Chief Executive Officer

Summer Science Program
North Carolina, United States
$230,000.00 - $250,000.00
Closing date
Aug 18, 2022

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Position Type
Education, Youth
Employment Type
Full Time
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Since 1959, the Summer Science Program (SSP) has been committed to inspiring and nurturing tomorrow’s leaders, from the brilliant engineer in your local community to researchers focused on cures and therapies to entrepreneurs founding innovative companies. The Summer Science Program’s mission is to identify bright and exceptionally motivated teenagers with untapped potential and a strong interest in science; challenge them with rigorous, authentic, interdisciplinary research; accelerate their intellectual and social development through an immersive, transformative experience; create an inclusive culture based on collaboration; and build a supportive, diverse, life-long community of scientists and leaders. In the United States and abroad, SSP has played a transformative role in the lives of thousands of teens by providing them the rare opportunity to live the life of a working scientist during a summer on a university campus. 


Through rigorous, authentic, and hands-on research, the participants are challenged to stretch beyond typical opportunities offered at high schools and to work collaboratively with their peers in a supportive and inclusive setting. SSP participants experience what it is like to ponder scientific, mathematical, and philosophical concepts with like-minded participants from the United States and around the world. Evolving over six decades, SSP’s unique design has demonstrated that the summer before senior year in high school is critical for teens, just before they make key life decisions about college and a field of study. The SSP experience accelerates their intellectual and social development just in time to boost their confidence, cultivate their resilience, and elevate their aspirations. SSP currently provides programming for exceptionally motivated rising seniors in three fields of science: Astrophysics, Biochemistry, and Genomics. Many SSP alumni reference their summer at SSP as life altering and as playing a pivotal role in shaping their professional careers, whether in STEM or in other fields. 

Working in teams of three, approximately 200 participants complete a research project at six summer programs on five host campuses: three programs in Astrophysics (near-earth asteroid imaging and orbit determination), two programs in Biochemistry (fungal enzyme inhibition and drug discovery), and one program in Genomics (stimulating and analyzing antibiotic resistance in bacteria). Each team acquires its own original data and performs its own analysis. Field trips and guest speakers round out an intense 39-day schedule. This residential, immersive, interdisciplinary experience transforms and enriches the lives of participants and produces a supportive, diverse, lifelong community of resourceful thinkers and leaders. Its six summer programs currently operate at Indiana University Bloomington, New Mexico Institute of Technology, Purdue University, University of Colorado Boulder, and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In addition to these host campuses, SSP has strong ties and partnerships with the California Institute of Technology, Harvey Mudd College, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  



SSP’s greatest strength is its growing community of approximately 3,000 alumni and former faculty. Currently, only one-third of participants come from white families; otherwise, most participants overall are Asian American & Pacific Islanders, Black, Latino, and Native American. Careers of SSP alumni are also broadly varied in nature; at least 40% of alumni work outside of science, going into other fields such as economics, business, and technology. Otherwise, it’s a blend of astronomy, physical science, mathematics, computer science, engineering, medicine, and life sciences. SSP’s commitment to providing equitable and inclusive programming energizes its efforts in achieving its goals and pursuing its mission. SSP also guarantees to meet the demonstrated need of every admitted applicant with generous financial aid grants. Every summer, those from low-income families, currently at least 25% of SSP’s participants, pay only what they can afford. One of SSP’s major goals for the future is to open greater scientific opportunity to even more bright, deserving teenagers, regardless of family income, which will require SSP to focus more on growing its base funding partners and philanthropic support. 



Incorporated as a national nonprofit organization in 1999, the Summer Science Program is the only national summer program that is operated, governed, and largely funded by its own alumni, former faculty, and grateful parents. With demand from qualified applicants far outstripping SSP’s capacity, the board and staff are in the midst of a national expansion process that only recently had SSP grow from just two astrophysics programs in 2016 to six programs in three scientific fields by 2022. The Board of Trustees seeks new partners—philanthropists, foundations, universities, and corporations—to bring this unique, life-changing educational experience to even more promising young people, with the goal of significantly increasing its enrollment (currently 204) over the next five years. Fifteen years ago, SSP established an endowment program fueled by the generous support of its passionate base of members and alumni. This robust endowment gives the Board significant financial flexibility in increasing financial aid, reducing program fees, and investing in the organization’s future growth and expansion. SSP receives revenue from program fees and philanthropy that includes individual, major and planned gifts with a mix of corporate and foundation sponsorships and matching gifts. In recent years, SSP has received generous matching gifts from a range of corporations, including Apple, Bank of America, Bristol-Myers, Dell, ExxonMobil, Goldman Sachs, Google, IBM, Intel, Intuit, Microsoft, Qualcomm, State Farm, United Health Group, and Wells Fargo. In the last five years, nearly $3 million was raised through fundraising alone. SSP now seeks a new, dynamic Chief Executive Officer who will build on this successful legacy and help to expand the organization’s high-quality annual programs through visionary leadership, increased philanthropic support, and effective external partnerships. 


