Summer 2019 Workshops

Bugs and 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 try to kill them with antibiotics in a 2-day lab. We will also learn how our body fights off the bad bugs, and learn more about New Haven’s own public health bug problems.

Instructors: Mytien Nguyen

Chromatography: A Chemist’s Best Friend | Chemistry

Chromatography, or separating a mixture of chemical compounds into its pure components, is an extremely important process in all aspects of chemistry: used by medicinal chemists isolating important medicines from plants, forensic scientists identifying and analyzing compounds at a crime scene, research scientists separating new products from a complicated reaction, and many more examples! In this course, we will use gas chromatography to both identify and quantify substances in mixtures, such as separating fragrant oils that naturally occur in fruits. We will also apply gas chromatography to explore cutting-edge topics in sustainable, “green” chemistry such as catalytic reactions and remediation of toxic pollutants in groundwater. During this hands-on, laboratory course, you will have the opportunity to conduct experiments, collect and analyze data, and draw meaningful conclusions to help investigate real-world problems in sustainable chemistry.

Instructors: Connor Gannon, Daniel Kim, Allie Nagelski

The College Essay! | Creative Writing & College Prep

Two weeks; one killer essay. Can you do it? Yes, you can. Your college essay should give the reader a very clear sense of what kind of person you are. 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. I have helped hundreds of high school seniors write college essays that they feel very good about. You could be one of them if you take this course!

Note: All rising seniors will be enrolled in this workshop with Ms. Katz – consistently one of the highest rated workshops every year!

Instructors: Sarah Cussler, Judith Katz

Consciousness: Self, Science, and Society | Neuroscience & Psychology

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 clinical populations that exhibit abnormal consciousness. And we’ll look at how consciousness is portrayed in popular culture (e.g., movies like Inception). How are we aware of ourselves and the world around us?

Instructor: Sharif Kronemer

Decoding Biology to Code New Materials | Biology/Genetics/Biochemistry

In this workshop students will learn how biology, chemistry, and materials science come together at the Yale-NSF Center for Genetically Encoded Materials (C-GEM). C-GEM is re-engineering cellular protein-making machinery to make never-before-seen polymers that will revolutionize medicine, agriculture, and industry. In this course, students will learn how genetic engineers use fundamental principles of biology, chemistry, and engineering to create new organisms and materials. Each day will be a mix of interactive lectures and hands-on experiments. By the end of the class, students will become C-GEM’s youngest investigators as players in the citizen science video game EteRNA, with a special guest lecture from EteRNA creator and Stanford professor Rhiju Das.

Instructor: Omer Ad, Patrick Ginther

Disorders of the Brain | Neuroscience

Our brains make us who we are. Our personalities, emotions, memories and complex abilities all rely on the brain. So what happens when diseases alter the brain? In this course, we will explore the connection between brain and behavior, and how disorders of the brain can change our day-to-day abilities. As we dive into these mental illnesses, we will learn what we know so far, and about the exciting new possibilities in neuroscience research helping to explore these problems and potentially solve them.

Instructors: Veronica Galvin, Dibs Datta

DNA: From 3D to 23andMe  |  Biology

DNA is an incredible molecule: it is made up of only four bases, and yet these bases provide all the instructions needed to make you who you are, from the color of your eyes to the shape of your hairline. In the history of science, how have we visualized DNA? This one-week course will take you through how scientists have “seen” DNA over the years, from our intial understanding of genes, to solving the 3D structure of DNA, to being able to look at entire genetic codes. Students who enroll in this course will have the opportunity to learn about influential scientists from diverse backgrounds, consider the molecular “puzzles” of DNA through hands-on activities, and participate in a debate about companies that analyze the genetic ancestry of your DNA, like 23andMe. Together, we’ll answer the question: how do we see DNA, and are there ever times when we shouldn’t look?

