Skip to main content

Vanderbilt Summer Academy 2022 Courses

 Summer 2022 COVID-19 Policy Statement

VSA is no longer accepting applications for the 2022 summer.

Course Availability Key:

full, no longer accepting applications
full, waiting list only
available, limited space
available

Course availability will be updated on a weekly basis beginning on March 1, 2022. However, availability can change quickly during peak application times and availability in certain experiences may not always be accurately reflected on this page during peak times. If your content area of interest is currently listed as “waiting list only,” click here to learn more about the waiting list process. Please contact our office at 615-322-8261 or pty.peabody@vanderbilt.edu if you have questions about availability or the length of the waiting list for a particular course.

Click here to learn more about the asynchronous component of VSA 2022 courses.

Course Listings

Select one of the age groups below to view courses:

**Note: For all VSA courses, multiple perspectives (both popular and unpopular) will be examined and discussed for the purpose of building critical thinking skills and understanding or critiquing multiple viewpoints and data as well as incorporating and responding to classmates’ views and ideas. The ideas, readings and discussions are not necessarily the expressed views of the instructor, PTY, or VU. While we encourage students to engage in the orderly and civil exchange of diverse ideas and opinions, we expect that they will do so in a respectful way so that all participants feel welcome and safe.

**Courses and instructors subject to change.
**Experiential experiences such as field trips, lab visits and hands-on activities are subject to change based on COVID-19 policies.

 

Rising 7th/8th Grade (1 Week: June 20-25, 2022)

Choose a course title below to view the description and instructor information. Courses are subject to change. Click here to learn more about the asynchronous component of VSA 2022 courses. Applications are no longer being accepted for this session.

Coding, Circuits and Creativity: An Introduction to Electrical Engineering

Coding, Circuits and Creativity: An Introduction to Electrical Engineering – full, no longer accepting applications
Instructor: Ashley George
Engineering, Programming

Are you looking for an innovative hands-on experience that is interactive, challenging, and fun? If so, this introduction to the collaborative and dynamic world of engineering is for you! In this course, you will have the opportunity to develop skills in electrical engineering and programming. You will also be introduced to C and C++, powerful general-purpose programming languages. Throughout the course, you will learn to approach and solve problems like an engineer using the exciting conceptual frameworks of invention, discovery, and exploration. Toward the end of the course, you will have the opportunity to design your own creative project using the Arduino IDE (Integrated Development Environment) to build an electric circuit that will light up, flicker, and make noises. No prior coding experience is required.

After graduating with an electrical engineering degree, Ashley George entered the Operations Management Leadership Program (OMLP) for General Electrical (GE). serving as operations supervisor, process engineer, and quality engineer. She also became Black Belt Certified in Lean Six Sigma, which uses statics analysis and methodologies to improve process and/or performance by eliminating waste and defects, while creating value for the customer and running large-scale projects across cross-functional teams. After completing the program, Ashley spent 2 years as Lead Quality Engineer for the diesel engine division of GE Transportations. She then moved to GE Capital serving as the ACFC (At the Customer for the Customer) Black Belt focusing on implementing and streamlining the in-store customer experience and process for applying for in-store credit. After 10 years with GE, Ashley made the career change to teaching. She teaches physics, AP physics, engineering, and coding courses, as well as coaches First Tech Challenge (FTC) Robotics Teams and the Ladybots, which won the 2020-2021 State Championship and qualified for the World Championship in Houston, Texas.

Math and Music

Math and Music – full, no longer accepting applications
Instructor: Dawson Gray
Music Theory, Mathematics

From Brahms to the Beatles, Bartók to Beyoncé, the points at which mathematics and music collide open up both worlds as expressions of beauty and wonder. This course will examine topics, such as set theory, musical scales, frequency, matrices, serialism, compositional techniques, and the Fibonacci sequence, to help students reach a synthesis between the fields of math and music. Listening examples, class discussion, and group activities will be integral parts of the classroom experience. A musical background is helpful but not required.

Dawson Gray is in his sixteenth year with Vanderbilt Programs for Talented Youth and his fourteenth year as an instructor. He currently teaches at Battle Ground Academy in Franklin, Tennessee, where he serves as the Math Department Chair and teaches AP Calculus BC, AP Statistics, and college preparatory statistics. He graduated from Vanderbilt University with a double major in piano performance and mathematics, and he completed a master’s degree in secondary education with an emphasis on mathematics at Vanderbilt’s Peabody College.

Mental Pictures: The Way We Look at The Brain

Mental Pictures: The Way We Look at The Brain – full, no longer accepting applications
Instructor: Sarah Meier
Neuroscience, Neuroimaging

How can we see what’s happening inside of our heads? Neuroimaging allows scientists to visualize and understand various types of activity occurring in the brain to answer questions about how it works. It also helps medical professionals understand what structural or functional alterations may be associated with clinical diseases or conditions. This course will be an introduction to the concepts of five types of neuroimaging (MRI, PET, EEG, CAT, and DTI). After an introduction to the types of neuroimaging, you will be asked to think about which neuroimaging techniques are most appropriate for different scientific questions. You will also see brain images while you learn! This course will open your eyes to the beautiful world of neuroimaging and broaden your knowledge of neuroscience.

Sarah Meier is a first-year Ph.D. student in the Neuroscience Graduate Program. Before coming to Vanderbilt, she received her bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience and Behavior with a minor in Forensics from the University of New Hampshire. With broad interests in neuroscience and the law (“neurolaw”), she hopes to use neuroimaging to better inform the legal system regarding different human behaviors. When she is not thinking about the brain, she is either thinking about skiing or tacos.

Psychological Science Research: Solving the Human Puzzle

Psychological Science Research: Solving the Human Puzzle – full, no longer accepting applications
Instructor: Nicolette Granata
Psychology, Research

If someone asked you to work on the world’s greatest, most perplexing puzzle for a living, would you say yes? Psychological science researchers have! What is this puzzle? Humans! Psychological researchers study how humans think, learn, feel, and act. If the human puzzle is intriguing to you, then you may be interested in studying psychology and becoming a psychological science researcher. This one-week, immersive experience will allow you the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of researching within psychological science so that you have the knowledge to develop a mini research proposal on a topic that interests YOU the most – this is what psychological researchers are asked to do in their careers! Together, we will learn how to view, interpret, and critique others’ research by studying existing scientific literature and studies. We will then use our budding understanding of psychological research to write research questions, form hypotheses, and design a novel study. You will leave this week with a true taste of what life as a researcher could be like while having a lot of fun!

