Virtual Summer Portals 2020 | Course List
Enrollment for our Summer 2020 Virtual Portals programming (except for Piano Program) is now closed. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further assistance.
ITI (Innovate, Transform, Inspire) Leadership
Age: Rising 9th Graders and Older
Dates: July 6 - July 17
The ITI Student Leadership Institute is designed to develop student leaders who can come up with creative solutions to complex problems, strengthen their communities, build effective teams, and positively influence those around them. Supported by insightful, experienced faculty, you will explore your own leadership style, examine different leadership strategies, and practice applying them in real-world situations. Our signature approach to leadership education involves three interrelated themes: knowing self, inspiring others, and transforming communities.
- Knowing Self: Students will have many chances to examine their own strengths, challenges, passions, and concerns.
- Inspiring Others: We will use the power of stories and examine the successes and failures of leaders, past and present.
- Transforming Communities: Working together in teams, students will apply design-thinking in leadership to create solutions to problems facing local, national, and international communities.
As a culminating experience, each student will create a leadership plan for their home school that draws on the skills and strategies learned through ITI. Students will also share a signature leadership story (2-3 minutes) with the rest of the group.
Heidi Kasevich, Ph.D., designs and delivers programs to foster temperament-inclusive cultures in schools and workplaces nationwide. A specialist in quiet leadership and women’s leadership, she is passionate about helping students and adults alike to use self-awareness to optimize their ability to lead in today’s world. Kasevich, known for her effervescent presentation style, is a frequent speaker at educational conferences and associations, and her Quiet Revolution work has been featured on NPR and in numerous publications, including Huffington Post, New York Magazine, and Harvard Magazine. She is the author of the Guide to Giving, a highly-acclaimed K-12 philanthropy curriculum, and Closing the Gap, an influential girls’ leadership curriculum. Her proficiency is grounded in over 20 years of experience as educator and history department chair at schools and universities in New York City, including Nightingale-Bamford, Dalton, and Cooper Union. Kasevich has also served as Director of Académie de Paris, an Oxbridge Academic Program. A gcLi Alumna Scholar, she received her BA from Haverford and PhD from New York University.
Cost: $1,000 (plus cost of VEX V5 robotics kit - approx. $700)
Age: Rising 8th Graders and Older
Dates: July 6 - July 17
In this two-week program students will learn to use the VEX Robotics V5 system and VEXcode language to build and program micro-controlled robots that respond to their environments by interpreting sensory data. Student teams will engage in regular challenges that will test their design acumen, creativity, and critical problem-solving skills. The course culminates in a free build where students will incorporate elements from their surroundings into a creative robot that demonstrates all of the elements they have mastered during the course. Students are required to purchase (or access) a VEX Robotics V5 classroom starter kit (https://www.vexrobotics.com/276-7010.html).
Walter Schwarz is the senior systems administrator at the University of Bridgeport. He holds degrees in Computer Science and in Computer Engineering from the University of Minnesota, and he has more than 20 years of experience in educational technology. Prior to moving to Connecticut, he served as the director of technology for the Cherokee Community School District in Iowa, where he initiated and coached First Lego League and FIRST Tech Challenge robotics teams at the middle- and high-school levels. In 2016, he worked with the Hotchkiss Summer Portals course in robotics and is eager to return this year to lead the program, using robotics to guide students in the exciting field of applied technology.
Cost: $1,100 (plus purchase of telescope - approx. $200)
Age: Rising 9th Graders and Older (computing experience preferred)
Dates: July 6 - July 17
The astronomy program has two themes. The first is visual, quantitative observations with a small telescope. Students will observe and document the movement of the Galilean moons of Jupiter and the changing brightness of a variable star and produce mathematical and graphical models to better understand their nature. Students will also remotely use the 20” reflecting telescope at the Hotchkiss Observatory to observe exoplanet transits. Students will learn the process of calibrating images, performing differential photometry and analyzing the resulting light curve to learn about the size and orbit of the planet.
