UCSD & Biosphere 2 Summer Research Program

Global Environmental Leadership and Sustainability Program



As a result of COVID-19, the GELS Arizona Program has been cancelled for Summer 2021.


The University of Arizona Biosphere 2 and the University of California, San Diego Academic Connections have partnered to offer exciting summer opportunities for high school students!

The Global Environmental Leadership and Sustainability program is an intensive, week-long course that will examine the diverse biomes and climate zones of the unique and iconic Biosphere 2 research facility as well as the surrounding Sonoran Desert. For more information and to apply visit UCSD GELS Program

This course involves students in hands-on, "under-the-glass" research (and some field work) on key Earth systems and climate research topics being undertaken by Biosphere 2 scientists, including water, energy, soils, microbial communities, carbon cycling, urban heat island effect, innovative food production and more. Participating students will learn why and how to effectively sustain our planet as future scientists, environmental educators, and informed, action-oriented citizens. Students will engage in current Earth systems and climate research, and apply what they learn towards future leadership roles in sustainability by being inspired to continue their education in science. The week concludes with student multi-media presentations on their research findings. 

It has never been more important to spark the imagination of students – to prepare them for the future. Innovations have never moved faster from the scientist's field site to our fingertips – innovations which will change the way we live, the way we work, and the way we communicate. UCSD and the University of Arizona are committed to helping all students eliminate barriers to learning and to providing such opportunities. We invite you to join us on this incredible journey and to be part of our vibrant community.

Biosphere 2 is located in the wonderfully diverse Sonoran Desert, and the accommodations are beautiful. The casita you will be staying in is a rustic, Santa Fe-style house. Each casita has from three to five bedrooms with a shared living area. The rooms are spacious and feature, wireless Internet access and central air conditioning. Please remember to bring toiletries and any appliances you need or use on a daily basis. Bedding, a set of towels, shampoo, soap, and lotion are all provided.  At night, the casita village is well lit, but the surrounding property can be quite dark. There is a flashlight in each bedroom, but bringing your own flashlight/headlamp is encouraged. Come prepared with close-toed shoes, water bottle, sun protection and a great attitude!   

Some advantages of attending:

  • College-level academic, residential and extracurricular activities;
  • Exposure and access to state-of-the-art courses, technology and facilities;
  • Earn college prep units and recognition for program participation on college admission applications;
  • Study with other like-minded academic students from all over the country and the world.
  • Hands-on research with Biosphere 2 scientists
  • Experience the University of Arizona's campus with visits to museums and research labs 

Learn more about the Biosphere 2 research faculty and their areas of expertise.

Learn more about UCSD's Academic Connections.