Classes 2023

STEM Lectures and Study Sections

This class provides a series of seminars from experts in selected STEM fields. Each seminar offers an introduction to a particular STEM topic and provides a glimpse into original research in that field. Students will have the opportunity to ask questions about research in that area and gain some insight into career pathways in the field. An emphasis is placed on cross-disciplinary topics that combine research from multiple fields.  

The seminars are accompanied and supported by STEM Sections that help the students understand the content of the seminars and learn skills needed to succeed in STEM courses and majors in college. During STEM sections students will further explore a particular topic area by engaging in a hands-on project in small groups. Through these labs, students will learn the scientific process, how to collect and analyze data, modify experimental designs based on their data, and summarize and present their findings. Students will also pose an independent research question related to the focus area of their section. They will then learn how to read and interpret scientific literature, identify misinformation in online resources, and develop an infographic to present at the end of the summer. Selected projects may also be presented at the Summer Academy Award Ceremony.

College Prep

UW MSUB College Prep equips students with the skills and knowledge necessary to be admitted to and succeed in college. The course focuses on what students can be doing in high school to prepare for college, be competitive when applying for college, and eventually thrive in a college environment.

Prepare for college: This course will help students understand how their learning styles and habits can affect their long term success, the ways that colleges look at their high school records, how to plan ahead for admissions and college majors, and how to search for college and scholarship options.

Apply for college: As students consider their post-secondary options, this course will expose them to more resources that can assist them in their search. Students will learn specifics about how colleges evaluate their applications, and how to be most effective in telling their story in admissions applications. Additionally, students will begin to plan out the pathways they may take once in college in order to be admitted into their major of choice.

Thrive in a college environment: Building on the effective habits discussed related to succeeding in high school, students will also explore strategies that will help them succeed in college. They will learn about the resources available and how to access them, the community cultural wealth they bring with them, and how to make the most of their college experience.

College Prep Writing

College Prep Writing will introduce students to the skills and habits they will need to succeed as a writer, thinker, and learner at the university level. The course expands on and develops the work students completed last summer in College Prep, but also moves off into new territory in preparing students to meet the demands of college-level critical thinking and writing. Over the six weeks of Summer Academy this course will develop awareness of these skills through focused assignments which use writing and writing-based projects to help teach the basics of inquiry, research, exposition, and reflection. This writing-intensive course will consist of two distinct sequences. The first focuses on a trio of concepts—inquiry, complexity, and conversation—that will help lay the groundwork for students’ successful transition to university study. For the course’s final two weeks we will focus on the college application personal essay. As student learners we encourage students to make the most of this time, to engage with interest and depth in the topics and tasks we pursue, and to open themselves to the idea of re-thinking their own writing process within this collaborative space.

Emerging Infectious Diseases

“Emerging Infectious Diseases” is a broad, interdisciplinary field. Topics covered include the basics of disease ecology in wildlife, the dynamics of emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) that come from animals (especially wildlife), immunology and virology (as related to EIDs, both of those could be entire classes in their own right!), discussion of major zoonoses (e.g. HIV, Ebola, covid19(?)), and an assessment of where the field is headed. The overall goal for this course is for students to develop a sophisticated understanding of the relationship between animals and emerging infectious diseases while learning the fundamentals of central dogma, evolution, and biodiversity.

Energy and the Environment

Renewable Energy and the Environment examines the different relationship between energy production and the environment. During this class, students will learn about both renewable and non-renewable energy sources and their impact on the environment. Additionally, we will explore the challenges to using more renewable energy sources including fluctuating energy production, challenges for energy storage, and energy losses from transportation. By the end of the course, students understand how energy is produced, the benefits and limitations of renewable energy, and the role of renewables in reaching a net-zero CO2 emissions goal.

The course will be taught using interactive lectures, hands-on activities, and project-based learning. In addition, students will complete two projects and practice giving constructive feedback through peer-evaluations.

