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Clarkson University Offers Unique Courses for North Country High School Students This Winter

Clarkson University's Project Challenge, a unique academic program for North Country high-school students, returns this winter with a choice of nine five-week courses.

Students pass in front of Bertrand H. Snell Hall in winter.The popular program is designed to offer regional students in grades 9-12 an opportunity to participate in classes that are not commonly offered in their high-school curriculum.

Clarkson faculty and administrators teach the courses on Saturday mornings from 9 a.m. until noon for five weeks under the direction of The Clarkson School. This winter's program begins on January 17, 2015.

This year the program offers three new courses:

A Really Cool World of Social Media and Electronic Commerce with Associate Professor of Operations & Information Systems Somendra Pant will explore how social media like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are changing our world and changing the way we interact with others. They will explore technologies including computer networks, the Internet, and the wireless and cellular technologies that enable social media and electronic commerce. Participants in the course will learn how to set up electronic commerce Web sites and how to use the social media to promote a product or service.

Know Your Rights!! with Visiting Assistant Professor of Humanities and Business Joseph Andriano will explore questions like What are my rights in school?, What happens when I get pulled over?, and  What goes on inside a courtroom? Andriano has practiced law for six years in a small town in Vermont and has taught many high school students about their rights and responsibilities as members of a democracy. Through lectures, discussions, role plays, and mock trials, students will learn about what their rights are, what their duties are, and how to respectfully act within the legal system.

Strength and Conditioning - It’s a Science, not an Art with Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy and Physician Assistant Studies Ali Boolani will explore what goes into designing a strength and conditioning program. This class will explore the physiology of exercise and how science can be used to design strength and conditioning programs that can help improve performance and reduce risks for injuries. Participants will be involved in a variety of activities to enhance learning through laboratory and field evaluations and exercise techniques; brain teasers and memory tests; balance activities; strength training activities; and role play. Students will learn the role of cardiovascular, muscular strength, flexibility, body composition and muscular endurance in strength and conditioning.

Other courses include:

Students will discover how the field of psychology explores human behavior, thoughts and emotions from many perspectives in Psychology: More than Reading Minds and Lying on Couches! with Assistant Professor of Psychology Jennifer Knack. Through the use of video clips and activities, students will discover how the field of psychology explores human behavior, thoughts, and emotions from multiple perspectives (e.g., cognitive, social, biological, personality, developmental, and counseling/clinical).

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Students with Clarkson School Associate Head of School Brenda Kozsan will provide students with a step-by-step framework through exercises, team activities, and role playing for boosting self-image, building friendships, resisting peer pressure, achieving goals, improving communication and relationships with parents, and success in high school, college and in life.  

Writing Software and Changing the World with Associate Professor of Computer Science Jeanna Matthews will give students a solid introduction to the fundamentals of writing software. They will write some fun software like a personality quiz they can use on friends and a text-based game, and discuss careers in computing and the ways in which citizens with knowledge of computing can make a difference in the world.

Engineering for Life with Clarkson Mechanical Engineering Ph.D. Student Melissa Richards will provide students with an opportunity to learn how engineers are able to design the devices we see everywhere around us. Students will even have the opportunity to design and build their own “Rec-Rube-y”!

Blood and Guts: Medical History through the Ages with Associate Professor of History Stephen Casper will provide students with an opportunity to explore a number of different case studies from actual historical medical records and advance medical problem-solving skills.

Cryptography through the Ages with Associate Professor of Computer Science Christino Tamon will have students learn about cryptography, which is the science of designing and breaking secret codes. This course will describe the progress of cryptography through the ages, from the time of the Roman Empire, through the modern day techniques of the digital revolution, and to the future ideas based on quantum physics. The course will focus on the basic underlying ideas of cryptography and their simple implementations using computer programs. A fair amount of the course material will involve computer programming in a suitable programming language.

Project Challenge courses will begin on January 17 and continue through the next four Saturdays until February 14, with a possible snow date of February 21.

Schools that have participated in the past include Alexandria Bay, Brasher Falls, Brushton-Moira, Canton, Chateaugay, Clifton-Fine, Colton-Pierrepont, Edwards-Knox, Gouverneur, Herman-Dekalb, Heuvelton, Indian River, Lisbon, Lyme, Malone, Massena, Morristown, Ogdensburg, Parishville-Hopkinton, Potsdam, Sackets Harbor, Salmon River, Saranac Lake, and Thousand Islands.

Interested students should first contact their guidance counselor to see if their school is participating. Participating high schools may sponsor all or part of the students' tuition.

If the school is not participating, the out-of-pocket expense for the program is $140 per student. Enrollment in all courses is now available, but space is limited.

For more information, go to, contact Brenda Kozsan or Annette Green at 315-268-4425 or email

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and the health professions, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

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[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Annie Harrison, Director of Media Relations, at 315-268-6764 or]

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