Clarkson University Offers Unique Saturday morning Courses for North Country High School Students This Winter

Clarkson University’s Project Challenge, a unique academic program for North Country high school students, returns this winter with seven courses to choose from that are held five Saturday mornings from 9:00 am-Noon.

Through this popular program, Clarkson provides Saturday morning enrichment courses to regional students typically in grades 9 through 12 during the months of January and February. These courses are not commonly offered in their high school curriculum and are a wonderful opportunity to learn more about a college major/potential future career.

Clarkson faculty and administrators teach the courses under the Associate Head of The Clarkson School. Classes run from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. and are held January 12, 19, 26, February 2, 9 (with a snow date of February 16).

Among the seven courses being offered this year, there are FIVE new ones:

NEW!! Contemporary Social Issues – Instructor: JoAnn Rogers

This course explores the definition, causes, consequences, and solutions of social problems in U.S. society. Through films, readings, lecture, and discussion, students will learn about issues such as sex and gender, poverty, homelessness, economic and racial inequality, education, neighborhood segregation. Throughout the course, we will explore ways in which these social problems are part of the organization of society, and the way we can use our agency to address them.

NEW!! Geographic Information Systems – More than Maps – Instructor: William Olsen

Maps have been used for centuries to illustrate national boundaries, plan routes, and manage property records in addition to countless other purposes.  With the use of computers, maps can be combined to analyze the relationships between different types of data.  Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is the technology used to accomplish this combination and analysis of geographic data.  This course will examine the history and uses of maps as well as the development and uses of GIS software. Classes will be taught in a Clarkson computer lab and introduce the concepts of coordinate systems, map projections, and analysis of geographic data.

NEW!! Forensic Science – Instructor: Fatima Mustafa

This course will introduce students to basic laboratory procedures that are relevant in forensic sciences.  Importance of scientific analysis of evidence in criminal science will be highlighted with hands-on activities. The course will cover fingerprints classification, lifting and visualization with physical and chemical methods, the chromatographic method for ink and drug analysis, known/unknown chemicals investigation, and analysis of glass found in crime scene.

NEW!! Playful Programming – Instructors: Jeanna Matthews and Clarkson Students

Computing is changing nearly every aspect of our society. Learning to write the software that is changing our world, rather than just use it, is both a preparation for many of the best careers available and an essential preparation for being a citizen of the modern world. This course will give you a solid introduction to the fundamentals of programming while you learn to write some seriously fun programs like a personality quiz that you can use on your friends and a text-based game.  Classes will be in Applied Computer Science Labs at Clarkson and in addition to programming, current Clarkson students will help us mix in other great experiences with the hardware and software in the lab. 

NEW!! Fundamentals of Optics and Vision: Light up your mind – Instructor: Yaroslav Filipov

We receive about 80% of all information through vision; this sense is one of the six and is most amazing of human abilities. During this course, we will discuss all aspects of human vision, structure and function of the eye as well as common problems and general diagnostics methods. Application of basic principles of optics to understand the nature of light and developing those skills to learn modern optical engineering devices will be offered to students during weekend classes. From single lenses to complex excimer lasers, from refraction of light in water to optical fibers, from candles to stars, even the sky is not the limit. Every week we will learn the fundamentals of optics and will work together to complete experiments and challenges in a real optics laboratory: using lasers, lenses, prisms and mirrors to control and manipulate light. By the end, you will not only understand how we see the world around us, but also will discover the unseen.

Strength and Conditioning – It’s a Science, not an Art – Instructors: Dr. Ali Boolani and Clarkson Students

Have you ever wondered what goes into designing strength and conditioning program? Ever wanted to learn the science behind designing strength and conditioning program? This class will explore the physiology of exercise and how science can be used to design strength and conditioning programs that can help improve performance and reduce risks for injuries. Participants will be involved in a variety of activities to enhance learning through: laboratory and field evaluations and exercise techniques, brain teasers and memory tests, balance activities, strength training activities and role play. Students will learn the role of cardiovascular, muscular strength, flexibility, body composition and muscular endurance in strength and conditioning. Participants will interact with current students in our exercise physiology lab while learning laboratory and field testing. Each session consists of active participation and “hands-on” activities and/or exercises for the focused area. Note: Students will be performing exercises related to each body region and MUST come prepared with proper clothing and sneakers

Introduction to Engineering – Instructor: Bita Alipour Parvizian

Ever wanted to design and build your own rocket, tractor, roller-coaster, automobile, or robotic arm?  In this class , you will learn how engineers are able to design the devices we see everywhere around us!! You will even have the opportunity to design and build your own “Rec-Rube-y”!  What is that you may ask?  …. I guess you will have to register to see!! 

Schools that have participated in the past include Alexandria Bay, Brasher Falls, Brushton-Moira, Canton, Chateaugay, Clifton-Fine, Colton-Pierrepont, Edwards-Knox, Gouverneur, Herman-Dekalb, Heuvelton, Indian River, Lisbon, Lyme, Malone, Massena, Morristown, Ogdensburg, Parishville-Hopkinton, Potsdam, Sackets Harbor, Salmon River, Saranac Lake, and Thousand Islands.

Interested students should first contact their guidance counselor to see if their school is participating and to register. Participating high schools may sponsor all or part of the students’ tuition.  If the school is not participating, the out-of-pocket expense for the program is $145 per student. Enrollment begins December 14. The registration deadline is January 4.

For home-schooled students who would like to participate and register for a class, please contact The Clarkson School at (315) 268-4425.

For more information, go to or contact Brenda Kozsan at 315-268-4425 or

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