In an effort to provide enrichment and connection for students this past summer, Drew introduced the “Drew Summer Lab.” This optional program gave students the space to explore relevant topics, build new skills, and interact with peers in a supportive environment through a variety of engaging and meaningful learning experiences. 

Drew Summer Lab was definitely not school as usual! Instead, the faculty  designed one-week, high-interest, uncredited mini-courses that are entirely ungraded and contain no assessments. They were conducted synchronously over Zoom, but were all hands-on and project-oriented. 


WHO: All Drew students and their friends, including incoming students & graduating seniors
WHEN: June 15-July 24 (all courses are 1 week, so sign up for a different course each week!)
TIMES: 10am-12pm or 1-3pm
COST: $125 per course



Summer Labs:

List of 6 items.

  • JUNE 15-19

    10:00am - 12:00pm
    This project-based mini-course will explore everything that you need to become the president of the United States. With a particular focus on the candidates, issues, and data from the 2020 election, students will learn about the American electoral process and what it takes to win in November. By the end of the course, students will work in teams to design their own presidential campaign and create an issues-based campaign ad that responds to polling data and electoral geography. 

    10:00am - 12:00pm
    Our body is a complicated network of systems, but its basic requirements of water and nutrition and movement are well-known. With all of the dietary suggestions, diets, and crazy new fitness trends, this mini-course will help us make sense of what the teenage body requires for fuel, to keep it strong, and to feel energized and at its best -- especially when we are spending so much time indoors. Each day, we will learn about nutrition and what our body systems need, and then we will integrate the anatomy and physiology of the body to explore a few different fitness routines. You will get active during this course! By the end of the course, you will create an at-home guide with some easy recipes and exercise options. 

    SPICE OF LIFE | Ali Blum & Layla Durrani ‘10
    10:00am - 12:00pm
    Everyday kitchen spices hold a magical history - what seem like normal, ubiquitous ingredients to us were once coveted items by those who traded them centuries ago. In this mini-course students will dive deep into their five senses using artmaking and exploration of edible items. We will investigate nutmeg, chocolate, pepper, cinnamon, and coffee. After learning about the historical significance of these items, students will work in pencil, paint, and collage to capture the essence of each spice through observational, abstract, and emotive drawing playing with narrative, contour line, and color. The emphasis is on exploration, risk taking, and play. At the end of the course, students will have created a body of work inspired by the spices of life!

    MUSIC PRODUCTION WORKSHOP | James Garrison & Mack Parlamis ‘20
    1:00 - 3:00pm
    Looking to keep developing your music on the computer this summer? Whether you are already a young producer or just getting started working with sound on your computer, this mini-course will help you take your ideas to the next level. Using SoundStudio, GarageBand, Logic (or another DAW if you have it), we will work collaboratively and independently to develop new work flows and refine our creative ideas.
    Open to all, beginning to advanced!

    1:00 - 3:00pm
    Look down: Ever wonder what existed below your house? Your favorite café? You might be standing atop an underground stream, or a pond that once served up drinking water to indigenous people. Look up: San Francisco is famous for its extraordinary architecture. This class will teach you to find the stories behind your favorite buildings. 

    YOGA | Jason Hoffman
    1:00 - 3:00pm
    Yoga is a practice that will help you to improve your strength, flexibility, and balance. We will also focus on controlling our breathing and quieting the mind through meditation. This course is open to those with no experience with yoga and is designed to help you stretch and work out the entire body, correct alignment, reduce stress, and practice mindfulness. 
  • JUNE 22-26

    SAN FRANCISCO ACTIVISM | Shraddha Chaplot & Jon Zeljo
    10:00am - 12:00pm
    Think global, act local. In this mini-course, students will learn about several citywide challenges faced by the San Francisco community. From homelessness to public safety, students will dive into the deeply rooted history of these issues and gain a preliminary understanding of how they have come to be synonymous with SF. Whether individually or in small teams, students will select one topic they feel strongly about, brainstorm a proposal to address it, and create an online campaign. They will also be introduced to technology and tools to propel their message, including setting up a website, social media usage, and methods in publicly promoting their ideas. By the end of the course, students will become experts on their chosen issue, have a plan in place to work for change, and possess the courage to stand up for something they believe in.