Nicolette Granata is a rising 4th-year Ph.D. student in Developmental Science at Vanderbilt University. Nicolette also attended Vanderbilt as an undergraduate, graduating with a double-major in Child Development and Psychology with a minor in Special Education. Nicolette has always been passionate about improving the inclusion and acceptance of children with differences, and she believes research is her tool to do so. Nicolette’s research is focused on children’s concepts of disability, judgments of behaviors produced by persons with disabilities, and how disability labels and acquisition affect how fundamental both children AND adults think persons’ disabilities are to their identity. Nicolette is extremely passionate about teaching. She hopes her love for learning and passion for creative thinking inspires you to pursue your own scientific goals and dreams. When she’s not thinking science, she’s out exercising or spending time with her beloved dog, Lola – a COVID-19 quarantine rescue from The Nashville Humane Association.

Rhetorical Advocacy and Criticism

Rhetorical Advocacy and Criticism – full, no longer accepting applications
Instructor: John Koch, Ph.D.
Writing, Public Speaking

Words have power. They can influence attitudes, behaviors, and responses. When thoughtfully done, they can be utilized to unite and create change. Through the analysis of historical speeches and popular culture, such as movies, sports, television, and other texts, we will explore how to apply rhetorical criticism and how to improve our own arguments and speeches to influence cultural, economic, political, and social change. We will determine the rhetorical techniques that politicians and other agents of change have employed to craft powerful messages. In this course, you will engage in rhetorical criticism and speech projects. In doing so, you will become a more involved and informed citizen, a better public speaker, and a critical consumer of information. In this course, you will learn how to think critically, argue effectively, and mobilize support for the issues that matter to you. If you are interested in communications, law, popular culture, public policy, or politics, then Rhetorical Advocacy and Criticism is the course for you.

Dr. John P. Koch is a Senior Lecturer and Director of Debate in the Department of Communication Studies. He has a Ph.D. in Communication Studies with an emphasis in rhetoric from Wayne State University. John uses a wide range of methods to understand and explain political and policy debates. He is interested in political campaign debates, presidential debates, policy debates, and presidential rhetoric. His research is guided by the question of how we can improve citizenship practices and debates within our political culture. He currently serves as a member of the National Communication Association’s Committee on International Discussion and Debate. His research has appeared in various publications on academic debate, presidential debates, and presidential rhetoric. He has also been published or quoted in various news publications, including The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, and Time Magazine. Currently, he serves as the Director of Debate of Vanderbilt’s internationally renowned and award-winning debate program.

Seas the Summer: Diving into Marine Biology

Seas the Summer: Diving into Marine Biology – full, no longer accepting applications
Instructor: Jessica Gilpin, Ph.D.
Marine Biology

Are you interested in learning more about the world beneath the intriguing and mysterious surface of the world’s oceans? Dive into a variety of marine biology topics as we explore the biodiversity of life beneath the sea. Each day will be an expedition into a different ecosystem. From coral reefs to deep-sea thermal vents, we will learn about the vast array of habitats that occur in the ocean and the amazing organisms that evolved to live there. Through active learning and collaboration facilitated by an expert in marine biology, students will study not only marine organisms but also their behaviors and interactions with the environment. This week-long course will be an exciting and in-depth introduction to marine biology for any ocean enthusiast!

Dr. Jessica Gilpin is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Biological Sciences at Vanderbilt. She is an instructor for the Introductory Biology courses and labs. Her research focus is on Caribbean coral reef ecosystems and she studies the life history traits and behavior of cleaner shrimps that associate with sea anemones. She received her B.S. in Biology from Fairfield University in 2012 and her Ph.D.in Marine Biology from Auburn University in 2017. Before starting her lectureship, she was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the College of Sciences and Mathematics Outreach Department at Auburn University where she was an integral part of planning and executing K-12 STEM outreach programs and teacher trainings. Dr. Gilpin is also a certified scientific diver and Scuba Schools International Assistant Diving Instructor. She is excited to impart her knowledge and passion for marine biology in her summer course!

The Art of Science Communication: An Introduction to Communicating Professionally and Effectively about Science

The Art of Science Communication: An Introduction to Communicating Professionally and Effectively about Science – available
Instructor: Adriana Norris
Biology, Science Communication

Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is a complex disease that is caused by both genetic and environmental factors. It results from the body becoming insulin resistant and therefore unable able to regulate glucose homeostasis. This multifactorial disease is associated with several comorbidities, including hypertension, kidney disease, and cardiovascular disease. But how can we communicate this important, but technical, information to the general public in a way that is clear and helpful? After an introduction to T2D, you will focus on analyzing and evaluating how existing science communication projects communicate key T2D information to the public. After reviewing and critiquing existing communication artifacts, you will work in groups to create and present new T2D science communication projects that are aimed at assigned audiences and grounded in cutting-edge principles and practices. Be prepared to creatively collaborate in project teams (like professional science communicators), speak publicly, and receive feedback from your peers!

Adriana Norris is a Ph.D. student in Vanderbilt University’s Biological Sciences program. During her undergraduate education, she took pedagogy courses to learn about active learning strategies and was able to implement them in classrooms as a learning assistant for several college biology courses. Adriana is now performing biomedical research at Vanderbilt. She is creating a new mouse model of type 2 diabetes to try and replicate the disease in humans. She hopes the findings from her research will be used to inform the design of type 2 diabetes therapeutics. She is also interested in science communication and created a YouTube channel to talk about academic topics and interview people in academia.

Writing With Fire: Storytelling in Verse

Writing With Fire: Storytelling in Verse – available
Instructor: Ben Schwartz
Writing, Literary Criticism

You have a story to tell! In Writing with Fire: Storytelling in Verse, we will read the work of award-winning young adult memoirists in order to tell our own unique stories. Featuring the work of acclaimed authors such as Jacqueline Woodson, Thanhà Lai, and David Bowles, this course will expose you to transformational texts and empower you by giving you the tools to shape your own narrative. You will practice the literary vocabulary and analytical thinking needed in high school and beyond while exercising creativity and deepening your understanding of stories, self, and identity. No moment is too small to be a part of a great story!

