Frontiers Summer Program

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

students listening and talking to male teacher

Frontiers Summer Program

Summer programs are special classes that high school students can join during their summer break to learn new things, meet other students, and experience what college is like. These programs help students get better at school subjects, feel more confident, and decide what they might want to study or do for work in the future. The Frontiers Summer Program is one special kind of summer class.

In this program, students get to learn about science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), and also take classes in humanities and arts. They will also do fun activities, learn how to get ready for college, and meet other students from all over the world who also love STEM. This blog post will talk about why the Frontiers Summer Program is a great choice for students looking for a fun and educational way to spend their summer.

What is the Frontiers Summer Program?

The Frontiers Summer Program is a special experience for high school students at Worcester Polytechnic Institution (WPI), one of the top places for learning about science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). This program is like a mini-college experience that lasts for two weeks, where students get to live on the WPI campus and see what college life is all about. It’s not just about sitting in a classroom; students will actually do hands-on projects, work in labs just like real college students, and learn directly from WPI’s teachers and their new friends.

High school students building and programming electric toys and robots at robotics classroom

In the Frontiers Summer Program, students pick a major in a STEM field they’re really interested in and also choose a minor in arts or humanities. This mix lets students explore different subjects and find out what they like best.

For 2024, the program offers the following courses with descriptions:

Frontiers Majors

  • Advanced Modern Physics for Beginners – In this course, you dive into the tiny world of atoms and the vast universe of stars and black holes. You learn about quantum physics for tiny particles and relativistic physics for massive stars and black holes. Through simple explanations, videos, and math, you explore quantum computing, the life cycle of stars, and more. You even get the chance to visit real physics labs!
  • Aerospace Engineering Basics – You’ll uncover the secrets of flight by understanding aerodynamics. You’ll explore how planes stay airborne, design principles for aircraft, and even create your own model airplane. Through experiments and computer simulations, you’ll see airflow in action around wings.
  • Architectural Engineering Exploration- You’ll learn how to design buildings that enhance our well-being. In this course, you design a small, modern house using cutting-edge design principles. You’ll delve into aesthetics, functionality, and sustainability, using tools like parametric modeling and Sketchup to bring your ideas to life.
  • Biomedical Engineering Introduction- You’ll step into the intersection of engineering, biology, and medicine, discovering innovations that save lives and improve health. Through hands-on lab activities, you’ll understand how medical devices impact people and society.
  • Chemical Engineering Fundamentals- You’ll enter the world of chemical engineering, learning about the production processes for a wide range of products. This hands-on course introduces you to the basics and involves you in operating actual chemical processing equipment, with a strong emphasis on safety.
  • Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering Adventures- You’ll explore the roles of engineers in designing and building our world. You’ll learn about constructing strong buildings, adapting to climate change, and ensuring access to clean water. It’s a hands-on experience where creativity and problem-solving are key.
  • Computer Science: Programming Horizons- You’ll embark on a programming journey with a focus on web development. Whether you’re a beginner or have some experience, you’ll learn about creating websites, the basics of networking, and integrating multimedia elements. The course is self-paced, allowing you to explore according to your interests.
  • Data Science: Beyond Basic Graphs- You’ll go beyond simple charts to tell stories with data. This course covers data collection, analysis, and visualization techniques, teaching you to present findings compellingly using tools like Tableau.
  • Interactive Media & Game Development- You’ll combine technology and art to create an interactive game. Whether you choose the role of a programmer or an artist, you’ll work in a team to develop a story, environment, characters, and sound effects, turning your ideas into a playable game.
  • Materials Science & Engineering with a Twist- You’ll discover the fascinating world of materials through hands-on activities, some involving food. Learn about the properties of different materials like polymers, ceramics, and metals, and see how their atomic structure affects their behavior.
  • Mechanical Engineering Basics- You’ll explore the fundamentals of mechanical engineering, from the basics of mechanics and design to vehicle dynamics and autonomous control. Through hands-on exercises and lab activities, you’ll apply foundational concepts and get creative with design.
  • Neuroscience: Discovering the Brain- You’ll delve into the complexities of the brain, learning how it governs our actions and behaviors. Through experiments and research, you explore brain functions in health and disease, offering a glimpse into a potential future in neuroscience.
  • Physics: A Modern Introduction- You’ll investigate the fascinating aspects of modern physics, including time travel, black holes, and the physics of vision. Through a mix of lectures, experiments, and programming, you get a lively introduction to the field of physics.
  • Robotics Engineering Exploration- You’ll dive hands-on into robotics, learning about design, mechanics, and electronics. You’ll understand the principles behind robot operation and collaborate to design, build, and test your own robot in a team challenge.
  • Using ChatGPT and Python for AI Conversations- You’ll learn to create AI chatbots using ChatGPT and Python. From obtaining a ChatGPT API key to developing interactive AI applications, you’ll gain practical experience in building conversational AI, opening doors to innovative projects.

