APL Programs

APL participates in the following programs and encourages teachers to discuss them with their STEM students. Please feel free to contact the APL STEM Program Management Office if you need more information on how to help your STEM students take part in these programs. 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.

APL Space Academy

APL and the Discovery Channel sponsor this program to take you inside real NASA missions. Talk to the scientists and engineers who design, build, and guide the satellites and spacecraft that are exploring our solar system and beyond.


APL STEM Corps is a group of dedicated APL staff who volunteer their time to STEM outreach. Whether it is mentoring students, coaching a robotics team, tutoring students or judging science fairs, APL STEM Corps volunteers help to inspire, engage and educate the next generation of STEM professionals.

You can request help from an APL volunteer by completing the volunteer request form. Requests will be posted to volunteers but there is no guarantee that requests will be filled.

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 aspire@jhuapl.edu or call 240-228-STEM (7836).

The application period for the summer 2016 session is now open. Application instructions are provided on the ASPIRE page.

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 will.collegeprep@gmail.com.

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 6, 2016, from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. More information will be available soon.

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 240-228-5382 (Washington, DC, area) or 443-778-5382 (Baltimore area).

Python Programming

This computer programming class, sponsored by the Howard County Public School Middle School Gifted and Talented (G/T) program, provides opportunities for students to learn fundamental programming skills and gain hands-on experience using the computer to solve problems in mathematics, physics, and engineering. Course content has been developed as part of a continuing collaboration with volunteer staff members from APL. Students read and write programs in the open-source Python programming language, learn fundamental programming concepts, and use them to solve a series of incrementally challenging problems. This program is offered at a limited number of schools in Howard County, Maryland. Students who are interested in participating in this program should contact their school’s Gifted and Talented coordinator.

Robotics Programs

APL partners with FIRST Robotics to host competition events on site at APL. Robotics teams that are looking for mentoring or are having technical issues may request help from an APL volunteer through the volunteer request form. Requests will be posted to volunteers but there is no guarantee that requests will be filled.