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Tufts Summer Accelerator

Available Seminars - Summer 2023

Session 1 | Session 2



Session 1 Seminars (July 9 - 21) 


Microbes & Microbiome

Instructor: Benjamin Wolfe & Nicolas Louw

Hybrid: Open to Both Virtual and In-Person Students | Session 1 | July 9 - 21 | AM Session

Microbes (bacteria, fungi, viruses) dramatically impact our lives, from making us sick to growing our food. This seminar will explore the diversity and functions of major microbial groups that directly impact society. From pathogenic to mutualistic microbes, students will learn about the biochemistry, molecular biology, genetics, and ecology of microbial systems. We will also explore the concept of a microbiome and how scientists are working to identify and manipulate the communities of microbes living in our bodies.


What is History?

Instructor: David Proctor

Hybrid: Open to Both Virtual and In-Person Students | Session 1 | July 9 - 21 | AM Session

What is History? There are many answers to this question and many of those answers depend on individual views and experiences. In this class we will try to understand the challenges faced by the historian and to try and figure out what history actually represents. Who tells the story? How do they tell it? What biases are in play? How do the times a historian writes in shape their attitudes? Does the historian make the history or does the history shape the historian? By the end of the seminar you will have a better sense of your own view of history as well as the power and responsibility that comes with telling and understanding history, the story of humanity.

Social Psychology of Prejudice, Discrimination, and Racism

Instructor: Sanjana Kadirvel

Hybrid: Open to Both Virtual and In-Person Students | Session 1 | July 9 - 21 | AM Session

This course will examine a social psychological perspective on stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination where we will examine implications for social perception and social experience for individuals' thoughts, behavior, and outcomes. We will explore and discuss original research studies in intergroup relations that shed light on potential ways to address discrimination. This course will include lecture based content, peer- and group-discussions, understanding psychological science, and a final project for students to design a study.


Women in Classical & World Mythology

Instructor: Marie-Claire Beaulieu

Virtual* | Session 1 | July 9 – 21 | AM Session

An exploration of legendary and mythical female figures from Greek and Roman mythology, Native American, African, Japanese, and South Asian. We will pay special attention to exploring and defining the nature of female empowerment in these stories and in modern representations of these female mythological figures through film and contemporary art.

*This is a virtual seminar, but is open to both virtual and in-person Pre-College students*

Russia's war on Ukraine: why, why now, and what's next...

instructor: Oxana Shevel

In-Person | Session 1 | July 9 – 21 | PM Session

This course examines the current war in Ukraine by situating it in a broader political context. We will examine factors that led to the Russian invasion and the consequences of the war in terms of international and European security, as well as democracy, dictatorship, nationalism, and domestic politics in Ukraine and Russia. To develop deeper understanding of the war, the seminar will include topics such as nationalism and imperialism in Russian-Ukrainian relations through history (with the focus on the 20th and 21st centuries); evolution of political regimes, electoral politics, civil societies and public opinion in the two states since the fall of communism in 1991; changing relations with the west and the impact USA, European Union and NATO had (and didn’t have) on the war. We will also address issues such as military strategy and capabilities in Ukraine and Russia; sources of Ukraine’s robust resistance to the invasion; nuclear weapons; sanctions; migration; and war crimes and accountability.


From the Renaissance to Instagram... How do we look at a work of art?

Instructor: Ricardo Strobino & Chiara Pidatella

Virtual* | Session 1 | July 9 – 21 | PM Session

In our hyperconnected world, access to images of all kinds is a defining feature of our daily life, to the effect that even the boundary between real and virtual is sometimes blurred. We are constantly exposed, processing, digesting, elaborating, producing, or simply passively receiving images, from ads to artworks, from road signs to YouTube. This course explores the concept of visual literacy and teaches students essential skills for reading and understanding works of art from the past and their modern reproduction and use.

*This is a virtual seminar, but is open to both virtual and in-person Pre-College students*

Human Factors Engineering: Design Thinking & Innovation

Instructor: James Intriligator & Joshua Ellsworth

Virtual* | Session 1 | July 9 – 21 | PM Session

Have you ever wondered how an innovation team learns from potential customers what product designs will work best for them? Are you interested in exploring how people might come together to design new products/services or to solve difficult, “wicked” problems like community adaptation to a changing climate? In this interactive seminar, you will be introduced to the exciting fields of Human Factors Engineering and Innovation Design. Through hands-on learning and practice, you will explore human-centered design methods and techniques that can be applied to various design projects, from product design to social interventions. You will use tools and approaches such as design-thinking, theory-of-change, stakeholder-mapping, and task analysis. Along the way, we will also examine the psychological, entrepreneurial, and social justice aspects of design and innovation. By the end of the course, you will have gained valuable knowledge and experience that will prepare you for working with others to design solutions that are not only innovative but also equitable and sustainable. No prior design or engineering experience is necessary, just a curious and creative mindset!

*This is a virtual seminar, but is open to both virtual and in-person Pre-College students*

Chaos Theory, Chaos Practice

Instructor: Anthony Bucci

Virtual* | Session 1 | July 9 – 21 | PM Session

"Chaos", as a mathematical term, refers to a phenomenon in highly-interconnected systems whereby they become sensitive to small perturbations in their conditions. Sometimes called "the butterfly effect", this sensitivity can make such systems difficult to understand and predict; even the act of observing them can change their future course significantly. We live our lives literally surrounded by chaotic systems, most notably the weather and climate systems. We are also increasingly turning our human-made systems, like the internet, the electric grid, and the financial system, into complex and potentially chaotic systems. In this seminar, we will explore chaos theory as a field of study, and we will explore chaotic systems in practice using a variety of computational tools, with a view towards developing a deeper appreciation of our complex world.

