Molecule Maker Camp 2024

Application Open

Camp dates: July 14th-20th, 2024

About the Camp

Learning how to be a scientist isn’t just taking science classes and memorizing material. In the summer of 2024, rising 9th and 10th graders from across the U.S. are invited to spend a week at the 2nd Annual Molecule Maker Camp at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in a partnership between MMLI and WYSE.

During this immersive experience, participants will learn how about molecules in the world around us, why we care about them, and how researchers are making new molecules to solve important problems (and using AI to do it even better!). Participants will meet researchers and topic-experts, tour labs and facilities at UIUC, learn how to think and ask questions like a scientist, and tackle their own challenge using techniques straight from the labs of researchers they meet! And of course, they wouldn’t be at the molecule maker camp if they didn’t get to try their hand at making their own (virtual!) molecules using our Digital Molecule Maker and getting to see the automated synthesis robots that do the nexxt step of molecule making! As partners of the Siebel Center for Design, our topics follow a human-centered approach, giving meaning to all of the activities participants take a part in and fine tuning the week’s challenges to their own interests.

We will also have many fun group activities to provide participants with a classic camp experience (corn hole anyone?), while also getting a chance to experience a college campus for a full week and learn more about what being a scientist is all about! These camps, typically about a week long, see students get a feel for the college experience by staying in the dorms, eating at the dining halls, and interacting with University of Illinois faculty. These are great experiences that help students orient themselves and learn more about how bright their future can be.

The material at our summer camps is taught by our excellent teachers, scientists, designers, engineers, from The University of Illinois and our educational partners designed to inspire a new cohort of molecule innovators.

For more information, contact Sabrina at or sign- up here!


The cost of the camp is too high, are scholarships available?

Yes! As an IDEA camp, we aim to make this experience as accessible as possible to all students. Generous scholarships covering up to the full camp cost are available and we strongly encourage scholarship applicants. Scholarship applications are built into the camp application process, preventing the need to complete any additional paperwork.

What is an IDEA camp?

*IDEA camps are mission-driven camp sessions led by departments aiming to Increase Diversity, Equity, & Access in STEM majors and careers. These camps focus on support and empowerment of traditionally excluded populations in STEM including (but not limited to) the areas of gender, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and ability. All are welcome to apply, and scholarships are available to increase access to this opportunity!

How long is the camp?

5 days + 1 half day for the closing ceremony + parent pick up.

Will I get to see what my child experienced during the camp?

Yes! We encourage parents, friends, and/or family to join for the closing ceremony where participants will get a chance to share their week’s work with you and each other.

What if I don’t have any chemistry background?

No problem – in fact, that is what we expect! Every activity will begin with the basic foundations to get everyone on the same page. Even better – MMLI’s approach to teaching chemistry involves a function first and human centered design approach, which means that we focus on tangible functions of chemical traits instead of requiring knowledge of the nitty gritty aspects of chemistry. We enjoy taking the incredible work that is going on in UIUC chemistry and computer science and making it accessible to anyone at any skill level. You won’t be graded on the material, but you will be able to use the tools we teach you to do some pretty cool science throughout the week, and have a great time!

Can I attend if I attended this camp last year? What if I am CU student who has participated in other activities from the Molecule Maker Lab?

We won’t stop you – there is always more to learn about molecules and we love to improve our activities with every run so we like to think they are even better now, but note that many of the activities will be similar to the camp we hosted last year as well as activities we have hosted at field trips and Imagine STEM Saturdays. That being said, if you liked what you did, a week long immersive experience might be just the thing for you!

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