    VOICE-OVER ACTING LAB | Amelia Stewart
    10:00am - 12:00pm
    Have you ever wondered how to get a job voicing commercials, audiobooks, animation, documentaries, or video games? This mini-course offers the opportunity to experiment with diverse genres of voice-over acting. Practice articulating your speech, analyzing text, incorporating direction, and playing with character. You'll also learn the basic elements of Sound Studio editing software as you create your own demo recording at home.

    10:00am - 12:00pm
    Learn how to create a closed loop ecosystem in your own backyard. Plan a vegetable garden based on what grows in your climate.  Learn to create an organic environment, planting organic plants, using organic compost and organic soil. Take what you produce and process it into food to store or eat. 
    Learn the art of composting and how to create and use it in your garden. Control pests using natural environmentally friendly methods.

    KERBAL SPACE PROGRAM | Chiron Mukherjee
    1:00 - 3:00pm
    Have you ever wanted to create and run your own version of NASA or SpaceX? It is possible to do it this summer in just one week! We will use the Kerbal Space Program game to create fully-functional spacecraft from satellites orbiting the Earth to manned missions to the Moon and beyond. This game uses very realistic aerodynamics and orbital physics to create a challenging and fun simulation. Along the way, we will explore real historic and possible future space missions, and chat about any cool astrophysics and space-related topics you want to learn more about. Note: Students will need to purchase Kerbal Space Program via Steam ($40) and have a PC/Mac capable of playing it.
    1:00 - 3:00pm
    Creative writing is an outlet to express your thoughts and ideas, connect to the world, and fully immerse yourself in storytelling! In this mini-course, you will spend time exploring the creative writing process and will have the opportunity to try out different writing styles and elements of story. Through diverse exercises, you develop your use of voice, imagery, characterization, dialogue, narration, and more. We will explore long and short fiction, poetry, and memoir. By the end of the workshop, you will have a grasp of your own process as a writer, as well as a collection of ideas to continue working on.

    COMIC ART | Jason Whiton
    1:00 - 3:00pm
    Students in this mini-course will make their own comic projects by exploring character design, writing, layout, penciling, and inking. Styles include comic strips, mini comics, and single-panel cartoons. Students will leave the course with a portfolio of cool drawings!
  • JUNE 29 - JULY 3

    AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS | Luis Fernandez
    10:00am - 12:00pm
    You have 11 weeks of summer and have a travel itch. Money, safety, and COVID-19 are not issues! Plan an itinerary of where you’ll go and why. The purpose is to connect and build empathy with teenagers around the world. You are not traveling just for sightseeing, and you are not staying in resorts. Instead, you travel to learn from people your age about how they live, their relationships with family and friends, their day-to-day problems, and their personal stories. You will learn about their language, customs, faith, food, education, and free time. Challenge yourself by going to places, for example, where there is political suppression, discrimination of minorities, religious persecution, or stigmatization of people who identify as GLBTQ+. Go to every continent or stay in one country -- it’s up to you! Students can create slides of their itinerary, a travel video, a travel blog, or even write letters to the friends they meet along the way! 
    10:00am - 12:00pm
    Do you love music? Cooking? Sports? Photography? TikTok? Whatever your passion is, you can write about it online and get paid to do it. In this course, you'll research story angles and digital publications (and what they pay), learn how to develop your "beat" and online persona, and, ultimately, craft a story pitch for a digital publication. You'll also have a chance to talk to guest writers published in Rolling Stone, Vox, NYTimes, and the SF Chronicle. Teaching the course will be Katie Hunter, a Drew tutor, teacher, and freelance writer with clients in the tech and education spaces.
    CHINESE CUISINE | Jin Feiszli
    10:00am - 12:00pm
    Experience creative global cooking at its best! In this mini-course, students will learn about the cuisines of China, including foods and preparation techniques that are native to the different regions of China. As students prepare the cuisine of these regions, they will explore the food customs of its people, learn a little about local geography and history, and sample a multi‐cultural feast from Beijing. We will learn about and prepare foods for four days, and on the fifth day of class, students will prepare a Chinese dinner for their families. Vegetarian and meat options! Note: Because this is a cooking class, students will need to purchase approximately $40 of groceries for the week.

