Science First Application

What is Science First?

Science First is a free summer science program that strives to increase students’ knowledge and appreciation of the environment and how scientists study the environment. Students participate in one of two four-week sessions that take place at the Chicago Botanic Garden Monday through Friday. A school bus provides transportation from various designated stops throughout Chicago to bring students to the Garden by 9 a.m. Students are provided with all materials they need to participate, as well as a free snack and lunch. Students leave the Garden at 3 p.m. each day.

What do students do?

  • Learn about nature and plants
  • Meet other science-curious students from all over Chicago
  • Spend a lot of time outside, seeing and doing science
  • Explore our display gardens like the Krasberg Rose Garden or the Regenstein Fruit & Vegetable Garden
  • Learn about the Garden’s natural areas including our prairie, woods, and river
  • Talk to scientists who study plants
  • Learn how to conduct scientific research and prepare a presentation

Who can participate?

Students who are currently in grades 7 through 9 and are enrolled in a Chicago Public School can participate. Students and parents must commit to all four weeks of the program and agree to provide their own transportation to and from the designated bus stops. Students who are from a racial or ethnic background that are underrepresented in the field of science (African American, Latino, and Native American) and who would benefit the most from college and career support (low-income, first generation to attend college) are encouraged to apply.

When is the program?

Science First sessions will take place June 23 – July 18 and July 21 – August 15, Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Students will be grouped into two separate classes. New students in grades 7 and 8 will be in the first session and returning students in grades 8 and 9 will be in the second session.

What do you need to submit to apply?

To be considered for the program, the following items must be received by April 25, 2014.

  1. A completed application form.
  2. A copy of your second-quarter report card (January) or the most recent one you have. Please do not submit progress reports. (Do not hold back on submitting your application because you are waiting for a report card. Just submit the most recent one you have to ensure the application is received by the deadline.) Note: we are not necessarily looking for top grades.
  3. Recommendation form, filled out by a science teacher or community leader (pastor, youth group leader, etc.) who knows you well. It cannot be filled out by someone related to you.
  4. Permission slip, signed by you and your parent/guardian.

Apply online (including recommendation form, permission slip with parent signature, and uploaded report card) OR

Scan and e-mail the application materials to aalanis-ribeiro@chicagobotanic.org OR

Mail to the address below:


Amaris Alanis Ribeiro
Manager, Secondary Education Programs
Chicago Botanic Garden
1000 Lake Cook Road
Glencoe, IL 60022


All application materials must be received together by April 25, 2014. It is your responsibility to obtain the report card and all application components, as we do not work with schools to get this information and will not accept it after the deadline. Incomplete applications—those not accompanied by a report card or completed recommendation form—will not be considered. If you have any questions, please call Amaris Alanis Ribeiro at (847) 835-6871.