This is an intensive course and students should have significant experience using computers and access to a computer running Microsoft Windows, MacOS, or Linux with at least 8 GB of memory and 200 GB of storage free. Students will be asked to acquire a small reflecting telescope such as the Astronomers Without Borders OneSky (only sold in the US) or the Orion StarBlast.
Bill Fenton is an instructor in physics and astronomy at The Hotchkiss School and the recipient of the 2016 James C. Kapteyn Prize from The Berkshire Taconic Foundation. He has been working in a growing robotics program for the last six years, teaching an elective in robotics and advising a student club and independent studies that relate to robotics and physical computing. Bill trained at Carnegie Melon with the creators of the RobotC programing language. A tinkerer at heart, Bill can usually be found in his lab building things. His latest creations include an augmented reality sandbox, a internet-enabled Detroit Tigers Scoreboard, and a GPS puzzle box.
Age: Rising 8th Graders and Older
Dates: July 6 - July 17
The DNA science program will introduce students to DNA structure and function, the process of transcribing and translating genetic code into protein, and the study of the human genome. Students will have the opportunity to learn about the basic tools of DNA science, including gel electrophoresis, restriction enzymes, PCR and genetic transformation. College-level virtual simulations will be used to master basic experimental techniques. Online instruction will be supplemented with the delivery of a professional ‘Lab in a Box’ that will allow each student to complete a number of sophisticated DNA based experiments in their own homes. Instruction in the lab techniques necessary to complete these experiments will be provided by the college-level instructor via Zoom sessions. Online instruction will be supplemented with the delivery of a professional ‘Lab in a Box’ that will allow each student to complete a sophisticated DNA based experiment in their own home. Instruction in the lab techniques necessary to complete these experiments will be provided by the college-level instructor via Zoom sessions. The final experiment will involve the extraction of DNA and the forwarding of the DNA sample - where possible - to Hotchkiss for sequencing. Participants will then analyze the DNA sequences for mutations that confer lactose tolerance or intolerance (and the ability to enjoy ice cream!).
Age: Rising 7th Graders and Older
Dates: July 20 - July 31
Enrollment still open!
The Piano Program is a two-week course that offers young pianists an opportunity to work with world-class pianists who are also accomplished teachers. Through one-on-one lessons, group masterclasses, and lectures, students will refine their technique, expand their musical repertoire, and discuss common questions facing young pianists who want to take their craft to the next level: the best repertoire for an audition or competition, healthy practice routines, and building a portfolio for colleges and conservatories.
In addition to virtual concert performances by faculty and guest artists, students will be able to share their performances in virtual concerts held throughout the program.
Piano Program applicants are required to submit their application in two parts:
1. Submit a file (audio or video) using SlideRoom. Submit the required information here.
2. Fill out the application form for the Hotchkiss Piano Portals Program.
Piano Program Director
Fabio Witkowski is the program director of the Piano Portal. As both Chair of The Hotchkiss School Music Department and an accomplished professional pianist, Fabio’s commitment to developing musical students of all levels while simultaneously challenging exceptional musicians to continue to grow as artists and performers has made Hotchkiss a leader in attracting exceptional musicians and teachers. Fabio will coach piano ensemble, teach private lessons, and play a formal four-hands concert along with his partner and wife, Gisele.
A native of Brazil, Witkowski began his piano career at the age of six. Since then, he has been performing extensively throughout the world. Mr. Witkowski has given solo recitals in the Czech Republic, Brazil, Italy, China, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Boston, Hartford, Chicago, New York and Washington, DC. He has also appeared as a soloist with the Santo Andre Symphony Orchestra, Orquestra L’Estro Armonico, the Hartt Symphony Orchestra, the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, the São Bernardo Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Paulista Symphony Orchestra. In Brazil, he received the first prize at the renowned Villa-Lobos Piano Competition, as well as the Lorenzo Fernandez Piano Competition. He has been awarded the first prize at the Connecticut State Music Teachers Association’s Young Artist Piano Concerto Competition, and received third prize, as well as an award for the best Stravinsky performance, in the Ibla Grand Prize International Piano Competition, in Italy.
