Northeastern University kicks off the spring SPLASH season, with classes being held Saturday, March 18 and March 25, 2017. What is SPLASH you ask? SPLASH programs, run by university students, are held at colleges all over the country with the purpose of fostering the love of learning in young students. Students have many classes to choose from and they are on anything and everything. Parents can't select the class, the student chooses what is of interest to them. Northeastern's SPLASH program is for high school students and is offered free of charge, even providing lunch and a t-shirt for attendees. To register, click on the link through Learning U. To see additional New England programs and their program details, see the STUDENT/SPLASH section of our site.
Registration for summer programs offered through the Center for STEM Education are open. All their programs are free of cost, except NUSSP/YSP which has a $100 confirmation fee upon acceptance to the program.
NUSSP (Northeastern Summer STEM Program) - For rising 6-8th graders only. Program dates are: May 20 (Sat), June 3 (Sat), June 17 (Sat), June 26-30 (Mon-Fri)
YSP (Young Scholars Program) - For rising 12th graders only. June 26 – August 3
GE Girls - For rising 7th/8th grade girls only. July 10-14
IFTP (Imaging the Future of Transportation): For rising 9th/10th graders only. July 17-28
To keep up on STEM Happenings throughout New England follow STEM Advocates at www.mySTEMresource.com and on Facebook and Twitter @STEMAdvocates
Yale Splash is one of the larger SPLASH programs in New England. (If you are wondering what SPLASH is, check out my "SPLASHing Into Fall" post from last fall). This year they are making a few changes to the program. First, they will be reserving some spots from each class that will be distributed through a lottery system. Classes tend to fill up fast, so this gives everyone a chance to try to get a spot in a class that is highly desired by the student. The program fee for Yale SPLASH is $20 per student (lunch included).
Secondly, there will be a new parent program which will include lectures from Yale Professors, talks by admissions officers, campus tours and sample SPLASH classes. There will be a fee of $15 for one parent ticket and $25 for two.
Don't let financial concerns deter you, almost all SPLASH programs offer the opportunity for need-based financial aid. Yale SPLASH will have financial aid applications available.
Yale SPLASH will be held on Saturday, April 8, 2017. Registration will open on March 8, 2017. Check out the dates for other New England SPLASH dates under the Student tab of our website.
This is a true love story where the love continues to grow stronger. The story goes back to the beginning of time, or at least my time. In the 1960s, down the halls of the MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) campus there was a young woman that caught the fancy of a young man. My mother had been working as a secretary in the admissions office and my father also worked on campus. They fell in love and soon married and had two beautiful daughters.
Fast forward about 40 years to 2012, MIT came into our lives when my niece was accepted into their freshman class. This coincided with my oldest son reaching his middle school years. We learned about the SPARK program; this is where the love story really begins. SPARK is a program where middle school kids get to spend the weekend at the MIT campus taking classes on anything and everything. The kids that attend SPARK are made of the same cloth, they are excited to be there because they love being challenged and they love learning.
After MIT SPARK came MIT Junction, which is a summer program for select, advanced, self-driven high school students held on the MIT campus for two weeks. Students submit a proposal for an independent study project and those whom are selected are invited to the MIT campus to carry out their project with the support of a knowledgeable student mentor. The students are also able to take college-level hands-on seminars on a variety of topics. My son was lucky enough to be able to participate in this opportunity in 2015.
SCRATCH, is part of the curriculum in both my son’s schools, one in elementary and one in high school. It is a free programming language, developed at MIT, where students can build and share stories, games and animations. It can be used as an introduction to programming and logic and can be used at higher levels for more advanced projects.
When students are in high school, they are able to attend SPLASH, which is held the weekend before Thanksgiving on the MIT Campus. The program is two days of classes on just about everything. Students, not parents, pick the classes that interest them such as Parody Song Writing, Knitting, Cyberespionage, and Introduction to Ancient Greek. The vibe of the campus is almost electric where you can feel the energy and creativity. It is an incubator of ideas. Oh, if you have a friend, or cousin in our case, that attends MIT stay in the dorms for the full college experience.
There are many more reasons we love MIT, but those will be for another post….
It has been another busy fall SPLASH season travelling to different New England Universities for my son to attend their SPLASH programs. We spend about every weekend for a month on the road for these wonderful programs. This season started with classes at Northeastern University and ended today at MIT SPLASH in between were visits to Brandeis, Amherst College & Boston College. There was exposure to Business Philosophy, Budgeting, Behavioral Economics, Programming in Python, Unity 3D, The Art of Strategy and we can't forget Rubics Cube 101. These classes are just sampling, most just one hour, but it the opportunity to explore so many topics that makes attending SPLASH so worthwhile. Having students as teachers makes them relatable as they're just a few years older than these middle and high school students. Thank you to all the students volunteers that make these programs possible! I'm sure we will see you again in the spring for the next round of SPLASH!
If your kids are attending MIT SPLASH this weekend, you might be tempted to just drop them off and enjoy the free time or catch up on all the things you haven't been able to get to. Though it may be tempting, I would like to suggest that you reconsider. MIT has one of the best SPLASH Parent Programs. While your kids are learning all kinds of interesting things, parents have a chance to do some learning as well. One program that I have attended that I would rate as a do not miss is "Seven Common Flawed Assumptions About College Admissions" by Amy Estersohn. Chances are if you child is attending SPLASH, there is a good likelihood that they are thinking about heading to college after they graduate. This seminar is presented by a former admissions officer and give some great insight to the college admissions process. The MIT Admissions Office also offers an information session.