Instructor: Elizabeth Luoma

Exploring the Physics of Light | Physics

Everyone who can see experiences light and color every moment. In this workshop, we will learn about the fundamental nature of light and color, show how they are intertwined, and analyze the physics behind our everyday experience. We will explore the electromagnetic spectrum and manipulate light with lenses, mirrors, and polarizers. Finally, we will look at how controlling light is important to many technologies from lasers to smart phones. Through hands-on activities, we will discover surprising aspects of light not obvious in everyday life.

Instructor: David Moore, Sumita Ghosh

ForAGirl Program: Engaging Girls in STEM through Video Game Research | Research

Hosted by the Yale Play2Prevent Laboratories, this specialized workshop provides hands-on research training to Pathways students. Students will work with highly qualified female mentors from the Yale School of Medicine to participate in the steps involved with developing video games that promote healthy behavior. Participants will learn about research, clinical practice, game intervention design and evaluation methods. Please note, video game coding is not part of this workshop. Note: This workshop occurs in one session that runs both weeks of the program.

Instructors: Tyra M. Pendergrass, Lynn E. Fiellin, Kimberly Hieftje, Claudia-Santi Fernandes, Sneha Kannoth, Veronica Weser

The History and Politics of Chemistry  |  Chemistry

This class will explore the history, media attention, and applications of controversial topics in chemistry, including heavy metals, genetic engineering, and pharmaceutical drugs. By the end of the course, you will have a more complete understanding of how and why these topics have impacted our world and, conversely, how society has conditioned us to respond to them in a particular way. We will learn chemistry and biology in a hands-on, experimental way, and supplement our knowledge of the topics we learn with news articles and videos. 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.

Instructor: David Caianiello

How to Monitor the Atmosphere: Building a Multipollutant Sensor | Engineering/Environmental Science

Ever wonder what the air quality is like around New Haven? What about at your school, or in your home? In this workshop we will explore atmospheric science, where air pollution comes from, and how we can monitor it. We will build our own basic air quality monitors to track the concentrations of several key pollutants, and work through some simple coding to collect and analyze air quality data. After we build the monitors, we will deploy them in different indoor and outdoor areas on and off campus to compare and contrast air quality in different places.

Instructors: Jenna Ditto, Colby Buehler

Learning about the Brain with Bugs | Biology

To say that the brain is an extremely complex system is something of an understatement! Understanding even a small part of the brain is a truly exciting prospect, and this course will focus on how neuroscientists use insect model organisms to learn about how the brain is organized into circuits, and how those circuits are studied in the laboratory. We will begin by exploring optical illusions and learn how we can test our own visual perception, and then we will gain hands-on experience with techniques used to study vision in the lab - and learn what insects can tell us about our own brains! Students will work with a variety of techniques used in neuroscience research, including brain imaging, genetic manipulation, and behavioral measurements in fly-sized virtual reality, and will design and analyze data from experiments that will probe neurons involved in a motion-detecting circuit in the visual system.

Instructors: Catherine Matulis, Ryosuke Tanaka

Life in Weird Places: Exploring the Limits of Biology | Biology

Every corner of our planet is covered with living creatures. This class focuses on the most extraordinary among them. Learn about bacteria that can grow in boiling water, fungi that live in broken nuclear reactors, and a tiny animal that can survive the vacuum of space! In this laboratory workshop you can experiment with growing extremophilic bacteria and look for crazy creatures that live in your own neighborhood! From deep underground to the upper atmosphere, we’ll cover the world’s most interesting organisms and ask the question of what life beyond earth might look like.

Instructor: Danielle Widner

Model Organisms in Biology: The Mighty Worm  |  Biology

C. elegans (or “worms”) are tiny (1 mm), transparent organisms with approximately 1000 cells that eat bacteria to survive. Despite their seemingly simple nature, they have provided significant insights into many areas in research and medicine, including understanding how the brain works and determining strategies to stop aging. This workshop will provide a lens into the daily life of a biologist that uses C. elegans to ask important questions in the life sciences. The goal of this laboratory workshop is to stimulate students to think about how their own outstanding scientific questions could be addressed using the toolbox provided by this tiny, but mighty, “worm.”