The next Chief Executive Officer of the Summer Science Program will have an exciting and rewarding opportunity to help build SSP’s next phase of unprecedented growth and impact. The Chief Executive Officer, an energetic, entrepreneurial systems-builder, provides overall vision, leadership, and strategic direction for SSP’s national programs and funding initiatives. Reporting to and actively engaging with SSP’s 15-member Board of Trustees, the Chief Executive Officer, a highly visible leader in the national science education community, will have considerable latitude and discretion in advancing and advocating for the growth and expansion of SSP. A fully remote position, the Chief Executive Officer will advise and inform the Board of Trustees on strategic issues affecting SSP and will work closely with the Board to ensure SSP’s vitality, sustainability, and continued success. With the potential of growing SSP’s infrastructure, SSP provides a unique career opportunity to shape and leave one’s individual imprint on this incredible international educational resource for many years to come. 

The Chief Executive Officer will have experience in leading and building strong and effective teams for all areas of SSP’s operations, program, finance, fundraising, marketing, and member relations components. At this phase, there is currently a national team of eight remote and part-time staff who support the Chief Executive Officer. SSP’s senior management team is comprised of a Chief Academic Officer, Operations Director, and a Member Relations and Development Manager. There will be an expectation to hire additional full- or part-time staff over the next four years, including expanding the organization’s resources and benefits for staff. Estimated financials for operations anticipate an ever-increasing operating budget of approximately $2 million and greater. 

The new Chief Executive Officer will start from a highly advantageous position, inheriting a financially diverse and stable budget including an endowment and financial assets of over $6 million. The Board of Trustees expects the new Chief Executive Officer to assist them in developing and implementing a strategy for SSP’s continued growth with a focus on continuously improving and expanding its education, fundraising, and partnership programs. This strategy will include ever-increasing levels of engagement and collaboration with leading funders, donors, and partners to communicate the value of supporting SSP. The Chief Executive Officer will maintain and establish positive, productive, and long-term relationships with new and existing individual donors, foundations, corporations, and universities. To be successful, the next Chief Executive Officer must be a skilled listener, communicator, and relationship builder who can articulate clear and compelling cases for support that ensure the growth and vitality of one of the nation’s premier providers of summer science programs for exceptionally motivated teens with untapped potential.


The ideal candidate will bring most of the following qualifications and skill sets: 

  • A deep, passionate commitment to SSP’s mission, vision, values, programs, and initiatives. 
  • A minimum of five to seven years of senior-level leadership experience in building successful programs and teams related to either an educational, member-based, or non-profit organization comparable to SSP, including experience with strategic planning, performance management, board relations, fundraising, public relations, and communications. 
  • Demonstrated ability to bring strategic thinking and leadership in understanding revenue potential and program dynamics to support a cause or mission. 
  • Visionary, innovative, and strategic leadership with an ability to develop, inspire, mentor, and lead highly committed teams.  
  • A track record in successful fundraising, particularly success in individual, foundation, and corporate giving, either as a nonprofit executive or as a volunteer leader. 
  • Successful experience in empowering, building, and maintaining productive relationships with a nonprofit Board of Trustees. 
  • Ability to work remotely with a flexible schedule and travel as needed, including evenings and weekends. 
  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university; an advanced degree would be an advantage, including a STEM educational background. 


To learn more about SSP and this exciting role, please follow this link to view the full and comprehensive position guide:  



The annual salary range for this position is $230,000–$250,000 and includes a generous benefits package. This is a 100% remote opportunity. 



The Summer Science Program has retained Campbell & Company to conduct this search. To be considered for this opportunity, please send a letter of interest and resume to: Kole Farrise  

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