Hellman students in lab coats holding up petri dishes.

Hellman Science & Math Program

The Hellman Science and Math Program is a three-week residential summer bridge program for first-year students who are passionate about science and/or math. One of the first STEM programs of its kind in the US, the Hellman Program is led by female scientists and educators who are committed to preparing the next generation of science and math leaders.

How Long is the Program?

The program is three weeks long and takes place annually in late summer. In addition to the summer program, the Hellman Science and Math Program Director will continue on as your faculty advisor in your first semester. The director will ensure that you take the best courses for your individual academic path and that your Hellman cohort remains a strong support system inside and outside of the classroom. You’ll have weekly seminars to help you build your study skills and hear from leading scientists, and you'll even complete a community-engaged learning project. While the program runs for three weeks during the summer, the support and additional programming continues throughout your first semester at Mills.

Who Can Participate?

A maximum of 10 students can participate in the Hellman Science and Math Program. Students must be passionate about science and/or math and have the ability to commit to the rigorous program. To be considered, when completing the Mills Application or Common Application, indicate that you're interested in majoring in one of these these areas: biochemistry, biology, biopsychology, chemistry, engineering, environmental science, math, or pre-med, and indicate that you are interested in the Hellman Science and Math Program. A minimum 3.2 GPA is required.

What Will I Do?

In this summer intensive, you’ll learn together in classes, labs, and evening study sessions that will jump start your STEM education. We’ll equip you with an iPad for mobile learning and encourage you to reflect each day on what you’ve achieved.

In addition to your academic work, we'll introduce you to key campus resources—ranging from the F. W. Olin Library to the Division of Student Life—so you can connect with people who will help you develop effective study habits, introduce you to career services, or get you involved in athletics and student clubs. You’ll also go on field trips with other summer bridge program students to high-profile, science-based attractions such as the California Academy of Science, the Exploratorium, and Chabot Space & Science Center. And you'll get to connect with the city of Oakland through events such as the First Fridays art and community festival and Oakland A's baseball games.

What Will I Learn?

The program covers key subjects that will lay the foundation for your science and math education with some special Mills twists for fun:

  • Biology kicks off your program with a three-week crime scene whodunnit. You'll run lab tests and build your forensic science skills as you solve the mystery.
  • Introduction to Calculus will give you the foundational skills you need for college-level math courses.
  • Chemistry incorporates a strong lab component and an environmental focus with activities that include testing water from Mills' own Leona Creek (that runs through the city of Oakland) and learning how to make acid rain.
  • Food Justice combines science and social justice, showcasing the power of intersectional learning. What happens when a lack of resources poses a danger to human health? Students from the Hellman and Summer Academic Workshop programs join forces to discuss these issues, including a field trip to Castlemont Farm, a one-acre organic farm in East Oakland working to create food access.

After you've completed the summer bridge program and your fall semester, you will have fulfilled four core curriculum requirements.

What Does It Cost?

The cost of the Hellman Science and Math Program is free to the students who are selected to participate, including three weeks of housing in a residence hall with meals.

How Do I Participate?

To be considered for the program, when you apply for admission to Mills using the Mills Application or Common Application, select the Hellman option and indicate that you're interested in majoring in one of these these areas: biochemistry, biology, biopsychology, chemistry, engineering, environmental science, math, or pre-med. After you're admitted, a committee will review your qualifications. If selected, you'll be invited to participate in the program via email in the spring. You can accept your invitation after you've submitted your non-refundable enrollment deposit.