October 29, 2023

Summer Academy introduces prospective students to the Beloit experience

A cohort of high schoolers from across the country chose to spend half of the month of June on Beloit’s campus — but it wasn’t at all like the summer school you’d expect.

Prospective Beloiters keeping it real at the CELEB podcast studio during Summer Academy. Prospective Beloiters keeping it real at the CELEB podcast studio during Summer Academy.
Credit: Veeka Malanchuk’24

The inaugural Summer Academy, a two-week residential, for-credit course, allowed the students to experience college life, before beginning the college application process, as rising juniors or seniors. (One student participant is now a current first-year at Beloit.) They took a course taught by a group of Beloit College faculty that explored the theme of authenticity through various disciplines, including music, anthropology, theatre, and cognitive science. At the end of the course, they presented a final project to family and friends, reflecting on what they learned and experienced on and off campus.

The course, called Keepin’ It Real: Fakes, Forgeries, Fantasies, and the Quest for Authenticity, was led by Professor of Music Daniel Barolsky, who invited six guest instructors to explore the topic from their own disciplinary perspectives: Nicolette Meister, director of the Logan Museum of Anthropology on museums and the history of forgeries; Academic Curator Christa Story on art museums and the distinction between originals and copies; Associate Professor of Theatre Amy Sarno on imitation and identity in the performing arts; Professor of Cognitive Science Robin Zebrowski on the real and the virtual in cognitive science and AI; Associate Professor of Modern Languages and Literature Susan Furukawa on the history of samurai in Japan; and Assistant Professor of Economics Kevin Smith on economics and currency.

“The students got to see the benefit of collaborative learning and teaching and looking at one common idea from different perspectives in a very hands-on manner,” says Barolsky. Each student presented a personal take on the lessons they most connected with and created a video about their experiences out of the classroom. Evenings were reserved for fun, which included a concert at Riverside Park, visits to the Buccaneer Boathouse and nearby Anderson Japanese Gardens, a Beloit Sky Carp baseball game, a bonfire night, and game nights in the Powerhouse.

“We met every afternoon to reflect on the morning’s class and to plan for their independent work,” says Barolsky. “I wanted the students to take the lead on how they wanted to present their work and simply pushed them, during our conversations, to think about how different themes and topics intersected from one discipline to another. They did an absolutely marvelous job.”

Summer Academy 2024 will take place from June 16-29. “We hope this program grows larger in the coming years, continuing to inspire future Beloiters and encouraging interdisciplinary liberal arts studies,” says Program Coordinator Michele Campbell’96. Applications for the 2024 Summer Academy open on Feb. 1 and close on May 1.


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