WPI reserves the right to cancel any major/minor, in which case students could be reassigned to a different session or provided a refund.
Program Offerings (in-person)
Our Frontiers majors and minors are taught in-person giving students the opportunity to learn live with faculty and peers. All of the course offerings for this summer are located below along with descriptions. All of the course work will include lectures, project work, and labs.
Audience: Students Entering Grades 10, 11 & 12
Frontiers I Session: July 19 - July 21, 2023
Frontiers II Session: July 23 - August 4, 2023
Aerospace Engineering (Frontiers I & II)
By covering basic concepts in aerodynamics, the Aerospace Engineering program explores the science of flight. Topics such as drag, streamlining, airfoil stall and aircraft design will be studied. Participants learn how wings and aircraft create lift to fly. Wind- and water-tunnel experiments are conducted to visualize the airflow over aircraft, and computer simulations are run for different airfoil shapes. Participants will design and build a simple model aircraft using what they have learned.
Biology, Biotechnology & Bioinformatics (Frontiers I)
This program explores current topics in biology and biotechnology. Participants become part of a crowd sourcing initiative through field work and data analysis to learn about the pollinator crisis and work with a computer simulation involving bee behavior. We will explore how bioinformatics tools and techniques are used to interpret genomic structure of viruses, including COVID-19. The roots of biotechnology will also be covered in an exercise fermenting root beer.
Biomedical Engineering (Frontiers I & II)
At the crossroads of engineering, biology, and medicine lies an exciting scientific field making historic breakthroughs that are extending lives and vastly improving the quality of life. This field is biomedical engineering, and WPI is at the forefront of research that is leading to many of these breathtaking developments. This program will enable the students to start looking at the world with the eyes of a biomedical engineer and open doors for amazing possibilities in this field as they pursue new directions.
- Session I: Biomedical Engineering- Bio-instrumentation and Signal Processing. In this program, the participants will perform hands-on lab activities to understand and learn the fundamentals of biomedical engineering and its sub-branches including bio-instrumentation, biomedical signal measurement, and biomedical signal and data processing. The participants will specifically learn how biomedical devices are playing a part in improving the lives of the people and improving the society.
- Session II: Biomedical Engineering- Biomaterials. In this program, the participants will perform hands-on lab activities to understand and learn fundamentals of biomedical engineering as they relate to biomaterials and tissue engineering. Participants will learn how biomaterials are designed and used in medical implants, tissue regeneration, drug delivery, and mimic diseases, and the hands-on activities will cover a subset of these areas. The ways in which biomaterials help improve human quality of life are diverse and combine many different science and engineering fields.
Chemical Engineering (Frontiers II)
This course provides an introduction to the broad and vital discipline of chemical engineering including conventional and developing chemical technologies. An introduction is provided to the first principles of chemical engineering, as well as environmental, health, safety and ethical issues in chemical engineering practice. An overview is provided of the chemical engineering profession, career choices, the course of study, and a survey of the chemical industry, e.g., polymer, pharmaceutical, food processing, microelectronic, electrochemical, biotechnology, process control, energy, and petroleum refining. Course activities include pilot scale unit operation lab.
Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering (Frontiers I)
Civil engineering is one of the oldest and most diverse engineering disciplines focused on designing and constructing the infrastructure that supports daily life. Civil engineers coordinate projects, manage people, and are essential for improving the quality of life in society and protecting the environment. You will learn about the sustainable design and construction of roads, bridges, tunnels, dams, buildings, water and waste-water treatment plants among others. Complete projects involving engineering team dynamics and communication, analysis and design of structures, and computer analysis to understand how human activities affect the quality of the environment.
Computer Modeling: Exploration of Engineering Software (Frontiers I)
Bring your question and find an answer through powerful software applications such as MATLAB and Mathcad.
In this journey, you will gain experience with programming and learn how to approach and solve a problem using scientific software. You will explore together engineering and scientific concepts while learning about signal and image processing, geometry of nature and fractals, complex systems and self-organization, cellular automata (Game of Life), networks and six degrees of separation. No previous programming experience needed.
Computer Science: Possibilities in Programming (Frontiers I & II)
Data Science: Extracting Knowledge & Insights (Frontiers II)
Move beyond pie chart and bar graphs to tell a story with your data. Join us to explore the ever-growing world of data science! You will learn about data collection, statistical analysis, and data visualization techniques using the state-of-the-art software tool, Tableau. We will work through some hands-on practical exercises to gain technical knowledge, as well as to learn presentation skills, in a storytelling manner, to deliver significant findings.
