First Light

First Light Free Saturday Science School gives middle school students in the District of Columbia an opportunity to learn about topics within the field of Astrobiology through hands-on projects guided by STEM professionals.

This is a free program open to fully vaccinated students, 10 years or older who attend public or public charter schools in the District of Columbia, and are in 6th, 7th, or 8th grade.

Each year, First Light has a different theme; for 2022-2023 First Light will focus on Telescopes and Observational Astronomy.

There are three six-week terms per academic year, the Fall, Winter, and Spring.

Students must apply for a single term at a time but are encouraged to return for as many terms as possible during their years of eligibility (grades 6-8).

First Light is led by CASE’s Lead Physical Science Educator Ms. Stephanie Williams.

Registration for the Fall Term will open on September 1st

Sessions are held on the following Saturdays from 1 pm – 4 pm:

  • October 1st, 15th, 22nd, 29th
  • November 5th, 19th

Volunteer with First Light

First Light is seeking STEM professionals to serve as volunteer instructional assistants for the 2022-2023 school year. Volunteers commit to serve for one six-week term (three terms per year). Volunteers guide students through hands-on activities to explore scientific questions.

During this term, DC middle school students will have an opportunity to explore Telescopes and Observational Astronomy through experiments, engagement with scientists, and more! To apply to be a volunteer, please complete the Volunteer Application.


Alumni choose STEM! Of the students who were in this program 2008-09, 39% are now pursuing college degrees with a STEM focus.

Alumni return for more FL! Over the last 10 years, 64% of students return for more than one term. 43% return for more than three terms.

First Light is supported, in part, by the GM Foundation.