For 20 years, Smith’s perennially popular Summer Science and Engineering Program (SSEP) has hosted about 100 high school girls each summer for intense 2-week sessions on robotics, mechanical engineering, chemistry and other science-related topics.
Now, for the first time this summer, Smith will complement the science and engineering program, which is operated by the Center for Community Collaboration, with three new programs that broaden the college’s summer curricular opportunities.
Designed by Smith’s own professors and the Office of College Relations, the new academic programs focus on sustainability, women’s history and writing (see descriptions below.) The curricula will also give the teenaged participants a residential learning experience.
“Smith’s summer programs give the girls who participate a chance to try out college,” said Carol T. Christ, Smith president. “It’s wonderful to have the opportunity to spend a number of weeks focused on a really exciting topic and get a sense as to what it’s like to live away from home, to live in an academic and social community.”
As with the SSEP, participants in the new programs will reside in Smith campus housing. Evening activities may include such options as listening to a professional storyteller perform Native American songs and stories, attending movie nights with friends, or experiencing the arts and culture for which Northampton is famous.
The summer academic programs are non-credit. Participating faculty will complete an evaluation for each student who requests one.
New Summer Programs
Field Studies for Sustainable Futures
Engaging with Local Food and Ecological Design
What is green architecture? What do we wish to sustain? What does it mean to be environmentally responsible? Are our communities resilient? Can design be regenerative? Can our behaviors and policies transform? What does a transition from industrial agriculture to sustainable local agriculture imply? How can we understand and communicate these ideas through movement? Participant explorations will take them to provocative landscapes, local farms and markets, co-housing developments and “living buildings.” They will take part in exercises that reveal how environmentally minded society is currently.
Hidden Lives: Discovering Women’s History
This program seeks to engage participants in understanding women’s history and also in discovering what it was like to be a young woman in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Such experiences will include reviewing Sylvia Plath’s and Gloria Steinem’s personal papers and learning about the time in which they lived.
Young Women’s Writing Workshop
With so few writing programs that cater exclusively to high school girls, Smith’s Young Women’s Writing Workshop will allow participants to explore writing in a creative and supportive environment that fosters writing across a variety of genres. Classes will be workshop style, which means each class will begin with a short segment that focuses on a single lesson. Open writing time follows. The class session ends with each writer sharing her progress with the group. The instructors are all published writers and poets who will focus on how to get published. At the end of the workshop, participants will have the start of an online writing portfolio and some professional contacts in the literary world.