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Training tomorrow's scientists today! The Ardent Research Program is designed for the student who wishes to pursue excellence in original research. Research projects are mentored by Ardent Academy faculty as well as experts in local universities and organizations.

The Ardent Research Program helps students develop skills in bibliographic research, research methodology, mathematical and computational tools, and effective communication of research results. Students participate in group classes, web-based collaboration, individual meetings, and receive research assistance while conducting research at Ardent Academy or with a student-selected mentor at a university, medical center, or research institute. Students who are able to complete a project will have the opportunity to enter local, state and/or national science competitions. Students must complete an application and be approved before registering.

Ardent Scholar is an intensive summer science and engineering research training program for academically talented and motivated middle and high school students (grades 6 - 12) interested in conducting research and preparing for science fairs. The program consists of formal research methodology training followed by guided independent research with mentors in the summer and throughout the academic year. Around 40 students participate in the program every year.

Past participants have won awards at international, national, state, and local competitions including the Regeneron Science Talent Search, Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, Broadcom MASTERS, Google Science Fair, Davidson Fellow, Junior Science and Humanity Symposium, California Science and Engineering Fair, Orange County Science and Engineering Fair, and more. They have also published in reputable journals, presented in professional conferences, and been accepted to top colleges such as Harvard, MIT, Stanford, Caltech, Yale, Princeton, UPenn, Columbia, and UC Berkeley.

Accomplishments

  • 6 Science Talent Search Finalists
  • 14 International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) Finalists
  • 24 Science and Talent Search Semifinalists
  • 4 California Student of Year award by California State Science Fair
  • 20+ First Place Winners at California State Science Fair
  • 70+ First Place Winners at Orange County Science and Engineer Fair

Ardent Scholars were Intel ISEF Finalists

Program Highlights

  • Research methodology training
  • Research mentorship
  • One presentation coaching session before science fair
  • One poster day presentation practice before science fair

Program Fees

  • Application: Free to apply!
  • Early Enrollment Tuition: TBA
  • Regular Enrollment Tuition: TBA

Program Key Dates

  • Application Open: March 2021
  • Admission Decisions: TBA
  • Session 2 Early Enrollment Deadline: TBA

How to Apply

Apply for the correct division using the corresponding application links below. (2020 program is closed.)

Jr. Science Research (Grades 6-8)

Sr. Science Research (Grades 9-12)

 

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Are there age restrictions to participate in the program? Who can join your Summer 2021 Ardent Research Program? Any aspiring students in grades 6-12* with an interest and passion in STEM should consider this program. *Rising grade for Fall 2021
  2. Do I need prior experience to join your research program? No, you do not. Our Ardent Research Mentor team will evaluate your application and guide you towards building the skills and knowledge that you need.
  3. Do you provide lab equipment for research? We do offer simple biology and physics lab equipment.
  4. What kind of science fairs will my student be able to join? Irvine Unified School District (IUSD) students will first experience their school science fairs, and may then be selected for the district science fair. Non-IUSD students will need to submit their online application to the Orange County Science and Engineering Fair (OCSEF) website -- click HERE for details. 
  5. Do you help with finding research labs at colleges/universities? No, we do not.
  6. Can I partially attend training sessions in Option 1 and return to take the rest in Option 2? Yes, you can.
  7. What are the science fair rules like? Click HERE to view OCSEF rules and HERE to view California Science & Engineering Fair Rules.
  8. What is required for the program? Submit online application HERE for Junior Division (Gr 6-8) and HERE for Senior Division (Gr 9-12).
  9. Is the application competitive? Yes. We must select a small group to work with for each division from a large pool of applicants. Please fill out the online application thoroughly.
  10. What goes guided research entail? The purpose of this course is to develop the students' ability to identify a research topic, complete their own thorough scientific investigation on said topic, and report their findings through written and oral presentations. Specific objectives include, but are not limited to, the following:
    • Understand the scientific research process
    • Develop experience with experimental techniques specific to their field of research
    • Develop a working knowledge of searching for literature
    • Understand the importance of communicating in clear, concise writing as a scientist
    • Practice scientific writing and participate in the peer review process
    • Practice orally presenting and defending their research
    • Produce a paper or poster of their research
  11. Will I complete a project ready for science fair in the summer? Time of completion varies depending on the project scale. Most students complete 90% of their projects by the end of summer, and will complete it 100% by no later than December 15, 2021.
  12. Do I need to attend both training sessions? No, you only need to attend one session.
  13. Will I receive help selecting a research topic? You will be able to discuss possible research topics with your mentor.
  14. How much time does the program require? To produce a successful science fair research project, selected students must be able to devote a minimum of 160 hours during the summer towards their research effort.
  15. What if I don't get accepted? Regardless of acceptance, we will provide you with resources for other options.
  16. Who are the mentors? We have a team of research mentors with various skills and areas of expertise. Dr. James Li, the Summer Research program director, oversees the operations.

