The most important features of PGSS:“Being in a community where everyone is passionate about what they’re learning and about what they’re teaching. All the professors, lab instructors, and TAs seemed so in love with their subjects, and so excited to share the knowledge. It has been so wonderful being in community where everyone treats learning as a gift rather than a requirement.”

“I was even inspired to pursue a career in Computer Science, a field intimidatingly dominated by men. All in all, I can say that these past five weeks changed my life at the time, changed the course of my future, and changed the way I view my past… This priceless experience was, in fact, priceless. Thanks to organizations like the Philadelphia School District, the Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Sciences was free for all students. This allowed everyone, from all financial backgrounds, from all parts of the state, to have an equal opportunity to participate in the program. To me, this made a huge difference. Who would have known that I would be close friends with the rigid Republican from ‘Pennsyl-tucky’ and the die-hard vegan and liberal from the Philadelphia area? Who would have known that all of my friends came from immensely different backgrounds, both culturally and financially?”
“PGSS encourages collaboration (the instructors even told us to write who we collaborated with on our homework sets), so I was able to work with almost every one of my 55 peers. Some of the most interesting conversations that I had during the program were in the basement of our dorm building, while I was working on physics or biology homework with my friends. The common thread that linked all 56 individuals in the program was a love for science. There was no social or financial hierarchy.”

What are the most important features of PGSS?


  • “The most important feature was that the homework was purposefully challenging so you were forced to ask for help or collaborate with other students. Each of us are leaders and we all think of ourselves as being smart. We are used to being the smartest one in the room. By breaking down this idea of ourselves, we are able to learn to listen to one another. We are all leaders but this program has taught me that it is okay to follow too.”
  • “The people here where very important: TA’s and students.”
  • “The most important features of PGSS was the lack of grades which contributed to collaboration, the interesting PSETS and subjects that were not conventionally taught in school, the last week where we could work solely on the team project which was nice and allowed focus, and the supportive student body. I also liked the amount of unstructured time as well as the scheduled social events every night.”
  • “The learning environment of PGSS was for sure the most important. Unlike school, PGSS fosters true and honest collaborative learning where everyone benefits off of each other. PGSS also allows for extreme academic challenges without the crippling stress of grades or examinations that allows for a deeper level of learning and understanding the content.”

What is the most important thing you learned about yourself from the PGSS program?


  • “Collaboration is key to success.”
  • “I realize now that I need other people with me to truly enjoy life.”
  • “Its OK to now know everything.”
  • “I can thrive under a larger workload than I previously experienced.”
  • “I need to ask for help on very challenging subjects.”

What lasting impacts, if any, do you anticipate the PGSS program will have on your life?


  • “PGSS taught me the importance of a collaborative learning environment and how to both give and receive help.”
  • “PGSS has made me realize more how important continuous education is and that I should never stop learning.”
  • “I predict that PGSS has set me up for success in my future scientific endeavors.”
  • “PGSS has instilled in me how to balance sleep, course work and social times, while collaborating and challenging myself.”

Overall, what would you say was the most valuable thing about the PGSS experience?


  • “The abundance of different perspectives opened my eyes to ways of thinking that I had not seen before.”
  • “Being here has affirmed my love for sicence. I learned to collaborate efficiently and become a better team member.”
  • “I met other people who are just as motivated as I am.”
  • “The PGSS experience has shaped me into a better person.”
  • “PGSS opened up a thousand exciting doors and exposed me to a world of possibilities.”
  • “The friends I’ve made will last a lifetime.”
  • “This has been on of the most influential times of my life.”
  • “I would like to come back to the program as a TA.”

How does PGSS compare to high school?


  • Students found themselves working in project teams where everyone was an equal contributor, rather than doing most of the work for the group.
  • They found a peer group that amplifies their learning experience.
  • Students found more enjoyment in social settings, sporting events, and co-ed activities.