STEM Programs and Competitions

You can be part of these STEM programs at APL. Please discuss these programs with your parents and teachers and feel free to contact the STEM Program Management office directly if you need more information about any of them. Check out External Programs for many more programs near you and nationwide.

APL/NASA Education and Public Outreach

The APL Space Exploration Sector hosts this website to excite and inspire the next generation of explorers by creating hands-on, minds-on learning experiences. From the Sun to Pluto and beyond, APL is engineering the future of space exploration—examining Earth’s near-space environment, our star, planetary bodies, and the outer solar system. The APL/NASA Education and Public Outreach site provides unique opportunities for students, educators, museums, science centers, and the public to share in the excitement of the missions that APL manages for NASA. Explore this site for information about APL and NASA space exploration missions, including links to NASA websites, activities, and fun games.

ASPIRE High School Mentoring Program

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” — Benjamin Franklin

ASPIRE is a program for high school juniors and seniors to explore the real-world applications of STEM. Students are matched with APL staff to work on technical projects in a subject area of interest to the student. Visit the ASPIRE page for application information and deadlines or e-mail or call 240-228-STEM (7836).

College Prep Program

College Prep is a program to help students prepare for, apply to, and succeed in college. Admission is by competitive application, and is open to all area high school students. Applicants who are interested in STEM and who have demonstrated need (such as a low-income background, first generation college experience, lack of mentors) are encouraged to apply. Applications are available in March of each year for the summer program. You may sign up to receive an application by contacting Will Gray at

Girl Power

APL hosts Girl Power, a STEM expo for middle and high school girls, with support from the Maryland Space Business Roundtable and The Women's Giving Circle of Howard County. The event features hands-on activities, cool demonstrations, and take-home material for the girls to encourage an interest in STEM careers. Girls have the opportunity to talk to professional women in STEM careers such as aerospace, computer science, electrical engineering, geology, information technology, and space mission engineering. There is no registration required. Girl Power is scheduled for March 10, 2019. More details will be provided closer to the event.

Maryland MESA

Maryland MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement) is an after- or before-school enrichment program that engages students in hands-on applications of math, engineering, science, and technology concepts through projects and competitions. In addition, high school students participate in college preparation workshops and presentations, which include information about the college admission process. Contact MESA at 240-228-7836 (Washington, DC, area) or 443-778-7836 (Baltimore area).