The Center for the Advancement of STEM Education

Summer Science Academy

The Center for the Advancement of STEM Education at Bridgewater State University offers hands-on science classes for students entering grades 6-12.



Summer Science Academy for Students Entering Grades 6-12

The Summer Science Academy offers one-week science classes for students entering grades 6-12 in the fall of 2019. This unique program allows students to work as scientists and is designed to inspire students about science while providing them with the foundations necessary for further scientific exploration.

Summer Science Academy students are immersed in science courses and conduct hands-on investigations in their selected class. Students in the middle school classes  will also participate in extracurricular science activities. All classes focus on the importance of science communication as students lead presentations on the last day of class. 


2018 Dates and Courses

Dates Classes Grade Levels
July 9-13 Shipwrecked: Exploring the STEM of Maritime Archaeology Entering grades 6-8
Biotech, Health, and the Environment Entering grades 9-12
July 16-20 Forensics Institute of Bridgewater (Registration closed) Entering grades 6-8
Deadliest Catch: The Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment
of Infectious Diseases
Entering grades 9-12
July 23-27 A Whale of a Mystery Entering grades 6-8
The Graveyard of the Atlantic:
Maritime Archaeology in Massachusetts
Entering grades 9-12



Classes will be held on BSU’s main campus, in the Dana Mohler-Faria Science and Mathematics Center, located at 24 Park Avenue in Bridgewater.

Class schedule for students in grades 6-8

Monday – Thursday
8:30 AM – 4:00 PM: Class in session
8:30 AM – 2:30 PM: Class in session
2:30 PM – 4:00 PM: Final Presentations – Friends and Family are welcome!

Class schedule for students in grades 9-12

Monday – Thursday
9:00 AM – 4:30 PM: Class in session
9:00 AM – 3:00 PM: Class in session
3:00 PM – 4:30 PM: Final Presentations – Friends and Family are welcome!


2018 Courses and Course Descriptions

Forensics Institute of Bridgewater (Entering grades 6 - 8)

As a new employee at the Forensics Institute of Bridgewater (FIB), you expect your intensive training on crime scene investigations to be exciting, but you never thought it would be THIS exciting.  While training on the various crime lab biotechnology techniques, a live case is delivered and F.I.B. needs YOU to help determine what happened!

Have you ever watched Crime Scene Investigators and wondered what really happens to the evidence at a crime scene and how that evidence is used to solve the crime? Join us in a week-long adventure into the life of a crime scene analyst!  Working with Senior Scientists, you will learn how to collect and analyze fingerprints from a simulated crime scene, perform blood type analysis and get closer to solving the mystery using DNA fingerprinting. At the end of the week, you will present your findings as an expert crime scene technician to our "jury" so they can determine if your lab analysis and scientific evidence is sufficient for the case to go to trial.

Shipwrecked: Exploring the STEM of Maritime Archaeology (Entering grades 6 - 8)

Come join us where history meets science at the water's edge! Ever wonder what causes shipwrecks, and how scientists explore, study, and map them and other artifacts under water? Now you can find out! This program teaches the concepts, methods, and technology used in the field of maritime archaeology -- and applies them to real-world, hands-on experiences like documenting an actual shipwreck!

Please note that students access shipwrecks from the shore and will be in water no deeper than 2-3 feet.  All students will wear waders provided by the program. Outdoor activities are dependent on weather and conditions.  

Whale of a Mystery (Entering grades 6-8)

Imagine that you have just been hired as a Junior Scientist for the Bridgewater Animal Forensics Institute (BAFL). Only a day into your training, an important case arrives. It is up to YOU to help determine if the tissue samples sent from a field agent are those of illegally hunted, endangered whale species!

During this exciting hands-on class, participants will use investigative laboratory techniques to solve a mystery related to the hunting of endangered Cetacean species. Students will work in teams to determine if a sample of "whale meat" is from an endangered species that has been sold illegally in a foreign fish market. Participants will learn about the natural history of these amazing creatures while they conduct laboratory research using state of the art technology and techniques, including protein extraction, quantification and gel electrophoresis. The results of these studies will be used to develop a presentation, which will be showcased at a public session for our "congress."

Biotech, Health and the Environment (Entering Grades 9 - 12)

In this intensive, week-long class, students will explore how biotechnology impacts our lives across a wide range of disciplines related to health and the environment. Students will learn about and conduct experiments routinely used in food and water safety labs to identify bacterial contamination, design and implement assays to identify genetically modified foods, conduct experiments used in hospital laboratories to test for viral disease and quantify the viral load of a patient, and perform experiments to detect and compare unique proteins in fish (Proteomics). During these exercises students will gain not only theory, but have the opportunity to carry out such advanced molecular techniques as Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), Gel Electrophoresis, Enzyme Linked Immunnosorbent Assays (ELISA), spectrophotometry, computer database searches (BLAST) and create computer-generated phylogenetic trees. This program is perfect for anyone interested in biology, medicine and/or biotechnology and will set you apart from your peers when it is time to apply for college. Biotech, Health and the Environment was previously called Biotech II. If a student has already attended Biotech II he/she may not attend Biotech,Health and the Environment.

