Wellesley Summer-2018 Photos-0050-1

Pre-College Exploratory Workshops

Workshop Descriptions | July 26-31, 2020

2020 Workshop Offerings

🎓 Leadership Workshops

American Feminism

We're constantly hearing about feminism these days. Some think it's essential for modern life; others see it leading to the downfall of almost everything good. This course offers an introduction to feminism: what is it, what does it want, and how does it go about reaching its goals. We're going to focus on American feminism as it's developed by a variety of women: Non-White and White, LGBTQ+ and heterosexual, Liberal and Conservative, to name a few.

Instructor:  Paul Martorelli

Leadership for Young Women | Forging Your Path

There’s no better place to discover your voice, your strengths and who you are as a leader than at Wellesley.  In this workshop, we’ll begin by taking a look at successful women leaders and role models throughout history to better understand leadership and some of the barriers women have faced. Then we will explore many different types of leadership behaviors such as relationship building, teamwork, empathy, resilience, self-expression, navigating conflict, communication styles, learning from mistakes and more. During the week, you will participate in a variety of self-assessments, and fun yet thoughtful activities designed to help identify interests and strengths. You will learn a lot about yourself and your impact on those around you. You’ll leave with a visual representation of your pathway and some great insights about yourself as a present and future leader.

Instructor: Preeta Banerjee

🔬 STEM Workshops

Cryptography: The Mathematics of Secret Writing

What allows us to send text messages that are unreadable to anyone other than the intended recipient? What makes an internet credit card transaction safe? This workshop will be an overview of the mathematics behind cryptography, the art and science of coding and decoding secret messages. We will follow a historical path, starting with simple encryption techniques used in Sparta, followed by a study of some more sophisticated substitution ciphers of the 18th and 19th century and a close look at the Enigma machine used by the Germans in World War II. We will at the end examine two modern public key ciphers, Diffie-Hellman and RSA, whose advent in the 1970s revolutionized the way we communicate even today in our daily digital interactions. Along the way, we will learn some cool mathematics from the fields of number theory and linear algebra and will try our hand at breaking some coded messages. We will also touch upon the issues of regulation of cryptography and consequences on privacy. Participants should have a strong background in algebra.

Instructor:  Ismar Volic

Introduction to Astronomy

Come explore the cosmos at the historic Whitin Observatory! This course will cover various exciting topics about space and include some hands-on experience with telescopes. This course provides an overview of the Universe through the lens of the physical principles that help us to probe it from right here on our puny planetary perch. Topics include stars and their planetary companions, the lives and deaths of stars, black holes, galaxies, and the origin and fate of the Universe. Hands-on activities will cover both naked-eye astronomy (e.g. the motions of the Sun and stars) and techniques of modern astronomy (e.g. digital imagery). (Please note that in addition to day classes students will also meet in the evenings in order to view the night sky.)

Instructor: Kristina Punzi

Climate Change and the Paths to a Sustainable Future

This workshop offers an interdisciplinary introduction to environmental studies, with a focus on a climate change.  Major concepts that will be examined include: the state of climate science, modes of climate activism, and strategies for addressing climate change.  The workshop will be a mix of lecture, small-group work, and hands-on activities.  The goal is to engage the dire realities of climate change and to empower students to address it.

Instructor: Jay Turner

Political Musical Chairs: The Mathematics of Gerrymandering

For the purpose of electing representatives to the United States Congress, each state is divided into a number of congressional districts. This number depends on the population, as measured by the most recent census. But what is the most fair way to draw the boundaries of these districts? The topic of gerrymandering (constructing district boundaries in order to give one party an advantage over another) has been the subject of recent litigation in a number of states. This workshop will provide an overview of some of the mathematical ideas that can be brought to bear on this important problem. No advanced mathematical knowledge will be assumed.

Instructor:  Alex Diesl

✍ Arts and Humanities Workshops

Exploring Children's Literature

This workshop will introduce students to young children’s literature and its importance to the development of language and pre-literacy skills. We will explore classic children’s books, the importance to young children of seeing themselves in the books they read, and contemporary examples of children’s books that provide positive images and stories for all children. Students will discuss assigned readings in the morning half of the workshop, and analyze selected children’s books. In the afternoon, students will have hands-on relevant experiences to put their morning work to use including visiting a local bookshop, the town library and an early childhood program. Students will also present group projects. Assigned readings will be required for class discussion.

Instructor: Wendy Wagner Robeson

Introduction to Digital Photography

This intensive weeklong workshop will provide students with an introduction to the fundamentals of photography. Technical skills such as camera use, composition, lighting, developing, and printing will be learned through demonstrations and assignments. Conceptual, aesthetic, and critical skills essential to understanding photography's broader role in contemporary art and society will be learned through, readings, discussions, lectures, and critiques.

Instructor: William Van Beckum

Putting Words in Your Mouth: Writing about Food and Culture

This workshop starts with the premise that food is an essential ingredient in the making of selves, families, communities, regions, and nations. We will explore the ways that we celebrate food traditions, create new habits and tastes, and also respond to food problems (e.g. food scarcity and safety, climate change and land use, and the complex networks of food producers, servers, and consumers). Our readings will draw from a variety of different fields and perspectives, including literature, history, anthropology, and environmental studies, as well as various genres of food writing - the personal essay, the recipe, and scholarly essays on the intersections between food and culture. Our course materials will provide an introduction into the emergent and growing interdisciplinary field of “Food Studies” and will help us see food as inextricably connected to our economic, political, and social structures.

Instructor: Anne Brubaker

📔 Social Sciences Workshops

Introduction to Abnormal Psychology

This workshop will provide an introduction to the topic of abnormal psychology. Specifically, we will first discuss how to diagnose mental illness, including ethical considerations, and then we will cover several different categories of mental disorder (e.g., neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism and attention deficit disorder, depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia, etc.), with an emphasis on diagnosis and intervention (prevention and treatment). We will review case studies, video clips, and movies to highlight the way that different forms of mental illness are expressed.

Instructor: Tracy Gladstone

My So-Called Online Life: The Impact of Technology on our Social Lives

This course explores the powerful roles that technology plays in contemporary social life and suggests that some of the impacts that our ever-greater reliance on, and faith in, technology might have upon our lives. The course begins with a critical overview of the heralded promises that technology often carries; here, we explore some of the undersides of so-called "technological progress." The remainder of the course examines a variety of salient contemporary issues concerning the social implications of technological change.

Instructor: Ira Silver