A Growing Relationship: SYP Partnership with South Korean High School Continues to Thrive

SYP South Korea
SYP South Korea
Nearly 1,300 students from 35 states and 11 countries will participate in Michigan Tech's Summer Youth Program (SYP) this summer. Among the participants are 114 students from the Gyeonggi Science High School for the Gifted in Suwon, South Korea.

More than 1,100 graduate and undergraduate students from more than 50 countries attend Michigan Technological University every year. This summer, middle and high school students from 11 countries keep the international atmosphere going strong. 

The 2018 season of Michigan Tech’s Summer Youth Program (SYP) is in its second week, with 1,283 students from 35 states and 11 countries registered to participate in one- or two-week programs throughout the summer. The international students come from Canada, Mexico, Chile, Morocco, Colombia, Ethiopia, Bahrain, Thailand, Sweden, England and South Korea.

More than 100 of the SYP students here this week are from the same high school—Gyeonggi Science High School for the Gifted in Suwon, South Korea. But the South Korean students, who arrived Sunday, aren't taking identical courses. Some students are exploring engineering disciplines, including chemical, civil, geological, mechanical and automotive, as well as Engineering 101. Gyeonggi students are also enrolled in biotechnology, forensic science and CSI, medical laboratory science, medical physiology, app and web development and coding for the internet of things.

A relationship deepens

SYP is a division of the University’s Center for Educational Outreach (CPCO). Amanda Jackson, CPCO assistant director, says the relationship with Gyeonggi Science High School goes back several years and continues to expand. It began in 2012 with 32 students. This year enrollment more than tripled, to 114.

“I’m thrilled at the growth and interest we have seen for our summer program from South Korea and across the country,” Jackson says. “Each student helps bring diversity to the camp environment by sharing their culture, ideas and views with other students.” Jackson says this interaction provides a “mini college experience” for the students.

Established in 1983 as South Korea’s first science high school, Gyeonggi is one of four high schools in that country that was transformed into a school for the gifted. With an enrollment of 384 students, it offers a curriculum of 139 credits of academic courses and 33 credits of research activities.

While the South Koreans benefit from the opportunity to participate in college-level science and engineering offerings during their week-long stay at Michigan Tech, the University benefits as well.

Cassy Tefft de Muñoz, director of Michigan Tech International Programs and Services, says one of the best things about SYP is that it introduces high school students to “the very essence of Michigan Tech.”

A taste of college life

Tefft de Muñoz says, “With international participation in SYP growing over the years, the global diversity of the programs now mirrors the experience our degree students have on campus. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter if you’ve come from South Korea or St. Clair Shores, coding your own app and making friends is an awesome way to spend the summer.”

For more than 45 years, Michigan faculty, students, role models and other professionals have been leading SYP middle school and pre-college explorations built around activities, field trips and team projects. Competitive scholarship programs open the door for students who might not otherwise be able to attend. Upcoming competitive scholarship programs include Engineering Scholars (July 22-28), Women in Computer Science (July 22-28) and Women in Engineering (July 29-Aug. 4).

Michigan Technological University is a public research university founded in 1885 in Houghton, Michigan, and is home to more than 7,000 students from 55 countries around the world. Consistently ranked among the best universities in the country for return on investment, Michigan’s flagship technological university offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, computing, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, social sciences, and the arts. The rural campus is situated just miles from Lake Superior in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, offering year-round opportunities for outdoor adventure.