming
  • Movie Night
  • Board Game Night
  • Scrapbooking

Care, Custody and Control

OSC is committed to providing the best experience possible for youth involved in our summer programs. Staff is expected to hold themselves to the highest standards of conduct when interacting with youth. OSC Summer programs follow the OSU Youth Activities and Programs Policy, which establishes requirements that safeguard the wellbeing of youth.

Daily Routine

Consistent elements of a day at YWSI

~7:30 AM Breakfast at OSU dining hall​
~8:30 AM ​Campus bus to OSC
~9:00 AM Group touch point​
~Noon ​Lunch at OSC​
~4:30 PM Daily survey​
~5:30 PM Campus bus to dorm​
~6:00 PM Dinner at OSU dining hall​ and Various activities
~9:00 PM ​Curfew in dorm​
~11:00 PM Lights outs​
YWSI attendee at Chadwick Arboretum

Contact Information

(614) 292-9248 or

Program Impact

Assessment Survey Results

After completing the post-YWSI survey, students and parents alike note a greater confidence among the attendees in their use of technology, math and science classes, school presentations, and problem-solving abilities.

Activities and Targeted Outcomes

Each activity has been designed with a targeted outcome in mind. For example, see several of the activities below. 

Activity Description Outcomes
Science project: discover the human activities that impact water quality Use data from a real watershed to relate land use, water pollution, and habitat information to the biological and physical quality of the stream Uses qualitative and quantitative data, interdisciplinary group project, holistic study, hands-on, constructivist approach, topic focuses on middle school science standards
Introductory games with science terminology Use the terms and definitions of science materials thry will need for their project Hands-on, not competitive, makes learning fun
Career night Career review with individuals of scientific and technical achievements; play a career game created by OSC staff Provides role models, knowledge of career options, game constructed with prizes for everyone, not competitive

YWSI 2023 Recap Video