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VSA 2020 Session 3

Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the residential Vanderbilt Summer Academy program has been canceled for summer 2020. Please click the link below to read PTY’s official statement regarding summer programs.

Review PTY’s Statement Concerning COVID-19 and Summer 2020 Programs

Rising 11th and 12th Grade – July 6-25, 2020

Click on a course title below to jump to a description of that course

Cancer as a Medical and Social Phenomenon
Computational Thinking, Programming, and Cybersecurity
Dental School 101: The Intersection of Medicine and Dentistry
Food Systems: From Plow to Plate and Everywhere in Between
The Meaning of Sport: Ethics, Philosophy, and the Games We Love
Med School 101
Microscopy of Nanomaterials
Moral Leadership – Responsibility and Possibility for All
Novel Writing
Policy Making and Quantitative Analysis
Social Entrepreneurship in Action
The Process of Stem Cell Transplantation
Treating the Whole Person: A Multidisciplinary Understanding of Healthcare and Social Context
Web Application Development

*Courses and instructors subject to change.

Cancer as a Medical and Social Phenomenon

Medicine, Biology, Imaging, Ethics

Cancer, the result of our own cells malfunctioning, has been present throughout recorded history. We tend to focus on cancer as a medical disease noting changes in our understanding of its causes and innovations in therapy. Cancer, however, is also a social phenomenon and how society addresses cancer has changed over time. In this course, you will take a historical approach to understanding cancer, moving from the pre-1950s through the “war on cancer” to modern age. You will explore advancements in detection and treatment of cancer through experiences with human anatomy, histology viewing normal cells versus tumor cells under the microscope, imaging such as mammography and PET scans, and therapeutics including surgical and medical interventions. In addition, you will evaluate changes in how we address the topic of cancer with patients, family, and friends through engagement with ethicists and public health policy. By the end of the course, you will create your own proposal on how to approach the disease and offer suggestions on future directions in therapy research.

Dr. Meghan Kapp received her undergraduate degree in Forensic Anthropology from Mercyhurst College in Pennsylvania prior to obtaining her Master of Science in Anatomy from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, followed by an M.D. from The University of Toledo. She is presently Assistant Professor in the Department of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology at VUMC. Meghan has clinical and research interests in Medical Kidney and Autopsy Pathology and she teaches Histology and Gross Anatomy to first year medical students at VUSM.

Dr. Aaron Shaver is a Tennessee native who received his undergraduate degree from Rice University in Houston. He then went to the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia for a Ph.D. in molecular evolutionary biology, followed by an M.D. from the University of Chicago. He moved to Nashville for residency training in pathology and fellowship training in hematopathology, and in 2012 was hired as faculty in the Hematopathology Division of the Department of Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology. Dr. Shaver has clinical and research interests in the diagnosis and monitoring of hematologic diseases such as acute leukemia, particularly in the use of clinical flow cytometry, as well as clinical informatics. He also has a long-standing interest in teaching, and is involved in several medical student courses across the entire spectrum of Curriculum 2.0.

Computational Thinking, Programming, and Cybersecurity

Algorithms, Logic, Systems Design

As more and more of our daily lives take place online, and technology finds its way into everything we do, cybersecurity becomes increasingly critical. In order to protect computer systems and the networks they rely on, we must be aware of both the threats against them and the defenses that keep them secure. This course will begin with an overview of computational thinking and an introduction to programming and computer science. With this foundation and context, students will use a robotics platform to demonstrate how networked cyber-physical systems may be vulnerable and how revised design can increase security. Students will have the opportunity to compete in completing tasks with these robots while other students attempt to overcome their defenses.

Note: As the course includes an introduction to programming in general, no prior programming experience is assumed, expected, or required.

Gordon Stein is a Ph.D. student in Vanderbilt University’s Computer Science program. He previously taught as a lecturer at Lawrence Technological University, where he worked to improve the way CS courses were taught and to create new opportunities for students by offering courses on emerging technologies. Gordon now performs research involving robotics and mixed reality for STEAM education through the Institute for Software Integrated Systems at Vanderbilt.

Dental School 101: The Intersection of Medicine and Dentistry

Medicine, Dentistry, Oral Surgery

Did you know that oral and dental health impact more than just your teeth? The field of dentistry and oral surgery encompasses a comprehensive spectrum of medical and dental diagnoses and treatments. The availability of and access to these diagnoses and following treatments are couched within wider ethical health conversations concerning oral healthcare disparities, psycho-social implications of treatment and oral health/disease connections. In this class you will experience how oral surgeons, dentists, and other medical professionals diagnose and treat the whole person as you participate in faculty lectures, clinical rounds and shadowing, lab rotations, field trips and hands-on simulations. You will learn about contemporary critical topics such as disparities in oral healthcare, global climate change and oral health, jaw and face reconstruction and oral cancer using cutting edge technology available through Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) facilities.

