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First Light

First Light Saturday Science School gives middle school students in the District of Columbia an opportunity to learn about a topic within the field of Astrobiology through hands-on projects guided by STEM professionals. Each year, the program has a different theme.  Students may join for a single term but are encouraged to return for as many terms as possible during their years of eligibility (Grades 6-8).  There are three 6-week terms per academic year.  

In 2015-2016, students studied optics and the properties of light, built their own telescopes, learned how modern astronomy has expanded our view of the Universe and made their own astronomical observations during an overnight camping trip. Students in the program also work with STEM undergraduate mentors and science professionals to learn about STEM careers.  Sessions are held on Saturdays from 1 pm - 4 pm, at the University of the District of Columbia. 

Spring term for First Light will commence on April 1, 2017 at the University of the District of Columbia. Tentative dates for the Spring Term are Apr 1,8, 29; May 6, 13, 20. 


Spring Term registration for First Light is now closed. Check back in August for Fall Term 2017 registration!

Registration is on a first-come basis so register early to ensure a place. Residents of the District of Columbia and current students in First Light will receive priority. 

  • Alumni choose STEM! Of the students who were in this program 2008-09, 39% are now pursuing college degrees with a STEM focus.
  • Alumni return for more FL! From the last 10 years, 64% of students return for more than one term. 43% return for more than three terms.
Thank you so much. I think First Light has played an important role in (my children's) love of science and in helping them to be confident about their ability to pursue a science career path." - Terri, parent of four First Light alumni