Benjamin Schwartz is a Ph.D. candidate in English at Vanderbilt University. He holds a BA in American Studies from Brown University, a M.A. in English & Comparative Literature from Columbia University, and a M.A. in English from Vanderbilt University. Before coming to Vanderbilt, he taught Middle School English for three years in Southwestern Connecticut. Ben has been published in English Journal and served as the editorial assistant on the A-Line: a journal of progressive thought. His research focuses on humor, hip-hop, and teaching in African American literature.

 

Rising 9th/10th Grade (2 Week: June 20-July 1, 2022)

Choose a course title below to view the description and instructor information. Courses are subject to change. Click here to learn more about the asynchronous component of VSA 2022 courses. Applications are no longer being accepted for this session.

Astrophysics

Astrophysics – full, no longer accepting applications
Instructor: Erika Grundstrom, Ph.D.
Physics, Astronomy, Computer Science

Do you have a lot of questions about the universe but don’t know how to find the answers? There are a lot of things that we don’t know about the universe (yet), but fortunately, the study of astrophysics gives us many of the tools we need to find the answers. Astrophysicists use computer modeling and advanced mathematics to answer their research questions. You can too! In this course, we will discover how to construct a good research question, find and analyze data, and use computer models to test your hypotheses. We’ll observe the laws of physics on Earth and see if our observations match what computer models predict. This course will help you answer questions as wide and diverse as the universe itself.

Dr. Erika Grundstrom loves sharing the wonder of the universe with everyone young and old and has done so for 13 years with Programs for Talented Youth.  She is the director of astronomy labs and outreach in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Vanderbilt University, and her research combines interests in massive stars, spectroscopy, and astronomy education. She received a Ph.D. from Georgia State University in 2007. Education and outreach have brought her (and often an inflatable planetarium) into schools throughout the Nashville region as well as provided opportunities to develop and teach curriculum for fifth-, sixth-, and ninth-grade students. Outside the classroom she loves to play with her husband and two young sons, partner dance, play sand volleyball, and travel.

Forensic Science

Forensic Science – full, no longer accepting applications
Instructor: Crystal Miller, Ph.D.
Biology, Chemistry, Physics

Love a good mystery, have a favorite Crime Scene Science TV show or just want to try your hand as a forensic scientist? Then this is the course for you. You will be introduced to an overview of forensic specialities, crime scene processing, evidence collection, and suspect examination. Daily field work explorations and hands-on lab experiences include observation and analysis of decomposition rates, and techniques to analyze evidence commonly found at a crime scene such as chromatography, ballistics, blood typing, DNA/STR analysis, and lifting of latent fingerprints. You also will hear from expert Forensic Scientists, critically analyze factual crime scene case studies, and complete a final project requiring them to work together to solve a crime. Forensic Science is a true interdisciplinary science course that caters to students’ natural curiosities and a fun way to learn and apply science.

Dr. Crystal Miller currently teaches at Ensworth High School in Nashville, Tennessee, where she wears many hats. In addition to AP Chemistry, she also teaches Pre-Med Chemistry and Crime Scene Science, two electives courses that she founded at the school over 15 years ago. She is also a member of the Dean of Students Office where she serves as the Grade 12 Sponsor, and the Student Activities Coordinator, a role where she manages student-led activities and programs like Project TALK, a program that focuses on diversity, civil discourse and having tough, student-led conversations. Crystal earned her Ph.D. in Bioinorganic Chemistry from Vanderbilt University under the mentorship of David Wright, researching the effect of malarial parasite byproducts on the human body. She then obtained a Postdoctoral Research position in Jorge Capdevilla’s lab at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center before coming to Ensworth. While Crystal loves teaching science to high school students, she believes that her best work is done outside of the classroom by forming meaningful relationships with students and helping them develop into good citizens.

Nanoscience and Engineering

Nanoscience and Engineering – full, no longer accepting applications
Instructor: Greg Walker, Ph.D. and VINSE Faculty
Engineering, Nanotechnology, Chemistry

Get ready to don your protective coveralls and enter the exciting world of nanoengineering. In this class, you will get an introduction to key nanoparticles and their properties while stretching your creative problem-solving skills to their limits. You can expect advanced lectures, labs, and extensive study with faculty, grad students, and postdocs at the Vanderbilt Institute of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (VINSE). You will also spend significant time in one of Vanderbilt’s newest, biggest, and cleanest cleanrooms.* These experiences will challenge you to see the world the way a nanoscientist does, including how manipulating the smallest of particles might address some of the world’s biggest problems.

NOTE: Be advised that the special lighting, clothing, and atmosphere of the cleanroom may act as a “trigger” for students with anxiety disorders and tactile sensitivities. Please call our office if you’d like to discuss the specifics of the cleanroom further.

**Tennessee students from backgrounds historically underrepresented in science may be eligible to apply for a competitive full tuition scholarship funded directly through Vanderbilt Institute of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (VINSE) for this course. Click here for more information and to apply. If you have any questions, please email the PTY office at pty.peabody@vanderbilt.edu.

Greg Walker is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, holding several appointments at Vanderbilt, including ones in the Interdisciplinary Materials Science Program, the Thermal Engineering Lab, the Advanced Computing Center for Research and Education, and the Vanderbilt Institute of Nanoscale Science and Engineering. His research interests include the modeling and simulation of nonequilibrium, coupled energy transport in electronics, and energy conversion materials.

Our Digital Lives: Rhetoric, Meaning, and Production in the Digital World

Our Digital Lives: Rhetoric, Meaning, and Production in the Digital World – full, no longer accepting applications
Instructor: Morgan Beers
Rhetoric, Digital Studies, Pop Culture

Throughout the 21st century, the rise of technology has presented a multitude of possibilities for life outside of one’s typical, physical, social bubble. With the recent COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns throughout the world, the role of technology in everyday communication and identity formation has reached a new level. This course sets out to examine how digital and media spaces, such as podcasts, commercials, social media sites, video games, digital life simulator space, etc., have impacted how we shape our identities and ways of communicating in our current world. Using the lens of digital rhetoric, we will interact with and examine various forms of multimodal and digital texts to better understand how the authors create meaning and how we, as the audience, interpret said meaning outside of the constraints of written, academic texts. You will utilize rhetorical analysis to engage with various forms of multimedia and multimodal readings to build a rhetorical toolkit for engaging, analyzing, and producing multimodal projects, which will then be used to produce your own multimodal projects relating to a singular theme of your own choosing. Possible topics include the changing nature of digital communication during COVID-19, social media and psychology, digital community organizing, the creation of a digital self in video games, etc. If you are interested in rhetoric and persuasion, digital spaces (internet, video games, etc.), or marketing, this might be the course for you.

