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    UC San Diego - A World Class Research University

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    A Leader in Caring for Our Planet!

  • GELS Washington DC

Embedded locally with global reach.

About Us

The UC San Diego Global Environmental Leadership and Sustainability pre-college programs are designed to provide high achieving high school students the opportunity to engage and address environmental issues in the world today in an effort to develop future "Leaders in Caring for the Earth."

Our program offerings include four field research sites located on the Big Island of Hawai'i, Biosphere 2 - Arizona, Catalina Island, and  Washington D.C. 

Learn More

Why UC San Diego?

UC San Diego is an academic powerhouse and economic engine, recognized as one of the top 10 public universities by U.S. News & World Report and ranked number one in the nation for public service by the Washington Monthly. Our location is unparalleled, our impact unmistakable.

Program Selection Considerations

The GELS programs combine current scientific research with leadership training and personal growth skills. But which GELS program is the right one for you?

  • Biosphere 2: Our Biosphere 2 program is an intense science course during which your research team designs an experiment, collects data, analyzes the results and presents your findings with a scientific poster produced during the program. Leadership training is incorporated into the program and you experience personal growth as the program unfolds.
  • Hawai'i: Our Hawai’i program covers the science of aquaculture and as teams you experience the types of data collection performed to determine man’s impact on fragile reef ecosystems. A stronger emphasis is put on cultural practices and service to others in this program as we work at Kiholo Bay and learn from native Hawai’ians throughout the program.
  • SIO/Washington DC: Our SIO/DC program covers the application of your knowledge. After analyzing data Scripps Institution of Oceanography has been collecting for over 100 years, you learn how to interpret that data and use the information to select an environmental issue you are passionate about. You are then taught the leadership skills necessary to lobby on Capitol Hill with your own Representative and present your issue in a professional and informative way. 
  • Catalina Island: Our Catalina Island program is an abbreviated version of our GELS programs. This program provides the key leadership, hands-on science, and research we offer in the other programs in a short schedule format. This is a great program for students and parents who want a great experience at an economic price point. 

If you have further questions, please send us an email to precollege@ucsd.edu