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Westinghouse Science Honors Institute

Westinghouse Science Honors Institute

The Westinghouse Science Honors Institute is a free program for high school juniors from Western Pennsylvania and the surrounding communities who demonstrate a strong interest in science and engineering and who are of high scholastic standing.

Westinghouse Science Honors Institute (WSHI) consists of 12 Saturday-morning lectures, from September through March, on selected topics in science and engineering. Students attend WSHI to gain insight into careers in engineering and science. They network with professionals in the "real world," and interact with students from different schools who also have the same abilities and interests.

Application forms are not available online and are distributed through the U.S. mail to schools in late August. For 2018-2019, September 12 is the deadline for WSHI to receive the completed application forms from schools. All schools must also include a completed Summary List of Candidates form with completed applications.

The 2018-2019 Westinghouse Science Honors Institute is sponsored by Westinghouse Electric Company. Lectures will be held at:

Franklin Regional Middle School
4660 Old William Penn Highway
Murrysville, PA 15668

Please note that there is more than one 4660 Old William Penn Highway in the area, so if using a GPS for driving directions please be sure to include the ZIP code of 15668 and verify that it is taking you to Franklin Regional Middle School.

For more information, call 412.256.2568 or email pipersh@westinghouse.com.

About the Program

On select Saturdays from September through March, qualified high school juniors from Western Pennsylvania and the surrounding communities participate in lectures while attending the Westinghouse Science Honors Institute.  A wide variety of topics are presented in the lecture portion of each session, with subjects such as:

  • nuclear power production
  • FBI's forensic investigations
  • potential of adipose tissue and adipose-derived stem cells
  • lasers and mechatronics
  • future human exploration of the solar system
  • around the world with no fuel
  • anatomic ACL reconstruction
  • design science
  • applications of machine learning
  • searching for the missing 96 percent of the universe 
  • bioengineering
  • the end of the age of dinosaurs in Antarctica

Students are encouraged to ask questions and interact with the lecturers during or after the presentation. The lecturers are at the top of their fields, and most have demonstrations to heighten subject interest. 

Approximately 200 accepted students will also have the opportunity to take an optional trip to tour the Penn State Radiation Science and Engineering Center's Breazeale nuclear reactor. Space will be filled on a first come/first serve basis.

Each Saturday begins with a light breakfast starting at 8:30 a.m. Lectures start at 9:45 a.m. and finish at 11:30 a.m. Students must be picked up no later than noon.

Students may also opt to take a voluntary exam to compete for awards. The exam is held immediately following the final session, and consists of 12 modules - one for each of the lecture topics. Students may use their lecture notes during the exam but no electronic devices (laptops, cell phones, etc.) will be permitted. Students are allowed 120 minutes to complete all the modules.

Typically, approximately 200 students accept the challenge and register for the exam. Awards will be issued to the top exam finishers who are eligible for Certificates of Completion.

Requirements

To be accepted into the WSHI program, students must be nominated by science coordinators or guidance counselors at high schools in Western Pennsylvania and the surrounding communities. These coordinators/ counselors receive WSHI information (including application forms) in late August and nominate high school juniors with a high scholastic standing in both science and the humanities (minimum B average). Most importantly, students must have a sincere interest in science.

Home-schooled students who are at the junior level are also encouraged to apply and should contact WSHI directly at pipersh@westinghouse.com.

Approximately 200 area schools receive WSHI information and about 110 respond with nominations. On a Summary List of Candidates form, the school administration provides information about each nominated student, including overall grade average to date. Nominated students must submit an application form on which they write a brief essay about their interest in science and why they want to participate in WSHI. The application form must also contain a recommendation from each student's science teacher or guidance counselor. The school returns the Summary List of Candidates form and completed applications to WSHI.

On the reverse side of the application form is a release of liability and assumption of all risks which must be signed by both the student and their parent or guardian. Application forms are available from the school science coordinator or guidance counselor. They are not available online. Applications with missing information (i.e. signatures, essay, etc.) will automatically be rejected. 

Every year, the Westinghouse Science Honors Institute receives more applications than it can accept, and interested students must be turned away. For that reason, students accepted into the Institute are expected to attend at least seven of the twelve lectures OR six lectures and one trip to Penn State.