Morgan Beers is a 2nd year Ph.D. student in Rhetoric, Composition, and Literacy at The Ohio State University. Her research areas include Digital Rhetoric and Public Rhetoric. As a digital rhetorician, Morgan is interested in examining how meaning is created within and through digital spaces with particular attention to how such meaning-making holds larger implications for social justice, online communities (particularly minority communities), and the circulation of mis/disinformation. Some of her past and current projects include “Tumblr’s Adult Content Filter and Algorithmic Oppression,” “The Role of Social Media Misinformation during the COVID-19 Pandemic,” and most recently, a pilot study entitled, “COVID-19 and the Circulation of News Information on Social Media.” Morgan has worked with Vanderbilt’s Programs for Talented Youth in various positions over the past 5 years, including Vanderbilt Summer Academy and PTY’s Online Academy. Morgan received a B.A. in English Literature and Writing from Lipscomb University in 2018 and an M.A. in English Literature from The University of Alabama in 2020.

Perfect Shuffles, Permutations, and Decimal Expansions: Making Math Real

Perfect Shuffles, Permutations, and Decimal Expansions: Making Math Real – full, no longer accepting applications
Instructor: Jason Brasel
Mathematics, Computer Science, Physics

Have you ever been in a higher-level math course and heard or even asked the question, “When will I ever use this?” The new mathematics you will learn in this course will provide a multi-faceted and exciting answer to this question. Physics, computer programming, and cryptography are just a few of the practical applications of the new theories and advanced mathematical techniques that will be explored in this course, all starting from the same humble base: card shuffles. Using the techniques learned in this seemingly simple analysis, you will explore the topics of number theory, permutation groups, and expansion of numbers in various bases and discuss how these relate to real-world issues and current innovation.

Jason Brasel is a math teacher and teacher educator at the University of Michigan, who loves helping others improve their teaching. He lives in Nashville with his wife and four daughters.

The Force and Literary Criticism: When Darth Vader meets Stanley Fish

The Force and Literary Criticism: When Darth Vader meets Stanley Fish – available
Instructor: David Lee, MFA
Literary Criticism, Pop Culture

The social and cultural influence and impact of the Star Wars movies cross-generational, socio-economic, and regional divides. With the completion of the Skywalker saga nearly 40 years after the initial “Star Wars” film was released in 1977, scholars are taking a new look at the now completed cannon with multiple and diverse theoretical approaches. In this class, you will join this renewed academic effort through engaging traditional and emerging theories in literary criticism to develop your own scholarly analysis of a franchise that shaped popular culture for over four decades. With tools such as archetypal criticism, cultural criticism, feminist criticism, reader-response criticism, and post-structuralism, you will consider such issues as how Star Wars develops the significance of race, class, and gender, how Star Wars has both reflected and critiqued culture, and how much the meaning of Star Wars is dependent upon the reader (viewer). At the end of this course, you will walk away with new analytical tools in your literary analysis toolbelt, as well as your own developing theory of Star Wars as text.

David Ian Lee currently serves as full-time faculty for the Theatre and Dance Program at Tennessee State University and as Co-Producing Artistic Director for Nashville’s Pipeline-Collective, an organization that creates guerilla-style theatre with an emphasis on the craft of the actor, dynamic storytelling, and theatrical magic on a shoestring budget. He is a freelance actor and director having worked in New York for companies including Pearl Theatre Company, Manhattan Theatre Source, Boomerang, Gideon, and Flux Ensemble; for regional theatres including Actors Theatre of Louisville, Milwaukee Rep., Arizona Rep., Tennessee Rep.; and classical companies including New York Classical Theatre, Arkansas Shakespeare, Illinois Shakespeare, Sedona Shakespeare, Utah Shakespeare, and Nashville Shakespeare. He is an internationally produced playwright, with recent productions of his work in Canada, South Africa, Scotland, and Greece. He has presented at conferences including Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) and Mid-America Theatre Conference (MATC). A graduate of the William Esper Studio, David received his M.F.A. in Directing in 2015 from Illinois State University, where he was honored with an Outstanding Teaching Award. He has proudly taught with Vanderbilt’s Programs for Talented Youth since 2016. Favorite credit: his son, Beckett Harrison Lee.

Water Quality and Public Heath: An Introduction to Field Research in Environmental Science

Water Quality and Public Heath: An Introduction to Field Research in Environmental Science – full, no longer accepting applications
Instructor: Greg Smith, Ph.D.
Ecology, Field Research, Public Health

Water is critical for human life. You interact and ingest water every single day and don’t think twice. How do you know, however, that the water you are drinking is clean when pollution is leading to a variety of problems associated with global human health? Ensuring you and future generations have access to safe water is the job of environmental scientists working in the specialized field of water quality. In this course, you will have the opportunity to work as an environmental field scientist, analyzing the health of the water in Middle Tennessee! In your research, you will consider questions, such as ‘How do scientists measure/quantify the level of contamination in a water source?’ and ‘How do we treat contaminated water?’, as well as ‘What are the impacts on human health?’ You will collect data from field surveys and experiments, use descriptive and inferential statistics to analyze your results, and present your findings to your peers like a research scientist. You’ll leave with a newfound appreciation for the work of field research and the processes that govern and shape the natural waters around us.

Greg Smith is the instructor of Interdisciplinary Science and Research at John Overton High School in Nashville, TN. He earned his Ph.D. in Earth and Environmental Sciences from Vanderbilt University in 2019, where he relied on concepts and techniques from geology, ecology, and chemistry to understand the dietary habits of extinct megafauna (large mammals like elephants, camels, and bison). Now, he leverages his diverse scientific background and passion for education to teach high school students how to be scientists! His students carry out independent research projects, give presentations at national science competitions, and get their hands dirty working with multiple business partners outdoors in the beautiful area surrounding Middle Tennessee. In his free time, Greg enjoys hiking, rock climbing, and yoga with his wife, Lauren, and his two children, Harvey and Gwendolyn. Greg loves teaching and hopes to inspire future generations of scientists to follow their dreams!