 

Testimonials

“Dear Dr. Li, I cannot thank you enough for pushing me through with science research. Without your initial introduction to the Arduino in the beginning of 8th grade, I never would have considered that pathway... Research has opened up so many opportunities, including an outlet to meet so many amazing people, and to gain valuable communication skills. I have always looked up to and admired the ISEF finalists, and it is truly humbling to call myself one today. I am so excited to represent Orange County at Pittsburgh!” – Patrick Liu, Intel ISEF 2018 Finalist
 
"Dr. Li's guidance helped me find a research lab to work at... a priceless experience for me and has motivated me to pursue my passions in science beyond the Science Fair. Without Dr. Li's encouragement to work at a research lab, I wouldn't have the amazing and life changing experiences that make me who I am today. Furthermore, Dr. Li taught me the importance of consistency and passion by encouraging me to follow a topic of research that I am interested in. I am so excited to go to Intel ISEF and want thank Dr. Li and Ardent Academy for making it all possible!” – Sasha Ronaghi, Intel ISEF 2018 Finalist
 
 
Success Stories
  • Alex Kwon - Stanford
    • Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) Finalist
  • Joshua Zou - Princeton
    • Regeneron Science Talent Search Scholar (Top 300)
  • Patrick Liu - UPenn
    • Regeneron Science Talent Search Scholar (Top 300)
    • Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) Finalist
    • Orange County Science and Engineer Fair, First Place in Electronics
    • Orange County Science and Engineer Fair, Junior Sweepstakes Winner
  • Michelle Xu - Stanford
    • Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) Finalist
    • California State Science Fair, Second Place in Mathematics and Software
    • Orange County Science Fair, Junior Sweepstakes Winner
    • Orange County Science Fair, First Place in Mathematics and Software
  • Shelly Xu - Yale
    • Regeneron Science Talent Search Scholar (Top 300)
    • Orange County Science Fair, First Place in Botany
  • Nitya Parthasarathy - MIT
    • Regeneron Science Talent Search Finalist (Top 40)
    • Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) Finalist
  • Nilay Mehta - Brown
    • Intel International Science and Engineering Fair Finalist
  • Aileen Wang - Stanford
    • Intel Science Talent Search Semifinalist
    • Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology Semifinalist
    • California State Science Fair, Third Place in Mammalian Biology
    • Orange County Science Fair, Second Place in Mathematics and Software
  • Jennifer McCleary - MIT
    • Intel Science Talent Search Finalist (Top 40)
    • Intel International Science and Engineering Fair Finalist
    • Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology Finalist
  • Daniel Shaw - UC Berkeley
    • Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology Semifinalist
  • Jennifer Choi - MIT
    • Orange County Science Fair, Second Place in Physics and Astronomy
  • Justin Jeon - UC Berkeley
    • California State Science Fair, Honorable Mention in Electronics & Electromagnetic
    • Orange County Science Fair, Third Place in Physics and Astronomy
  • Jongho Park - UC Berkeley
    • Orange County Science Fair, Second Place in Mathematics and Software
  • Benjamin Chen - MIT
    • Los Angeles County Science Fair, First Place in Mathematics and Computer Science
  • Vinson Luo - Stanford
    • Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology Semifinalist
    • Orange County Science Fair, First Place in Physics and Astronomy
  • Jennifer Yao 
    • Orange County Science Fair, First Place in Physiology
  • William Rosenthal - U. Chicago
    • Orange County Science Fair, Second Place in Zoology
  • Leon Yao - Stanford
    • Intel Science Talent Search (STS) Finalist - Top 40 in the nation.
  • Kevin Lee - Harvard, U. Chicago Ph.D
    • Intel Science Talent Search Second Place $75,000 Scholarship Winner
    • Intel Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) Finalist - Top 2 in Orange County
    • California State Science Fair, First Place in Mammal Biology
    • Orange County Science Fair Sweepstakes Winner
    • Intel Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) Finalist - Top 2 in Orange County
    • Junior Science and Humanities Symposium - First Place in Southern California.
    • Orange County Science Fair, Sweepstakes Winner
  • Dennis Shim - Caltech, Google
    • Orange County Science Fair, First Place in Microbiology and Cell Biology
    • Orange County Science Fair, Second Place in Mathematics and Software
  • Francis Yang - UC Berkeley
    • Orange County Science Fair, First Place in Microbiology and Cell Biology
  • Deborah Ma - UC Berkeley
    • Orange County Science Fair, Second Place in Mathematics and Software
  • Andrew Ninh - UCLA, Startup Founder
    • Orange County ISEF Semifinalist
    • Orange County Science Fair, First Place in Microbiology and Cell Biology
  • Richard Cho - Harvard University
    • Los Angeles County Science Fair, First Place in Mathematics and Software
    • Cho, R. Quadratic Residues and Their Applications. Presentation at MathFest, the Annual Conference of the Mathematics Association of America, Madison, WI.
    • Cho, R. Quadratic Residues and Their Applications. Presentation at 10th Algorithmic Number Theory Symposium, San Diego, CA.
  • Kevin Zhang - Harvard University, Facebook
    • Los Angeles County Science Fair, Second Place in Mathematics and Software
  • Larry Zhang - Harvard University
    • Los Angeles County Science Fair, Third Place in Microbiology
  • Christian Liu - Harvard University
    • Orange County Science Fair, First Place in Mathematics and Software
  • Jonathan Li - Harvard University
    • Intel Science Talent Search (STS) Finalist - Top 40 in the nation
    • Intel Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) Finalist
    • California State Science Fair Student of the Year
    • Davidson Fellow
    • Intel Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) Finalist
    • Orange County Science and Engineering Fair Sweepstakes Winner

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Contact Information

  • Phone: (949) 861-2211