The Academic Experience
At the heart of the FSI program is an immersive and rewarding academic experience. Students take two, full credit-bearing courses that count toward graduation requirements. All FSI courses are taught by members of the Princeton faculty; they engage students in common Princeton teaching and learning situations--from small seminars to large lectures--and give them an opportunity to enter scholarly conversations, collaborate to solve problems, and produce original research.
In Summer 2015, all scholars will have the opportunity to take “Ways of Knowing” (HUM 250/STC 250), a small seminar-style course that provides students with a virtual Freshman year at Princeton, offering insight into the different ways that various disciplines (including History, Art, Literature, Sociology, Politics, Anthropology, Biology, Physics, and Philosophy) produce knowledge. In addition to this broad exposure, students also practice the deep critical thinking, reading, and writing skills that are fundamental to academic analysis across the disciplines.
In addition to “Ways of Knowing,” scholars will be placed into one of three quantitative courses based on the best fit for their academic interests: “Visualizing Data” (Pol 245), “Laboratory Research in the Life Sciences” (MOL 152), or “Foundations of Engineering” (EGR/STC 150).
- “Visualizing Data" (POL 245) is a precept-based course in which students work together to consider ways to illustrate compelling stories hidden in a blizzard of data. Equal parts art, programming, and statistical reasoning, data visualization is a critical tool for anyone doing analysis. This course introduces students to the powerful R programming language and the basics of creating data-analytic graphics in R. Students use real datasets to explore topics ranging from network data (like social interactions on Facebook or trade between countries) to geographical data (like county-level election returns in the US or the spatial distribution of insurgent attacks in Afghanistan).
“Laboratory Research in the Life Sciences” (MOL 152) is an experiential lab course in which students engage in original laboratory research. Although lecture and discussion will be incorporated as needed, by far the largest part of the course will consist of authentic hands-on research carried out by student teams. Students will learn how to perform essential laboratory techniques, to design experiments, and to analyze and interpret experimental data. Students will gain experience in both written and oral presentation of scientific results. In 2015, the research focus will be “Biological GPS: Migration of Cells in Living Organisms.”
- EGR/STC 150: Foundations of Engineering (EGR /STC 150) is an experiential lab course that provides a hands-on introduction to the foundational principles of engineering. It provides a project-based introduction to engineering that mixes electronics, mechanical construction, and computational data analysis while providing a firm theoretical foundation for the project in both math and physics. In lab, students will have the opportunity to build, test, and iterate the design of a rocket. Students will also engage in lectures and precepts to enhance their physics and mathematics content knowledge.
In addition to these academic courses, co-curricular workshops introduce students to campus resources and help them to enhance their learning strategies. Scholars work collaboratively with their peers, including experienced peer tutors and course fellows, to draft and revise papers, lab reports, and presentations and to tackle various problem-solving assignments.