Frontiers Minors

  • AI and its Business Applications- You’ll see how artificial intelligence (AI) is changing businesses. You’ll learn how AI uses big data, how companies use AI to make better decisions, and try out AI tools yourself. It’s a quick look at AI’s big role in business today.
  • Business: Entrepreneurship- You’ll discover how to start your own business or bring new ideas to existing ones. This course lets you practice coming up with business ideas and solving problems in a team. You’ll learn by doing, with talks from guests and a chance to pitch your ideas.
  • Cinematic Storytelling- You’ll learn how to tell stories that can be turned into movies. You’ll figure out how to develop stories, write scripts, and use images and dialogue to share your ideas. You’ll watch films to see how it’s done and work together to create your own short film story.
  • Digital Imaging and Computer Arts- Turn pictures into digital art. You’ll learn how to change images, create designs, and start with animation using popular software like Photoshop. Everything you need to learn is included.
  • Elements of Writing: The Application Essay- You’ll work on writing better, especially for college applications. You’ll pick words and sentences that grab attention and practice by drafting your own college essay. Bring your college essay prompts to work on.
  • Global Energy and Environment- You’ll explore the world’s energy issues, like our reliance on oil and environmental concerns. You’ll learn about global efforts to use energy better and find new, cleaner energy sources.
  • History of Jazz- You’ll trace jazz from its African roots to today, looking at key artists and styles like Swing, Latin Jazz, and Bebop. You’ll learn about jazz’s importance in American culture and listen to great jazz to understand it better.
  • Music- You’ll join music rehearsals and play in a concert at the end, covering styles from jazz to classical. You need to have played an instrument before, but WPI might have some you can use.
  • Psychology- You’ll dive into psychology to understand how we think, feel, and act. Through experiments and videos, you’ll learn fascinating things about the brain and behavior that can help you live a better life.
  • Science of Art- You’ll see how science and technology have mixed with art throughout history, from medieval cathedrals to modern abstract art. No need to know about art beforehand; you’ll learn how science has shaped it over the centuries.
  • STEM Teaching Workshop- You’ll get an intro to teaching STEM subjects. You’ll learn about current teaching methods, how to make STEM accessible to all students, and design a STEM project to teach others.
  • Uncovering the Roots of Middle Earth: The Sources and Inspiration of the Lord of the Rings- You’ll explore what inspired J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings,” from medieval tales and World War I to concerns about nature and industrialization. It’s a deep dive into the stories behind the story.

Besides learning in class, students will join workshops that help them get ready for college, like how to apply and what to expect. They’ll also do fun activities and meet other students from all over the world who love STEM just as much as they do. It’s a chance to learn a lot, make new friends, and have a great time exploring all the cool things WPI has to offer.

Where is the Frontiers Summer Program Being Held?

