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Summer Program Students Explore In-Depth Courses

This week, the Loomis Chaffee Summer Program wraps up its two-week Immersion Program courses in writing, microbiology, and design thinking, offered for the first time this year for students entering grades seven through 12.   

The Immersion Programs, which are taught by some of Loomis’ most experienced teachers in small class settings, focus specifically on one topic — allowing for a deep and enjoyable dive into the subject. More than 50 students enrolled in the four Immersion Courses this summer: two sections of Writing Workshop and Design Thinking for the Common Good in the first session, June 24 through July 5, and Marvelous Microbes and Design Thinking for Business in the second session, July 8–19.  

In Writing Workshop, taught by Christine Huang ’11 and Jeff Scanlon ’79, students explored the fundamental elements of writing well with attention paid to proper use of grammar, syntax, vocabulary, and style.

Jeff, who is also a long-time English teacher at Loomis, said he enjoyed working with his former student, Christine, now an English teacher herself, in designing an intensive writing program that is tailored to the summer student.

“By design, we assign much less homework for the summer students, … [so] the demands of the daily periods were significant, and [our] students rose to the occasion impressively,” he said, noting that seven of the 12 twelve rising freshman and sophomores in his session were highly-motivated students who are enrolled at Loomis Chaffee for the fall.

“I have a clear sense of how to write effectively and critically and I feel confident on how to edit my work,” said Kate, a Writing Workshop participant from Seoul, South Korea.

Nainika, from Longmeadow, Mass., also took part in the Writing Workshop session and said she appreciated all that she had learned in the course.   

“I had a blast … and I learned so much!” she said.

In Marvelous Microbes: A Bacterial Bonanza, taught by Loomis Chaffee science teacher Dave Samuels, students learned basic microbiology through hands-on laboratory techniques and practices. The students examined bacteria in the human environment, learned about the growth of bacterial cultures, identified unknown microbes, and tested various samples for antibiotic resistance and sensitivity.

In Design Thinking for the Common Good and Design Thinking for Business, both taught in the Pearse Hub for Innovation (PHI) by Scott MacClintic ’82, director of the PHI, students learned to work together to creatively solve problems related to public service or business enterprises using the concepts of design thinking, engineering, and entrepreneurship.

Students in the Common Good session used a design thinking approach to come up with ways to promote community and friendship among Summer Program participants in the dining hall and common spaces, and they initiated other ice-breaking, community activities.

Participants in the Design Thinking for Business course met with entrepreneur Rachel Shuster of Ewe & You Fiber Arts in Windsor, Conn., who proposed a challenge for the students to help her find solutions for creating a community of needle art aficionados as a way to promote her business through social media. 

While the Immersion Programs cover serious academic topics, Immersion Program students joined in many of the activities and summertime fun alongside their peers enrolled in the five-week enrichment program and math academy.

“This first summer of the Immersion Programs exceeded our expectations,” said Jim O’Donnell, director of the Loomis Chaffee Summer Program, and he added that he looks forward to continuing to expand their offerings in the summer of 2020.