He has performed at the Tanglewood Institute, the Liszt and Wagner International Festival, in Italy, the Prague International Piano Festival, Festival de Musica de Girona, in Spain, and the Liszt Festival, in Rio de Janeiro. For the past four years he has been a guest artist and piano faculty at the Amalfi Coast Music Festival in Italy, having shared the stage with renowned pianists such as Bobby Roux, Ian Robson, Luiz de Moura Castro and Paul Badura-Skoda. He appeared in chamber recitals with the Grammy-Award winning Emerson String Quartet, the Fine Arts Quartet, the Adaskin Trio, and with Mr. Robert deMaine, principal cellist of the Detroit Symphony.
Mr. Witkowski holds a cum laude BM and MM from the Hartt School of Music, where he studied under the guidance of Luiz de Moura Castro. He is currently the Chairman of the Hotchkiss School Music Department, where his teaching efforts have included him for three years in the “Who is Who Among America’s Teachers” publication.
Some of his past engagements include concerts at Bryant Park and Union Square Park, in New York City, both sponsored by the New York Times’s Young Performers Series. Mr. Witkowski also performs regularly with his wife, pianist Gisele Nacif Witkowski. They have appeared together in prestigious settings such as the Gardens of Villa Rufolo, in Ravello, Italy, at the Kennedy Center, in Washington, D.C. and at Carnegie Hall, in New York City. According to the New York Concert Review, the duo “shows marvelous rubato and tremendously clean playing, with a lovely sense of tone.”
Mr. Witkowski has been acclaimed by the critics as “One of Brazil’s most promising talents,” who “never fails to impress the audience,” and whose playing “is able to conjure up the devilish colors of an inferno as well as portray an ethereal paradise...” According to the Hartford Courant, “Mr. Witkowski revealed himself as an accomplished pianist, providing many passages of bravura, sensitivity, and pearly agility.”
Piano Program Director
Critically acclaimed by the New York Concert Review as having given "the most genuinely fascinating recital debut in many a moon," for her New York solo recital debut at Carnegie Hall's Weill Hall, pianist Gisele Nacif Witkowski has been performing extensively throughout Brazil, United States, China, and Europe.
Mrs. Witkowski has performed in some of Brazil’s most prestigious venues. Sponsored by Funarte, she completed an extensive recital tour of northern Brazil, intended to promote the Brazilian piano repertoire, which included the capital cities of Brasília, Manaus, Boa Vista, Belém, Macapá, São Luiz, and Terezina. Other recital engagements have included the states of São Paulo, Paraná, Espírito Santo, Rio Grande do Sul, Minas Gerais, and the American states of New York, Washington, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Virginia, and New Jersey, as well as many performances in Italy and Czech Republic. Recent engagements included concerts at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage, and at Union Square Park (NY), sponsored by the New York Times Young Performers Series.
She has appeared as guest artists and professor in several music festivals, including the Amalfi Coast Music Festival in Italy for 13 years, the Wintergreen Summer Music Festival and the Hotchkiss Summer Portals in the US, and the São João del Rey, Ourinhos, and Londrina Music Festivals in Brazil.
Her orchestral engagements include numerous appearances with the Piracicaba Orchestra, the Philharmonic Orchestra of Rio Claro, the Hartt Symphony Orchestra, the São Bernardo Philharmonic Orchestra, and the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra. She has performed with renowned chamber groups including the São Paulo String Quartet, the Fine Arts Quartet, and the Amerigo Trio formed by New York Philharmonic concertmaster Glenn Dicterow.
