Science First

Science First Application

Science First Application & Resources

What is Science First?

Calling all curious minds in rising 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th grades! Are you ready to unleash your inner explorer and dive into the wonders of science? Look no further than Science First at the Chicago Botanic Garden! Science First is more than just a summer program—it's an adventure-filled journey into the world of nature and scientific discovery. Here's what awaits...

Rising 7th & 8th graders

  • Nature exploration: Embark on a three-week exploration of the Garden's hidden secrets through exciting hands-on activities, captivating science experiments, and nature walks led by expert educators.
  • Fuel your curiosity: Learn about plants, animals, and the environment in a fun and engaging way.
  • Free lunch: No need to pack a brown bag, lunch is on us!
  • Make new friends: Connect with like-minded peers and build lasting memories.
  • Friday field trips: Get ready for thrilling adventures!
  • Exciting possibilities: Kayaking on the serene waters, building your own aquaponics system, and exploring hidden natural gems are just a few of them.

Rising 9th & 10th graders

  • Take your science journey to the next level: Embark on a four-week paid internship, diving deeper into research projects and gaining valuable experience alongside scientists.
  • Get hands-on with research: Conduct your own scientific investigation under the guidance of experienced mentors. Analyze data, draw conclusions, and prepare your findings for presentation.
  • Become a mini-scientist: Learn vital lab techniques and research methods, like using microscopes, dissecting specimens, and collecting data in the field.
  • Boost your college and career prep: Build essential skills, gain confidence, and explore potential science careers. Share your discoveries: Present your research findings to fellow students, parents, and the Garden community at a culminating poster session!
  • Earn while you learn: Get paid for your hard work and dedication!

What are the benefits of Science First?

  • Unforgettable experiences: Immerse yourself in the beauty and wonder of the Chicago Botanic Garden.
  • Expert guidance: Learn from top-notch scientists and educators.
  • Lifelong skills: Build confidence, critical thinking, and teamwork skills.
  • Fun and friendship: Make new friends and share unforgettable memories.
  • Unleash your potential: Get ready to unleash your scientific potential and leave your mark on the world!

Who can participate?

To be eligible for Science First, you must:

  • Be a current 6th – 10th grader in a Chicago Public School.
  • Have a strong interest in science and nature.
  • Show ambition to pursue a college degree.
  • Commit to all program elements including unpaid orientation, and a full three- or four-week summer program.
  • Arrange your own transportation to and from program bus stops.

Additionally, consideration will be given to applicants who:

  • Belong to a racial/ethnic group underrepresented in science (African American, Latinx, Native American).
  • Would benefit most from college and career support (low-income, first-generation college student).

2024 Program

Monday – Friday 
9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

June 17

Science First I:  
(middle schoolers)  
June 24 – July 12

Science First II:  
(high school freshman and sophomores)  
July 15 – August 9

What's needed to apply?

To be eligible for Science First, you must submit the following items:

  • Completed application:  Share your story and aspirations!
  • Latest progress report:  Show us your academic achievements. (Report cards requested at acceptance.)
  • Recommendation form: Let a science teacher or community leader vouch for you. (No family members please!)
  • Program permission waiver: Get the green light from your parent/guardian.

Apply Online

To be considered for the program, please submit all requested items by April 16.

If you have any questions, please contact program manager Karen Segura at Click here to show mail address or call her at (847) 835-6871.