Digital Storytelling and Video Production

Learning how to tell a good story is not only an art, but also a useful tool in communication. This course provides students with the basic technical and creative skills necessary to produce a short-form digital narrative. Over the course of six weeks they focus on story-building paired with basic skills in camera framing, movement and editing. Students will develop, produce and edit a three to five-minute narrative which will be considered for exhibition during the summer academy’s closing ceremony. A camera (I.e. DSLR, phone camera, etc.) and access to a laptop computer is required.

Math 1

This course is designed to strengthen the basic analytic skills necessary for future high school math courses and introduce students to the concepts taught in an Algebra 2 or Precalculus class. The course will examine in detail exponential and logarithmic functions, polynomial functions, and rational and radical functions. Emphasis on graphing skills and effective calculator use.

Math 2

This course will cover a variety of trigonometry-related topics that students may find useful when they take various math and science courses in the future, such as precalculus, calculus, and physics. Specific topics covered in this course include trigonometric ratios, trigonometric functions, and trigonometric identities.

Math 3

This course is designed to investigate various topics in discrete mathematics. The course will introduce set theory, induction, the Binomial Theorem and Pascal’s Triangle, Fibonacci Numbers, and prime number theorems.

Math 6

This is an introductory course in linear algebra which is an exciting area of mathematics with many modern day applications to all of the mathematical sciences ranging from engineering and data science to the social sciences, law and business. We will develop the basics of this subject through a geometric lens, and see several applications. For computations we will use the program Julia.


Originally the language of the ancient Romans, Latin has a special role as the language of science, medicine, law, philosophy, and many other disciplines. In fact, about 50% of English is made up of Latin roots! This class introduces some of the basic building blocks of Latin, focusing on vocabulary at the root of modern scientific and technical language. Students will engage in simple Latin conversation while also learning Latin root words and identifying their uses in English. While this class will focus on STEM-related Latin, students will also have the chance to dive into special topics of your own interest. By the end of this course, students will know dozens of new words and learn helpful tools to break down complex bioscientific terminology, using clues from Latin. 


Immunology contextualizes the physiological function of the immune system in both health and disease states, which includes immunological disorders like autoimmune diseases, immune deficiency and transplant rejection.  Immunology has a wide-range of applications in numerous disciplines, including medicine, microbiology and psychiatry.  In this course, we will mainly focus on classical immunology, which relates to understanding the cellular components of the immune system, including their role during infection with microorganisms (i.e. bacteria, viruses and parasites).  In addition to understanding how the immune system functions in disease-states, we will also discuss the role of herd immunity in vaccine design and disease eradication.  This course will also spend some time investigating clinical immunology, which is the study of the disorders of the immune system (i.e. immunodeficiency, autoimmunity, etc.); as well as cancer immunology, which will include an observation of how immune systems react to cancer and how they can be manipulated to treat cancer.  By the end of this course, students should be able to discuss the cellular basis for immunity against microbes and cancer as well as describe the function and implementation of vaccines and their importance to Public Health.  Improving our understanding of how the immune system functions during various disease-states provides us with a means to inform on patient care and ultimately, has the potential for the development of novel therapies and inform vaccine design.

Sustainable Architecture

This course invites high school students to delve into the fascinating world of architecture, with a special focus on sustainability. It offers a unique blend of theory and practice, allowing students to explore architectural principles, design processes, and their societal impacts. Students journey through various architectural styles to understand their cultural, historical, and technological influences. The course takes a hands-on approach, with students designing architectural models that focus on environmental impact and societal needs. Students interpret architectural drawings, understand real-world architectural practices, and create their own virtual 3D models emphasizing sustainability or technology shifts. 

User Experience and Product Design

This course focuses on the theories and practices for approaching design problems of user-facing products, including the usability and accessibility of these experiences. The course aims to develop students’ appreciation for facilitating user’s experience of both digital and physical products from design process to user evaluation phase. The course has a focus on storytelling, sketching, and communication of design ideas. 

As part of the course, students interact with other students in small groups as well as participate in hands-on exercises, group discussions, and a practical project to apply your learning to real-world scenarios. Upon completion of the course, students will have developed the skills necessary to understand and create user-centric experiences.