*Prerequisite: Biology (Transcript Required)

Additional Requirement: Upon placement in a class, additional required forms will need to be completed for VUMC; some sections may duplicate PTY’s required paperwork.

NOTE: VUMC insurance and safety regulations state that students must be 16 years old by July 6 to participate. This policy is non-negotiable.

This class is in partnership with the Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Department of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery and Dentistry.

Food Systems: From Plow to Plate and Everywhere in Between

Ethics, Healthcare, Public Policy

In the United States, the average meal takes 11 minutes to consume. In those 11 minutes, have you ever considered how your food made it to your plate? What public health, ethical, and environmental issues share a place at the table when we sit down to eat? This course will take a multidisciplinary approach to examine critical elements of our food system including production, processing, distribution, and eating. You will explore how this complex system has real consequences on the environment and public health outcomes as well as think critically about how current and alternative methods for acquiring food have bioethical implications. If you are a critical thinker, are interested in engaging ethical dimensions of everyday life, and may be considering a career in health care, this course will challenge you to develop and articulate your own personal food ethics.

This class is in partnership with the Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Center for Biomedical Ethics.

John Compton is program manager of Rooted Community Health (RCH) within the Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society. RCH engages the intersections of ecology, sustainability and health through programming, research, and education. In this role, John serves as a preceptor for the Vanderbilt Dietetic Internship Program, works closely with medical students on research initiatives, and operationalizes a VUMC-wide program connecting employees to local community supported agriculture programs. He has published work in peer-reviewed journals on the intersections of health and climate change and theological interpretations of climate change through ritual theory. John earned his Master of Divinity from Vanderbilt Divinity School with distinction focusing on ecology and sustainable agriculture.

The Meaning of Sport: Ethics, Philosophy, and the Games We Love

Ethics, Philosophy, Sports

Over 100 million viewers tuned in to the Super Bowl last year. Over 3.5 billion people watched portions of the World Cup in 2018. Sport, games, and physical activity are beloved societal institutions around the globe. Have you, however, ever thought about what makes games and sports unique and distinct from other activities such as theatre, music, dance, and the arts? Have you ever considered how philosophical traditions have considered sports? In this course, you will utilize a philosophical lens to examine the meaning of games and sport. Through critical consideration of the philosophical elements of activities, you will develop a definition of the activities that affect the lives of billions of people around the globe. After arriving at a definition, you will, through applying modern ethical thought, investigate a variety of contemporary ethical and moral quandaries in games and sports such as doping, cheating, violence and freedom of expression.

Dr. Adam Pfleegor is an Assistant Professor of Sport Administration at Belmont University. He received his Ph.D. in Sport Management from Louisiana State University and has taught courses on the intersection of sport, philosophy, and ethics at several schools in the United States and Canada. As a lover of sport and former student-athlete, Dr. Pfleegor challenges his students to think about sport from a completely different perspective than the “financial bottom line.” He has served as an executive board member for the International Association for the Philosophy of Sport and presented his research the last few years in Japan, the United Kingdom, Canada, Slovenia, and Portugal. In his free time, he enjoys long-distance running, golf, hiking, and spending time with his wife and toddler.

Med School 101

Medicine, Biology, Chemistry

Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) is one of the top hospitals in the country, so it is no surprise that the medical school is at the forefront when it comes to technology and teaching. In this course, you will work with many of the same computer and virtual medical simulations as Vanderbilt medical students, and use problem-based learning to analyze and diagnose real medical case studies. Taught by a team of medical students, this course will utilize small group discussions, faculty lectures, lab exercises, and the latest resources and technologies from the Vanderbilt School of Medicine to learn about the practice, ethics, and social impact of modern medicine.

Prerequisites: Biology, Chemistry (Transcript Required)

*NOTE: VUMC insurance and safety regulations state that students must be 16 years old by July 6 to participate. This policy is non-negotiable.

Additional Requirement: Upon placement in a class, additional required forms will need to be completed for VUMC; some sections may duplicate PTY’s required paperwork.

This class is in partnership with the Vanderbilt School of Medicine.

Microscopy of Nanomaterials

Chemistry, Medicine

Today, some of the biggest problems in medicine, science, and engineering are being solved with some of the smallest technologies. Nanoparticles are used in everything from computer science to cancer treatments. You will get an introduction into key nanoparticles, their properties, and how scientists synthesize and manipulate them. In addition to lectures and research, this class will involve hands-on learning, laboratory experiences, and state of the art imaging tools to give you a greater understanding of the potential of nanoparticles and gain the skills to develop your own scientific research project.

