Summer workshops introduce future college students to university majors

Students observing spider

Valley students preparing to enter grades six through 10 are invited to participate in low-cost, two-day workshops designed to introduce them to fields including forensic science, computer programming, psychology, game design, public speaking and environmental science.

The ExSciTE (Exploring Science Through Experiences) workshops in May and June are offered at ASU’s West campus through the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, the core college on the West campus. The campus is at 4701 W. Thunderbird Road in Phoenix. The initiative is sponsored by a grant from Women & Philanthropy, a philanthropic program of the ASU Foundation for a New American University.

“The ExSciTE project is designed to familiarize middle-school students with some of the many majors available to them at ASU and specifically the West campus,” said Susannah Sandrin, assistant clinical professor in New College’s School of Mathematical and Natural Sciences. “These fun workshops also are meant to help participants gain confidence by sharing their diverse talents and skills with other students and envision themselves as successful, happy college students.”

Workshops are taught by ASU students who are becoming experts in the topics they are teaching. Participants will be divided into two age groups.

The summer schedule kicks off May 30-31 with “A Better Environment.” Students will discover the field of environmental science and learn how their actions, such as what they eat, drink and drive, impact Earth. The students also will hone their public speaking skills through the development of a public service announcement.

“Number Detectives” follows on June 3-4. This program mixes the fields of statistics and professional communication. Students will explore how polls and election results can differ, and bust some popular myths by analyzing survey results. They will then practice sharing their findings through writing and public speaking.

“Creative Games” meets June 6-7. Creative writing meets game and video game design in this fun, hands-on workshop. Students will create a unique game of their own, and explore how a video game gets designed from the idea stage to the final programming step.

The final offering this summer is “Criminal Behavior,” June 10-11. Students will learn about criminal science, including the psychology behind identifying and arresting a suspect to making a solid case using forensic science techniques such as fingerprint analysis, DNA analysis and more.

Each two-day workshop costs $15. Students whose families are low-income (those who qualify for free or reduced lunch) and/or whose parents did not graduate from college are particularly encouraged to apply. Scholarships may be available for low-income students.

Students who are at least 13 years old may participate in a residential option, which includes the two-day workshop, one night in an on-campus residence hall with adult supervision, and two meals. A waiting list will be formed for students under age 13, and if space is available, they also may be admitted for the residential option. This option costs $40.

The ExSciTE program also offers half-day Saturday workshops during the school year.

For more information, visit, or contact Susannah Sandrin at (602) 543-5212 or