Writing Poetry & Free Verse

Writing Poetry & Free Verse – available
Instructor: Jan Harris, Ph.D.
Creative Writing, Literary Theory

Led by a published author, this writing class will help you find and express your poetic voice and gain confidence and expert feedback about your work. By studying different kinds of poetry through creative and engaging creative writing activities, group collaboration, analysis, and peer review you will work toward building a comprehensive collection of your own original poems. We will pay particular attention to free verse and the frontier of poetry beyond meter, with a focus on finding your own voice and platform. The writing skills you learn will not only help enhance your poems, but allow you to engage in scholarly conversations with other classmates and express your ideas in unique ways while having a lot of fun along the way.

Jan Elaine Harris (she/her) is a tenured Associate Professor of English and Writing at Lipscomb University in Nashville, TN. She earned her M.A. and Ph.D. at The University of Alabama. Her chapbook, Isolating One’s Priorities, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2021. Recent poems have appeared in Yes, Poetry, The West Trade Review, HERWords, The Portland Review, Camas, The Rumpus, and The Exposition Journal. She lives in East Nashville with her partner, Tim, and their two perfect GSPs, Malloy and Astrid-June.


Rising 11/12th Grade

PTY is offering multiple programs for rising 11th/12th grade students in Summer 2022. Click on the link below for course listings for each program.

VSA 1-Week (June 26-July 2) VSA 2-Week (July 10-22) Mentor Immersion (Virtual)

 

Rising 11th/12th Grade (1 Week: June 26-July 2, 2022)

Choose a course title below to view the description and instructor information. Courses in this session will have 2 one-hour virtual meetings before the on-campus program begins. Courses are subject to change. Click here to learn more about the asynchronous component of VSA 2022 courses. Applications are no longer being accepted for this session.

Anthropology in Action: How Research Is Applied to Advocacy and Activism

Anthropology in Action: How Research Is Applied to Advocacy and Activism – full, no longer accepting applications
Instructor: Emma Banks, Ph.D.
Anthropology, Ethics

Anthropologists study human relationships and worldviews, giving them a unique vantage point from which to understand some of the world’s biggest problems. From medicine to law to international relations, anthropologists’ work crosses a variety of other disciplines. Skilled anthropologists understand that they can put their training and discoveries to work as activists and advocates. However, in these applied settings, anthropologists may confront major ethical dilemmas about their objectivity as researchers and their own power over research subjects. In this intensive course, you will explore instances where anthropologists have created both harm and benefit through their advocacy and activism work, and you will learn from these past examples to create your own research approaches. You will learn to use an anthropological process to explore social problems while developing your own set of ethical principles to govern the approach. By applying big questions to specific case studies, you will develop analytical and problem-solving skills, which will serve you whether you want to use these as a lawyer or journalist, policy analyst, or doctor. You will also learn different approaches anthropologists use to develop, conduct, and present research so that you are prepared for a final project where you select a pressing social problem of your choice (e.g., immigration, gender discrimination, poverty, or climate change) to study under the guidance of your instructor. You will employ an anthropological approach to study this social issue using both primary and secondary sources and then apply your research by developing a plan for how you might utilize your discoveries for the purpose of advocacy.

Emma Banks is a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at Tennessee State University. She holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Vanderbilt University. In Fall 2022 she will join Bucknell as an assistant professor of international relations. Her research focuses on how marginalized communities remake their social relations around coal mining. Since 2013, she has worked with Wayúu and Afro-descendant communities displaced by the Cerrejón Coal Mine in La Guajira, Colombia. As part of her ongoing commitment to social justice in the region, she is part of a network of solidarity activists that support local movements for a just post-coal future. When she’s not thinking about climate justice, she likes to play with her dogs and spend time on her small farm outside of Nashville.

Biology of Cancer: An Introduction to the Origin and Treatment of Cancer

Biology of Cancer: An Introduction to the Origin and Treatment of Cancer – full, no longer accepting applications
Instructor: Sabrina Van Ravenstein
Biology, Chemistry, Medical Research

Cancer, a global and social phenomenon, is an intriguing set of diseases that originates from malfunctioning cells within the body. Cancer cells can form harmful tumors and other malignancies. What then, causes a “normal cell” to transform into a cancer cell? In this course, you will learn how cancer originates at genetic and cellular levels. You will also explore a variety of treatments for cancer, ranging from traditional radiation/chemotherapy treatment to more modern techniques, such as immunotherapy and mRNA cancer vaccines. By the end of the course, you will have an emerging understanding of the origins of cancer disease, how it is researched, and how it is treated.

Due to the nature of this course, a previous course in biological science is highly recommended.

Sabrina Van Ravenstein is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Biochemistry at Vanderbilt University. She studies how chemotherapeutic drugs affect DNA replication. Her other research interests include cancer and the molecular mechanisms behind DNA damage and DNA replication. For fun, Sabrina loves yoga and exploring all the restaurants and parks that Nashville has to offer.

Introduction to Legal Studies: A Crash Course in Law

Introduction to Legal Studies: A Crash Course in Law – full, no longer accepting applications
Instructor: Kaleigh Ruiz, J.D.
Legal Studies

While the law impacts every citizen on a day-to-day basis and shapes the governing rhythm of American life, few truly understand what “the law” is and how it is actually practiced. In this course, you will embark on an intensive overview of legal studies through engaging foundational topics that are often at the core of the 1L (first year) law school experience. These critical topics include criminal law, torts, contracts, property, and constitutional law. By the end of the course, you will begin to develop an emerging understanding of the major areas of law, learn how to read a legal case, and begin to think like a lawyer. If you are considering a career in law, politics, government, or want to get a sense of a law school approach to education, this is the course for you!

Kaleigh Ruiz is a Ph.D. student studying judicial politics in a joint program with Vanderbilt University and Tilburg University in the Netherlands. She graduated law school from the University of Chicago, where she held leadership positions on the Law Women’s Caucus, Latinx Law Student Association, and International Law Society. When not busy studying or teaching, Kaleigh enjoys hiking beautiful landscapes, curling up with a good book, and hanging out with her cat, Penny.

