Illini Summer Academies

2021 Illini Summer Academies Goes Virtual June 27 - July 1

Illinois 4-H is proud to offer this hi-fidelity college exploratory experience on the University of Illinois campus. Participants attend academy sessions led by university professors and enjoy a variety of engaging activities that provide a taste of just how cool college life can be. Imagine getting to work alongside university professors while you’re still in HIGH SCHOOL! Imagine spending four days with kids your age from all across Illinois. That’s what happens at Illini Summer Academies, so stop imagining it and just do it! This program offers teens the opportunity to explore various degree programs of University of Illinois and learn of potential careers associated with those degrees. Illini Summer Academies is supported through the Illinois 4-H Foundation and intended to serve youth living in Illinois. Space for each academy is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. Many academies reach capacity before the registration closes so don’t delay in registering. 


REGISTRATION CLOSES: March 24 at 11:59 p.m. 

2021 Schedule

Sunday, June 27

  • 2:00-3:30PM    Welcome to ISA

Monday, June 28 – Wednesday, June 30

  • 8:30 –9:00AM    ISA opening session
  • 9:00 – 11:30AM    Academy Session
  • 11:30 - 12: 30PM  Break
  • 12:30 -2:00PM   Academy Session
  • 2:00- 2:30PM    Break
  • 2:30 – 3:15PM   Small Group Funtivities

Thursday, July 1

  • 9:00-2:00PM   College and Career Day Conference
  • 2:00 – 2:30PM   Break
  • 2:30 – 3:30PM   Closing Ceremony

2021 Academy Sessions/Listing

Participants will choose one academy of interest to study Monday through Wednesday during the event. On Thursday, July 1 participants will attend a college and career day conference. Registration cost includes an event registration fee plus an academy session fee. Each academy has specific materials and activities for this event, therefore cost will vary from academy to academy. Registration fees cover the cost for your academy, the supplies and materials needed for the week, a conference t-shirt, and the shipping of these items. Participants will receive an Illini Summer Academies box before the event.


We introduce circuits, algorithms, optics/photonics, audio processing, and power/energy through interactive lessons. Lessons introduce how to design and conduct experiments, how to use control theory to make machines do what we want, how the power grid operates, and how basic circuits and optical elements work. Department: Electrical and Computer Engineering College: College of Engineering Cost: $300


Are you interested in animals, medicine, ER, and science? Do you like helping people? Do you like unraveling mysteries? Do you like real challenges? If you answered yes to these questions, then the wide world of veterinary medicine just may be for you. Veterinarians have a strong interest and ability in science. They enjoy working with people as well as animals. Take a step into the world of veterinary medicine and see what veterinary school is like, learn about the different aspects of veterinary medicine, and more. Participants in the veterinary medicine academy will learn about the science of veterinary medicine, anatomy, immunology, public health, wildlife medicine, large and small animal medicine, and more. Participants will participate in clinical equine rounds, dissect owl pellets, learn about veterinary specialty fields such as surgery, pathology, disease outbreak, and so much more. Open to youth who have completed at least their 10th grade of high school by the time of the conference. No repeat attendees. Some materials issued as a part of this academy should be handled with care and under supervision. Department: Office of Public Engagement College: Veterinary Medicine Cost: $160


Learn the biology and behaviors of honeybees and their colonies. Learn the hive equipment and tools. You will put together your own hive body. See how to set up a hive with a package of bees, see how bees work in the hive, store food, raise the brood. Learn to manage your bees and to keep them healthy. The bees are critical for pollinating some of our specialty crops and helping us have a good food supply. Learn some best management practices to preserve/increase their foraging habitats. Discover how to help them so they can continue to help us. Department: Entomology College: Liberal Arts and Sciences Cost: $155


Are you interested in writing, photography, or working with websites/social media? Do you like sharing cool information with people? Learn how to apply various communication skills to relay information about food, animals, agriculture, and the environment to the world! Join us in the ALEC Program to experience an interactive academy filled with discovery and fun! You will learn how to gather information, write and edit a story, take awesome photos to support your story, and publish your story online on a website! We will learn about careers and a few other things along the way, too! Department: Ag Leadership, Education and Communications Program College: Agricultural, Consumer & Environmental Sciences Cost: $125


Though virtual, the Animal Sciences Academy will give 4-H'ers unique hands-on experiences in animal production and management. An introduction of the Animal Sciences Department will provide insight into the vast opportunities available in the animal agriculture industry. Participants will be able to "Learn by Doing" as they follow along with guided activities provided by top educators in companion animal and production livestock. The Animal Sciences Academy will leave the participants with a better understanding of how to care for their animals and where their food comes from. Department: Animal Sciences College: Agricultural, Consumer & Environmental Sciences Cost: $95