Electrical & Computer Engineering (Frontiers I)
From the smartphone in our pocket to the international space station, electrical and computer engineering is the foundation that powers all technology. While electrical engineering is responsible for developing the physical components, computer engineering is responsible for driving these components according to our need. We will explore these both spectrum by first understanding electrical quantities (charge, voltage, etc.), electrical components, and then building circuits on a breadboard (including programmable micro-controllers). Then we will learn to program this micro-controller. Along the way, we will learn about electrical lab equipment (e.g., power supplies, multi-meter, function generator, and oscilloscopes) and programming language basics (embedded C, compiler, code debugger). You will apply your knowledge to design projects to solve real-world problems. Topics include audio amplification, biomedical applications, solar tracker, digital logic, and much more.
Engineering Exploration (Frontiers II)
You will will explore engineering careers and learn about the various engineering disciplines through hands-on activities and projects. This session will emphasize the role of engineers as creative problem solvers making a difference in society. You will also learn how best to prepare in high school to major in engineering in college.
Interactive Media & Game Development (Frontiers I & II)
Explore the interdisciplinary world of game development. In this program, you will combine technology with art to create an interactive experience. Assume the role of programmer or artist, and work on a team to bring a game to life. You will develop your own story, environment, characters and sound effects. Throughout the program, you break down their ideas into simple rules, write algorithms, use powerful scripting languages, and play/test games.
Materials Science & Engineering (Frontiers I)
Everything is made of materials! This program dives into four types of materials (polymers, ceramics, metals, and composites) using lots of hands-on activities (many involving food)! Oreo cookies are a composite! Taffy is a polymer! We look at how the atoms that make up a material affect their hardness, ductility, strength, and more. Each day you will uncover a new materials science topic with at least one edible activity to illustrate the concept.
Mechanical Engineering: Steam Engines (Frontiers I)
Description Coming Soon.
Neuroscience: Unpacking the Mysteries of the Brain (Frontiers I)
The brain is our most complex organ and directs our physiology and behavior. Neuroscience research on how the brain works is crucial to advancements in a range of topics, including psychiatry (depression, anxiety), cognition, social behavior, neurological disorders (Alzheimer’s, epilepsy), as well as the effects of covid on the brain. You will learn about the basic structure and function of the brain and how researchers study the brains of various animals. We will explore the processes crucial to how the brain works and what happens to these processes in both health and various disease states. Expert speakers will present how they use state of the art molecular genetic, data analytics, biochemical, and neuroimaging techniques to investigate the brain and its impact on our daily lives. You will leave with a valuable introduction to the mysteries of the brain which may provide a launch pad for an eventual career in neuroscience.
Physics: Journey into Modern Physics (Frontiers I & II)
Time travel, black holes, quantum realm- What do these things have in common? Physics! They are all principles of modern physics! Investigate selected fields and applications of modern physics - such as interplanetary travel, atomic spectroscopy, quantum phenomena, and black holes. This program incorporates the combination of lectures, audio-visual presentations, technical hands-on activities (simulations), and virtual visits to research facilities and national labs. Will your knowledge take you to the next dimension?
Robotics Engineering (Frontiers II)
Participants immerse themselves in robotics engineering and discover the science and technology behind robot design and operations. They will learn about force, torque, and stress analysis, material properties, processing, and selection, power requirements, micro controllers, sensor operations, programming, pneumatics, and use this information to solve a challenging robotics problem. Each subgroup in the session will brainstorm, design, build, and test its own creation. During the week each participant will spend time outside of the lab exploring important business aspects of robotics including marketing, entrepreneurship, management, and teamwork skills. The robots meet for an end-of-session tournament so all subgroups can present their creations. This session is particularly useful in preparing participants for entry or leadership within their high school's robotics team.
STEM Exploration (Frontiers I)
Have a passion for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, but not sure which area to focus in? This is the session for you! You will explore four disciplines, emphasizing the role of scientists/engineers as creative problem solvers, making a difference in society.