Rhetorical Advocacy and Criticism

Rhetorical Advocacy and Criticism – full, no longer accepting applications
Instructor: John Koch, Ph.D.
Writing, Public Speaking

Words have power. They can influence attitudes, behaviors, and responses. When thoughtfully done, they can be utilized to unite and create change. Through the analysis of historical speeches and popular culture, such as movies, sports, television, and other texts, we will explore how to apply rhetorical criticism and how to improve our own arguments and speeches to influence cultural, economic, political, and social change. We will determine the rhetorical techniques that politicians and other agents of change have employed to craft powerful messages. In this course, you will engage in rhetorical criticism and speech projects. In doing so, you will become a more involved and informed citizen, a better public speaker, and a critical consumer of information. In this course, you will learn how to think critically, argue effectively, and mobilize support for the issues that matter to you. If you are interested in communications, law, popular culture, public policy, or politics, then Rhetorical Advocacy and Criticism is the course for you.

Dr. John P. Koch is a Senior Lecturer and Director of Debate in the Department of Communication Studies. He has a Ph.D. in Communication Studies with an emphasis in rhetoric from Wayne State University. John uses a wide range of methods to understand and explain political and policy debates. He is interested in political campaign debates, presidential debates, policy debates, and presidential rhetoric. His research is guided by the question of how we can improve citizenship practices and debates within our political culture. He currently serves as a member of the National Communication Association’s Committee on International Discussion and Debate. His research has appeared in various publications on academic debate, presidential debates, and presidential rhetoric. He has also been published or quoted in various news publications, including The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, and Time Magazine. Currently, he serves as the Director of Debate of Vanderbilt’s internationally renowned and award-winning debate program.

Special Relativity: an Introduction to Mathematical Physics

Special Relativity: an Introduction to Mathematical Physics <– full, no longer accepting applications
Instructor: Brian Luzcack
Mathematics, Physics

What would happen if we boarded a rocket ship moving closer and closer to the speed of light? Do our physical notions of time, length, and simultaneous events break down? In the early 1900s, physicists such as Albert Einstein pondered these questions, but it was with the help of some clever mathematics that he was able to accurately describe the theory of Special Relativity. In this course, we will explore these mathematical tools and focus on the intricate connections between math and physics. How does math help us explain our physical theories? And in turn, how do our physical theories lead to new questions in mathematics? Throughout this 1-week course, you will use these tools to collaboratively solve problems in Special Relativity with your peers. Come join us as we get closer and closer to lightspeed!

Prerequisites: Precalculus, Physics (Transcript Required), Having dedicated calculus experience is a bonus but not required.

Brian Luczak is a 3rd year Ph.D. student in Mathematics at Vanderbilt University. He previously graduated with a master’s degree from the University of Tulsa, and he enjoys teaching in activities, such as the Tulsa High School Math Circle and Nashville Math Club. His research is in partial differential equations and mathematical physics. He is excited to make these topics accessible to students with a variety of backgrounds. In his free time, Brian loves cooking and finding the next great Nashville hangout spot

 

Rising 11th/12th Grade (2 Week: July 10-22, 2022)

Choose a course title below to view the description and instructor information. Courses are subject to change.  Click here to learn more about the asynchronous component of VSA 2022 courses. Apply Now!

Bytes to Bedside: Translating Data Science Research from the Computer to the Clinic

Bytes to Bedside: Translating Data Science Research from the Computer to the Clinic – full, no longer accepting applications
Instructor: Hannah Polikowsky
Data Science, Science Communication, Bioethics, Human Health

We live in the era of Big data. In 2020, almost 2MB of data were created every second by every person! How can we find a true signal among all the noise? This course will introduce you to publicly available datasets containing human health data. We’ll explore the capabilities and limitations of these datasets and discuss ethical considerations for working with health data. We will use Python 3 and Jupyter Notebooks to gain hands-on experience with a data analysis pipeline, including data tidying and quality control, exploratory data analysis, and data visualization. You will then apply a data analysis approach to answer a question about human health and present your discoveries to your peers.

Hannah Polikowsky is a Ph.D. student at Vanderbilt University in the Human Genetics department. Prior to graduate school, she joined a start-up venture and launched a data analysis consulting services division within the company to provide scientists globally with tools to analyze drug discovery and clinical data. Her central research interest involves the development and implementation of innovative systems, which leverage high-parameter datasets and machine-learning tools to improve how we treat human health imbalances. Outside of the lab, Hannah enjoys exploring the magnificent outdoors, practicing yoga, writing, and baking delectable whole-food treats.

Exploring Cognitive Neuroscience: Evolution of Cognition and the Brain

Exploring Cognitive Neuroscience: Evolution of Cognition and the Brain – full, no longer accepting applications
Instructor: Jessica Feller
Neuroscience, Psychology

Are humans truly unique in our intelligence or “cognition”? What does cognition really mean? Why do we and other animal species excel at solving some problems but are insufficient in solving others? Cognitive neuroscientists and evolutionary psychologists work to explain how brain anatomy and physiology affect mental processes and how cognitive abilities may have evolved in humans and nonhuman animals. In this course, you will get a primer in evolutionary theory, explore cognitive abilities across the animal kingdom, examine brain structure and function related to cognition, and immerse yourself in ongoing cognitive research to explore selective pressures, which may have led to the evolution of cognition in specific instances. You will also learn skills transferable to other scientific disciplines, such as how to parse through scientific literature and how to use the scientific method to solve novel problems.

Jessica Feller is a 4th year Ph.D. candidate in the Neuroscience Graduate Program at Vanderbilt University and is associated with the Vanderbilt Brain Institute. She has a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, a Bachelor of Science in Zoology, and a Master of Arts in Biological Anthropology. Her current research primarily focuses on the perceptual and physiological consequences of noise-induced hearing loss. Jessica also has a strong background in communication and cognition research, has worked with several nonhuman animal species, and is certified in both college and online teaching from the Vanderbilt Center for Teaching. Jessica also mentors undergraduate students who write and edit for the Vanderbilt Undergraduate Research Journal and is very excited to teach and mentor the new generation of scientists during this year’s Program for Talented Youth!

