Summer 2020 Workshops

The College Essay! | Creative Writing & College Prep

Nine Days; one killer essay. Can you do it? Yes, you can. In this workshop, you will learn to write the positive stories that unveil who you are, at your best, to a college admissions officer. This is a Creative Writing experience, not an English class. We have helped hundreds of high school seniors write college essays that they feel very good about. You could be one of them if you show up to Zoom this course!

Note: All rising seniors will be enrolled in this workshop.

Brains Systems and Brain Disorders | Biology

We will unpack the mysteries of how the brain enables different functions and learn what happens when injury or illness in the brain interferes with our ability to perform these functions. Some of the disorders we will discuss include blindness, phantom limb, amnesia, schizophrenia, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease.

Bugs & Us | Biology

Bacteria are everywhere! Not only are we surrounded by bacteria, but we have more than 2 lbs of them on and inside our body. These bacteria can keep us healthy or make us really sick. In Bugs & Us, we will learn about these bacteria by taking personality tests, playing card games, and trying to kill them with antibiotics. We will also learn how our body fights off the bad bugs, and learn more about New Haven’s own public health bug problems.

Consciousness: Self, Science & Society | Biology 

How are we aware of ourselves and the world around us? This course is an exploration of the most exciting philosophic and scientific questions in the study of one of neuroscience’s great mysteries: consciousness. Students will learn about the nervous system and the neuroimaging techniques scientists use to record brain activity. We will explore populations that exhibit abnormal consciousness. And we’ll look at how consciousness is portrayed in popular culture (e.g., movies like Inception).

Controversial Chemistry | Chemistry

This class will explore the aspects of chemistry that scientists argue about. We will learn how chemicals affect your body, and the key historical moments and movements that changed public opinion of pharmaceutical and recreational drugs alike. In addition, everyone will participate in a (guided) discussion of the challenges of genetic engineering, including the ethical implications of performing gene editing to humans. On the final day of class, you will take on the role of a government lobbyist and present an argument for or against a chemical principle that impacts your daily life.

Engineering our Sustainable Future | Engineering/Environmental Science

Why do carbon emissions cause climate change, and how can we prevent them? In this course, we will explore how carbon emissions originate and develop realistic strategies for preventing global temperature rise. Students will learn how carbon emissions can be removed from the atmosphere using carbon capture/storage technology and prevented using renewable energy sources. Students will test how carbon dioxide from the atmosphere affects the ocean and discuss its effect on aquatic life.

Hacking the Brain’s Chemicals | Biology

In this workshop, you will learn how researchers use exciting new technologies to hack the brain’s chemicals. We will explore how chemicals that allow brain cells to communicate (neurotransmitters) help in nearly everything you do: eating, sleeping, feeling pain, etc. Between designing your own neurons and simulating how cells experience addiction, you will discover how changes in neurotransmitters can lead to disorders like Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia, and how drugs like alcohol and antidepressants affect the balance of chemicals in the brain.

How to Monitor the Atmosphere | Engineering

Ever wonder what the air quality is like around New Haven or in different cities around the United States? In this workshop we will explore atmospheric science, where air pollution comes from, its sources, and how we can monitor it. We will explore general trends for air pollution in urban areas, including how recent stay-at-home orders have or have not changed air quality. To do this we will look at air quality data from the EPA and work through some simple Excel analysis to understand, visualize trends, and communicate your findings.

Introduction to ArcGIS – Geographic Information Systems | Computer Science

In this computer-based workshop, we will learn the basics of ArcGIS. This powerful software connects people, locations, and data using interactive maps. Students will explore the Living Atlas of the World, learn how to use maps to tell a story about data they collect, and explore how Geographic Information Systems can help discover relationships hidden in spatial data.

Note: This workshop will take place all 6 days of the program.

Jumping into Coding with Python (for Beginners) | Computer Science

This workshop will provide an introduction to coding in the Python programming language and will cover a few of the many exciting applications of computer programming. We will begin the week with coding lessons and activities to learn the main Python programming concepts and then you will be able to code your own project! This workshop is intended for students with very little or no coding experience!

Note: This morning workshop will have an extra hour of afternoon program time for student projects.

Measuring Chemical Properties at Home with Scientific Tools| Chemistry

How does the Mars Rover learn about the Martian air and soil? It uses the same tools that doctors use to analyze patient samples, that police and airport security use to detect dangerous substances, and that scientists use to identify chemicals in the lab and environment! These methods make up the toolkit of chemical analysis and tell us about the color, weight, and other properties of molecules. Chemical analysis is used almost everywhere, and impacts our everyday lives in both ordinary and extraordinary ways. In this workshop, participants will build a practical and fundamental understanding of spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, and other chemical analysis tools through at-home activities and laboratory demonstrations over Zoom.

The Microbes on (and Around) Me | Biology

In this workshop, we’ll learn how to grow microorganisms (bacteria!) collected from our own bodies and environments. We’ll investigate whether different species prefer to live in certain habitats – such as the nose, mouth, or ear – and look at how they might vary from person to person. We’ll also test common antibacterial products that we use around the house to find out how effective they really are. 

Perception & Cognition: Neuroscience & Psychology | Biology

In this workshop, we will first learn about our main senses, including hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting and touch. Then, we’ll explore how sensory perception is influenced by cognitive processes like memory, experience, and attention. Along the way we will use interesting activities, like sensory tests and optical illusions, to better understand how our cognition can lead our perceptions astray. We promise that by the end of this workshop you’ll never sense the world the same!

Sensory Physiology | Biology

Touch, temperature, tastes, and smells provide important information from the environment that our bodies need in order to perform essential functions. In this workshop, we’ll explore our senses through experiments like: touch sensitivity assays using human subjects (us!); controlling a robotic claw to demonstrate principles of electrical communication in our nervous system; and interactive taste and smell experiments. Finally, the course will explore the life of scientists through a virtual “quest game,” where the class has the power to influence our actions as we perform skits!