Summer Math and Science Honor Academy (SMASH)

Program Type

Curriculum/Instructional Materials
Informal /Out of School
College Readiness

Target Audience

Black/African American





Grades 9 - 12

 Accomplished link

Program Impact

Since SMASH's inception in 2004, 100% of our 459 alumni have graduated high school and enrolled in college.  Of alumni, 94% enrolled in a four-year university and 47% of these attended the top 50 universities in the country.  Nearly 80% graduated within five years and 74% declared a STEM major in their freshman year, in comparison to only 23% of all college freshman, an impact three times higher.  Persistence levels are also high, with 84% of STEM majors persisting beyond the freshman year and 73% persisting in their junior year.  Computer Science is the top major, followed by biology.  SMASH alumni attend selective colleges such as UC Berkeley, UCLA, UC Santa Barbara, Stanford, Emory, Dartmouth, Cal Poly, UCLA, Brown, Duke, MIT and University of Pennsylvania. 



Program Overview

SMASH is a rigorous, intensive and long-term college preparatory program for high potential students of color, girls and First Generation youth in under-resourced high schools. SMASH serves as a STEM pipeline, preparing scholars take AP courses in high school, qualify and succeed with AP tests required to gain entry to prestigious colleges, enroll in college and then pursue STEM majors and careers.

SMASH residential sites over the summer include UC Berkeley, UCLA, UC Davis, Stanford University and in 2017, Morehouse College in Atlanta.  Students are supported throughout the academic year with weekly Computer Science courses, field trips, seminars and with speakers who are professionals in STEM fields. 

Please see for a more comprehensive description of SMASH.

How To Get Involved

SMASH currently costs $5,000 per scholar per year, including room and board for the five-week summer program.  LPFI’s intensive program model has been proven over the past 12 years to result in impacts for youth that are triple that of mainstream educational outcomes.  We recognize that there are so many barriers to success for the youth that we serve, that this intensive, four-year approach is required to support and empower youth for lasting success.

LPFI also organizes Level the Playing Field Hackathons as “gateway” events to intrigue youth in technology.  We invite and welcome donations of all sizes to support our work and the youth that we serve.

SMASH is seeking supporters who can: sponsor students individually or an entire cohort of 30 students per year; fund instructors, enrichment experiences and materials, as well as volunteer as mentors or role models.


Funders and Partners


AT&T Foundation

Ford Foundation

The National Science Foundation

Dhanam Foundation

Bayer USA Foundation

Infosys Foundation

Rose Hills Foundation

McCormick Family Foundation

Innovate Family Foundation

Genentech Foundation

Leslie Family Foundation

Callison Foundation

Ford Motor Company

RGK Foundation

Amgen Foundation

Irene Scully Foundation

Oracle Foundation


Microsoft Corporation

Ralph Parsons Foundation


Samantha Smart Merritt, Corporate and Foundation Relations Officer


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Design Principles

The programs in this database clear a high bar. STEMworks reviewed each program against the Design Principles for Effective STEM Philanthropy.

  • Accomplished
  • Developing
  • Undeveloped

Overarching Principles

  • Need

    Identify and target a compelling and well-defined need.

  • Evaluation

    Use rigorous evaluation to continuously measure and inform progress towards the compelling need identified.

  • Sustainability

    Ensure work is sustainable.

  • Replication and Scalability

    Demonstrate replicability and scalability.

  • Partnerships

    Create high impact partnerships

  • Capacity

    Ensure organizational capacity to achieve goals.

STEM Principles

  • Challenging and Relevant Content

    Offer challenging and relevant STEM content for the target audience

  • STEM Practices

    Incorporate and encourage STEM practices.

  • Inspiration

    Inspire interest and engagement in STEM.

  • Under-Represented Groups

    Identify and address the needs of under-represented groups.