Mrs. Witkowski also performs regularly with her husband, pianist Fabio Witkowski, as the Witkowski Piano Duo. They have appeared together in prestigious settings such as the Gardens of Villa Rufolo, in Ravello, Italy, at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall, and at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, as well as several recitals in the United States, Europe, and Brazil. One of their latest projects has been to perform Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring with the Bowen McCauley dance company, celebrating the 100 years anniversary of this masterpiece. About this collaboration, The Washington Post said, “Fabio and Gisele Witkowski played the four-hand piano arrangement as if they possessed the very paws of Fate.”
Mrs. Witkowski began her piano studies with her parents at age four. She graduated from the Santa Cecilia Conservatory and received her Bachelor’s degree from the Santa Marcelina College where she studied with Daisy de Luca and Isabel Mourão. She became the first prize winner of several piano competitions including the "The Villa- Lobos National Contest" (ES), the "Soloist Contest" (MG), the "Eleventh Young Instrumentalists Brazilian Contest" (SP), the "Concerto Competition of the Santa Marcelina College" (SP), the "Young Soloists Contest of the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra" (SP), and was a recipient of the "Artists International's 1998 Twenty-Sixth Young Artists Piano Award" (NY), among others. She has also appeared on various radio and TV broadcasts including WQXR in New York and TV Cultura in São Paulo.
Mrs. Witkowski received a full scholarship from the Brazilian Government to study at the Manhattan School of Music with Ms. Nina Svetlanova, where she received her Masters degree. She holds a Doctor of Musical Arts Degree from the Hartt School of Music where she studied under the tutelage of Luiz de Moura Castro. She is currently a member of the piano faculty at the Hotchkiss School in Connecticut. Her piano students have received numerous awards in regional, national, and international piano competitions.
Born in Cuba, Leonel Morales has lived in Spain since 1991, where he has been awarded many international prizes, including First Prize in the Guerrero Foundation International Piano Competition in Madrid and the Second Prize at Jaen International Piano Competition. He graduated from the University of Havana where he studied under Frank Fernandez, a student of renowned Moscow Conservatory professor Victor Merzhanov, firmly establishing Mr. Morales in the Russian pianist tradition. A professor of piano at the Conservatorio Superior de Castellón, Spain, Mr. Morales has performed all over the world, including the Weill Recital Hall of Carnegie Hall in New York City. He has toured with various orchestras, including the Spanish National Orchestra, Spanish Radio and TV Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic of Galicia, Symphonic Orchestra of Bilbao, the Symphonic Orchestra of Hamburg, Frankfurt-Oder Orchestra, RAI National Orchestra of Turin, among many others. While on tour with the Spanish National Orchestra, he has been praised by The Washington Post for his “...extraordinary interpretation and power.”
Morales’ ability and virtuosity have frequently been shown during his concert performances with the Spanish National Orchestra, Spanish Radio and TV Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic of Galicia, Symphonic Orchestra of Bilbao, Philharmonic Orchestra of Malaga, Symphonic Orchestra of Tenerife, Symphonic Orchestra of Murcia, the Symphonic Orchestra of Hamburg, Portuguese, Frankfurt-Oder Orchestra, RAI National Orchestra of Turin, Adana, Istambul and Ankara Symphonic Orchestras of Turkey, Virtuosos Orchestra of Berlin Philharmonic, Philarmonic Warsaw Orchestra, Dresdner Philharmonie, Philharmonic Orchestra of Bergen, Symphonic Orchestra of Ljubljana.
Leonel Morales has become member of the “Academia de Bellas Artes de Santa Isabel de Hungría”, in Seville (Spain). He is probably one of the only pianists in the world to have performed all Rachmaninov concerti, including the Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini, during two consecutive nights.
