Skip to main content

GELS Washington DC

GELS Washington, DC is in the works to return for Summer 2025. Please return to this page in November 2024 for more updated information. 

Program Dates: TBD

Eligibility: Students must currently be enrolled in grades 9-12 and at least 14 years of age. Applicants must have a cumulative GPA of 3.3 or higher.

Application Fee: $100

Tuition Fee: $4,800 (Includes course materials, room and board, ground transportation, activities and airfare from San Diego to Washington, DC only. Payment plan is available upon request.)

Program Description

This is a collaborative program between UCSD Scripps Institution of Oceanography and UCSD Pre-Collegiate Programs at the University of California DC facility.

This two-week program is the capstone of UC San Diego’s Global Environmental Leadership and Sustainability Programs because it bridges scientific research to environmental policy. Students connect scientific research they perform with Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO) researchers to environmental policy making on Capitol Hill in Washington DC. High achieving high school students are given the opportunity to work hand-in-hand with graduate researchers at SIO in San Diego analyzing data and exploring the causes and effects of climate change on earth’s systems. Students connect the research to policy making by writing an issue paper and then traveling to Washington DC to present their findings to their Congressional Representatives on Capitol Hill.

Throughout the program scientific research is connected with leadership training and personal growth, which students experience as the program unfolds. Students collaborate, reflect and engage in leadership activities from a value-based process resulting in positive social change, emphasizing the Social Change Model of Leadership. Students begin to understand the magnitude of the changes in their future world, and learn steps to becoming competent stewards. Students are given time to journal their daily experiences, and learn more about themselves as individuals and group members.

Program Goals:

  • For the students to engage in learning the interconnections which exist between scientific research, leadership and personal growth.
  • For the students to see themselves as caretakers of the world.
  • For the students to demonstrate their understanding of analyzing data by developing and sharing a scientific presentation.
  • For the students to engage in research of a climate concern and demonstrate their understanding and passion by developing an issue paper.
  • For the students to develop the ability to collect, organize and present material in a professional manner.
  • For the students to present their research and opinion to their Congressional Representative or Staff Assistant, in Washington DC.
  • For the students to incorporate the 7 C’s of the Social Change Model of Leadership into their daily lives by developing a personal action plan.

Grading Rubric

For questions, please contact the Pre-College Department at or call (858) 534-0804.