The Frontiers Summer Program takes place at Worcester Polytechnic Institution, which is in Worcester, Massachusetts. WPI’s campus is where all the action happens. Students will live in dorms on campus, just like college students do. This means they’ll be right in the middle of everything, from the classrooms where they’ll learn about science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), to the labs where they’ll do hands-on projects.

The entrance sign of WPI, Worcester, Massachusetts.

Worcester is a big city with lots of cool stuff to see and do. While the program focuses on learning and fun activities on campus, students might also be interested in the city around them. WPI’s campus is known for its beautiful green spaces, modern buildings, and historic spots. It’s a great place for students to explore and get a feel for what going to college in a city is like. Plus, being at WPI means they’ll be in a place famous for innovation and technology, which adds an extra layer of excitement to their summer learning experience.

When Does the Frontiers Summer Program Take Place?

The Frontiers Summer Program at Worcester Polytechnic Institution happens in the summer, and for 2024, there are two sessions students can join. The first session, called Session I, starts on July 7th and ends on July 19th. Then, there’s a short break before the second session, Session II, begins. Session II kicks off on July 21st and wraps up on August 2nd. Each session lasts for two weeks, giving students a packed and exciting experience without taking up their whole summer.

Students working on chemicals in a laboratory.

This means students have a choice between two different times to join the program, depending on what fits their schedule best. Whether they pick Session I or Session II, they’ll spend two weeks living on the WPI campus, diving into STEM subjects, exploring arts and humanities, and doing lots of fun activities with other students. It’s a perfect way to make the most of summer, learning new things and making new friends, all before the school year starts again.

Why Should You Join the Frontiers Summer Program?

Joining the Frontiers Summer Program is a great idea for several reasons. First, it’s a fantastic way to learn more about subjects you’re interested in, especially in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), as well as in the arts and humanities. This program isn’t just about sitting in a classroom; you actually get to do hands-on projects and experiments in labs, just like college students. This means you’re not only learning new things but also seeing how these subjects apply in real life.

One big educational benefit is that the program can make you feel more ready for college. You’ll learn from professors at Worcester Polytechnic Institution (WPI), which gives you a sneak peek at what college classes are like. Plus, doing projects and labs can help you figure out which subjects you’re really passionate about. This is super helpful when you’re thinking about what you might want to study in college.

But it’s not all about academics. Staying on WPI’s campus for two weeks lets you experience what college life is really like. You’ll learn how to manage your time, balance work and play, and live with other students. This is a great way to become more independent and confident, which are important skills for college and beyond.

Diverse group of students with young man in wheelchair

Meeting other students from all over the country and even the world is another cool part of the program. You’ll make new friends who share your interests, which can make learning even more fun. These friendships can last a long time and give you a network of people who support you and your goals.

For your college applications, being part of the Frontiers Summer Program is a big plus. It shows colleges that you’re serious about your studies and willing to challenge yourself. When you write about your experiences in the program, you can talk about the projects you worked on, the new things you learned, and how you grew as a person. This can make your application stand out.

In the future, the skills and experiences you gain from the program can also help you in your career. Many jobs in STEM and other fields look for people who are not only smart but also creative, good at solving problems, and able to work well with others. The Frontiers Summer Program helps you develop all these skills by giving you real projects to work on and by encouraging you to work with other students.

Overall, joining the Frontiers Summer Program is a smart choice if you want to learn more about STEM or arts and humanities, get a taste of college life, and make your college applications stronger. It’s an experience that can help you grow in many ways and prepare you for your future studies and career.

How to Join the Frontiers Summer Program

To join the Frontiers Summer Program, here’s a simple step-by-step guide:

  1. Check if You’re Eligible: The program is open to students who will be in 10th, 11th, or 12th grade when the program starts. This means you should be a rising sophomore, junior, or senior in high school.
  2. Gather Your Application Materials: You’ll need to fill out an application form that includes some short answers and a list of your school and outside activities. You also need to submit your school transcript. If you can, get an official transcript, but you can also send one yourself. Plus, you’ll need at least one recommendation from someone who knows you well, like a teacher.
  3. English Proficiency for International Students: If you’re from a country where English isn’t the main language, you’ll need to take an English test like the TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo English Test and submit your scores.
  4. Understand the Cost: The program costs $3,995 for each session. This price covers your place to stay (housing), all your meals, any field trips, workshops, and other activities.
  5. No Application Fee: Good news! It doesn’t cost anything to apply to the Frontiers Summer Program.

