Outreach programs encourage summer learning at Princeton

June 11, 2007 12:10 p.m.

Editor's Note: This story is from 2007, and many listings herein are out of date. A new story for 2013 will be posted in June.

Students of all ages and teachers from New Jersey and beyond will be engaged in a summer of learning on the Princeton campus, taking part in outreach programs on subjects ranging from basic computer skills to advanced scientific research.

Princeton students, faculty, staff and alumni will lead various programs designed to help elementary, secondary and college students build their academic skills and to provide cutting-edge lessons that teachers can take back to their own classrooms.

The outreach programs are part of a busy summer on campus. Princeton's athletics department sponsors some two dozen sports camps; the University runs a summer day camp and travel camp; and the Office of Conference and Event Services works with numerous outside organizations that use campus facilities for educational programs and other activities.

The following list offers a look at some of the University's educational outreach programs taking place this summer. Deadlines for registering for this year's programs have passed, but anyone interested in participating in future programs should consult the links and contacts listed below; some programs are restricted to participants from particular schools, organizations or geographic areas. Reporters interested in covering any programs should contact the Office of Communications at (609) 258-3601.

Community House
Contact: Marjorie Young, (609) 258-6136, may@princeton.edu

Computer Camp, July 9-Aug. 17, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
A camp for local students in grades 6-8 emphasizes computer literacy as well as math and writing skills. A limited number of openings may remain.

Electrical Engineering
Contact: Ron Weiss, (609) 258-1174, rweiss@princeton.edu

Stem Cell Synthetic Biology Summer Program, June 11-Aug. 18
Ten undergraduates from Princeton and other institutions as well as two high school students will use genetic "circuits" to program stem cells after completing a short course in synthetic biology. The students will represent Princeton in the fall at the International Genetically Engineered Machines (iGEM) Jamboree, a competition among more than 30 teams from institutions throughout the world. Participants from last summer's program won third place in the competition, based on their work to create insulin-producing cells that may one day be used to treat diabetes.

Jointly offered by Princeton and the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, the program is supported by multiple entities at Princeton, including the Center for Innovation in Engineering Education, the Office of the Provost, the Princeton Institute for the Science and Technology of Materials, the Mid-Infrared Technologies for Health and the Environment Center and the departments of electrical engineering, chemical engineering, molecular biology and chemistry.

Graduate School
Contacts: Elaine Willey, (609) 258-3033, ewilley@princeton.edu; David Redman, (609) 258-3902, dnredman@princeton.edu
Princeton Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (PSURE), June 11-Aug. 10
This program is designed for undergraduates who have completed their sophomore or junior years and who express a serious interest in pursuing a Ph.D. and following a career in college or university teaching and research. It is intended to prepare students to make competitive applications to research doctoral programs. Students may work in any of Princeton's academic departments or programs. Undergraduates who are underrepresented minorities, who are from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds or who are from liberal arts colleges are especially encouraged to apply. Students receive a stipend and a travel allowance.

James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions
Contact: Bradford Wilson, (609) 258-6333, bpwilson@princeton.edu
James Madison Seminars, June 24-Aug. 16
The Madison Program hosts six two-week seminars for middle and high school teachers of American history from New Jersey and New York City, primarily from public schools. Teachers participate in the seminars each summer for three years, covering a range of topics on American constitutional history. The seminars are led by scholars from around the country, including Princeton faculty. They are co-sponsored by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the National Association of Scholars, and are part of a nationwide effort funded by the federal Teaching American History Grant Program.

Molecular Biology
Hot Topics, Cool Genes, July 8-20
Contact: Ann Sliski, (609) 258-2075, asliski@princeton.edu
Twenty-three secondary school teachers from around the world will participate in an intensive two-week workshop exploring modern molecular biology. Their projects will include analyzing their own DNA, analyzing DNA in food for evidence of genetic modification and learning a new approach to studying the invisible world of microbes in the soil under their feet. The teachers also will learn about bioinformatics and protein modeling as well as how to use what they learn at Princeton to inspire their students.

Summer Undergraduate Research Program, June 18-Aug. 17
Contact: Alison Gammie, (609) 258-6380, agammie@princeton.edu
Each summer, the Department of Molecular Biology, the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute provide intensive laboratory research experiences to a select group of undergraduates chosen from a nationwide pool. Each student joins a world-class research group -- headed by a Princeton faculty member -- and carries out an original research project. Participants are immersed in a culture of close collaboration with other undergraduates, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and faculty, and thereby experience first-hand what it is like to be a scientist. More than 70 percent of former participants have since pursued degrees in Ph.D., M.D. or combined M.D./Ph.D. programs.

