UMass Summer Programs Blog


Come to UMass Amherst for the summer of a lifetime!

7 Things You Absolutely Must Do During Your First Pioneer Valley Summer

Posted by Lily Cigale on Apr 5, 2016 4:18:40 PM


When I was a senior in High School, the Jump! program for incoming UMass undergraduates didn't exist, so I had to wait until after my Freshman year to experience my first summer in The Valley. Now that the Jump! program is established and growing, there's a chance for UMass students to spend a summer in the area before even starting their freshman year. I have to say, I definitely didn't feel completely comfortable and at home here until I spent the summer. There’s something about being in The Valley when you don’t have classes that really makes you realize: this is my home, this is where I live. I’m so excited for the incoming class of 2020 to be able to feel at home by the time they begin their freshman year! If you’re thinking of spending your summer with us in the Jump! program, here is a list of things you absolutely have to do this summer!

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Topics: UMass Amherst, summer, Jump!

Jump! Local Adventures: Mass MoCA

Posted by Lily Cigale on Mar 30, 2016 10:00:00 AM

For me, summer is always a time of creativity. You're out of classes and don't have to worry about grades or deadlines, so your brain is free to explore and create. Summer is the time when we love to read big novels, travel to beautiful places, grow colorful flowers, and maybe try our hand at a type of art we haven't tried before.

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Topics: 2015, UMass Amherst, 2016, summer, Jump!

Jump! Academics: Honors 201, Ideas That Change The World

Posted by Brock Parent on Mar 28, 2016 10:00:00 AM

One of my favorite courses that I have taken at UMass, and the one that actually led to my job with UMass Summer, is Honors 201: Ideas That Change The World. Honors 201 is an introductory honors requirement that challenges students to think critically about our world and the profound ideas that shaped it. A close connection is maintained in the course between the concept of the historical innovator and the concept of the student as potential creator. All students in the Jump! program for incoming undergraduates will take this course over the summer, so I wanted to articulate my experience in the course, the ways it shaped my personal growth and development, and shed a light on the professors who will actually be teaching the Jump! sections of Honors 201 this summer.

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Topics: UMass Amherst, 2016, Jump!

Top 8 Sandwiches on UMass Amherst's Campus

Posted by Lily Cigale on Mar 24, 2016 2:23:58 PM


One of the best things about going to UMass Amherst is eating at UMass Amherst. We've been ranked number two nationally for best campus food by the Princeton Review (number one in my heart and belly). When you're a full time student, and busy with work and extracurriculars, it can be hard to find time to sit down and eat a meal, but luckily UMass offers a wide variety of sandwiches for you to scoop up and take on the go! Here are the top sandwiches that I've bitten into during my years at UMass.

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Topics: UMass Amherst

Top 5 Classes I've taken at UMass Amherst (In No Particular Order)

Posted by Lily Cigale on Mar 22, 2016 3:58:16 PM


I am nearing the end of my Sophomore year at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and facing the scary truth that I am nearly half done with college, nearly half of the way to graduating. Wow. I can still clearly remember the stress, nervous excitement, and freedom that I was feeling as I applied to schools over two years ago, it really doesn't seem that far away. When I was 17 I could never have imagined the ways that college would shape the person I am becoming, but as I look back on my first couple of years, I can pinpoint specific classes that widened my mind and made me a better learner and person.

I am interested in community health education, understanding and correcting health inequities, and incorporating traditional herbal healing methods into modern medicine. These are interests that I never knew I had, because I was never able to explore them in high school. But UMass gave me the chance to take classes that introduced me to the things I am passionate about and the work I am good at doing. I'm not saying that you will develop these same interests, of course not! What I'm saying is that college will expose you to new things and that you will find new passions and skills that you never even knew you had.

If you choose to participate in the Jump! program for incoming UMass undergraduates or in one of our many pre-college programs for high schoolers, you will get a good idea of what college academics are like. I want to tell you about some of my favorite UMass classes and get you excited for the endless possibilities that you will experience when you come to college, wherever you go!

1. Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies 187: Gender, Sexuality and Culture with Professor Alexandrina Deschamps

This was one of the first classes I took at UMass and I still think about it all the time. I was lucky enough to enroll in this class when it was taught by Dr. Alexandrina Deschamps, a distinguished faculty member and the Associate Dean of recruitment and diversity for the Commonwealth Honors college. I had been considering myself a feminist for a while at this point but I didn't know exactly what that meant. This class showed me that the experiences that I have as a woman can be turned into theory to form solidarity and build relationships. I realized the power that I had as a woman and as a student. Further, I got the chance to get to know Professor Deschamps on an academic and personal level. Building relationships with your professors is very important, but it's also fun! Professor Deschamps is an amazing resource and friend to have on campus.

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Topics: UMass Amherst

Summer Programs Faculty Focus: About Media Literacy with Dr. Allison Butler

Posted by Lily Cigale on Feb 10, 2016 12:30:00 PM

Dr. Allison Butler is a lecturer and advisor in the Communications Department at UMass and is the Director of the Media Literacy Certificate program. She grew up in Maryland outside of Washington DC and has been working to expand her own critical understanding of media since Middle School, when she began participation in a Magnet program focusing on Media Literacy, an interest that has stuck with her through her academic career. Dr. Butler got her undergrad degree at Fordham University and got her MA and her PhD at NYU and now makes her home in the Pioneer Valley where she co-runs Mass Media Literacy, a grassroots organization supporting legislation for teacher training in media literacy.

Media is all around us and has a huge influence on our society and our selves, yet in high school you were probably never given an opportunity to learn about the language of media. As in most things, it is important to be able to be critical of our media.

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Topics: UMass Amherst, 2016

Summer Programs Faculty Focus: About Developmental Psychology with Dr. Erik Cheries

Posted by Lily Cigale on Feb 9, 2016 2:22:43 PM

Dr. Erik Cheries is an assistant Professor of Psychology in the College of Natural Sciences at UMass Amherst and runs the Infant Cognition Lab on campus. He is looking for a select few high-school-aged research assistants to join him in his lab this summer as a part of UMass Summer Programs' Six-Week Research Intensives Program that places ambitious high-school students in research labs with distinguished faculty members.

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Topics: UMass Amherst, 2016, Lab, summer, psychology

Summer Programs Faculty Focus: About Particle Physics with Dr. Brokk Toggerson

Posted by Lily Cigale on Feb 6, 2016 10:00:00 AM

Dr. Brokk Toggerson is a lecturer in the Physics Department here at UMass. He grew up outside of Atlanta and as young "Science Nerd" (his words, not mine), he attended a summer program at the University of Arizona and got interested in Astronomy. Because of his interest, he decided to get his undergraduate degree at University of Arizona. However, when he got there and took stellar astrophysics and hated it, he realized that particle physics was his true passion and talent. Dr. Toggerson moved to Geneva, Switzerland to work on his PhD and to work at the CERN laboratory, the largest particle physics laboratory in the world. 

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Topics: UMass Amherst, 2016, Lab, Physics

Summer Programs Faculty Focus: About "Understanding Your Brain" with Professor Geng-Lin Li

Posted by Lily Cigale on Feb 5, 2016 11:11:53 AM

Professor Geng-Lin Li teaches and does research at UMass Amherst. He grew up in Anhui Province, China and got his Bachelor’s degree at Beijing Normal University and his PhD at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Professor Li has always been interested in math and physics, but found himself studying Biology as an Undergrad in Beijing. When we met in his lab Professor Li recounted to me his dislike of some subjects and absolute frustration at having to identify various types of leaves at school. Luckily, he was able to get into the field of Neuroscience, specifically Neurophysiology, using his knowledge of biology and his natural talent in mathematics and physics to study the hard science behind our brain functions and the messages that our brains send. 

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Topics: UMass Amherst, 2016, Lab, Neuroscience

Summer Program Faculty Focus: About Arboriculture and Urban Forestry with Professor Brian Kane

Posted by Lily Cigale on Jan 29, 2016 12:14:52 PM

Professor Brian Kane is an Associate Professor of Commercial Arboriculture here at UMass, Amherst. Professor Kane grew up in Long Island, NY and received his Bachelor's degree from Holy Cross College in Worcester and his M.S. and Ph.D. right here at UMass!

Professor Kane’s Summer Program is titled Arboriculture and Urban Forestry and if you’re interested in trees, it’s the program for you! 

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Topics: UMass Amherst, 2016

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