Mr. Morales and his wife are co-founders of the international piano competition “Spanish Composers” in Spain, International Piano Competition Maria Herrero, International Piano Festival Masterclass “Leonel Morales,” and International Piano Course for Children and Teenagers. He is also a guest professor at the Hotchkiss in Florence Music and Arts Festival, in addition to serving as a juror at major international piano competitions. In 2008, he was awarded the prestigious Tasto D’Agento prize in Alexandria, Italy, reserved for pianists with distinguished international concert careers.
Perry has won numerous awards including the highest prizes in both the Busoni and Viotti international piano competitions in Italy and special honors at the Marguerite Long International Competition in Paris. Since then he has performed extensively throughout Europe and North America to great critical acclaim. Also a respected chamber musician, he has collaborated with some of the finest instrumentalists in the world.
He also enjoys an international reputation as a teacher, presenting master classes throughout the world. He often is a jury member at some of the most prestigious international piano competitions. His students have been prize winners in most major competitions and include two first-prize winners in the Rubinstein, four first-prize winners in the Music Teacher's National Association national competition, and first-prize winners in the Naumburg National Chopin competition, the Cleveland Competition, Beethoven Foundation competition, the Federated Music Clubs, and the YKA, AMSC, and YMF competitions, and finalists in the Chopin International in Warsaw, the Van Cliburn, the Queen Elisabeth, Leeds, Dublin, Busoni, Viotti and the Three Rivers competitions.
Perry is professor at the Glenn Gould School of the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, professor of piano at California State University Northridge in Los Angeles, visiting artist faculty at Boston University, and Professor Emeritus of the USC Thornton School of Music. In addition, he recently founded a music school, John Perry Academy of Music in Los Angeles, where he serves as Artistic Director. During the summer he is artist professor at the Lake Como International Piano Academy, the Banff Center in Alberta, Canada, the Sarasota Music Festival in Florida, the Orford Music Festival in Quebec, the Morningside Music Bridge Program in Calgary, Alberta, the Internationaler Klaviersommer Cochem, Germany, the International Music Festival in Perugia, Italy, the Amalfi Coast Music Festival in Italy, Montecito International Music Festival in Santa Barbara, and the John Perry Academy Summer Piano Festival in California. In January he is main guest artist at the Sydney Piano Festival in Australia.
Resident Piano Faculty
Mina Hirobe Perry has performed in recitals as a soloist and chamber musician in Germany, Belgium, Italy, Austria, Ireland, North America, South Korea and Japan. She also enjoys concertizing two piano and four hand repertoire. Ms. Perry earned her Bachelor and Master Degrees with honor at Musashino School of Music in Tokyo, where she studied with Professor Tetsushige Maruyama and Professor Konstantin Ganev, who was the assistant of the eminent pedagogue Heinrich Neuhaus at Moscow Conservatory. After three years of concertizing throughout Japan and teaching piano privately, she moved to Germany where she earned her Artist Diploma and served as a correpetitor at the Hochschule für Musik Detmold. She continued advanced studies at the Glenn Gould School of Music in Toronto, Canada.
Ms. Perry is Co-Founder and Festival Director of The Southern California Music Institute and the director of the Honors Piano Performance Seminar at the Colburn School of Performing Arts in Los Angeles. Additionally, she maintains a private studio in La Crescenta, California.
As a dedicated teacher, her students have won numerous competitions and have been accepted to prestigious music conservatories and universities such as Manhattan, Eastman, Cleveland, Peabody, USC, UCLA, and Indiana.
Ms. Perry regularly performs at summer festivals worldwide, including Summer Music on the Shannon in Ireland, Académie Internationale de Courchevel in France, Vianden International Music Festival in Luxembourg, Amalfi Coast Music Festival in Italy, and Duxbury Music Festival in Massachusetts. She is also frequently invited to give master classes nationally and internationally.
Her biggest musical influence is from Prof. John Perry, with whom she studied in Germany, Canada, and now is learning from him everyday as his life long partner.
