The Center for the Advancement of STEM Education

Summer Science Academy

  • Summer Science Academy Slideshow

  • Summer Science Academy Slideshow

The Center for the Advancement of STEM Education at Bridgewater State University offers hands-on science courses for students entering grades 4 - 12.

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Summer Science Academy for Students Entering Grades 4 - 12

The Summer Science Academy offers one-week science courses for students entering grades 4-12 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 course. Students in the middle school courses will also participate in extracurricular science activities. All courses focus on the importance of science communication as students lead presentations on the last day of class. 

2019 Dates and Courses

Dates Course Grade Level Registration Deadline Supplemental Forms Due
July 8 - 12 I Speak for the Trees Entering Grades 4 - 5 Registration Closed Registration Closed
Forensics Institute of Bridgewater Entering Grades 6 - 8 June 25 June 28
July 15 - 19 Shipwrecked: Exploring the STEM of Maritime
Entering Grades 6 - 8 July 2 July 5
Cancer in Context Entering Grades 9 - 12 July 2 July 5
July 22 - 26 A Whale of a Mystery Entering Grades 6 - 8 Registration Closed Registration Closed
Biotech Career Rotations: Biotech, Health,
and Environment
Entering Grades 9 - 12 Registration Closed Registration Closed


Please note that the registration deadline is the date by which you need to register for Summer Science Academy courses through Bridgewater State Universtity (registration will be available here). After you have registered, you will recieve a request to provide additional information which will be due by the Supplemental Form due date.

2019 Course Descriptions

I Speak for the Trees (Entering Grades 4 - 5)

A famous doctor once said, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” In this weeklong class, we will examine true evidence of climate change, a problem that will affect everyone’s future on this planet. If you care about nature and want to act as Earth’s crusader, this class is for you. We will research how climate change affects soil acidity in the northeast region of the United States, and will correlate this increase to changing plant diversity in the region. Students will create an outreach pamphlet that not only explains their research, but also suggests real world changes that any citizen can make, so that our planet will have a healthier future.  

No longer accepting registrations.

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."

No longer accepting registrations.

Biotech Career Rotation: 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 Immunosorbent 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.

No longer accepting registrations.

Cancer In Context (Entering Grades 9 - 12)

Students will explore the many questions related to cancer. How does cancer occur? How does cancer progress? How is cancer diagnosed? How is cancer treated? Students will explore these questions within the context of 6 “patients” and their different cancer diagnoses. Students will have the opportunity to perform experiments such as microscopy, gene microarray and gel electrophoresis. They will also complete activities and case studies relevant to understanding cancer along with an investigation of career options


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


Course Schedule for Students Entering Grades 4 - 5

Monday – Friday
Session I: 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Session II: 1:30 - 4:30 PM

Note: The same class is being offered during both sessions. Students may only attend either Session I or Session II.

Course schedule for students Entering 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!

Course 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!


  • Courses for students entering grades 4 - 5: The program fee of $200 per week is due at the time of registration and covers all course expenses including lab supplies and materials. The fee does not include lunch or transportation.

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

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

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

Refund Policy

Full payment is due at the time of registration.

  • A full refund will be issued if written cancellation is received more than one month prior to the start of the course.
  • A 50% refund will be issued if written cancellation is received less than one month but more than two weeks prior to the start of the course.
  • There will be no refund issued in the event of cancellation within two weeks of the start of the course.
  • For the Winter Science Academy only: In the case of inclement weather, a refund will be issued at a per diem rate of $81.25.


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.

Additional Information

If the student has attended a particular course previously, s/he will be unable to attend that same course. "Biotech Career Rotation: 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 Career Rotation: Biotech, Health and the Environment"t.

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.

Courses 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 course 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.