On select Saturdays from October through February, qualified high school juniors from Western Pennsylvania and the surrounding communities participate in lectures while attending the Westinghouse Science Honors Institute. Starting in 2012-2013, lectures will be held at the Gateway Middle School in Monroeville, Pennsylvania. A wide variety of topics are presented in the lecture portion of each session, with subjects such as:
- nuclear engineering
- FBI's forensic investigations
- fat-derived adult stem cells and tissue engineering applications
- laser applications in science and engineering
- anatomic double-bundle ACL reconstruction
- humans to Mars and the curiosity rover
- taming complexity
- parasitic worms
Students are encouraged to ask questions and interact with the lecturers during or after the presentation. The lecturers are at the top of their fields, and most have demonstrations to heighten subject interest.
Accepted students will also have the opportunity to take an optional trip to tour Penn State University's Breazeale nuclear reactor located at University Park, PA.
Each Saturday begins with a light breakfast starting at 9:00 a.m. Lectures start at 10:00 a.m. and finish at approximately 11:30 a.m. Students who attend at least seven lectures OR six lectures and one trip to Penn State will receive a WSHI Certificate of Completion.
Students may also opt to take a voluntary exam to compete for awards. The exam is held immediately following the final session, and consists of ten modules - one for each of the lecture topics. Students may use their lecture notes during the exam but no electronic devices (laptops, cell phones, etc.) will be permitted. Students are allowed 90 minutes to complete all the modules. Lunch is served during the exam.
Typically, 175-200 students accept the challenge and sign up for the exam. For 2012-2013, following is the list of awards which will be given to the top exam finishers who are eligible for Certificates of Completion:
|Second and Third
|Fourth - Sixth
|Seventh - Tenth
|Eleventh - Fifteenth
|Sixteenth - Twentieth
||$50 gift card/each