Dr. Susan Verberne-Sutton is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Chemistry in the College of Arts and Sciences at Vanderbilt University. She has over eight years of experience teaching courses from freshman chemistry to senior-level nano-based courses with Oak Ridge National Laboratory. She draws from her experience as a synthetic chemist in Silicon Valley as well as her time as director of a nanoscience laboratory, to build a course that will showcase contemporary skill sets in the materials industry. She earned her Ph.D. at Louisiana State University where her dissertation focused on surface science, the interface between chemistry and devices, using nanotemplating technologies to develop surface architectures for polymer-based photovoltaics (plastic solar cells).

Moral Leadership – Responsibility and Possibility for All

Ethics, Leadership Studies, Psychology, Interprofessional Studies

From startups to Fortune 500 companies to government, leaders and their values have been in the spotlight (for good or for ill) recently. What does it mean to be an ethical leader? Should morality be an integral part of leadership style? Can moral leadership be learned and leveraged towards the greater good? In this class, you will reflect upon the relational, interpersonal, and visionary aspects of leadership, and discuss case studies of moral leadership (and missing the mark) across professional disciplines. You will work to theoretically and practically further develop your own moral leadership and work collaboratively to develop proposals for “glocal (global/local),” tangible action on pressing social issues.

Note: This course will include discussion of “hot” topics and potentially controversial issues. Multiple perspectives (both popular and unpopular) will be examined and discussed.

This class is in partnership with the Vanderbilt University Cal Turner Program for Moral Leadership in the Professions.

Dr. Laine Walters Young is the Assistant Director for the Cal Turner Program for Moral Leadership in the Professions at Vanderbilt University, a cross-professional co-curricular program aimed at helping students, faculty, and community practitioners hone their sense and skill of moral possibility within their everyday work and callings. She loves zooming out to see the big picture of things and then back in to help people breathe, vision, and work toward their intentions. She holds a doctorate in Religion, Psychology, and Culture from the Department of Religion at Vanderbilt University. Laine’s enjoys working with students from around the world, emotionally and socially supporting change-agents, and spending time with her husband and toddler son.

Novel Writing

Creative Writing, Literature

It only took Herman Melville the better part of one summer to write Moby Dick. Jack Kerouac famously bragged that he wrote On the Road in just three weeks. However, aspiring novelists are often daunted by the scope of the project in front of them. In this class, you will hone the tools necessary for successful completion of a writing project of extended length. We will talk about conquering writer’s block, structuring narratives, developing characters, and manipulating plots. Most importantly, you will have the opportunity to get started on your own voyage to the next great American novel.

Dr. Jan Elaine Harris is an Associate Professor of English and Writing at Lipscomb University. Jan earned her PhD from the University of Alabama in 2008. Six poems from her collection in progress, Voyager, were featured in Waxing and Waning’s Fall 2017 Issue. She has given readings of her work at SCMLA (2017), PCA/ACA (2018), and RMMLA (2018). One of her poems was featured on Spokane’s Public Radio in February 2018. Other poems have appeared in Anthology, Event, and Exposition. When Jan is not teaching or writing, she probably hanging out with her GSPs, Malloy and Astrid.

Policy Making and Quantitative Analysis

Politics, Statistics, Social Science

What impact do statistics and past history have on future policy initiatives? What are the unintended versus unanticipated consequences of creating policy? How does one negotiate public opinion and quantitative data into a well crafted policy when the two conflict? Step into the role of a policy analyst and examine key issues through the lens of social science and economics. Participate in policy debate and support your arguments using both classical and emerging political theory, historical precedent, public opinion, and quantitative analysis. Be prepared to grapple with current political topics such as healthcare, taxation, education and foreign policy. Utilizing the same quantitative methodologies and statistical coding software as policy analysts, you will leverage theory and technical skill to engage contemporary hot-button policy issues.

Note: This course will include discussion of “hot” topics and potentially controversial issues. Multiple perspectives (both popular and unpopular) will be examined and discussed.

Walt Ecton is Ph.D. student in the Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations at Vanderbilt University. His research focuses on the role of public opinion and politics in education, and on the policies affecting students’ transitions from high school into college and the workforce. Prior to his doctoral studies, Walt taught high school history in Atlanta, GA, and worked in student success technology and consulting with the Education Advisory Board in Washington, DC. In his free time, Walt loves running, listening to podcasts (usually while running!) and checking out all the great art, theater, and music that Nashville has to offer!

Social Entrepreneurship in Action

Entrepreneurship, Ethics

Amazon brings products to our doorsteps. Google brings information to your fingertips. Instagram brings the world’s moments to your cell phone. While these traditional business models have provided solutions to many of society’s wants, the complexity of social needs in the 21st century necessitate innovative, cross-sector solutions. Social Enterprise is rapidly emerging as one such model with great promise. In this course, you will analyze social challenges and create solutions to those challenges using the tools of social entrepreneurship. Working in small groups, be a change agent as you analyze a social challenge, design and develop a social enterprise to bring that solution to life and pitch that solution to members of the Nashville entrepreneurship community to demonstrate the impact of your solution.

