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Megan Thilmony
Tel: (608) 890-1403

Mary Fitzpatrick
Interim Summer Programs Director
Tel: (608) 890-3349

Diversity Affairs Office
College of Engineering
University of Wisconsin-Madison

1410 Engineering Drive, Suite 101
Madison, WI 53706

Tel: (608) 890-1403
Fax: (608) 890-2133

Office Hours: 8:30AM - 4:30PM

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Engineering Summer Program

Engineering Summer Program (ESP) is a fully funded, six-week residential program for students who will be high school juniors or seniors in the upcoming school year. The ESP course curriculum includes math, physics, chemistry, engineering, and technical communications. Other structured programming such as industry site visits, fieldtrips, guest lectures, workshops, and faculty mentoring will help students gain a better understanding of the field of engineering and its applications.



ESP 2016 Dates: Saturday, June 18th - Friday, July 29th, 2016

Application deadline: Tuesday, April 4th, 2016



Admission and Application Checklist


ESP is highly selective and admission decisions are not made on any single metric. We consider academic merit, interest in engineering, student essays, and letters of recommendation, as well as educational barriers including racial/ethnic and gender representation in engineering, geographical diversity, first generation status, limited educational and STEM enrichment opportunities or limited family resources. Each year the applicant pool is unique and reviewed independently from previous application cycles.

Although admission to UW-Madison is not the focus of ESP, there is a strong record of successful admission to UW-Madison and other engineering programs for ESP alumni. The admission decision to ESP is not associated with that of the Office of Admission at UW-Madison. ESP applicants are encouraged to apply to the University of Wisconsin-Madison regardless of the ESP admission decision. Qualified students may be denied admission to the program. The final admission decisions are the discretion of the ESP review committee.

Application Checklist

  • - Completed application form
  • - Personal essay
  • - Official transcript
  • - Two letters of recommendation: one from a math teacher and one from a science teacher
  • - Non-refundable $40 application fee. Please make the check out to "Engineering Summer Program" and write "Application Fee" in the memo section. PLEASE NOTE: The application fee may be waived if your family is eligible for free or reduced price lunch and other special circumstances. Any participant requesting a fee waiver must complete the Application Fee Waiver Request included in the application. Please note that application materials must contain all the items on the application checklist and be post-marked by Tuesday, April 4th, 2016 in order to receive consideration for admission

Participation Requirements and Benefits


ESP targets high school students from groups traditionally underrepresented in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) field. Women from all backgrounds, African-American, Native American, Latino/a, Laotian, Vietnamese, Hmong, and Cambodian students, first generation, educationally-disadvantaged and low income students are especially encouraged to apply.


To take part in ESP you must have a strong interest in math and engineering; be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident; be entering your junior or senior year for the upcoming school year; have completed at least one year of algebra, geometry, and chemistry by June of the program year; and have a minimum grade-point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.


The program challenges students to think creatively, work in teams and draw on previous knowledge and experiences to solve problems both inside and outside the classroom. The program consist of rigorous preparation in engineering foundation courses consistent with UW-Madison's engineering degree-earning programs.

ESP provides participants with a hands-on experience in design in addition to group study and problem solving skills that will be transferable to future high school and collegiate coursework. Students will also participate in faculty-led discussions, team building, professional development, as well as workshops to help students navigate the college admission and financial-aid process.

ESP Student Life


ESP is designed to focus on academic enrichment related to math, science, and engineering; provide an orientation to the UW-Madison environment and collegiate experience; and demonstrate the importance of early preparation for the college-bound student. Participants will interact with UW faculty/staff, students, program alumni, practicing engineers and other talented peers who share the same interest in mathematics, science and engineering.

Students will take a mathematics placement exam to determine the appropriate math level from them (Pre-Calculus or Calculus). Pre-Calculus is designed to increase proficiency in algebra to prepare for college-level calculus. Calculus provides an introduction to college-level chemistry. All students will take a physics course that will provide the basic principles of physics and their application to engineering. All students will also take a technical communications course to develop skills in academic writing, public speaking, and presenting technical information. Industrial site visits are integrated into the program to promote interaction with professional engineers in action at companies, businesses, and startups such as Rockwell Automation, Abbott, GE Healthcare, EPIC Systems, and Design Concepts. Students are encouraged to explore campus and the vibrant Madison area through programmed activities.

Housing and Meals

Housing and meals are included as part of the program. While attending ESP, participants will reside in University Housing. Lodging will be in Dejope Hall — a University Housing residence hall conveniently located on the Lakeshore campus. To foster a real sense of community, students will share a room with another program participant. Each air-conditioned room includes twin beds with bed linens and pillows, minifridges, desks, and internet connection. There will be no telephones in individual rooms; therefore, students are encouraged to bring a cell phone. Floor lounges include televisions, comfortable seating, and an attached kitchenette. Laundry and vending machines are located on the main floor of Dejope Hall. Meals will be served three times per day, seven days a week in the Four Lakes Market, located in Dejope Hall. Dining services will provide a variety of youth-friendly and healthy selections, including vegetarian and gluten-free options.


Participants will be supervised by program staff. Current undergraduate students are hired and trained to provide supervision and daily programming — including weekends. The counselors live in University Housing on the same floor as participants.

Past Intro to Engineering Final Presentations

Intro to Engineering Final Presentations

Design projects for the Intro to Engineering course of ESP vary every year. Each group focuses on a different design problem and are given the summer to design a solution by integrating knowledge and principles from the core curriculum classes (i.e. calculus, chemistry, and physics).

We have selected clips from each group to take you through their Design Process and Final Products. Enjoy!

Downloadable Materials

Downloadable Materials

- ESP 2016 Application

- ESP Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Make a Gift to ESP

Make a Gift to ESP


We’re looking for corporate sponsors for future programs. Please ask us about our information packet.

Donate to the Engineering Summer Program