Young Women's Summer Institute

COVID-19 Update (4/15/2020): 

As a result of OSU canceling all on-campus events through the summer (including closing dorms), OSC has made the difficult decision to cancel both the Summer Institute (SI) and the Young Women’s Summer Institute (YWSI).

In making this decision, we evaluated a series of options, including converting the programs to a virtual or non-residential experience or rescheduling it for later in the summer.  We understand the disappointment that potential participants will feel as a result of this decision.  As part of this extraordinary situation, we intend to retain all applications submitted by April 17 for inclusion in the candidate pool next year.  Any student who is currently a Junior that submits an application for SI this year will be eligible for participation next summer even though Seniors traditionally aren’t eligible for the program. The same procedure will be in effect for girls who are currently 7th graders that submit an application for this year’s YWSI.

2020 applications are now OPEN! Click here to apply.

About Young Women's Summer Institute:Young Women's Summer Institute

What is the Ohio Supercomputer Center Young Women's Summer Institute

YWSI is a week-long program sponsored by Ohio Supercomputer Center for middle-school girls in Ohio. It is designed to promote computer, math, science and engineering skills as well as provide hands-on experiences. YWSI helps girls develop an interest in these subjects by allowing them to work on a practical, interesting scientific problem using the latest computer technology.

Who is eligible to apply?

Current Ohio-resident 6th and 7th graders (you must be a 6th or 7th grader in the 2019-2020 school year) and K-12 science and math teachers.

Who might want to apply?

Motivated young women who are interested in science, engineering, mathematics or computers.

Why students might want to attend?

Past YWSI class standing at the entrance of OSC.
Past YWSI class in front of the Ohio Supercomputer Center building

YWSI is designed to encourage girls’ interest in math, science and engineering and improve their participation in  science, engineering and technology fields, and in particular, information technology. YWSI introduces girls to exciting careers and job opportunities.

Program Details:

Dates: 2020 Program canceled.  2021 dates TBD.

Location: Ohio Supercomputer Center, 1224 Kinnear Road, Columbus, Ohio

Application: Applications will be accepted online beginning January 1, 2020. The deadline for YWSI 2020 applications is April 17, 2020. We will begin notifying accepted students early May 2020. Click here to apply. 

Cost: Those chosen for the program will be awarded partial scholarships. The partial scholarships lower the price to $264 for each attendee. The fee covers housing, meals and program tuition, including laboratory visits, insurance, chaperones, social activities, equipment costs and much more. 

Young woman presenting from white board

Example Projects: Students examine first-hand the human impacts on biological systems, how humans affect water chemistry (thus impacting biological systems), and the importance of habitat to the systems' survival. Students measure the number of organisms, analyze water chemistry using standard test kits, and evaluate habitats in and around a clean river. They then compare their data to publicly available data, such as research data from the U.S. EPA.

Each project requires the "scientists" (students) to understand the problem, analyze the data, and visualize the results. Individual projects introduce fundamental computer skills and provide the students with an understanding of a variety of computer applications. During the program, they become familiar with spreadsheet and presentation software and build their own web pages using the HTML language.

General Schedule: Please click on the link at the upper right to see a detailed schedule.

Sunday: Students arrive; Ice breaker; Evening activity - Games

YWSI attendees and Metro Parks staff wading in the Big Darby Creek.
YWSI attendees investigating biodiversity in the Big Darby Creek.

Monday: Opening remarks & keynote speech; Intro to rivers and effects of humans on wildlife; Evening activity - Swimming

Tuesday: Field Trip: Big Darby; Water quality measurements; Electro Fishing; Campus Tour

Wednesday: Select group projects; PowerPoint & Presentation skills; Introduction to Modeling; Evening activity - Career night

Thursday: Work on group projects; Look at data in Excel;  Evening activity - Webpage creation

Friday: Work on group projects; Impromptu speeches; Presentation dry run; Evening activity - Scrapbooking

Saturday: Announcements and Final Survey; Welcome and Overview of the Week; Presentations

Information for this year's participants:

What to bring Tentative schedule of events | Projects

For more information, contact:

(614) 292-9248 or

Facebook LogoVisit the YWSI on Facebook!

2020 Sponsors:

American Electric Power Foundation logo
American Electric Power Foundation

Program Impact:

Assessment Survey Results:

In 2004, the YWSI program engaged external consultants to conduct a survey of the 116 alumni participants and their parents.  They received a ~75% response rate and were able to report the following:

YWSI alumni confidence surveyThe students are more likely than their parents (48.2% vs. 38.4%) to say that they have already participated in extra-curricular math and science activities; however, they are also more likely than their parents (12.9% vs. 2.3%) to say that they probably will never participate in these types of extra-curricular activities.

The parents are more likely than their daughters to see increased confidence in math and science classes (87.5% vs. 74.7% as shown in bar chart at right), school presentations (78.4% vs. 70.1%) and problem-solving abilities (84.1% vs. 65.2%) as a result of the students’ involvement with YWSI.

Both the students (90.8%) and their parents (87.5%) are extremely likely to note a greater confidence among the girls in the use of technology for class work as a result of the students’ involvement with YWSI.

YWSI Alumni college majorsThe students report being more likely to pursue AP credit (91.9%) than either a college major (68.9%, as shown in bar chart at right) or career (66.7%) in science or math.  By comparison, the parents as a whole are more likely to encourage a college major (78.2%) and career (77.4%) in science or math than the students taken together are to pursue them while the students are more likely to pursue AP credit in science or math than the parents are to encourage it (87.3%).

The students were most divided over the question of whether or not young women can pursue science-based occupations as easily as young men.  While over 72% of the participants who responded think this is possible, more than 16% think it is more difficult for young women than it is for young men to follow this career path.

Activities Mapped to Targeted Outcomes

As shown in the table below, each key program activity has been mapped to a targeted outcome for the participants.

YWSI Targeted Outcomes

Testimonials and Videos:

YWSI Alumni Testimonial: Jean Wheasler discusses YWSI's and the OSC Summer Institute's impact on her interest in science and technology.

YWSI Featured in National Science Foundation Radio Series!
In March of 2008, YWSI was featured in WAMC National Production's The Best of Our Knowledge. The nationally syndicated weekly public radio show from Northeast Public Radio highlighted the effectiveness of the YWSI program by interviewing the students and teachers and by observing the girls as they worked to complete their projects. The reporter commented that “programs like the Young Women’s Summer Institute reinforce research findings about how active learning experiences for this age group can make a difference.”

YWSI 2014 Overview Music Video