Deadliest Catch: The Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment of Infectious Diseases (Entering grades 9-12)

We all can relate to the aches, pains, and fever resulting from infections, but what really happens when we “catch a bug?”  In this weeklong class, developed in collaboration with Tufts University School of Medicine, students will explore the causes, transmission, diagnosis, and treatment of human infectious diseases. Students will examine infectious disease pathogens, their life cycles, how they infect and harm humans, and how our immune system responds. Investigating the treatment options for infectious diseases will include understanding the mechanisms that make microbes harmful, and the pathways that vaccines and drugs target. Pathogens discussed in this course will include Influenza, Cholera, HIV/AIDS, Bubonic (Black) Plague, Smallpox and Zika. The class will consist of a combination of interactive lecture, hands-on lab activities including culturing bacteria and conducting antibiotic assays, case studies, and more. This program is perfect for anyone interested in biomedical science or epidemiology and will be sure to set you apart when it is time to apply for college.

The Graveyard of the Atlantic: Maritime Archaeology in Massachusetts (Entering grades 9-12)

Massachusetts has over 3,500 documented shipwrecks along its coastlines, but there are few programs in the state that study them. Through this class, you will investigate and help on-going research at BSU and will document one real shipwreck in Massachusetts - a 17th century vessel housed in a museum.  You will learn and apply research and field documentation techniques used by maritime archaeologists, explore how science and technology make maritime archaeology possible, and discuss how history can lead to careers in STEM.

"Please note that students will be working with an extremely old artifact dating possibly to almost 400 years ago. They will be working within the confines of a museum, and will be moving and lifting small frames and ship timbers to document and photograph. They will be kneeling and bending over through the day to acquire data as needed. Students should bring protection for hands and appropriate clothes and footwear for these activities."

2018 Fees

  • Classes for students entering grades 6-8: The program fee of $400 per week is due at the time of registration and covers all class expenses including lab supplies and materials. The fee does not include lunch or transportation.

  • Classes for students entering grades 9-12: The program fee of $500 per week is due at the time of registration and covers all class expenses including lab supplies and materials. The fee does not include lunch or transportation.

  • This summer we are piloting a new class, The Graveyard of the Atlantic: Maritime Archaeology in Massachusetts.  The program fee for this high school class is $250, for this year only.

Seats are limited and filled on a rolling basis. We reserve the right to cancel a class due to low enrollment. A limited number of seats are reserved at a discounted rate for children of BSU faculty and staff.

2018 Scholarship

A limited number of scholarships are available to students who demonstrate academic merit and significant financial need, such as qualifying for free or reduced lunch. For more information on scholarships and how to register and apply please click here.

We are no longer accepting scholarship applications.

Additional Information

If the student has attended a particular class previously, s/he will be unable to attend that same class. Biotech, Health and the Environment was previously called Biotech II. As such, if a student has already attended Biotech II s/he may not attend Biotech, Health and the Environment.

At Bridgewater State University, we strive for a sense of community that maximizes teaching and learning relationships and promotes personal and professional growth. In order to ensure that the Summer Science Academy can achieve its educational mission, participants are expected to actively participate in the learning process in a safe and respectful manner. Students are expected to be able to work cooperatively as part of a team.

Conduct that is disruptive or in violation of the rights of others, including, but not limited to, hazing, bullying, verbal or physical harassment, intimidation and bias in any manner or media, will not be tolerated and may result In disciplinary action, which may include: a warning, consultation with parent/guardian, or in cases of serious or repeated behavioral problems, dismissal from the program as determined in the sole discretion of the University. Should a participant be dismissed from the program for any reason, tuition or any other program-related expenses will not be refunded.

Classes will take place in BSU laboratory-classrooms and other locations, including outdoors. Students are expected to adhere to safety guidelines, including, but not limited to wearing closed-toe shoes, use of safety glasses and use of equipment and reagents only as directed. Eating, drinking and applying cosmetics are prohibited in laboratory spaces. Participants must be dressed for an academic environment. Long hair should be tied back.

Outdoor activities include safety concerns such as exposure to sun, sunburn. and possible exposure to bee stings, insect bites, poison ivy, oak, and sumac. Participants in outdoor activities should bring and apply bug spray and sunscreen.  Additional safety information specific to each class will be provided to participants prior to the start of the program.

Once registration is completed, we will provide additional forms via email.  

Summer Science Academy faculty and staff undergo background checks in accordance with Bridgewater State University’s Policy to Protect Minors and Prevent Abuse.