Office of the Vice President for Campus Life
Contact: Richard Just, (202) 508-4478, sjp@princeton.edu
Summer Journalism Program, July 27-Aug. 6
Princeton alumni will lead journalism workshops for 23 students from low-income backgrounds who are entering their junior and senior years of high school. The students -- selected from an applicant pool of 877 -- will practice reporting and writing articles, including covering a professional sports event, and produce a 12-page newspaper and a television documentary. They will visit The New York Times and ABC News offices and receive advice from guest speakers from a number of major media outlets. They also will receive guidance on applying to college. This is the sixth summer the program is being offered.

Contact: Helen Ju, (609) 258-5822, helenju@princeton.edu
Gran Sasso-Princeton Physics Summer School, July 25-Aug. 15
The Department of Physics will host 22 Italian high school students from the Abruzzi and Molise regions of Italy, who have been selected on a competitive basis to study special relativity, electromagnetism, and quantum and modern physics with Princeton scientists in classes taught in Italian. The students live near the Italian National Research Laboratories, located in a tunnel under the Gran Sasso Mountain, where a group of Princeton physics professors currently are conducting research.

Princeton Environmental Institute (PEI)
Contact: Anne Catena, (609) 258-6615, acatena@princeton.edu
Summer Institute in Environmental Science, July 9-20, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
This program offers professional development for local teachers to learn about "The Ocean and Global Weather Patterns," "Chemistry and Your Senses" and "Weather and Climate." Elementary and middle school teachers will further their understanding of environmental science and current research conducted by Princeton faculty. The institute is a collaboration of PEI and the Cooperative Institute for Climate Science.

Research Experience for Undergraduates, June-August
PEI is providing fellowships to eight undergraduates from across the country to work in research labs under the mentorship of faculty in the Center for Environmental Bioinorganic Chemistry.

Princeton Institute for the Science and Technology of Materials (PRISM)
Contact: Dan Steinberg, (609) 258-5598, dsteinbe@princeton.edu
Princeton University Materials Academy, July-August
Forty-five students from Trenton, Lawrence, Hamilton and Middlesex high schools will participate in three different programs to learn engineering and materials science concepts through hands-on activities and experiences. Each of these programs aims to prepare students for careers in 21st-century science, engineering and technology.

Working with Professor Wole Soboyejo and students from his research group, some of the students will design and build ceramic water filters from sustainable, low-cost materials. Their designs will contribute to ongoing Princeton efforts to solve the water purification problem in developing nations throughout Africa and Latin America.

Guided by researchers from the Mid-Infrared Technologies for Health and the Environment (MIRTHE) Center, other students will work with lasers and learn about their myriad technological applications. In this new program, their investigations will lead to a better understanding of MIRTHE's efforts to develop sensors that can be used to detect minute amounts of substances in the air, atmosphere and human breath.

At the same time, Middlesex High School students will conduct lab work with faculty members associated with the Princeton Center for Complex Materials. Their work on materials science will serve as an introduction to a yearlong materials science and engineering course at their school that was designed by Dan Steinberg of PRISM and Pete Gange, a Middlesex teacher.

Research Experience for Undergraduates, June 11-Aug. 10
About 35 undergraduate students from around the country will perform cutting-edge research projects in disciplines related to materials science. The students will work under the mentorship of some 20 Princeton professors and graduate students from seven departments. They will work primarily on major research projects funded by the National Science Foundation, including the Princeton Center for Complex Materials, Mid-Infrared Technologies for Health and the Environment Center, and the new Partnerships for Research and Education in Materials.

Research Experience for Teachers, June-August
Five teachers will be conducting research in the laboratories of faculty at the Princeton Center for Complex Materials. They are studying, among other subjects, ways to enhance materials science and engineering education in K-12 schools. They will reconvene in the next academic year to share their experiences incorporating these concepts into their curricula.

Materials Camp for Teachers, Aug. 6-10
Thirty teachers will attend a weeklong training to learn how to incorporate materials science modules into their existing curricula. A partner camp will be held at Rutgers University for 30 additional teachers. Both programs are offered in collaboration with ASM International, a materials science society. This program, along with the Princeton University Materials Academy, already has contributed to the establishment of a yearlong materials science course in Middlesex High School and the development of one for the West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District.