The USA Experience
For international students only, formerly “American Literature and Theater”
Age: Rising 8th Graders and Older (international students only)
Dates: July 20 - July 31
The USA Experience is designed to help foreign students who are fluent in English become more articulate and confident in their writing and discussion-based settings — a prominent feature of American education.Through short stories, poems, art, music, and film, students will take a virtual journey through the United States and its different regions. Students will write daily responses as they travel observing diverse landscapes and cultural changes. Lively discussions and prepared spoken reflections will encourage both analytical and creative thinking as well as language skills.
Susan Kinsolving, BA, MFA, American Literature and Theater Program Director
- Charlie Frankenbach, Instructor In English
Susan Kinsolving is poet-in-residence at The Hotchkiss School. Her poems appear in numerous journals, newspapers, and anthologies. Her three books of poems are: Among Flowers, Dailies & Rushes, and The White Eyelash. A new collection, entitled My Glass Eye, is forthcoming.
Her books have been critically acclaimed by The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, Publishers Weekly, The Library Journal, Vanity Fair, Poetry, The Los Angeles Times, and American Poet, among others.
Ms. Kinsolving has taught in The Bennington Writing Seminars, The University of Connecticut, Chautauqua Institute, Southampton College, and California Institute of the Arts.
Among the places she has been invited to read and lecture are: Harvard University, The National Arts Club, The New York Public Library, Printemps du Livre of France, The Yeats Society, Dunvegan Castle Arts Festival of Scotland, The French Consulate of New York, Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Riding Foundation of Florida, Yale University, Columbia University, and The Harman Center of Washington, D.C.
The Poetry Society of America presented its 2009 Lyric Award to her. She has enjoyed fellowship residencies in France, Illinois, Ireland, Italy, New York, Scotland, and Switzerland. She was a finalist for The National Book Critics Circle Award. She has received the Friends of Literature Prize in Chicago and a Bingham Teaching Fellowship in Massachusetts. Her poem “Dance Steps” was presented to Her Majesty the Queen of the Netherlands in a televised ceremony.
As a librettist, Ms. Kinsolving has works commissioned and performed by Glimmerglass Opera of New York, The Marin Symphony of California and The Baroque Choral Guild in Italy. Carl Fischer Music published her cantata and song cycle. In 2011-12, Oakland Symphony and Santa Rosa Symphony performed her recent piece, The Promise of Time, in collaboration with composer David Carlson.
Ms. Kinsolving received her B.A. from the University of California at Los Angeles and her M.F.A. from California Institute of the Arts.
Charlie is serving his second tenure as English Department chair. In addition to serving as the department’s liaison with the heads of department and the Educational Planning Group, he teaches a senior honors English class, a senior elective course, and lower-mid humanities English. Charlie balances his interest in 20th century American poetry and fiction with a passion for fly-fishing; he heads a fly-fishing co-curricular during the first semester. He also has coached in the Hotchkiss basketball program since 1989, most recently as head coach of boys JV. Away from campus, Charlie has led a trip to Dublin for Bloomsday and numerous excursions to Montana for fishing and meetings with Montana-based writers such as Tom McGuane and Doug Peacock. Charlie also was director of the Salisbury Summer School from 2016-2018. He lives on campus with his wife Lauren (director of student health and wellness at Indian Mountain School) where they have raised three children: Carla (H’12), Margaret (H ’16), and Henry (Millbrook ’19).
Age: Rising 8th Graders and Older (Macintosh computer with updated OS required)
Dates: July 20 - July 31
The software engineering program will introduce students to the world of software development through the creation of mobile apps. Students will learn the Swift language, currently the standard for creating programs for iPhones and iPads. Students will understand how to use Xcode to create a visual design layout and to capture events that ensure the function of their app. In addition to programming several pre-designed apps, students will learn the fundamentals of software engineering, including design, prototyping, and project planning. The culminating experience will be for each student to create an original app of his or her own design. The course follows a project-based curriculum that provides extensions for each project for those students who progress quickly as well as scaffolded checkpoints for each project for those students who are less familiar with app creation. It is ideal for students with at least some prior programming experience, but newcomers are also welcome.
