Pacific Summer High School Institute expanding in 2023

Two students looking at a computer

The Pacific Summer High School Institute is expanding in 2023 to provide more opportunities for high schoolers to live and learn at one of America’s top universities with the addition of sports camps and new academic programming.

The two-week institute on the Stockton Campus will be offered in two sessions: June 5 to 17 and June 20 to July 1. 

The institute is open to high schoolers across the country. The inaugural institute in 2022 included students from across California and as far as Canada. View highlights.

“Spending two weeks here is a life-changing experience,” said Balint Sztaray, professor of chemistry and director of the summer institute. “Students commonly change their mind about what it is like to go to college. They will also learn more about what they are interested in.”

A student wearing a white lab coat holds up a beaker

A student participates in the Curing Cancer program during the inaugural summer institute.

Students can choose from more than a dozen academic courses taught by Pacific faculty in the university’s cutting-edge labs, studios and makerspaces. This year courses will also be offered by Pacific’s prestigious dental and law schools.

Programs such as Future Pharmacists from the Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy provide hands-on experiences for students to see what a career in pharmacy could look like. 

“I had great instructors who were very involved with my learning and always offering a helping hand,” said high school senior Aleena Aguirre, who attended the inaugural summer institute.

Similar to the pharmacy course, a new program offered through the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry will show students what it takes to be a dentist. As part of the program, students will go on a day trip to the Dugoni School in downtown San Francisco to explore its state-of-the art facilities and clinic.

Physics professors are working on an astronomy program, offered in both two-week sessions, which will include late-night observations.

“They have telescopes that our students will be able to use. This is going to be a very popular program,” Sztaray said.

The McGeorge School of Law is developing a legal program for high schoolers, and most programs from the inaugural summer institute will be returning.

For the first time, sports camps will be offered in the 2023 summer institute. Students will have access to Pacific’s first-rate athletics facilities, including the Eve Zimmerman Tennis Center and the Douglas M. Eberhardt Aquatics Center, home of Pacific’s nationally ranked men’s water polo team. 

“We will also collaborate between academics and athletics programs. For example, the sports analytics program would be able to collect data on the on-going sports programs,” Sztaray said. 

four students standing together smiling

Students in the 2022 summer institute had a full range of activities and events in the evening, including a beach volleyball tournament, movies, scavenger hunts, games on the lawn and swimming. 

Students will live in residential halls with all-inclusive dining available on campus at the DeRosa University Center Marketplace.  

After classes have wrapped each day, students can participate in a wide range of planned activities, from outdoor movie nights and karaoke to arts and crafts. 

Students can relax in hammocks or around a firepit and play games on the DeRosa Lawn, including chess on a giant chess board, bocce, badminton and frisbee golf. 

The Baun Fitness Center is also available for use, with state-of-the-art cardio equipment, weightlifting and a climbing wall. 

“This is a transformational experience for many students who are away from home for the first time,” said Maria Blandizzi, vice president for Student Life. “We want students to fully experience everything Pacific has to offer.”  

The inaugural institute was very popular: 93% of participating students surveyed said they wanted to return in 2023. 

“It was such an amazing experience because I got to meet so many people and experience what it's like being in dorms and in class. I loved engaging with everybody,” said high school junior Miya Takahashi.

Added senior Sam Lee: “After experiencing everything, I definitely want to go to Pacific, take the prePharm course and become a pharmacist.”

Scholarships and other opportunities will be available to cover tuition for some students. For the inaugural summer institute, Lodi Unified School District covered tuition for its participating students using COVID-relief funds. 

“Students and parents expressed gratitude for this life-changing experience,” said Cathy Nichols-Washer, superintendent of Lodi Unified School District. “We appreciate the high-quality instruction provided by the professors and the care and attention the program advisors gave to our students.”

Pacific is working to team up with other school districts for the 2023 institute. Registrations will open in November or December.

View photos from the inaugural summer institute and learn more about programming.

View highlights from the 2022 Summer High School Institute