Summer science programs held in university research facilities provide ideal opportunities for pre-college students to master new skills and renew, refresh, and enrich their interest in science. These types of programs have a positive impact on a student’s understanding of the nature of science and scientific inquiry and can open a youngster’s eyes to the many possible career opportunities in science. This paper describes a study of high school students enrolled in the Summer Science Academy program at the University of Rochester that investigates the program’s impact on students’ knowledge of laboratory skills, as well as the impact on student interest in pursuing a career in science. Students’ exposure to advanced laboratory techniques and their interaction with professional scientists provided them with a very positive hands-on experience. Students who attended the program felt more confident in their ability to use sophisticated laboratory skills and that the Summer Science Academy program provided a positive influence on their performance in advanced science courses, as well as their desire to pursue a career in science.