What is ESSP?

Announcement (12/07/2021): ESSP has a new look!

ESSP has merged with HackBio and BioSTEMs to form AHEAD. AHEAD is open to Durham Public School high school students and applications are typically available in December. The program runs throughout from January to April.

To learn more about AHEAD! please visit the AHEAD! website or Apply Today!

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Our vision is to cultivate environmental leaders in our own community. The ecotoxicologists, oceanographers, environmental journalists, and civil engineers of tomorrow need high-quality, real-world experience today.

Since 2012, Environmental Science Summer Program at Duke has answered this call. Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment has partnered with Durham Public Schools to select talented and under-served high school students in Durham and the Triangle (Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill) from diverse cultural and socio-economic backgrounds, to participate in a 2-week intensive environmental science program at Duke University. Starting in 2019, we also opened the program to Granville County Public School students, in partnership with the Oxford Housing Authority.

Students selected for our program have the opportunity to:

  • Work with outstanding interdisciplinary faculty
  • Explore local environmental issues
  • Collect data in the field
  • Interact with experts in a range of environmental fields
  • Receive training with the Nicholas School’s own first-rate Career Services professionals
  • Learn to give a presentation, ace an interview, and create a resume
  • Receive one-on-one college counseling

Students participating in the Environmental Science Summer Program (ESSP) at Duke are situated in the heart of main campus. During the program, students experience the Nicholas School of the Environment’s state-of-the-art facilities and Duke’s renowned outdoor laboratory: the Duke Forest. Since 1931, Duke University has managed the  7,000 acre reserve  as a hands-on outdoor teaching and research  facility.

ESSP students also investigate local water quality in New Hope Creek, which dissects Duke Forest and supplies a portion of the Triangle’s drinking water. The creek provides a perfect setting to explore aquatic biology, water chemistry, land use, and environmental justice. With the help of experts from Duke University, the City of Durham, and local conservation organizations, the students analyze water conservation issues, begin their own data collection, and communicate their findings to the public.

With a strong emphasis on career development, the Environmental Science Summer Program at Duke positions students for success in college and careers in the environment.

ESSP is funded by the generous support of NSF’s Physical Oceanography Program.

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