Clarkson University offers courses for North Country high school students this winter
Tuesday, December 12, 2017 - 5:40 am

POTSDAM -- Clarkson University’s Project Challenge, an academic program for North Country high school students, returns this winter with a choice of five-week courses.

Through this program, Clarkson provides Saturday morning enrichment courses to regional students in grades 9 through 12 during January and February.

Clarkson faculty and administrators teach the courses under the director of The Clarkson School. Classes run from 9 a.m.-noon and begin on Jan. 13. Enrollment opens Dec. 15.

Among the six courses being offered this year, there are three new ones:

New Course: Introduction to Ocean Sciences – Instructor Andrew David

As an introduction to marine biology, they will learn about the physical and chemical properties of the world’s oceans, while also carrying out live dissections of selected animals to understand how these creatures have adapted to their environments. Finally, students will work together in groups to develop a management strategy for solving coral bleaching: one of the greatest threats facing the marine environment.

New Course: Optical Engineering: Lighting up Technology – Instructors Derek Kosciolek and Johanna Kosciolek

From Galileo’s first telescope to laser surgery, to the fiber optics that empower the internet revolution, mankind has used light to learn about our place in the universe, as well as dramatically improve our quality of life. In this course, you will learn what light is, how it moves through materials, and what exciting light-based technologies are around the corner. Every week we will learn the mathematics of optics and work together to complete experiments and challenges in a real optics laboratory, using lasers, lenses, and mirrors to control and manipulate light. By the end, you will not only be familiar with the inner workings of light but also gain valuable insight into the engineering skills required to harness its power.

New Course: Learn Computer Technologies to Change the World – Instructors: Computer Science Students and Yaoqing Liu

Computer technologies have been changing nearly every aspect of our society. Learning to understand the technologies and write the software that are changing our world are great preparation for many of the best careers available anywhere and essential preparation for being a citizen of the modern world. This course will provide a taste of many computing topics including programming, interactive algorithms, gaming design, computer networking, and security. We will leverage different types of computers including Desktops, Virtual Machines, and Raspberry Pi devices, for many of the hands-on exercises. In partnership with Google's IgniteCS program, this class will include side-by-side mentoring from Clarkson students with expertise in computer science as well as online hangouts with Google staff. We will also discuss careers in computing and the ways in which citizens with knowledge of computing can make a difference in the world.

Psychology: More than Reading Minds and Lying on Couches! -- Instructor: Jennifer M. Knack

Psychology is the scientific study of behavior and mind. In this class, we will discuss how a scientific understanding of human behavior, thoughts, and emotions can be used to more effectively and efficiently solve problems and address social issues. During each of the five classes, we will learn about ways psychological concepts have been used to (1) address problems and social issues and (2) increase efficiency and engagement. For example, how do advertisers use psychology to increase sales? Can stoves be designed so that the wrong burner is not accidentally turned on to boil water? Why are some hashtags and social media campaigns so successful in raising awareness? In addition, students will identify current problems and social issues they are concerned about and consider how applying psychological concepts might help address these concerns.

Strength and Conditioning - It’s a Science, not an Art - Instructors: Dr. Ali Boolani and Clarkson Students

Have you ever wondered what goes into designing strength and conditioning program? Ever wanted to learn the science behind designing strength and conditioning program? This class will explore the physiology of exercise and how science can be used to design strength and conditioning programs that can help improve performance and reduce risks for injuries. Participants will be involved in a variety of activities to enhance learning through: laboratory and field evaluations and exercise techniques, brain teasers and memory tests, balance activities, strength training activities and role play. Students will learn the role of cardiovascular, muscular strength, flexibility, body composition and muscular endurance in strength and conditioning. Participants will interact with current students in our exercise physiology lab while learning laboratory and field testing. Each session consists of active participation and “hands-on” activities and/or exercises for the focused area. Note: Students will be performing exercises related to each body region and MUST come prepared with proper clothing and sneakers.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Students – Instructor: Brenda Kozsan (a certified Franklin Covey facilitator)

Based on the famous book by Stephen Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, we will explore the seven characteristics that happy and successful teens the world over have in common. For teens, life is not a playground, it's a jungle. How will you deal with peer pressure? Motivation? Success or lack thereof? The life of a teenager is full of tough issues and life-changing decisions. This class will provide students with a step-by-step framework through exercises, team activities, and role-playing for boosting self-image, building friendships, resisting peer pressure, achieving goals, improving communication and relationships with parents, and success in high school, college and in life.

Project Challenge courses will begin Saturday, January 13, and continue through the next four Saturdays with a snow date of February 17.

Schools that have participated in the past include Alexandria Bay, Brasher Falls, Brushton-Moira, Canton, Chateaugay, Clifton-Fine, Colton-Pierrepont, Edwards-Knox, Gouverneur, Herman-Dekalb, Heuvelton, Indian River, Lisbon, Lyme, Malone, Massena, Morristown, Ogdensburg, Parishville-Hopkinton, Potsdam, Sackets Harbor, Salmon River, Saranac Lake, and Thousand Islands.

Interested students should first contact their guidance counselor to see if their school is participating. Participating high schools may sponsor all or part of the students' tuition.

If the school is not participating, the out-of-pocket expense for the program is $145 per student. The registration deadline is January 5.

For more information, go to or contact Brenda Kozsan at 315-268-4425 or [email protected].