UCSC Astronomy Professor Raja GuhaThakurta started SIP in 2009 with the recognition that immersion in a university research experience could be a transformational experience for bright and motivated high-school students and that such experiences accelerate student development toward becoming serious scholars and researchers.

SIP started with just three summer students from a leading private Silicon Valley high school, The Harker School, in 2009 working on astronomy projects with one faculty mentor. It has grown such that in 2019 there were 180 interns in the program, working in 14 different departments in the physical and biological sciences, engineering, and social sciences divisions. To date, 816 high school students from 155 different high schools (most in the Bay Area, but some in other parts of California and other parts of the country/world) have participated in 967 internships in the program.