Dr. Jeremy Payne is a Vanderbilt Triple-Dore (’00, ’02, ’07) with a passion for travel and making work productive regardless of your location. He is currently a Lecturer with the department of Human and Organizational Development at Peabody College specializing in group development and social enterprise. Previously, Jeremy was Head of People Operations for Remote Year, Inc where he equiped a global staff of remote workers with the tools, resources and support they need to be successful in their roles. Along with his wife, Alexandra (’03, ’04), and daughter Margaret, Jeremy calls Nashville, Tennessee home. Together they enjoy the world-class music scene, the foodie scene and the entrepreneurial spirit of their East Nashville neighborhood.

The Process of Stem Cell Transplantation

Stem cells reside in bone marrow and can develop into a multitude of different cells, each with its own function. They are essential for a normal health. There are diseases in which someone’s own cells are derailed, and it is necessary to replace these cells with healthy bone marrow cells. In this class you will learn the process of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation and discover the ins and outs of this life-saving treatment. Using real cases, including basic biology of stem cells, clinical indications, donor-recipient matching, ethical considerations, and pre- and post-transplant care, you will leave this course with a strong understanding stem cell transplantation.

Justin Jacobse is a Ph.D. student at Vanderbilt University and Leiden University, the Netherlands. His interest lies in the regulation of the immune system, and how dysregulation manifesting as disease can be corrected. Currently, he works on mechanisms of inflammatory bowel disease. Justin completed his MD at Leiden University, and concluded his studies by participating in a pediatric stem cell transplantation team. In parallel, he completed a research master with projects on food allergy at Harvard University, and memory consolidation at the University of Edinburgh. Justin is keen to combine basic and translational research. His affinity for teaching is exemplified by consulting on thesis writing and by having been a guide of an anatomical museum for several years.

Treating the Whole Person: A Multidisciplinary Understanding of Healthcare and Social Context

Nursing, Health, Social Science, Public Health

How do factors like race, gender, sexual identity, religion, environment, and economic status impact one’s health? This course focuses on the need to combine an understanding of the social determinants of health with scientific knowledge in order to maximize quality of health for all people. Course instructors use simulated and real life experiences to stimulate critical thinking and identify novel approaches to how healthcare should be provided while considering individual circumstances and identities. Be ready to discuss health issues from multiple and diverse perspectives. If you are analytical, enjoy challenging assumptions, and engaging in data driven discussions, or if you are considering a career in healthcare, then this course will set you on a path of discovery in this amazing field.

Note: This class involves scholarly consideration of issues relating to race, class, ability, gender, sexuality, etc. Students (and parents) should carefully consider whether this course is a good fit for them at this time.

This class is in partnership with the Vanderbilt School of Nursing.

Dr. Carrie Plummer, PhD, ANP-BC is an Assistant Professor of Nursing at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing (VUSN) and Course Coordinator of the Community and Population Health course series in Vanderbilt nursing program. Dr. Plummer is passionate about creating opportunities for students to engage in interprofessional learning and hands on patient care and teamwork. Her most recent project includes the implementation of a Medical-Legal partnership between Vanderbilt Nursing and Belmont Law Schools. In her non-work life, Dr. Plummer enjoys growing tomatoes, flowers and herbs, hiking in the woods with her faithful mutt (Izzy), and curling up with a good podcast or book.

Web Application Development

Software Engineering, Design

With the increased utility of e-commerce, web application development is becoming more and more critical to business growth and sustainability. In this course, you learn what it means to be a software engineer as you develop and maintain websites. We will study Website design, HTML, XHTML, and CSS coding and learn how to use content management systems (CMS) such as WordPress. We will also discuss how to consider the context and purpose for web creation as an integral part of design and creation and discuss historical foundations of web design so that you can make informed decisions and better forecast how today’s design trends impact tomorrow’s needs. Drawing on both the technical skills and historical information about web design learned in this class, be prepared to put your new skills into action as you take on the role of a software engineer and with a team to develop your own web application project!

Dr. Chris Simmons is an Assistant Professor in the College of Computing and Technology at Lipscomb University. He obtained his Bachelor’s degree from Tennessee State University, followed by a Master’s degree in Information Technology from Carnegie Mellon University. Chris completed his doctorate in Computer Science from the University of Memphis. Prior to pursuing a Ph.D., Dr. Simmons held positions as a Software Engineer and Sr. Programmer Analyst for companies such as the Boeing Company and FedEx. Simmons’ research involves enhancing secure software development standards and the development of knowledge management systems for secure software and cyber-attack response. His work has appeared in Journal of Computing Sciences in Colleges and Decision Sciences Journal of Innovative Education, among others. Simmons has a passion for increasing technology usage in underprivileged communities and developing countries.