Did you know food production connects people worldwide, and with the ever-increasing human population, our agricultural system must produce enough food to feed everyone? Join us to learn how Crop Sciences is helping feed billions. You'll receive the necessary supplies in the mail to virtually connect with Crop Sciences faculty for hands-on activities and discussions about food production, plant behaviors, agricultural technology, and the connection between local and international agriculture. Bonus: you'll also test and taste popcorn while learning how scientists are developing crops of the future. Department: Crop Sciences College: Agricultural, Consumer & Environmental Sciences Cost: $75


Do you want to be the change you want to see in the world? Do you enjoy teaching others about something you love, helping people, and motivating others to do their best? Future Teacher Academy is a great opportunity for high school students thinking about a career as a teacher. We will connect you with award-winning teachers to help you begin envisioning yourself as a teacher, to think about your classroom leadership style, to practice teaching strategies that help students learn, and learn how to teach for social justice. We will also connect you with college students studying to be teachers to ask questions to and learn from. This academy is open to rising 9th - 12th grade students with a desire to be teachers.  Department: College of Education College: Education Partnership: Golden Apple Cost: $75


Through hands-on scenarios and role-playing, students will solve real-world dilemmas facing agricultural and consumer economists relating to food security, trading, financial markets, the environment, and policymaking. Some of these activities include: 1. The Tragedy of the Commons - Tackle over-fishing in this simulation through cooperation and economics. 2. Trial by Fire - Act out a role in the court room as you litigate your way to success. 3. The PIT - Experience real-world market volatility as you trade commodities and try to come out ahead. 4. The Food Security Lottery - Roll the dice and see what factors influence your household's ability to buy food. 5. So You Want to Buy Some Ice Cream - Experience all the ups and downs of supply chains and pricing as you make a simple purchase, and so much more! Department:  Agricultural and Consumer Economics College: Agricultural, Consumer & Environmental Sciences Cost: $75


Are you interested in Finance, Accountancy, and Management? If so, this Academy is for you! Participants will learn the effects of personal and professional investments, while exploring different business careers that will help them start building their professional toolkit for a variety of career and education pathways. Participants must have access to Microsoft Suite - specifically Word and Excel.  Department: Office of Undergraduate Affairs College: Gies College of Business Cost: $75


Are you a fan of urban wildlife? Do you have an interest in topics like animal behavior, population densities, or urban ecology? Do you have a love of sciurid rodents, particularly squirrels? Join us this summer in a field-based undergraduate research experience focusing on these fascinating little critters. Students will develop a research question, collect data, and contribute data to a national database to aid in building comparative datasets of our fuzzy little friends. All students will be able to complete all work from the comfort of their own neighborhoods! Hope to see you there! Department: Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences College: Agricultural, Consumer & Environmental Sciences Cost $75


Learn more about your relationships with friends and parents. What about romantic relationships? Can science tell you anything about what you will argue about most, or how you can cope with stress? As part of this academy, you will meet current U of I students in HDFS, discover more about yourself, and learn about careers focused on working with other people. There's a lot to discover! Department: Human Development and Family Studies College: Agricultural, Consumer & Environmental Sciences Cost: $75


  1. Illinois 4-H code of conduct: Click the link below to read the terms of the Illinois 4-H code of conduct. This form does not have to be sent in, but to participate in this event, the terms must be accepted. Participants will indicate their decision on the online registration form. 
  2. Illinois 4-H Media/Photo Release: Click the link below to read the terms of the media/photo release form. This form does not have to be sent in, but participants will need to indicate on the registration form if he/she accepts the terms of this form. You do not have to accept the terms to participate in this event. 

Media/Photo Release Form and Illinois 4-H Code of Conduct.


2021 Trailblazer Scholarship 

Do you feel like a Trailblazer? Like you’ve paved the way for others around you? Be a part of the virtual Illini Summer Academies experience and get the opportunity to attend a college exploratory camp that you will never forget! The Trailblazer scholarship is open to first generation, low income youth in the state of Illinois. This is a full scholarship!  Apply by March 10, 2021.  Scholarship Application Link 

Cancellation and Refund Policy

Participants who cancel their registration must contact the State 4-H office at Requests received by April 16 will receive a full refund. Requests received from April 17 to May 15 will receive a 50% refund. No refunds will be permitted after May 15.


Illini Summer Academies is open to any Illinois youth who will be at least 14 years of age and not yet 19 by Sept. 1, 2021, and has completed 8th grade by the time of the conference. For 2021, the event is virtual, but in previous years this is a live-in conference, and youth stay in college dorms throughout the conference. Youth are not allowed to commute in for daytime activities.
If you need reasonable accommodation to participate, please contact the event coordinator. Early requests are strongly encouraged to allow sufficient time to meet your needs.

Contact for More Information:

University of Illinois Extension 4-H Youth Development Specialist 
Cindy Ogwal
Event Coordinator 
Carla Blue
Program Areas