    ENGINEERING CHALLENGE LAB | Chiron Mukherjee (Additional supplies fee of $25)
    1:00 - 3:00pm
    The egg box, pumpkin chucking, and the popsicle stick bridge are iconic engineering challenges that are fun and encourage friendly competition. We will attempt all three this summer! With limited equipment (which will be provided to you), you will build a contraption that can protect an egg from dropping off a building, construct a mini-catapult or trebuchet that can launch a ball the farthest, and build a popsicle stick bridge that can withstand the largest weight. You will collaborate in teams and be hands-on all the time. Bonus: celebrity guest judges (Drew teachers) and fun prizes!

    CHARACTER MASK LAB | Amelia Stewart & Ali Blum (Additional supplies fee of $25)
    1:00 - 3:00pm
    The focus of this mini-course is to design two masks that will have an instant visual impact and clearly communicate character. Artistic mediums and techniques will include painting, blending, stenciling, and collage. You are welcome to go further, using found materials such as makeup, fabric, costume jewelry -- whatever moves you beyond the supplies we send. Use your mask to develop a character through writing and play. Emphasis is on having fun, experimentation, and risk taking.

    1:00 - 3:00pm
    Have you ever wondered how to research your family’s roots? This mini-course will expose you to the basic principles of genealogy and the best primary and secondary resources to gather information about your distant (and not-so-distant) family trees. We will focus mostly on U.S. genealogy (mostly due to the ability to access more records), but will touch on how to go about international research as well, assuming that records are available. In addition, we will look at the pluses and minuses of genetic genealogy, and how to use the information effectively if you choose to get a DNA test done for research purposes.
  • JULY 6-10

    DESIGN THINKING IN ART & SCIENCE | Lisa Bostwick & Khrista Williams
    10:00am - 12:00pm
    Join us in an experiment of “Design Thinking.” We will practice brainstorming, problem defining, prototyping, and revising in order to design an original scientific inquiry and make some original art. Students will leave with a new understanding of how artists and scientists share many of the same strategies. We will practice both collaborative and individual hands-on work with the goal of breaking down the wall between art and science. 

    DREWTUBERS SIN FRONTERAS | Maria Lopez-Larios (English-free/Spanish-only)
    10:00am - 12:00pm
    ¿Te sientes cómodo/a hablando español? ¿No les tienes miedo a las cámaras? ¿Crees que podríamos hacernos virales en YouTube con nuestros vídeos? Este verano tienes la oportunidad de trabajar con un grupo de estudiantes apasionados por el español, exactamente como tú.¡ Vamos a crear un canal de YouTube con contenido exclusivamente en español! No importa si tu español no es perfecto... lo importante es diverstirse hablándolo. Este curso es ideal para ti si: te gusta el español, disfrutas hablándolo, quieres mejorar tu habilidad oral, quieres trabajar con otros estudiantes que se sienten como tú y no te sientes intimidado/a por la posibilidad de alcanzar fama mundial con tus videos.  En esta clase no usaremos inglés para nada.

    REVIEW REVUE | James Vescovi
    10:00am - 12:00pm
    Students will learn the skills needed to review—anything! We begin with reading the work of professional reviewers. What constitutes a good review? What language and research is needed to assess accurately and fairly? Next, we review! For example, we will review a movie (based on acting, dialogue, special effects, cinematography, etc.) and food (probably based on take-out!). Finally, we might try three different brands of chocolate and rate each on taste, price, packaging. Students will finish with a small body of reviews to share.

