Program Overview

The 2024 Summer Program - Commuter Program Only

This summer the program will be for commuters only, in-person only with no housing available.

For rising 12th graders - 

The ESTEEM Research Mentoring Program (Engineering Science and Technology to Energize and Expand Young Minds) and the Summer Engineering Research (SER)-Quest is an intensive 4-week research-focused program sponsored by the Center for Minorities in Science and Engineering. 

The goal of the ESTEEM/SER-Quest Program is to recruit talented students to attend the A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland, College Park. 

During the ESTEEM/SER-Quest Program, students will:

  • Explore engineering through a research project 
  • Learn about engineering research and engineering concepts 
  • Develop a research proposal,  complete a literature search,  and review the research project 
  • Learn about the college application process, financial aid processes, college preparation and career readiness.
  • Meet undergraduate and graduate students through engineering-focused programs and activities

Please note that participation in the ESTEEM/SER-Quest does not guarantee admission to the University of Maryland.

The ESTEEM/SER-Quest Program is currently accepting applications for summer 2024 for commuters only. There is no housing available for this program. 

  • Expose high school seniors to college-level engineering research.
  • Introduce rising high school seniors to the University of Maryland and to the A. James Clark School of Engineering.
  • Help academically strong high school seniors become highly competitive candidates for admission to the University of Maryland and to the A. James Clark School of Engineering through a research opportunity 
  • The program is open to all students, however, the targeted groups for this program are from underrepresented ethnic groups: African American, American Indian, Pacific Islander, and Latino/Hispanic.
  • Interested students must have a minimum 3.2 GPA with no C's in Math and Science Courses
  • Have a significant and demonstrated interest in and aptitude for a career in engineering
  • Have a serious interest in attending the University of Maryland College Park and majoring in engineering
  • Students must  be ready to  take Pre-Calculus by 12th grade 
  • Have completed Chemistry with a grade of B or better
  • Have completed 11th grade by June 2024
  • Demonstrate excellent oral and written communication skills.
  • Be available on a full-time basis for the entire duration of the 4-week summer program
  • Complete all components of the application by the deadline
  • For best consideration, apply by April 26, 2024
  • Complete the Application
  • Write a 250-word essay on the topic, "Why are you interested in majoring in the field of engineering and what societal problems do you hope to solve as an engineer?".
  • Please include a copy of your resume. You will be able to upload the essay and your resume via the Online Application portal.
  • Two (2) recommendations are required, (1) from a math teacher and (1)from a science teacher.  Ask your teacher to please tell us in narrative form why they endorse you for the ESTEEM Research Mentoring Program. The teacher is to address what they know about the student's academic performance, and participation in school activities as well as their character, reliability, conduct, and general qualifications for participation in ESTEEM. (Please provide your teachers with the link located under "Submission of Supporting Documents" to submit their letter.)
  • A copy of the student's high school transcript  (Please provide your high school counselor or registrar staff with the link located below under "Submission of Supporting Documents" to upload the high school transcript.)
  •  11th-grade report card through the last marking period.

There is no cost for students selected to participate in the program.


Applications:  For best consideration, apply by April 26th, 2024  

Program Dates:  July 8 - August 2, 2024

Teacher Recommendation Deadline: May 3rd

High School Transcript

Transcripts will only be accepted by high school counselors or registrar staff.  Transcripts may be submitted via the Transcript Form.  

Letters of Recommendation

We will only accept letters of recommendation from a Math and a Science Teacher. The letter may be submitted via the Letter of Recommendation Form.

Review testimonials from past participants below! 

Share with us your experience with the Research Project Component e.g (Feasibility, schedule, subject matter, end result, knowledge, etc)

"I believe that this experience was truly worth my time. I got to meet some amazing people among the staff and students. I learned many new things about the SAT from my peers. I also really enjoy the project we did the first two weeks of this program. The scheduling was also perfect. It was never too overwhelming, but rather reasonable for me because of the break times and all the other things that went into play. I now think that my level of understanding of the many things I learned when working with my mentor and my partner in this project has paid off. I might even consider this kind of experience for the future, as in by the time I am at college. I think that it would be in the program's best interest to continue with this kind of project. Helping students succeed in the SAT, for example, is definitely of unequivocal value. The staff was also very understanding, helping us with our college applications whenever we needed help."

-Leonello C., ESQ' 20, Walter Johnson High School

"Over the course of the program, I feel as though the work dynamic within our team was balanced. It never felt like one person was doing more work than the other and we both were interested in the research and eager to get the work completed in a timely fashion. Our mentor, Mr. Lei Pan, was a great help, assisting us in finalizing each of our milestones and teaching us more about our project. I believe my research skills have improved from this program because coming into this program, I had only done research during the science fair. In this program, we were given the opportunity to actually work in a research lab with our mentor. The research skills that I took away from this program can be applied in future research projects that I will have to do in the future. I was already interested in a STEM-related major/career prior to coming into the ESTEEM/Ser-Quest program, but attending this program allowed me to really opened my eyes to many different areas I may be interested in, in the STEM field."

-Herman L. , ESQ'19 , Oxon Hill High School 


How do you feel about the Experience UMD activities? e.g. (Departmental Tours, Information Sessions, etc.)

"All of the Experience UMD activities were captivating and fun. I was able to learn about all of the engineering departments UMD had to offer, and that info made me very interested in potentially majoring in mechanical engineering, whereas I previously was leaning towards civil engineering. It was also very cool to meet ESTEEM and UMD alumni who could give their two cents on what life is like in college, and how we as seniors should prepare for it."

-Xavier B., ESQ '20, Wheaton High School


 "The information that was given to us was much more personal and in-depth than anything you could find online; which I personally appropriated. I was able to ask questions and obtain answers that were very helpful. I very much enjoyed the opportunity to have the information session for they were enlightening. The Scavenger Hunt was one of the more interactive parts of the program in which I truly enjoyed.  I believe many of us got closer that day as we had to meet new people and work together to complete the mission. I enjoyed the laughter and smiles that the activity bought and I ask that the activity be continued for I enjoyed it very much. Lastly, the privileged opportunity of going to NASA Goddard. I truly enjoyed the exclusive opportunity to get a closer look at the work that NASA is doing so close by. Meeting people who were working on different projects and getting to ask them about their jobs and lifestyle was very enjoyable. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the activities that the program provided."

-Ariel W., ESQ'19, Oxon Hill High School

"I really enjoyed the planned Experience University of Maryland activities. The departmental tours were very informative, and I especially enjoyed the fire protection engineering tour and the material science engineering tour because of the activities they included. In the fire protection engineering tour, setting the Popsicle sticks on fire and testing different ways to make them less flammable was really really fun and also showed all of us what fire protection engineering is all about. The little examples that were brought in for the tour were very helpful, ad incredibly engaging. Of course, it was even cooler when the pipe ad magnets were passed around because I got to see the results of the experiment firsthand and it made what the presenter was talking about way more interesting to me to be holding in my hands proof of what he was talking about."

-Alison B., ESQ'19, International Academy  

Contact Information

Program Coordinator ESTEEM/SER-Quest Summer Program
Center for Minorities in Science and Engineering