Inside Rensselaer
* Summer Programs

The ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp focuses on investigating the origins of life on Earth.

Summer Programs

Students explore chemistry during a Summer@Rensselaer program.

Summer Programs: Taking Time To Learn, Explore, Play, and Get Ahead

Summer offerings at Rensselaer continue to provide individuals of all ages with an opportunity to explore and develop their passions and interests through a variety of programs. This year, more than 2,500 elementary, middle, high school, and college students, along with working professionals and K-12 teachers, are immersing themselves in a plethora of credit courses, academic short courses, sports camps, and enrichment programs.

The Dean of Students Office (DOSO), through its Pipeline Initiatives and Partnerships, will have students participating in several summer programs focused on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. From July 24 to August 5, at the ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp for middle school children, students will focus on investigating the origins of life on Earth and the conditions that lead to the formation of habitable planets in our own and other solar systems through the New York Center for Astrobiology—part of the NASA Astrobiology Institute. The center is based within the School of Science at Rensselaer. During the program, students will work alongside engineers and scientists to conduct experiments as well as participate in highly interactive projects and demonstrations, attend classes and weekly field excursions, and interact with guest speakers.

Other programs planned by DOSO include Preface, a two-week residential program for talented high school sophomores and juniors; and the Science & Technology Entry Program (STEP), designed to assist disadvantaged middle school students and those from minority groups underrepresented in STEM and health-related professions to pursue careers in such fields.

Launched nearly 14 years ago, the Center for Initiatives in Pre-College Education (CIPCE) works with area K-12 teachers and students, as well as local, statewide, and national organizations, to promote the use of robotics in the classroom. Within the program, students will use Lego Mindstorms robot technology to design, construct, and program robotic solutions to perform complex engineering challenges. Several of the programs will be led by Rensselaer undergraduate students.

During the month of July and August, five different programs will be offered. They include: Lego Robotics Engineering Academy, Jr. Lego Robotics Engineering Academy, Advanced NXT Lego Robotics, and Vex Robotics Engineering Academy, developed by CIPCE. CIPCE will also continue host an Animation & Gaming Academy for students from the Amsterdam and Schenectady School districts. Launched last year, the program provides participants with an opportunity to explore how to make animations, music videos and video games, and how to create their own cartoon characters, as well as animate photographs. The computer software used is an iconic-based program called “Scratch” that was developed at MIT to teach young children coding technique in an easy-to-understand and captivating manner. Projects will allow students to create and will include stories, games, greetings, music and dance, and more.

For the last six years, the Academic Outreach Programs office within Undergraduate and Graduate Education has offered numerous summer programs. Summer@Rensselaer features credit courses, academic short courses, sports camps, and enrichment programs for elementary, middle school, high school and college students, adults, and working professionals. Some of the flagship offerings include: aerospace engineering summer career exploration, architecture career discovery program, computer game development academy, Smart Lighting, Smart Power, Smart Systems program, and the Young Actors Guild.

Some new residential programs include: Engineering Summer Exploration, a one-week program that will introduce students to engineering concepts with a focus on creativity, communication, and working across engineering disciplines; and the Chemistry and Medicine Summer Scholars program, a two-week interactive program that will show high school students how chemistry plays a role in discovering new medicine.

To provide teachers with an opportunity to hone their expertise in the classroom, the ASM Materials Camp is a special teacher program for middle and high school science, physics, chemistry, and technology teachers. The one-week workshop will show teachers how to use low- or no-cost everyday materials and integrate them into simple labs and experiments. The “Earth Science in Space Has No Boundaries” program, which is supported by a NASA grant, uses a combination of hands-on activities and lectures to help teachers learn how to better integrate their knowledge of space science into the classroom. In addition, the Rensselaer Nanotechnology Summer Institute provides science and technology teachers with increased knowledge and strategies in the area of nanotechnology. The program features workshops, activities, lab experiments, and a tour of clean room and industry manufacturing facilities.

To read more about these summer programs, visit the following links.

For info on DOSO programs, visit:
For more info on CIPCE programs, visit
For info on Summer@Rensselaer, and to view full program descriptions and application/registration forms, go to

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Inside Rensselaer, Strategic Communications and External Relations
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Inside Rensselaer
Volume 5, Number 11, June 17, 2011
©2011 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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