Summer Discovery Overview

Designing and Leading a Purposeful Life

The Readiness Institute Summer Discovery gives learners the opportunity to upskill/reskill cognitive ability and competencies, develop greater social-emotional intelligence, and improve modern literacies that raise digital, cultural, and financial awareness. Participants will gain an improved sense of self and be better able to answer the following questions:

  1. Who am I?
  2. Who do I want to become?
  3. How do I get there?
  4. How will I continue to learn?
  5. How will I give back to my community?

Real-Life, Learner-Centered

Learners will work both independently and collaboratively, under the supervision of mentors, in a variety of dynamic educational atmospheres. The Readiness Institute Summer Discovery offers stimulating and creative learning experiences that provide students with unique opportunities to:

  • explore future career pathways
  • establish habits and best practices to challenge intolerance
  • develop positive financial-management habits
  • build soft skills of communication and collaboration
  • think about growth and development as individuals and citizens
  • receive ongoing guidance, care, and inspiration from mentors
  • match aspirations to opportunities through personalized coaching
  • enhance digital literacy to thrive in a technology-driven world
  • cultivate a sense of service and capacity for stewardship and leadership

Learner Support and Alumni Network

We make a commitment to all our Readiness Institute Summer Discovery learners to stay with them for life. After the program ends, learners are welcomed into the Alumni Network and are provided support, mentorship, learning experiences, and peer networking as they progress along their individual pathways. During the fall of their senior year, Readiness Institute Summer Discovery learners receive exclusive access to a series of workshops focused on college and career readiness. Previous workshops have included: resources and strategies for applying for scholarships, FAFSA support, tips for writing college application essays, and college application completion and submission.

Important Dates for 2024 Summer Discovery 

  • January 31
    Application opens 
  • March 31
    Application closes
  • April 8–April 9
    Application selection process
  • April 10
    Registration opens for accepted applicants 
  • May 10
    Registration closes for accepted applicants
  • June 24–August 1
    Readiness Institute Summer Discovery

Program Details

When: June 24–August 1 (Monday–Thursday, 9:00 a.m.–3:30 p.m.)

Where: Participants will take part in a mix of onsite, offsite, and virtual programming in Pittsburgh and Central PA. 

  • Onsite programming includes speakers from various industries and workshops on topics like social-emotional learning, financial literacy, digital fluency, and more. Learners will also work on a Community Design Challenge to address global issues on a local scale.
  • Offsite programming will take place at a variety of education, community, and industry institutions. Learners will participate in field trips to local organizations including but not limited to SLB Radio Productions, Carnegie Science Center, Moonshot Museum, Astrobotic Technology, and Penn State Commonwealth campuses.
  • Virtual programming will be presented over Zoom and include reflection on weekly activities, exploration of personal and professional pathways, and mental health discussions.

Cohorts of 45 participants in Allegheny County, 12 participants in Blair/Bedford Counties, and 12 participants in Cambria/Somerset Counties will be admitted to the program. Each learner will receive a stipend of $2,000 and a laptop to use while enrolled in the program.

2024 Application

The application deadline for the 2024 Summer Discovery has passed.

All Penn State youth programs have policies in place to ensure the safety of youth participating in our programs. Read more important information for parents/guardians.