    1:00 - 3:00pm
    In this mini-course we will explore the American jury trial system from beginning to end, looking at opening and closing statements and some of the important rules of evidence. We will examine scenes from famous trials such as OJ Simpson and discuss what makes a good argument. The art of persuasion, including the elements of storytelling and the art of making connections, will be explored. The culminating project will involve picking a current case and making an opening statement or closing argument. Learn to make a better argument and how to persuade those around you to see your point of view.

    ZOOM IMPROV | Amelia Stewart
    1:00 - 3:00pm
    Play this summer! Improv games and exercises are a great way to create, collaborate, and have fun. We'll focus on the essentials of improvisation: listening, accepting offers, and spontaneity - in order to create original characters and scenes. You might wonder - how is this possible if we're not in the same room together? Using features of the Zoom platform, we can mimic a typical improv studio.
  • JULY 13-17

    EXPERIENTIAL EDUCATION COURSE DESIGN | Maren Anderson & David Fitzpatrick
    10:00am - 12:00pm
    Did you find one of your DEALL programs an exceptional experience? Were you able to learn new things about yourself at the same time as experiencing a new place or community? This mini-course will allow you to use those experiences as inspiration to create your own Experiential Education course. The world is your oyster, as you are guided through what goes into planning a DEALL-like experience. By the end of this course, you will have created a course itinerary, budget, and curriculum that could possibly be used by Drew in its future courses.

    10:00am - 12:00pm
    This is WEEK 1 of a mini-course designed for incoming 9th graders who have previously studied Spanish and plan to take Spanish 2 in their 9th-grade year. While exploring a variety of cultural topics, we will review and practice much of the language needed to be ready for Spanish 2. All work will be project-based. Students will create their own TV show and learn how to create and manage their own website! Note: This two-week mini-course is not designed as an accelerated course to advance courses; instead, it is designed as an intense review of Spanish 1 concepts and to provide students with the tools to have a solid year in Spanish 2. 

    LEADERSHIP WORKSHOP | Anders Fairbanks
    10:00am - 12:00pm
    What makes an effective leader? Engage in this one-week workshop to develop and hone your leadership skills! Open to all students, this course will be especially useful if you will be taking on any leadership roles at Drew in the '20-'21 school year. In this course you will explore your own leadership style and tendencies, examples of leadership in history, communication styles and best practices, deep listening, and collaborative brainstorming around filling student leadership gaps at Drew. You will come away from the course with a toolkit of skills, approaches and activities - along with a greater sense of yourself as a leader. 

    1:00 - 3:00pm
    Ever wondered why Regina George of Mean Girls reminds you of Cheryl from Riverdale? Or why the love interest in the high school movie is always a jock? The Mean Girl. The Weird Girl. The Nice Guy. The Ladies Man. In this mini-course, we will discuss the major tropes and archetypes presented to us in popular TV shows and films. Each class will cover a different trope. We will end the class by writing short reflections on how these tropes and archetypes bleed out of the screen and into our own lives.

    1:00 - 3:00pm
    What makes a mammal capable of living in a marine environment? They must meet the characteristics of all mammals — they breathe air through lungs, are warm-blooded, have hair (at some point during life), and produce milk to nurse their young — while also living most or all of their lives in or very near the ocean. During this course, we will explore the highly adapted nature of marine mammal anatomy and physiology while exploring the behavior and lifestyles of these extraordinary creatures. Students will hear from experts in the field and have the opportunity of learning a bit of data analysis, which helps us to understand how we protect our oceans and its inhabitants.
  • JULY 20-24

    10:00am - 12:00pm
    This is WEEK 2 of a mini-course designed for incoming 9th graders who have previously studied Spanish and plan to take Spanish 2 in their 9th-grade year. While exploring a variety of cultural topics, we will review and practice much of the language needed to be ready for Spanish 2. All work will be project-based. Students will create their own TV show and learn how to create and manage their own website!  Note: This mini-course is a continuation from the previous week.
Drew knows and believes in teenagers. We engage each student in a process of intellectual discovery to develop an individual voice, the confidence to express it, and the empathy to understand its impact.
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