Clarkson University offering special courses to North Country high school students this winter
Tuesday, December 18, 2012 - 9:06 am

POTSDAM -- Clarkson University’s Project Challenge, an academic program for local high school students, returns this winter with a choice of 11 five-week courses.

The popular program is designed to offer area students in grades nine through 12 an opportunity to participate in classes that are not commonly offered in their high school curricula.

Clarkson faculty and administrators teach the courses on Saturday mornings from 9 a.m. until noon for five weeks under the direction of The Clarkson School. This winter’s program begins on Jan. 12.

This year the program offers three new courses: Sustainability: Tree Hugger Hype or Blueprint for the Future?; Mytholympic Games; and College Athletics 101.

Sustainability: Tree Hugger Hype or Blueprint for the Future?, with Bill Vitek, will introduce students to the sustainability movement and its key principles and voices. They will discuss and debate the challenges faced by the movement, and its range of solutions, from wind turbines and squiggly light bulbs to radical changes in how we think about ourselves and the rest of the planet.

Mytholympic Games, with Michelle Crimi and Shane Rogers, will allow students to participate, and compete in exciting and fun challenges that will give them practice using those theories and equations they have learned in science and math classes to challenge common myths.

College Athletics 101, with Laurel Kane and Johan Dulfer, will cover topics from developing coaching skills to athletic administration, as well as how to market and promote teams, manage sporting events, prepare an athletic budget and manage a sporting facility, along with overseeing Division I and Division III programs.

Our other courses include:

• Emerging Leaders 101, with Brenda Kozsan, Kevin Lobdell and Chris Victoria, will focus on learning about the characteristics of an effective leader, developing skills through personal assessment, role playing, team-building, and interacting with invited guest speakers who will share their experiences.

• Engineering for Life, with Melissa Richards, will provide students with an opportunity to learn how engineers are able to design the devices we see everywhere around us. Students will even have the opportunity to design and build their own “Rec-Rube-y”!

• Real Medicine, with instructors from Clarkson’s Physician Assistant Program, will provide students with an opportunity to learn about the real world of today’s medicine.

• Blood and Guts: Medical History through the Ages, with Stephen Casper, will provide students with an opportunity to explore a number of different case studies from actual historical medical records and advance medical problem solving skills.

• Intro to Entrepreneurship, with Erin Draper, will focus on the entrepreneurial spirit of students and allow them to develop ideas and apply classroom concepts in a “real world” context.

• Know Your Computer: How to Make Your Home Computer Work for You, with Jeanna Matthews, will have students see what kind of data goes over the network when they surf the Web or use AIM, as well as look at traces of common attacks like viruses or worms. They will write their own Web page and learn to install an operating system from Windows.

• Cryptography through the Ages, with Christino Tamon, will look at the science of designing and breaking secret codes from Roman to modern times and focus on the use of computer programming in modern cryptography.

• Students can study the five freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment in The First Amendment in American Democracy with Christopher Robinson. This class will examine how these freedoms are affected by wars abroad and terrorist threats at home.

Project Challenge courses will begin on Jan. 12 and continue through the next four Saturdays until Feb. 9, with a possible snow date of Feb. 16.

An interested student should first contact a guidance counselor to see if their school is participating. Participating high schools may sponsor all or part of a student’s tuition.

If the school is not participating, the out-of-pocket expense for the program is $140 per student. Enrollment in all courses is now available, but space is limited.

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