Partners in Science, June 30-Aug. 25
In collaboration with the Jersey City-based Liberty Science Center, faculty members and graduate students in the Princeton Institute for the Science and Technology of Materials will serve as mentors to three high school students working as researchers in their labs. The program will culminate in a symposium during which students will present their work to Liberty Science Center staff, peers, mentors, teachers and parents.

The program was piloted at Princeton last year with one student, Franz Sauer of High Technology High School in Lincroft, who went on to win the grand prize in the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association's National High School Competition. He will be among the participants this year, returning to campus to continue work with PRISM researcher Nan Yao on ion beam microscopes. Additionally, three high school students will serve as research assistants throughout the summer in the labs of researchers affiliated with the Mid-Infrared Technologies for Health and the Environment Center.

Summer School on Condensed Matter Physics, Aug. 13-16
Between 80 and 100 undergraduates, graduate students and researchers will participate in a series of intense workshops led by prominent researchers from Princeton, New York University and Columbia University. The program is sponsored by the Princeton Center for Complex Materials with support from the Graduate School.

Princeton Plasma Physics Lab (PPPL)
Contacts: Tony DeMeo, (609) 243-2755, ademeo@pppl.gov; Patti Wieser, (609) 243-2757, pwieser@pppl.gov
Plasma Camp, July 16-20
About a dozen science teachers from local middle schools, as well as high schools across the nation, will work in the Plasma Science Education Laboratory to better understand energy and find ways to work the subject into their curricula.

Energy in the 21st Century: Solar, Fuel Cells and Fusion, June 25-29
The program offers an introduction to current energy research to about 30 students from the Bergen Academy for the Advancement of Science and Technology in Hackensack, N.J.

Research Experience for Undergraduates, June 11-Aug. 17
Fourteen undergraduate students from across the country, as well as eight local high school students, will spend 10 weeks working with PPPL scientists, participating in current research projects.

PPPL-Liberty Science Center Workshop for New Jersey Teachers, June 26

About 12 New Jersey teachers from grades 6-12 will participate in a one-day workshop at the PPPL focusing on energy and using plasmas as a teaching tool in a physical sciences classroom. The laboratory is offering the workshop in partnership with the Liberty Science Center.

Princeton Summer Theater
Contact: Marisol Rosa-Shapiro, (609) 258-7062, princetonsummertheater@gmail.com
Children's Workshops, Fridays, July 6-Aug. 3, 1 to 4 pm
The student-run theater company offers workshops on basic concepts of theater, movement, character development, improvisation, theatrical design and acting with Shakespeare.

Program in Teacher Preparation
Princeton University Preparatory Program, July 5-Aug. 17
Contact: Jason Klugman, (609) 258-3337, jklugman@princeton.edu
This intensive, three-year college preparation program supports a select group of academically gifted high school students from economically disadvantaged families who attend Ewing, Princeton and Trenton public schools. The goal is to prepare students to be viable candidates for success at selective colleges and universities. Students take courses in art, writing, literature, math, physics, biology, social science and college-preparation skills, while also attending a leadership retreat at the Princeton Blairstown Center, going on college tours and taking cultural excursions.

QUEST, July 9-20, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Contact: Anne Catena, (609) 258-2537, acatena@princeton.edu
QUEST is a professional development institute for elementary and middle school teachers and undergraduates who are learning to be teachers. QUEST focuses on laboratory experiments and field experiences in science, mathematics and technology taught by Princeton faculty, staff experts and local scientists. Another program, CONNECT-ED, teams elementary, middle school and high school teachers with scientists from Princeton and Rider universities to examine how students' understanding of science and math content builds through the K-12 years.

Teachers as Scholars Summer Institute, July 9-20, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Contact: Helen Martinson, (609) 258-3336, hmartin@princeton.edu
This program enables Princeton professors to work with area K-12 teachers to conduct research and develop programs for use in their classrooms. This year's institute includes seminars on "Picturing Paris in Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Painting," "Geoffrey Chaucer's 'Canterbury Tales'" and "Children's Narratives for Adults." The program includes a morning seminar and an afternoon practicum featuring the use of Firestone Library for guided research, small group work in various locations and selected field trips.