Exploring Music City: Fandom and the Making of Nashville

Exploring Music City: Fandom and the Making of Nashville – available
Instructor: Robert Fry, Ph.D.
Music History, Ethnography

Nashville is identified worldwide with musical sound. Considering this association, locations of creativity, performance, preservation, and production have become sites of interest for a growing number of fans interested in both the history and the performativity of Nashville’s music scene. In this course, you will have a unique opportunity to explore the history of Nashville’s music and the importance of music fandom. You will learn the basics of ethnographic research methodology through an immersive educational experience within the Vanderbilt and Nashville music communities. In addition to classroom discussions, the class will include guest lectures and class trips to music landmarks and sites throughout the city. Through this immersive experience, students will gain a deeper understanding of Nashville as a musical place and the role we, as music fans, tourists, and listeners, play in the production and presentation of Music City.

Robert W. Fry is senior lecturer in music history and literature at Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music in Nashville, Tennessee, where he teaches courses in global music, jazz, blues, music in the American South, and music tourism. His research focuses on music tourism and the role of fan culture in the production of a musical place, which he writes about in his book, Performing Nashville: Music Tourism and Country Music’s Main Street, part of Palgrave Macmillan’s Leisure Studies in a Global Era series.

Fingerprinting Disease: From Microscopy to Medicine

Fingerprinting Disease: From Microscopy to Medicine – full, no longer accepting applications
Instructor: Kai Bracey
Microscopy, Medical Imaging, Biology

From Cancer to Parkinson’s, every disease has distinct identifying features in our bodies that make up its “fingerprint.” Pathology is a branch of medical science that is primarily concerned with the cause, origin, and nature of disease. The work of pathology involves the examination of tissues and organs to study and diagnose disease based on that disease’s corresponding “fingerprint.” Pathologists, therefore, use powerful microscopes to identify, diagnose, and guide treatment for patients. In this course, you will be introduced to various scientific instruments and learn how these instruments enable scientists and doctors to view, identify, and classify cells. In addition to lectures and research, this class will include hands-on learning and laboratory experiences. By the end of the course, you will be able to visualize different cell types, understand how samples are acquired, learn the current limitations of microscopy, and consider where the future of imaging is headed.

Kai Bracey is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology at Vanderbilt University. His research is centered on pancreatic beta-cell structure and insulin secretion. Kai graduated from Hampton University with his B.S. in 2014 and his Masters from Fisk University in 2016. Kai has trained numerous students in lab techniques and has been a special lecturer at both his prior institutions. When Kai is not staring down a microscope, he enjoys playing basketball, cooking, and woodworking. Kai also has an ever-growing collection of Jordans (his wife may say he has a shoe problem).

Introduction to Legal Studies: A Crash Course in Law

Introduction to Legal Studies: A Crash Course in Law – full, no longer accepting applications
Instructor: Kaleigh Ruiz, J.D.
Legal Studies

While the law impacts every citizen on a day-to-day basis and shapes the governing rhythm of American life, few truly understand what “the law” is and how it is actually practiced. In this course, you will embark on an intensive overview of legal studies through engaging foundational topics that are often at the core of the 1L (first year) law school experience. These critical topics include criminal law, torts, contracts, property, and constitutional law. By the end of the course, you will begin to develop an emerging understanding of the major areas of law, learn how to read a legal case, and begin to think like a lawyer. If you are considering a career in law, politics, government, or want to get a sense of a law school approach to education, this is the course for you!

Kaleigh Ruiz is a Ph.D. student studying judicial politics in a joint program with Vanderbilt University and Tilburg University in the Netherlands. She graduated law school from the University of Chicago, where she held leadership positions on the Law Women’s Caucus, Latinx Law Student Association, and International Law Society. When not busy studying or teaching, Kaleigh enjoys hiking beautiful landscapes, curling up with a good book, and hanging out with her cat, Penny.

Med School 101

Med School 101 – full, no longer accepting applications
Instructor: Vanderbilt School of Medicine Medical Students
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 10 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.

Modern Methods of Cancer Research

Modern Methods of Cancer Research – full, no longer accepting applications
Instructor: Kennady Bullock
Biology, Pharmacology

Cancer remains a leading cause of death in the United States. Our understanding, however, of this complex set of diseases continues to deepen every day through the efforts of scientists and researchers. Beginning with an introduction to the basics of what makes a cancer cell a cancer cell, you will explore the laboratory techniques utilized by researchers to uncover the secrets of tumor cells and develop novel treatment strategies. You will learn about the cutting-edge methods used by today’s scientists to advance our understanding of various topics, including the molecular origins of cancer, the clinical detection of tumors, and the development of new therapies. By the end of this course, you will begin to develop a practical and critical understanding of how various scientific methods are applied to cancer research. You will then draw on this foundational knowledge to conceptualize and present your own research project related to a modern method of cancer research.

Kennady Bullock is a Ph.D. student in Vanderbilt’s Pharmacology program. She previously served as a teaching assistant for Vanderbilt’s undergraduate Introduction to Biological Sciences laboratory course. Her current research is focused on the development of novel combination therapies that will make triple-negative breast tumors more responsive to immunotherapies. Her research also involves the development of patient-derived organoid models that allow for efficient testing of drug combinations, and she is interested in developing better model systems that will allow pre-clinical findings to have more relevance to clinical applications.

Navigating the U.S. Policy Process: From Creation to Implementation

Navigating the U.S. Policy Process: From Creation to Implementation – full, waiting list only
Instructor: Christine Dickason
Public Policy, Social Science, Economics

Every day, public policy is created and implemented in a range of arenas from local government agencies to the U.S. Congress. How do research and public opinion inform policy and decision-makers? How do advocates use their voice and communication skills to advance their policies? How can policy address issues of equity? In this course, you will step into the role of a policy analyst and examine key issues through the lens of the social sciences and economics. Be prepared to grapple with current political topics, such as immigration, healthcare, taxation, education, and foreign policy, as you strengthen your voice and perspective by participating in policy debate supporting your arguments using your new toolbox of skills learned in this class.

Christine Dickason is a doctoral student in the Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations at Vanderbilt University, where she studies college access for underserved communities and high school counselors. She holds a B.A. in Public Policy Leadership from the University of Mississippi, and a Master’s in Public Policy from George Washington University. Prior to Vanderbilt, Christine worked in Washington, D.C. in a variety of organizations, including the White House Office of the First Lady, the Government Accountability Office, the Center for American Progress, and the Global Development Incubator. In her free time, she enjoys anything related to cooking—from exploring local farmers’ markets to testing out new recipes—and trying to hit her annual Goodreads goal.

