Obviously, I’m biased, but the best COSMOS summer short course is the UC Davis Cluster 11 Future Foods: Sustainable Aquaculture and Aquaponic Plant Production. The instructors are brilliant and very entertaining. Plus the content is mind-blowing and life-changing!!! California is the most diverse in aquaculture and specialty crop production in the US. This summer program covers the unique aspects of both freshwater and marine aquaculture that can only be found here in CA. Students not only engage with content in the classroom but also hands-on in the aquaponic greenhouse and on the many farm field trips throughout the Sacramento region including a trip out to the Bodega Marine Laboratory and with our regional shellfish growers. Several Cluster 11 alumni have gone on to lead their own sustainable agriculture and aquaculture initiatives at their high schools after completing the program and a few are now students at UC Davis.


What is COSMOS 

COSMOS is an intensive four-week summer residential program for students who have demonstrated an aptitude for academic and professional careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects. Talented and motivated students completing grades 8-12 have the opportunity to be mentored by renowned faculty, researchers, and scientists in state-of-the-art facilities while exploring advanced STEM topics far beyond the courses usually offered in California high schools. Through challenging curricula that are both hands-on and lab intensive, COSMOS fosters its students’ interests, skills, and awareness of educational and career options in STEM fields.

This is a merit-based program and students typically show a high level of aptitude in STEM fields. One thing about aquaculture and aquaponics (the merger of hydroponic plant production and recirculating aquaculture) is that it covers a wide range of student interests from biology, chemistry, engineering, economics, ecology, food science, and global sustainability initiatives.