*This is a virtual seminar, but is open to both virtual and in-person Pre-College students*



Session 2 Seminars (July 23 - August 4)


"Black Panther" and Imperialism

Instructor: Marya Mahmood

In-Person | Session 2 | July 23 – August 4 | AM Session

Students will read the works of prominent Black writers and their responses to colonization and oppression such as Frantz Fanon, Walter Rodney, Marcus Garvey, Malcolm X, and Kwame Nkrumah. We will be watching the movie Black Panther, follow it with a debate, and connect the movie to themes of Imperialism and Black resistance.

Introduction to Children's Media

Instructor: Rumeysa Ozturk

Hybrid: Open to Both Virtual and In-Person Students | Session 2 | July 23 – August 4 | AM Session

What makes content developmentally appropriate, educational, or good? Who can be the heroes, heroines, princesses, kings, and queens in children’s animated cartoons? What kind of messages are we getting about who is valued in society? How can children’s media content embrace culturally sensitive and responsive practices? This multidisciplinary seminar will provide an introduction to children’s media studies with a focus on child development, education, and DEIB principles. We will reflect on how our childhood media experiences have an ongoing impact on our identity, media engagement, and well-being today. The course will mostly focus on children’s television but will also bring multimedia examples.

How the body works...

Instructor: Lauren Black

Hybrid: Open to Both Virtual and In-Person Students | Session 2 | July 23 – August 4 | AM Session

In this seminar course we will cover the physiology of the human body, focusing on the different organ systems and how they interact to carry out important bodily functions. We will also discuss how engineering plays a part in the study of physiology and the development of treatments for pathophysiological conditions.


Building Prototypes, Building Worlds

Instructor: Nicole Batrouny

In-Person | Session 2 | July 23 – August 4 | AM Session

“A good science fiction story should be able to predict not the automobile but the traffic jam” (Frederik Pohl). For every technology we develop, there are consequences for the society and culture that we live in. Also, the technology we build is shaped by our society and culture. In this seminar, we will explore this connection between society and technology through engineering and science fiction. You will develop your engineering design skills as you ideate, build, test, and improve your prototype. You will explore different prototyping techniques and tools to bring your product to life. As you build your product, you will also imagine the world it inhabits, considering the many impacts your product might have on society.

Free Will: Do You Have It? Does It Matter?

Instructor: Monica Link Kim

Hybrid: Open to Both Virtual and In-Person Students | Session 2 | July 23 – August 4 | PM Session

We make countless choices every day, but are any of them free choices? If not, are we doomed? We will cover various philosophical perspectives on free will and discuss some practical implications, including the rightness and wrongness of blame and punishment.


Natural resource materials of everyday life

Instructor: Jennifer Rivers Cole

Hybrid: Open to Both Virtual and In-Person Students | Session 2 | July 23 – August 4 | PM Session

This course is a geologic and environmental treatment of the materials we use. You will discover how materials are obtained from Earth, what the sustainability impacts are, how much energy is involved, what possible impacts on your health occur from using these materials, and how we might use more intensive recycling redesign to make the more environmentally friendly. We will use a number of case studies to underscore the importance of understanding where materials originate and how to choose them based on health impacts, sustainability, and other impacts.


Art, Truth, and Misinformation

Instructor: Kurt Ralske

In-Person | Session 2 | July 23 – August 4 | PM Session

What is the relationship between images and beliefs? Why do we accept (or reject) the truth of any image? Is art always political? The seminar aims to develop critical thinking, and extend that framework into the realm of visual thinking. The very real present-day problem of the use of misinformation for political purposes is examined through the lens of concepts taken from art theory, philosophy, psychology, and cultural criticism. Alongside small- and large-group seminars, students will explore creating persuasive images using a text-based Artificial Intelligence image generator.


Bad Witches of the Mythical World

Instructor: Pau Canigueral Batlosera

Hybrid: Open to Both Virtual and In-Person Students | Session 2 | July 23 – August 4 | PM Session

Have you ever wondered how women are portrayed in ancient mythology? What are the characteristics of heroines and the recurrent themes of their myths? Are women in mythology secondary figures of a world dominated by men or are they a challenging force against patriarchy? In fact, myths and legends are filled with women who execute revenge, practice sorcery, succeed in cheating death, and even establish matriarchal societies. Drawing on a variety of sources, including literary works, Ted Talks, art and podcasts, we will study these female-characters who became exemplary for their deeds, both good and bad. In this discussion-based seminar, we will also examine how these legends have shaped femininity for through the ages, including their influence on modern feminist characters.


Responsibility in the Law

Instructor: Cindy Ling

Hybrid: Open to Both Virtual and In-Person Students | Session 2 | July 23 – August 4 | PM Session

When the law holds us responsible, it typically holds us responsible for something we have done. Sometimes, however, we can also be held responsible for something we have not done, but which we should have done, as in cases of negligence. What, then, are the criteria for establishing responsibility, according to the law? What is the persistent thread underlying judgements of responsibility, legal or otherwise – if there is any such thread at all? Lastly, how do (or how should) our understanding of causal or moral responsibility impact how we think about legal responsibility? This seminar aims to explore these questions in light of influential contemporary ideas in legal philosophy, ethics, and metaphysics.