Netflix and Phil: Modern Political Theory and Comparative Politics

Netflix and Phil: Modern Political Theory and Comparative Politics – full, no longer accepting applications
Instructor: Rho Townsley
Political Theory, Philosophy, Pop Culture

How would an Aristotelian critique the labor system in the Divergent movies? What arguments would Socrates, Nietzsche, and Sartre have about the show The Good Place, or perhaps the Marvel Universe? How might recent turns in feminist and decolonial theory challenge these classical readings of modern media and pop culture? In this course, you will be introduced to the arguments and philosophies of canonical political theorists who have had a radical impact on the nature of political thought, government, policy, and society. You will learn how to critically read primary texts in their historical and political contexts and begin to acquire fluency in several key, canonical theorists across the centuries of political thought. After developing this framework through analysis, concept mapping and lively debate, you will select from syllabus-approved modern tv shows and/or movies to leverage and apply your new understandings in a collaboratively created and curated final project. This project might be a short critical paper, a short audio or video recording, a presentation, a performance, or an individual philosophical media analysis based on the work of political theorist. At the end of this course, you will be able to employ modern analytical and philosophical frameworks to analyze the everyday – specifically, contemporary culture and entertainment. If you in are interested in a career in politics, law, or media, or you are potentially interested in graduate work in political theory, pop culture analysis or philosophy, this is the course for you!

Rho Townsley is a 4th year doctoral student in Political Theory and Comparative Politics here at Vanderbilt. She holds an M.A. in Social Justice and Human Rights from ASU and was a teacher for eight years before joining the Vanderbilt Community. She has pedagogical training in creative and interactive teaching methods and is committed to creating classes that are engaging, educational, relevant, and exciting. Rho loves to travel and has lived and taught in Ethiopia, South Korea, and Vietnam. While oversees, her favorite courses to teach were Creative Writing, Politics and Art, and Debate. She enjoys the Nashville music community and hiking in the Smokies when not busy with her studies.

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

Treating the Whole Person: A Multidisciplinary Understanding of Healthcare and Social Context – full, no longer accepting applications
Instructor: Kanah Lewallen, DNP, AGPCNP-BC, GNP-BC
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 to maximize the quality of health for all people. Course instructors use simulated experiences and case studies 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 and enjoy challenging assumptions and engaging in data-driven discussions, or if you are considering a career in healthcare (e.g., nursing, medicine, pharmacy, public health, social work, physical/occupational/speech therapy, policy, or law), then this course will set you on a path of discovery in this amazing field.

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

Kanah Lewallen, DNP, AGPCNP-BC, GNP-BC is an Assistant Professor in Nursing at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing (VUSN). Dr. Lewallen instructs graduate nurse practitioner students as they complete clinical coursework. She provides didactic teaching focused on the care of the older adult. She enjoys providing content in engaging ways by using technology and simulation, bringing excitement to the classroom. Dr. Lewallen also works as a Nurse Practitioner caring for older adults and works with the Vanderbilt Center for Quality Aging researching the older adult population. In her life away from Vanderbilt, Dr. Lewallen enjoys spending time with her husband, 4-year-old daughter, 9-month-old son, and 2 Siberian huskies.

Water Quality and Public Heath: An Introduction to Field Research in Environmental Science

Water Quality and Public Heath: An Introduction to Field Research in Environmental Science – available
Instructor: Greg Smith, Ph.D.
Ecology, Field Research, Public Health

Water is critical for human life. You interact and ingest water every single day and don’t think twice. How do you know, however, that the water you are drinking is clean when pollution is leading to a variety of problems associated with global human health? Ensuring you and future generations have access to safe water is the job of environmental scientists working in the specialized field of water quality. In this course, you will have the opportunity to work as an environmental field scientist, analyzing the health of the water in Middle Tennessee! In your research, you will consider questions, such as ‘How do scientists measure/quantify the level of contamination in a water source?’ and ‘How do we treat contaminated water?’, as well as ‘What are the impacts on human health?’ You will collect data from field surveys and experiments, use descriptive and inferential statistics to analyze your results, and present your findings to your peers like a research scientist. In your final project, you will write and present to your class a mock white paper to the TN Department of Environment and Conservation detailing your research findings and offering recommendations for potential new laws and regulations. Expect to leave this course knowing how to code in R (the standard in statistical programming languages) and how to describe and analyze data sets from the environmental sciences. Expect also to leave with a newfound appreciation for the work of field research and for the processes that govern and shape the natural waters around us.

Greg Smith is the instructor of Interdisciplinary Science and Research at John Overton High School in Nashville, TN. He earned his Ph.D. in Earth and Environmental Sciences from Vanderbilt University in 2019, where he relied on concepts and techniques from geology, ecology, and chemistry to understand the dietary habits of extinct megafauna (large mammals like elephants, camels, and bison). Now, he leverages his diverse scientific background and passion for education to teach high school students how to be scientists! His students carry out independent research projects, give presentations at national science competitions, and get their hands dirty working with multiple business partners outdoors in the beautiful area surrounding Middle Tennessee. In his free time, Greg enjoys hiking, rock climbing, and yoga with his wife, Lauren, and his two children, Harvey and Gwendolyn. Greg loves teaching and hopes to inspire future generations of scientists to follow their dreams!

Writing Short Stories

Writing Short Stories – full, no longer accepting applications
Instructor: Jan Harris
Creative Writing, Literature

As aspiring authors know, short fiction can be what William Faulkner called “the most demanding” form of prose. Our class will help you to develop the skills necessary to rise to Mr. Faulkner’s challenge. You will explore the short fiction genre through critical reading of classic and cutting-edge examples from authors such as Jhumpa Lahiri, Chimamanda Adichie, and Flannery O’Connor. Daily writing and review will help you refine your craft. You will conclude this class, having completed several of your own short stories that evince your stronger writing and revision skills, as well as your voice and style.

Jan Elaine Harris (she/her) is a tenured Associate Professor of English and Writing at Lipscomb University in Nashville, TN. She earned her M.A. and Ph.D. at The University of Alabama. Her chapbook, Isolating One’s Priorities, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2021. Recent poems have appeared in Yes, Poetry, The West Trade Review, HERWords, The Portland Review, Camas, The Rumpus, and The Exposition Journal. She lives in East Nashville with her partner, Tim, and their two perfect GSPs, Malloy and Astrid-June.