Penn Summer COVID-19 Update
Penn Summer staff are not onsite, but we are still available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. by phone and online in case you need support: (215) 898-7326 or Visit, the University's dedicated coronavirus COVID-19 web page, for the latest updates.
close alert box button

Chemistry Research Academy

July 1 - July 23, 2021

Dates include move-in and move-out days (if needed).
Applications are now open.

Apply Now »

Residential Commuter

Residential and commuter options (if in-person)

Non-credit program

Non-credit program


Eligibility: Current 9th-11th grade students

International students

International students welcome

Financial Aid

Financial aid for select Philadelphia students

Penn Chemistry is a leading center for molecular research and instruction, whose researchers are at the frontier of modern chemistry, tackling a wide variety of important societal challenges. The Chemistry Research Academy provides students with the foundational knowledge to understand the chemistry of cutting-edge research projects in the chemical sciences while offering an opportunity to interact with the scientists performing this research.

The Chemistry Research Academy has traditionally been an on-campus, in-person experience. Because of COVID-19, the program was delivered entirely online during the summer of 2020, with great success! No decisions regarding delivery (on-campus or online) have been made yet about the summer of 2021.

If you attend a School District of Philadelphia public or charter high school, you may be eligible to attend a Penn Summer Academy free of charge with a Penn Summer Scholarship.

Get application information »


Synchronous sessions: Students will choose one of two equivalent 3-hour time blocks, intended to accommodate time zone regions both negative and positive of UTC (Coordinated Universal Time). Students in all time zones will have a choice that falls between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. in their local time.

  • In summer, Penn is “UCT – 4”
  • Sessions are held through Zoom. These will be a mixture of large-group and small-group activities, making use of break-out rooms for smaller discussions with instructors and peers.

Labs: As half of our program has traditionally been spent in the chemistry lab, we will use a variety of strategies to accommodate our lab goals.

  • Students will receive a license to download an excellent simulated lab space in which they will virtually work.
  • Students will view live or recorded demonstrations of the instructors doing chemistry and will use some of these in correlation with the simulations.
  • Students will use some inexpensive and readily available household supplies to do a small amount of safe, hands-on experimenting with properties. A list will be sent to participants and parents prior to the start of the academy.

Research talks: A series of Penn researchers will speak to the class and there will be some opportunity for live interaction with researchers through Zoom. When not scheduled during synchronous sessions, these will be optional.

Capstone project: Throughout the academy, students will be guided through a process to choose and plan their own independent research project using Penn’s extensive online resources. They will leave with a plan they can use for entering a science fair or for meeting their high school’s independent research requirements.

Penn Summer online system requirements

We recommend that all operating systems, browsers, Flash, and other software be up to date before the start of each online class. Most courses use Canvas for assignments, discussion, and watching video, and synchronous sessions can happen in a variety of platforms. Students will receive all important information before the beginning of class.

See more system requirements >


Program Director: Dusty Carroll

Program Director: Dusty Carroll
Ms. Carroll earned her master's degree in chemistry education at the University of Pennsylvania in 2005. She taught molecular spectroscopy in Penn’s Master of Chemistry Education Program for four years and has been with the Chemistry Research Academy since its inception in 2013. During the academic year, Ms. Carroll teaches AP Chemistry and Engineering at Seneca High School in New Jersey.