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Pre-College Summer returns with more offerings for high schoolers

Published on January 17, 2024

Pre-College Summer returns with more offerings for high schoolers

pre college social
Pre-College Summer participants socialize outside of class and make smores during the inaugural program in July 2023. 

Eastern Connecticut State University is excited to welcome high school students to campus this July for its second annual Pre-College Summer. Following a successful inaugural run in 2023, the residential summer program is returning with additional sessions and new programs designed to educate and inspire college-bound—and college-curious—teens.

“We’re incredibly excited to welcome our second group of Pre-College Summer participants to our beautiful campus in 2024,” said Chris Drewry, director of co-curricular academic programming. “Last year’s inaugural group had the time of their lives—living on campus, making friends and exploring their passions with our faculty experts.”

This July 2024, participants can choose from two weeklong sessions and select from eight interactive academic programs led by Eastern professors.

Students can learn about the psychology of grit as they harness their own inner fortitude; delve into the genres of horror and true crime; write poetry and fiction with a renowned author; learn about filmmaking and augmented reality; and glimpse the medical field with labs focused on nursing and public health.

Outside of class, Pre-College Summer participants will enjoy a variety of social activities in the company of like-minded peers as they reside on Eastern’s scenic campus in historic Willimantic.

T. Caitlin Vasquez-O’Brien will teach "Resilience: The Science of Grit and Overcoming"

Mark Fabrizi will teach "A Brief History of Horror"

Dan Donaghy will teach "Creative Writing Studio"

Racheal Pesta will teach "True Crime: An American Obsession"

Week 1 programs (July 14–19)

  •  Resilience: The Science of Grit and Overcoming—T. Caitlin Vasquez-O’Brien, professor of psychology
    • Students will conduct experiments to better understand how humans overcome obstacles, and work together to create personal success plans.
  • A Brief History of Horror—Mark Fabrizi, professor of education
    • Students will explore the early origins and modern expressions of this timeless genre of fiction, in both literature and film, as they consider the central questions: What scares us? And why do we love it so much?
  • Creative Writing Studio—Dan Donaghy, professor of English
    • Young writers will dive into the genres of poetry and fiction as they create new work, participate in writing workshops, star in open mics, collaborate with fellow writers and assemble a portfolio.
  • True Crime: An American Obsession—Racheal Pesta, professor of sociology
    • Students will explore the cultural phenomenon of true crime and our society’s morbid fascination with crime and murder, culminating with a group presentation of a lesser-known true crime case.

Sara Carroll will teach "Health Heroes 101: Unleashing Creativity to Conquer Diseases"

Kurt Lucin will teach "Pre-Med Lab: How the Human Body Works"

Brian Day will teach "Intro to Filmmaking"

Soojin Kim will teach "Visual Stories in Augmented Reality"

Week 2 programs (July 21–26)

  • Health Heroes 101: Unleashing Creativity to Conquer Diseases—Sara Carroll, professor of health sciences
    • Students will explore the field of public health as they brainstorm and implement creative interventions for real-world health issues.
  • Pre-Med Lab: How the Human Body Works—Kurt Lucin, professor of biology
    • Students will gain experience using common medical tools. They’ll diagnose various diseases based on case studies of patient symptoms and conduct their own authentic research project.
  • Intro to Filmmaking—Brian Day, professor of directing/film
    • Students will explore the art and craft of filmmaking and learn about professional opportunities in the film/entertainment industry.
  • Visual Stories in Augmented Reality—Soojin Kim, professor of art/art history
    • Students will gain hands-on experience with augmented reality tools and discover how AR is changing the way stories are told and experienced.

“As a high school student, I would 100% recommend this program,” said Olivia Arcari, who participated in last summer’s poetry writing workshop. “It’s so welcoming and you learn so much ... I feel like I’ve grown as a person and become more confident ... It made me really excited for college.”

High school senior Jared Palumbo took last summer’s filmmaking program. “I met a lot of interesting people and really enjoyed the whole process of putting together a short film ... It was educational and fun ... I got to push myself and have a really memorable experience.”

For more information on Eastern’s 2024 Pre-College Summer, visit or contact Chris Drewry at

Written by Michael Rouleau

Categories: Academics