Matthijs van Mierlo joined the Hotchkiss community in 2019 as a teaching fellow. He is from Wallingford, CT, but has also lived in the Netherlands for several years. Matthijs is fluent in both Dutch and English. He recently graduated from St. Lawrence University with a B.S. in computer science, and he has worked at Hotchkiss Summer Portals for two years. In his free time, Matthijs enjoys photography, singing, and other forms of art and music.
Speech and Debate
Age: Rising 8th Graders and Older
Dates: July 20 - July 31
The Hotchkiss speech and debate summer portal will provide an opportunity for students to learn about various speech and debate events, explore important aspects of rhetoric and public speaking, and practice with coaches and experienced debaters. This program will include direct instruction with coaches, online readings and lectures, and live debating sessions with students from around the world.
Students will practice the speech and debate events used in the Worlds Independent Debating and Public Speaking Championships and the Debate Association of New England Independent Schools: Parliamentary Debate, Impromptu Speaking, Interpretive Reading and Prepared Speaking (After Dinner and Persuasive). In addition to work on these specific events, students will learn about classical rhetoric through readings from Cicero and Aristotle. They will watch videos of famous lectures and examine what makes these speakers effective.
In small group sessions, students will build cases, compose speeches and participate in debates, under the guidance of experienced coaches and debaters. All students will compose a speech (After Dinner or Persuasive) and choose and practice a reading. Students can expect to complete this program ready to participate in parliamentary debating tournaments and have readings and speeches ready for public speaking tournaments this fall. The skills in case building, refutation, logic, and delivery will help students to be effective debaters in any debate setting.
David Conti coaches the current award-winning speech and debate team at The Hotchkiss School. As a Latin and Greek instructor at Hotchkiss, Mr. Conti came to debate through his work with classical rhetoric. Teaching the speeches of Cicero, Lysias and Demosthenes, Mr. Conti knows well the breadth of knowledge needed to argue persuasively and the importance of rhetoric in making a strong case. He has been fortunate to work with an enthusiastic, successful group of debaters at Hotchkiss.
DNA Science Advanced: Viruses and COVID-19 (formerly DNA Science: Advanced Practicum)
Age: Rising 9th Graders and Older (some experience required)
Dates: July 20 - July 31
The DNA Science Advanced Practicum Program is intended for students who have a passion for hands-on modern molecular biology, and perhaps intend to pursue future research-level opportunities at the high school or college level. The coronavirus pandemic has upended lives across the globe. In the DNA Science Advanced course students will delve into the science of viruses, the specifics of SARS-CoV2 (the causative agent of COVID-19), the molecular basis for COVID-19 tests (both RNA and antibody-based) while also studying the mutation rate of the virus and tracking its spread across the globe using submitted DNA sequences from research centers around the world. The genome of SARS-CoV2 will be analyzed for function and potential vaccine candidates.
Finally, students will hunt for viruses in their backyard for submission to the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Phagehunters program. Supplies for bacteriophage hunting (viruses that only infect bacteria) will be supplied in a Lab in a Box supplement. Phage discoveries will be forwarded to Hotchkiss for genome sequencing and students will then use freely available bioinformatics programs to annotate the viral genome, adding start and endpoints for transcription/translation and promoter regions. Participants will spend half of each day interacting with the instructor via Zoom sessions, and half of their time engaged in hands-on research in their back yard searching for novel, as yet undiscovered bacteriophages. If a new virus is discovered scientific protocol and convention allow the discoverer to name the virus.
Some prior experience with the tools and techniques of DNA science, such as electrophoresis, micropipetting, chromatography, centrifugation and sterile technique is expected. Completion of a previous summer of DNA Science, high school biology and/or high school chemistry is a significant advantage.