St. Lawrence County high school kids can take Clarkson 'Challenge' of classes over winter break
Sunday, December 8, 2013 - 8:39 am

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

The program is designed to offer area students in grades 9-12 an opportunity to participate in classes that are not commonly offered in their schools.

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 Jan. 11.

This year the program offers four new courses:

• Information Technology in Our World: Just do IT! with Associate Professor of Operations & Information Systems Somendra Pant; students explore the evolution of information technology, its role in modern business and what study and career options are out there.

• Psychology: More than Reading Minds and Lying on Couches! with Assistant Professor of Psychology Jennifer Knack. Students will explore human behavior, thoughts and emotions from many perspectives.

• The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Students with Clarkson School Associate Head of School Brenda Kozsan. 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.

• Writing Software and Changing the World with Associate Professor of Computer Science Jeanna Matthews. A solid introduction to the fundamentals of writing software. Students will write some seriously fun software like a personality quiz that you could use on your friends and a text-based game. Students will discuss careers in computing and the ways in which citizens with knowledge of computing can make a difference in the world.

Other courses include:

• Engineering for Life with Clarkson Mechanical Engineering Ph.D. Student Melissa Richards. Learn how engineers design the devices we see everywhere around us. Students design and build their own “Rec-Rube-y.”

• Real Medicine with instructors from Clarkson's Physician Assistant Program.

• Blood and Guts: Medical History through the Ages with Assistant Professor of History Stephen Casper and Engineering Instructor Karen Buckle. Explore case studies from historical medical records and advance medical problem solving skills.

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

Project Challenge courses are on Saturdays from Jan. 11 to Feb. 8, and maybe Feb. 15 if a snow day is needed.

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 counselors 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 $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