The R.E.A.L. Experience

The R.E.A.L. (Research, Experiment, Analyze, Learn) program is composed of high school student researchers and has served as an initiative of the GIFT Summer Program since 2004. These students are from underrepresented populations in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. During a 5-week period, students experience and conduct research with their respective GIFT teachers in various university laboratories. Over 400 high school students have participated in R.E.A.L., with 75% of them pursuing STEM careers in postsecondary education.  This program is made possible by the generous support of The UPS Foundation and GIFT.



  • High school students are eligible only when paired with a teacher from their respective high school who has been accepted into the GIFT program.
  • Students must be available for the entire duration of the R.E.A.L. experience, and available to work the same hours as their GIFT teacher.
  • Students, their parents, and GIFT teachers must attend an orientation session, which prepares them for their summer research experience.
  • Students must attend the End of Summer Celebration Luncheon and Round Table Discussion, where they will share their research with peers.
  • Upon completion of the experience, students are encouraged to enter science fair competitions at the local, state and national levels.



Urban Honey Bee Project
Students generate a survey of plant-pollinator interactions on Georgia Tech’s Campus. They take photos of bees and analyze the species of bees, species of flower, flower color, location and time of day.

Candler Field Museum
Students intern at the Candler Field Museum, a replica of the old 1920's Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson Airport, where they learn skills involving aircraft maintenance along with how to restore antique and vintage airplanes.

Strategic Energy Institute
Students design and test a small model related to solar thermal heat and fuel cells.