For Rising 8th-12th Graders

Tapia STEM Camps

The Tapia Camps are award-winning residential STEM camps for rising 8th-12th graders at Rice University that emphasize communication and equity. Campers complete STEM projects and presentations as they experience life as a Rice student for a week. Rice University is one of the nation's foremost research institutions consistently ranked in the top 20 universities in the United States.


2023 Summer Sessions

Over 100 Tapia campers pose in front of Lovett Hall on the Rice University campus.

Tapia Camps are a 6-day/5-night program at Rice University in Houston, Texas. Food and lodging is provided, and campers live in the dormitories and spend their instruction time in the buildings on campus. A field trip will take place within Houston (e.g. at Space Center Houston/NASA Johnson Space Center).

Camper walking with duffle bag walking towards the dorms.

When purchased by individuals, all sessions are $1700 before January 1, 2023, including
  • Session 1: July 2 - 7, Sunday - Friday.

  • Session 2: July 9 - 14, Sunday - Friday.

  • Session 3: July 16 - 21, Sunday - Friday.

  • Session 4: July 23 - 28, Sunday - Friday.

For ISD pricing, please contact tapiacenter@rice.edu. Registration is now open!

Campers outside of Duncan College completing STEM activity in groups.

More information

  • Join our mailing list for individuals!
  • Join our mailing list for school administrators/officials!
  • Thanks to generous sponsors, the Tapia Center has a limited amount of competitive scholarships. Please check back in May to find out how to apply.
  • For additional information for schools and districts, please email tapiacenter@rice.edu.


What Makes Tapia Camps Special?

Two campers with Rice professor doing math on a chalkboard.

Challenging STEM Curriculum

At Tapia Camps, campers are not limited to just one interest; they are able to focus on multiple STEM subjects throughout the week. Campers learn directly from Rice University students, with course material designed by research members, led by the camp director Professor Paul Hand. Students get to enjoy the college experience while interacting with professors, STEM professionals, and Professor Richard Tapia, recipient of the National Medal of Science.

4 students preparing for presentation while standing in a group.

Communication

To have a successful career in STEM, and in other fields, individuals must be able to communicate their ideas effectively and be able to work in teams. Campers learn and practice public speaking skills and collaborate with fellow students to complete STEM projects. At the end of the camp, campers present their final projects in front of professors, students, and Dr. Richard Tapia.

Dr. Tapia giving speech to auditorium with Tapia Center logo on projection screen.

Equity

The Tapia Camps curriculum is a unique blend of STEM concepts in the context of societal equity. Campers explore equity concerns in their projects and hear firsthand from a diverse range of academics and professionals on their work and experiences in STEM.

Read about our awards>

Read about our impact>


Who is Dr. Richard Tapia?

Professor Richard Tapia and President Barack Obama during the National Medal of Science bestowment.

The Tapia Camps are named after Professor Richard Tapia. Dr. Tapia is a mathematician and professor in the Department of Computational and Applied Mathematics at Rice University in Houston, Texas. He is internationally known for his research in the computational and mathematical sciences and is a national leader in education and outreach. Professor Tapia holds prestigious positions of University Professor and Maxfield-Oshman Professor in Engineering. Dr. Tapia is the director of the Center for Excellence and Equity in Education and is a recipient of the National Medal of Science.

Dr. Tapia lecturing to students.

Dr. Tapia created the Tapia Camps as a way to promote excellence and equity in STEM through subject exploration for middle and high school students. Campers hear firsthand from Dr. Tapia and are inspired to pursue their passions in STEM.

Learn more about Dr. Tapia>


Tapia Camps Leadership

Dr. Paul Hand

Tapia Camps Director

Dr. Paul Hand

Dr. Hand is an assistant professor of mathematics and computer science at Northeastern University, and was formerly an assistant professor at Rice University. His research interests include machine learning and artificial intelligence. Dr. Hand leads development of the Tapia Camps curriculum.

Dr. Leticia Velazquez

Director of Operations

Dr. Leticia Velazquez

Dr. Velazquez is the Director of Operations for the Tapia Center and Camps. She manages and oversees all important aspects that are involved with having a safe and successful camp experience.

Sabrina Hernandez

Program Assistant

Sabrina Hernandez

Sabrina is a program assistant for the Tapia Camps. She focuses on managing communications with educational partners and individual interested in the Tapia Camps. Sabrina is a recent Rice University graduate and has served as a Tapia Camps instructor for 2 summers.


Tapia STEM Camps FAQ

Are the camps in-person or virtual?

2023 Tapia Camps are in-person. The 6-day/5-night program requires students to live in Rice University dorms. Tapia Camps will be following all COVID-19 protocols as mandated by the university for programs involving minors. We will be sending any updates about our specific camp policies as they come up. To learn more about Rice University's general COVID-19 response, please visit coronavirus.rice.edu.

What is the living situation like?

Campers will stay in a dorm room and have a roommate (if Rice University COVID-19 rules allow for it). Roommates will be of a similar grade level and gender. All campers will be in the same dorm building but will be in separate wings depending on their gender. Program staff members will be available at all hours in case of emergencies.

Who will be instructing/supervising campers?

All camp instructors will be university (undergraduate and graduate) students, and many will be from Rice. All program staff members (including instructors) are CPR/first aid trained and have completed background checks and have satisfied all requirements from the Office of Risk Management.

What is the student/teacher ratio?

In the classrooms, we typically have 20 students per instructor. In the evenings we have 10-15 campers per 1 program staff member.

Can a camper commute to Rice University instead of staying in the dorms?

Campers are required to live on campus for the duration of the program. Staying in the dorms with the rest of their groups helps to immerse campers in the college experience.

Is there a schedule for what the week will be like?

You can download an example of our camp schedule!

Are there different schedules/programs for different grade levels?

The structure of the program is the same for all campers. Campers will be in classrooms with others of similar grade levels. Campers will engage their STEM projects at a level appropriate for their grade and prior knowledge. Feedback from the instructors will be tailored to the ability level of each camper. Our projects are designed to be interesting and challenging for all students who are rising 8th graders or older.

Do campers need to bring their own computers?

No, bringing a computer is not necessary. If required for the project, we will provide campers access to computers.

Do camps provide school credit?

No, Tapia Camps do not award any credit for middle school, high school, or college credit.

Can a camper participate in Tapia Camps multiple times?

Yes! Please let us know during registration what year the camper participated in and which projects they have completed. Repeat campers will complete projects in different subject areas.

Do you offer any discounts?

We offer discounts to families of Rice alumni or staff. If you have any questions, email us at tapiacenter@rice.edu.

Have more questions about the camps? Email us at tapiacenter@rice.edu, or call (713)-348-5182.