For six weeks this summer, Boston-​​area high school stu­dents and edu­ca­tors ven­tured into North­eastern University’s engi­neering and sci­ence lab­o­ra­to­ries for the oppor­tu­nity to col­lab­o­rate with leading fac­ulty on inno­v­a­tive research projects. Play Video.

These expe­ri­ences were made pos­sible though two highly selec­tive pro­grams: the Young Scholars Pro­gram, which this year included just 18 high school stu­dents, and the Research Expe­ri­ences for Teachers pro­gram, with only 23 high school teachers and com­mu­nity col­lege fac­ulty par­tic­i­pating this summer.

Both pro­grams are over­seen by Northeastern’s Center for STEM (Sci­ence, Tech­nology, Engi­neering, and Math­e­matics) Edu­ca­tion, and are funded by the National Sci­ence Foun­da­tion, the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­rity and by other public and by pri­vate foundations.

Claire Duggan, the STEM center’s director for pro­grams and oper­a­tions, said the Young Scholars Pro­gram intro­duces stu­dents to the pos­si­bil­i­ties of leading-​​edge research and pro­vides future sci­en­tists and engi­neers with impor­tant hands-​​on expe­ri­ence in a lab set­ting. The Research Expe­ri­ences for Teachers pro­gram, she said, expands edu­ca­tors’ knowl­edge in their sub­jects and gives them oppor­tu­ni­ties to share ideas they can bring back to the class­rooms to edu­cate and inspire their students.

They are able to accom­plish a lot in a very short period of time,” Duggan said, “and the stu­dents really just blossom,” gaining matu­rity, knowl­edge of sci­ence and math con­cepts and enthu­siasm for STEM disciplines.

Par­tic­i­pants recently high­lighted their summer projects during a poster show at the Egan Engi­neering Research Center. Steve Rada, of Boston Latin School, and Jacob Hol­stein, of Sharon High School — who start their senior years this fall — studied the com­po­nents of jet fuels using gas chro­matog­raphy. Hol­stein said it was thrilling to work in a col­lege research envi­ron­ment as an aspiring engi­neer, while Rada said the expe­ri­ence gave him a wealth of knowl­edge he can share with class­mates this fall as pres­i­dent of his high school’s engi­neering club.

Mean­while, Diana Cost, a biology and engi­neering teacher at Wey­mouth High School, and Kellie Burtch, a biology teacher at the Inno­va­tion Academy Charter School in Tyn­gs­boro, Mass., worked on a research project led by North­eastern engi­neering pro­fessor Ferdi Hell­weger, aimed at making the Charles River swim­mable again.

Both Cost and Burtch, who helped gather and ana­lyze water sam­ples in the Charles River, said they would use the expe­ri­ence in their own class­rooms by designing water sample testing exper­i­ments with students.

Stu­dents need hands-​​on expe­ri­ence, and they need real-​​world con­nec­tions,” Cost said. “We want stu­dents engaged and taking part in any­thing that has to do with learning. They have to feel like they’re a part of it, like they have a way to express them­selves and have some con­trol over it.”