2024 High School Summer Institutes

Program Schedule

High School Summer Institute students start their day with breakfast, independent study, and their morning session which meets from 10:00am-12:00pm. After morning session, students have time for lunch and independent or group study which is then followed by the afternoon session from 2:00-3:30/4:00pm. Sessions meet Monday-Friday and include lectures, discussions, and small group work. Sessions are designed to spark new ideas, energize writing and research, and open students up to new perspectives. Each institute will have required readings, daily assignments, homework, and a final project. Attendance at both the morning and afternoon sessions is mandatory.

Evenings are spent in optional enrichment activities and dinner. After dinner, community events provide students the opportunity to reflect and relax at the end of a busy day. 

Weekends are spent socializing with peers, studying, and exploring St. Louis.

Read about a day in the life of an Institute student

Ancient Studies Institute

July 14-27, 2024

New for 2024! Who were the ancient Romans? What were their lives like? What did they care about, and what did they believe? In this institute, you will work to answer these questions and more as you examine the rich culture and literature of the ancient Romans through the lens of “villainy”. You will read historical accounts of ancient Rome and explore the great “villains” of the monarchy, republic, and empire—to name a few: Tarquinius Superbus, Lucius Catiline, Livia Drusilla, Marc Anthony, and Agrippina the Younger. As we make our way through our sources you will learn about the daily life, social structures, governments, economies, and multiple religions of Roman culture. Furthermore, you will come to see how traces of Romans (virtuous and villainous) live on today! After two weeks of interactive activities, creative projects, critical reading, and class discussions, you should leave the course with a greater understanding of three things: Roman culture broadly, the impact that this culture has on our modern world, and what constitutes a “villain” in the Roman mind across the centuries.

This program is ideal for students looking to build critical thinking and research skills while learning to appreciate the differences and similarities between the ancient and modern world.

Prerequisite: none

Meet Your Instructor Maurice Gonzales

Creative Immersion Institute

July 14-27, 2024

In this institute, you will not only develop your storytelling and creative writing skills; you will also experience the impact of a university community on your writing. As you experiment in a number of creative writing genres (photo essays, poetry, memoir, scripts), you’ll share your projects with other students—and reflect on their projects. Morning workshop will be a place where we experiment with writing prompts and experience the power of workshop, as we share our projects. Afternoon sessions will be a place for us to engage with writers from across the Washington University campus and responding to prompts designed to focus on a particular skill. For instance: performing arts faculty might share an exercise in gesture & body language that inspires a line in your poetry. Environmental studies faculty will share perspectives that shape your fictional descriptions of place. Campus librarians will inspire your understanding of history and memoir as we learn from campus archives. Above all, you will experience creative writing at Washington University—and transform your writing as you explore these new perspectives.

This program is ideal for students with a strong interest in creative writing or performing arts. While this program is designed to build confidence, students should come prepared to share their work and receive constructive feedback from peers and instructors. A copy of the 2023 program syllabus is available here.

Prerequisite: completed at least two years of high school English by start of program.

Meet Your Instructor Dr. Bloomquist

Environmental Studies Institute

July 14-27, 2024

How do we preserve the world for future generations? What can we do as individuals and as a society to minimize harmful effects on the environment?  Students answer these questions and more as they discover the ecological principles that are the basis of environmental studies and sustainability. Students explore how environmental studies incorporates concepts from across natural and social sciences. 

This program is ideal for students with a strong interest in issues involving the environment. It is not a substitute for AP Environmental Science. A copy of the 2023 program syllabus is available here.

Prerequisite: completed high school biology by start of program.

Meet your Instructor Dr. Hanes

Healthcare Continuum Institute

July 14-27, 2024

Healthcare is an issue that affects us all. While we often think of healthcare as being confined to the walls of a hospital or doctor’s office, we all must realize that health does not exist in a vacuum. People leave their doctors’ offices and enter the real world, where numerous barriers to healthy lifestyles or access to treatment are common. In this institute, we will take a look at healthcare from a variety of perspectives, from community-based efforts to promote health and wellness to new advances in personalized medicine and therapeutics. We will use real-world examples and case studies to learn about the social determinants of health, and apply our knowledge of biology and public health to specific examples of challenges faced by our healthcare system. Students will gain a better understanding of how researchers, healthcare workers, social workers, policy makers, and public health professionals collaborate to address complicated problems with a multidisciplinary approach. 

This program is ideal for students with a strong interest in viewing healthcare with a broader lens not just clinical medicine. A copy of the 2023 program syllabus is available here.

Prerequisite: completed high school biology by start of program.

Meet Your Instructor Dr. Chavez

Research Development Institute

July 14-27, 2024

Reimagined for 2024! This institute focuses on conducting and engaging research. While different disciplines require different ways of conducting research, all disciplines require that one engage in research. To engage in research means to be responsive to and in conversation with others, their ideas, and their research methods. The different ways that we can engage and conduct research—and what we understand research to be—will be our topic of study. Come prepared to contribute your views on these topics and be willing to complicate your current views of research and the ways it can be conducted.

Over the course of two weeks you will conduct research on a topic of your choice, which means that when possible, we will focus on practical, applied work with primary and secondary sources, which should provide a good foundation for advanced research and writing in college, and we’ll give some thought to the different methods by which different audiences and scholarly disciplines select, analyze, evaluate, incorporate, and document the works of others. 

This program is ideal for students who want to develop their critical thinking and research skills, and explore deeper a specific academic interest or field of study. This is not a lab-based program. In previous summers, this program was offered over 5 weeks, so we are reimagining content for a new format this summer. A copy of the 2023 syllabus is available here.

Prerequisite: none

Meet Your Instructor Dr. Dustin Iler


Meet Your Instructor Aileen Waters

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