Instructors: Shirin Bahmanyar, Lauren Penfield, Michael Mauro, Gunta Celma, Jake W. Carrasquillo Rodriguez, Tevis Vitale, Ryan Nguyen.

Molecule by Molecule: Seeing & Manipulating Single Molecules | Chemistry

Chemists “see” the nanoscopic world of atoms and molecules with light. We see chemical bonds forming and breaking with colors of light ranging from the ultraviolet to the infrared and build instruments to carefully measure what our eyes cannot. In this laboratory course, you will build your own spectrometer (to keep) and use it to learn how molecules absorb and emit light. We will also learn the inner workings of microscopes by using them to make images and seeing them in action in Yale labs.

Instructor: Ziad Ganim

Musical Acoustics & Instrument Design: When Engineering Meets Music | Engineering

Students will learn about basic engineering tools that can be used to design and build musical instruments ranging from electronic to mechanical. We will go over some music and acoustic concepts and then jump into building simple electronic circuits that play tones, as well as design and build mechanical objects that vibrate. This workshop takes place at Yale’s state-of-the-art Center for Engineering, Innovation & Design.

Instructors: Larry Wilen​, Konrad Kaczmarek

Plant Form & Evolution | Environmental Science

Among multicellular organisms, plants are the most diverse: they live in every habitat on earth, and they provide the food for animals and humans.  Why are plants so diverse?  What are their adaptations to different habitats?  How do we understand how they have evolved to live in so many different places?  In this course we will address some of these questions through a mixture of lecture, discussion, and engagement with the diverse living collection of plants available in the Marsh Botanical Garden and greenhouses– including plants from the wet tropical forests all the way to the driest places on earth.  We will use the very foods we eat to examine how fast evolution can be, and we will see how evolution can be harnessed and used for medical treatments and biotechnology.

Instructors: Adam Roddy, Julia Monk

Sensory Physiology | Biology

Touch, temperature, tastes, and smells provide important information from the environment that our bodies need in order to perform essential functions. We’ll explore our senses through hands-on experiments like infrared imaging, touch, and temperature sensitivity assays, taste experiments, and electrophysiological recordings form insects. Finally, the workshop will culminate in an amazing cockroach race! We will split into small groups to create “robo-cockroaches” – cockroaches whose sensory physiology has been manipulated so that their movements can be controlled with the swipe of a smartphone.

Instructors: Elena Gracheva, Maddy Junkins, Ni (Jenny) Feng, Sarah Mohr, Slav Bagriantsev, Tom McCabe, Victor Feketa, Wang Zheng, Yury Nikolaev.

Step up in STEM: Breaking Down Barriers in Engineering through Balloons | Engineering

Who inspired your interest in STEM? Was it an older sibling, a teacher, or maybe a friend? You also inspire others around you when you step up and share your knowledge. This course is just the place for you.  We will spend the first part of the week breaking down difficult STEM concepts to share with each other.  To cement these ideas, we will then learn how to build a balloon-powered car, learning about motion, engineering, and design.  At the end of the week, you will have a chance to step up, and lead your friends at Summer Scholars through their own engineering design challenge to build the best balloon-powered car. In Fall 2019, you will have the opportunity to volunteer to do the same activity with New Haven middle school students!

Instructor: Elise Bullock

What Powers the World? The Chemistry of Energy | Chemistry

Why do we use fossil fuels, and what is required for the world to transition to renewable energy sources? Chemistry, of course! In this workshop, we will explore the science behind the fuels and energy sources we use today, as well as the promise and problems associated with the renewable energy strategies of tomorrow. Chemistry issues related to where we obtain our energy, how (and why) we store energy, and how catalysts can help us transition away from fossil fuels will be addressed, as we discuss one of the most critical current challenges today. In this laboratory workshop, you will be exposed to this important topic both through in class discussions and hand-on activities and demonstrations.

Instructor: Nilay Hazari, Nicholas Smith