Business: Dream of Being Your Own Boss? (Frontiers I & II)
Odds are you will be working for a business after you graduate, regardless of your major. Rather than being JUST an engineer or scientist for someone else, learn how to launch your own business! Be the shark, not the minnow! WPI’s world-renowned Business School can help you learn how to develop your own business plan; employ cutting-edge technology to drive your ideas; leverage social media to market to potential customers; and connect with investors to fund your vision. Learn from WPI professors, students and alumni who are changing the business environment and making a positive impact on the world!
Cinematic Storytelling (Frontiers I & II)
The course explores the dramatic principles of storytelling, how to translate story ideas into screenplay format, and how the screenplay is used as a basis for shooting a film. The class will examine the processes of story development, including conveying the important ideas through cinematic images and compelling dialogue. We will watch short films and scenes from feature films to demonstrate how story concepts get converted into images and sound. The class will then develop a short story idea together, following dramatic principles and using an underlying theme as a guide, with the goal of creating a screenplay for a short film.
Digital Imaging & Computer Arts (Frontiers I)
Turn your photos into art! This workshop focuses on the techniques for creating and manipulating images through digital means. You will develop an understanding of image alteration and designing vector and pixel arts using Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. Software is included.
Elements of Writing: The Application Essay (Frontiers II)
Investigate what happens when writers choose vocabulary, sentence structure, and vivid imagery to target a specific audience. WPI's approach will you improve the general writing skills needed for college. You will practice those skills more narrowly by creating a draft of your college application essay. You are encouraged to bring topics that appear on admission forms for colleges where they intend to apply.
Exploring the World’s most Pressing Problems with Gompei (Frontiers II)
Climate change, water, energy, and pollution are some of the greatest challenges your generation will face. In this class we will look at how these problems emerge and are addressed by WPI students working around the world and at home. Focusing the importance of cultural context and location, students will leave the class with a better understanding of why culture matters and how understanding the importance of place is vital to successfully addressing the world’s most pressing problems.
Music (Frontiers I)
This program consists of daily music activities and rehearsals in the appropriate instrumental ensembles. At the conclusion of the program, participants perform in a concert with music varying in style from jazz to pop to classical. Previous instrumental experience is required.
Music Appreciation (Frontiers I & II)
This workshop begins and ends by asking these questions:
- What does music mean to me?
- What style(s) of music do I like and why?
- How and when do I listen to music?
- What do I hear first when I listen to a piece of music; the rhythm, the melody, the lyrics, etc?
You will explore the core elements of music including melody, rhythm, harmony, form, and texture and how they work together to create different musical styles and genres ranging from ancient chant, classical, jazz, pop and rock. This workshop teaches you to listen to music actively and in depth by focusing on one element at a time. Bring your favorite music and discover a new perspective.
Psychology (Frontiers I & II)
Psychology is one of the most popular areas of scientific study, and for good reason! This program aims to teach you how to see the world as a Psychologist, and to highlight the most interesting, fun, useful, and mind-blowing facts in the psychological domain. We will explore the main topics in the field of Psychology, as guided by both scientific literature and your own interests. Through experiments, self-inquiry, lectures, and videos, you will come away from this class with an understanding of the major areas in psychology, and hopefully learn things that will help you be happier, healthier, and more interesting at parties.
Psychology of Men & Masculinity (Frontiers I & II)
What does it mean to be a man? In this program, students will unpack this overarching question by examining sociocultural norms and contexts that shape boys’ and men’s socialization in the contemporary world. Students will explore some of the aspects of being a man that tend to be typically taken for granted. We will explore what masculinity means today, how this meaning has been constructed through the ages, and what the implications of this meaning are for men and boys in society today.
Science of Art (Frontiers I & II)
Beginning with the Middle Ages, we will explore the impact of science and technology throughout art history. Topics include the engineering of the great Gothic cathedrals; the development of linear perspective; scientific illustration; photography, light, and optics; nature and the environment; robotics; the science behind Cubism and abstract art; the influence of invention, exploration, and scientific discovery on techniques and materials, and more. No previous art experience necessary.
STEM Teaching Workshop (Frontiers I & II)
This course provides an introduction to STEM teaching as a profession. Participants will be introduced to foundational concepts and current theories in education investigating alignment with their own beliefs and values about teaching and learning. We will explore teaching techniques that enable all students to access STEM content including differentiated instruction, use of technology, and project/problem-based learning. As a culminating project, participants will work in groups to design and present an original hands-on STEM activity to their peers.
Sociology (Frontiers I & II)
Description coming soon!