During the weekend you'll have the opportunity to take a sample class. Have you ever wondered about "Superman/woman and Science Fiction/Fantasy" or wanted to learn about "Household Chemistry for the Biologist"? Now is your chance.
Here's a tip, get there early, the seats at the parents session fill up quickly. The parent program is also an opportunity to meet some of your peers, look around the room, these are people a lot like you (come on, admit it, how many other families do you know that choose to spend their weekend driving to colleges and taking classes?). While you're waiting, why not introduce yourself to the parent next to you, you already know you have something in common and you may make a new friend.
it An early morning picturesque fall drive brings us to Amherst College for their SPLASH program, which is offered for students grade 6-12. While my son's brain is probably throbbing as he is learning Quantum Mechanics (yes, I am proud to admit my son is smarter than me), I sit quietly in the library taking in the beautiful view of the autumn colored leaves and the open space of the quad. The Amherst College campus has a feel like no other we have visited, it is like taking in a breath of fresh air, it has a calm and relaxed feel. Its SPLASH program is smaller than many, which is appropriate for this small college, but that doesn't make it any less valuable. You can learn about fractal geometry by creating wire tree sculptures? What is fractal geometry? No worries, I had to look that up too! They offer courses from Neuroscience, Physics, Chemistry to Origami, Watercolor, Arabic and Jazz - a little something for everyone. There isn't a parent program here, but there is time to do a little exploring. I visited the farmer's market where there was a nice selection of fresh produce, honey, maple syrup. Last visit, I discovered The Glazed Donut, it was a must revisit so I could purchased some special treats for home like a French Toast Donut.
Fall in New England means the cool crisp air, the vibrant colors of the leaves, pumpkins and the smell of apple pie. For us, fall is a busy time, it's time for SPLASH! No sleeping in late on the weekends, from mid-October through November we are up early, hopping in the car or on a train to get to one of the New England colleges that offer SPLASH (they are offered all over the country).
Why do we do this? My son loves it! SPLASH programs are run by university students to engage middle and high school students in the learning process. Several of the programs are free, the rest are low cost and most of the ones that charge a fee also offer financial aid in order to make the programs accessible to anyone interested. There are so many classes to choose from and they are on anything and everything! Want to Learn the History of Video Games, the Morality of Fictional Characters, Fractal Geometry through Tree Sculptures, Economics Makes Cents or even how to solve a Rubic’s Cube? SPLASH programs offer opportunities to get exposure to topics students may not otherwise have the opportunity. Student may even get an unexpected surprise, such as my son did when he realized Hacking the Mind Through Medication isn’t a computer science class (oops!).
Unfortunately, due to the short season, many of the colleges have SPLASH programs on the same day. This year we struggled since Amherst College and Yale University both were offering their program on November 5th. (You can see a calendar of events on my web page) We have been to both programs before and they were excellent. My son needed to compare their course catalogs to review this fall’s offerings and pick one of them (parents are not allowed to select courses for their student as the goal is student engagement). Again, for November 13th he had to choose between Clark University and Boston College. Luckily, most schools offer SPLASH each year, in both the fall and the spring, so the ones he didn’t make it to this time he can participate in the spring.
What is a parent to do while their kids spend the day in classes? Several of the colleges offer parent programs where you can take a sample SPLASH class (regular SPLASH classes are only for students), learn about the college admissions process or get educated on the financial aid process (scary for many of us). You can take a college campus tour (you may want to pre-register for these). Several of the colleges have interesting things to do around them. When visiting Yale, you can explore Yale Museum (free admission) and the schools beautiful architecture (if you’re a photographer you probably want to bring a camera). Northeastern is next to the Museum of Fine arts and Fenway Park. If you’re at MIT, you can walk or take the T over to Faneuil Hall and take a free tour offered through the National Park Service or explore Kendall Square or Newbury Street. Fall festivals may be happening when you’re visiting Amherst College. If you’re not adventurous, there are always places to sit down with a good book or work on your computer.
If you haven’t tried SPLASH I encourage you to do so!
“Only as high as I reach can I grow, only as far as I seek can I go, only as deep as I look can I see, only as much as I dream can I be.” – Karen Ravn
Over the years, we have done many STEM programs including Lego Robotics, Electronic Circuits, Science kits and all kinds of cool stuff but it was the SPARK & SPLASH programs that really got my son's juices flowing. Through a friend we heard about a program, for 7th & 8th graders, held in the spring at MIT called SPARK. Most classes are run by MIT students for students. What better scenario? Kids get to spend time on a college campus, take classes on anything and everything and are being taught by young people that they can relate to. Want to learn how to make slime? There's a class for that. Want to discuss the morality of fictional characters? There's a class for that. Want to learn about game theory? There's a class for that. Want to learn How to Get Rich, there's a class for that too!
SPARK and SPLASH classes are held at colleges all over the country with the purpose of fostering the love of learning in young students. Parents can't select the class, the student chooses what is of interest to them. Classes are often offered in the Spring and the Fall. Some programs are free and others are offered at a very low cost ($40 or under), several offer full financial aid so that anyone interested is able to attend.
This fall will be the first time my younger son attends his first SPLASH program. It was hard to choose which classes because there were so many that interested him. Let's see if we have another SPLASH Maniac on our hands!
Debbi - Proud mom of two beautiful boys and an IT Professional.