Follow these steps, and you’ll be on your way to an exciting summer at the Frontiers Summer Program!

When is the Deadline to Apply for the Frontiers Summer Program?

The deadline to apply for the Frontiers Summer Program is April 30, 2024. This means you have until the end of April to get all your application materials ready and submit them. To make sure you meet this deadline, here are some tips:

  1. Start Early: Don’t wait until the last minute to start your application. Begin gathering your materials and writing your responses a few months in advance. This gives you plenty of time to think about what you want to say and collect everything you need.
  2. Mark Your Calendar: Put the deadline date on your calendar or set a reminder on your phone. It’s a good idea to set your own deadline a week or so before the actual one, just in case.
  3. Ask for Recommendations Early: If you need a recommendation from a teacher or someone else, ask them at least a month before the deadline. This gives them enough time to write something thoughtful without rushing.
  4. Double-Check Everything: Before you submit your application, make sure you have all the required parts, like your transcript and test scores (if needed). Also, read through your answers again to catch any mistakes.

Following these tips can help you submit a strong application to the Frontiers Summer Program on time.

How Hard is it to Get Into the Frontiers Summer Program?

Getting into the Frontiers Summer Program is a competitive process because it’s a popular program that attracts students interested in science, technology, engineering, math (STEM), and arts and humanities from all over the world. The program at Worcester Polytechnic Institution (WPI) is looking for students who are not only passionate about these subjects but also ready to embrace a college-like experience. The selection committee reviews applications carefully, considering your grades, involvement in activities, responses to essay questions, and recommendations from people who know your academic and personal strengths.

To stand out during the application process, it’s important to showcase your genuine passion for STEM or the arts and humanities. Discuss any projects, clubs, or activities that highlight your dedication and interest in these areas. When answering essay questions, be clear and honest about why you want to join the program and what you aim to achieve by participating. This sincerity often speaks louder than trying to guess what the committee wants to hear.

Side view at multi-ethnic group of students using laptop while studying in college

Choosing the right people to recommend you is also crucial. Select teachers or mentors who truly understand your enthusiasm for learning and can comment specifically on your contributions and potential. A recommendation that reflects a deep, personal knowledge of your abilities and character can significantly impact your application.

Lastly, when compiling your application, focus on the quality of your contributions and experiences rather than the quantity. Highlighting a few areas where you’ve shown significant interest and growth is more effective than listing every single activity you’ve ever participated in. This approach not only demonstrates your commitment to your interests but also helps the selection committee see the depth of your engagement with those subjects. By following these guidelines and presenting a well-rounded, authentic application, you can improve your chances of being accepted into the Frontiers Summer Program.

Final Thoughts

The Frontiers Summer Program at Worcester Polytechnic Institution is a unique opportunity for high school students to dive deep into STEM and arts and humanities. It offers a blend of academic learning, hands-on projects, and a glimpse into college life. By living on campus, meeting students from around the world, and engaging in college prep workshops, participants gain invaluable experiences that boost their confidence and independence.

Applying to this program is a step towards discovering new interests, developing important life skills, and preparing for future academic and career paths. Despite the competitiveness, showing your passion, being genuine in your application, and choosing the right recommenders can make you stand out.

Summer programs like Frontiers play a crucial role in shaping a student’s future, offering a preview of college life and opening doors to new possibilities. If you’re looking for a meaningful way to spend your summer, consider applying to the Frontiers Summer Program. It’s more than just a summer experience; it’s an investment in your future.



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