Boston Leadership Institute

Boston Leadership Institute

Wellesley, Massachusetts, United States

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Camp Category: Academics, Aviation, Biology, Business, Gifted, Marine Biology, Math, Medicine, Other Academics, Pre-College, Science, Space, STEM, Day Camps, Residential, Sports, Nature Studies, Technology, 3D-Design, Robotics, and Rocketry

Summer Medicine, Engineering, Science, and Business programs have been named among the top in the country. Award-winning teachers lead programs and classes.  Students take STEM-themed field trips to Boston and enjoy beautiful facilities and science labs. Programs provide the type of summer experience that is highly valued in college admissions. Day and overnight options available.



3-Week Medical Programs:

Emergency MedicineAreas of focus include toxicology, resuscitation, and trauma, and our instructor will arrange mock scenes ranging from drug overdoses to frostbite to car accidents. Students will also practice CPR on CPR dolls, study injury prevention, and learn how to take a patient's vital signs. Additionally, throughout the course, students will brainstorm and work on personal research projects concerning hot button topics in the world of emergency medicine. They will present their work to the group at the end of the three weeks. 

Anatomy and Surgical Research - Students will learn about the different systems of the human body which may include nervous, skeletal, circulatory, muscular, digestive, lymphatic, and endocrine while also studying surgical techniques such as knot-tying. They will learn through case studies, hands-on dissections, field trips and classroom lectures.

Biomedical and Surgical Research - Lectures and activities showcase the anatomy of systems such as the heart and circulatory system.  Case studies and lectures are used to overview both emergency room and planned surgical procedures for that system.  In the laboratory, students learn how to tie surgical knots as well as suture incisions on models of skin. Students apply these newly learned skills to complete mock surgeries that mimic various real-world surgical procedures.

Biomedical Research: Contagious Diseases - Students will explore the nature of many of pathogens and discuss their transmission, prevention and treatment. Specific focus will be on HIV infection, influenza and cholera, but attention will also be given to additional viral, bacterial and parasitic infections. Lab investigations will explore basic microbiological techniques as well as demonstrate several of the diagnostic tools used to confirm infection.

Biomedical Research: Genetics and Clinical Trials - Students will be introduced to the recent advances in genetics, genetic testing and personal genome sequencing, and will be presented with some of the decisions and ethical challenges an individual may face regarding the use of this technology. Students will also learn about some of the likely benefits of personal genetics, such as gaining the ability to act on one's genetic risks, tailoring medicines and interventions, and becoming more active and engaged healthcare consumers.

Veterinary Medicine - This program will focus on veterinary surgery, bone-setting, and the modern veterinary environment. Students will also explore various methods of diagnosis, including how to detect pain in an animal and how to analyze X-rays and MRIs.


3-Week Science Programs:

Biological ResearchStudents conduct biological research and explore the extremely hot topic of synthetic biology in this award-winning summer pre-college program.  Synthetic Biology is a new and exciting field in which engineers design genetic systems that can improve people’s lives. Synthetic biologists are designing bacteria that can detect poisons, respond to light in different ways, and contain genetic circuits that can “compute."  Our teens enjoy amazing hands-on labs (including analyzing DNA and inserting genes into bacteria) and in-depth research in a beautiful science lab setting.  

Human Genetics - This course serves to introduce students to the modern breakthroughs of genetics in an engaging and approachable manner. Topics discussed will include inheritance, the cell cycle, evolution, immunology, microbiology, and sexual reproduction. Students throughout the course will participate in a final Genetics Counselor Project, which will require extensive study of a genetic disorder of their choice. A visit from a genetics counselor will facilitate student learning through contextualization. This project culminates in a symposium, in which students present their projects in front of the class and then answer questions about the genetic disorder they researched.

Mars Mission - On this mission to Mars, students will design how we get
there, how we land, how we survive once we are there, and
if we are very lucky, how we get back to Earth... for those
who wish to do so. Design rockets that can reach Mars with a PhD physicist from Harvard who has been on a simulated Mars Mission (see photo of him on bottom left). Review data with him on the effects of radiation--that astronauts are exposed to on their journey through space--on human health and genetic mutations. Use 'Mars-like' soil (pictured below) to plant vegetables in a temperature controlled green house and assess how they would survive on the red planet.

STEM Entrepreneurship -  Many of the world's greatest tech companies, including Dell, Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft were founded by kids not much older than the teens who come to our programs. The Boston/Cambridge area has the highest amount of venture capital funding in the US outside the greater Silicon Valley area and the highest concentration of biotech companies in the US. Students will participate in brainstorming sessions to generate ideas for improving the way that local companies do business.  Students also will develop a plan for their own revenue-generating business or a small money-producing venture.

Chemistry Research - Green chemistry, also known as sustainable chemistry, is the practice of designing materials using processes that reduce or eliminate the production of hazardous materials. Throughout this program, students will explore the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry and learn how this philosophy is changing the culture in chemical research and industry. This course focuses on practical applications of chemistry theory, such as safety and toxicity analysis of products, application of biomimicry to material and product development, and biodiesel synthesis from vegetable oil.

Clinical Psychology and Psychiatry ResearchStudents will gain an understanding of the major forms of mental disorders including: Autism, Schizophrenia, Phobias, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Depression, Eating Disorders, and Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity. Students will learn about the specific defining characteristics of the different disorders, physical and facial markers (where relevant), and social and emotional corollaries. Case histories, film clips, and visual aids will be used in addition to lectures to impart understanding of the basic forms of mental disorders.  Students may also take a field trip to a psychiatric treatment facility and to an academic lab to learn about recent psychiatric research.

Marine Biology - Students will measure the impact of rising ocean temperatures and acidification on the growth of plants, algae, and marine animals while on the Boston Harbor Islands. They will grab their quadrats and venture out to survey the rocky shores of Georges Island, documenting the invasive species fouling the dock pilings. In past years, students have visited Northeastern University's Marine Science Center in Nahant, MA. They’ve witnessed marine animal surgery at the New England Aquarium, visited the Boston Harbor Islands, and identified different whale species on a Whale Watch. This year, students will attend the Marine Science Center at Northeastern University's College of Science and have a chance to learn from top researchers in a beautifully maintained marine environment.
Neuroscience Research - This program will be split into three major components. The first, neurobiology and neurochemistry, will focus on the components of neurons, transmission of signals and impulses, and different types of signaling molecules involved in the nervous system. The second part, the human neural systems, provide a detailed look at the pathways and components of the visual, auditory, olfactory, gustatory, and somatosensory systems. Lastly, the third part of the course will focus on higher order processes and functions such as learning and memory, emotion, drugs and addiction, stress and sleep. Students will explore parts of the brain and their functions through lectures, dissection, and study of models.
Forensic Science - In Forensic Science, students will explore how the latest DNA technology can be used to identify the perpetrator of a crime, how dentists can use dental records to identify unknown murder victims, and how bite marks can be used to identify the perpetrator. Cell biology, projectile physics surrounding blood splatter evidence, and anatomy all come into play in investigating crime scene evidence. Students are provided field notebooks at the beginning of the program, which they can use to record their research and take notes on the many things they learn.

3-Week Engineering Programs:

Engineering Research - Students will learn computer programming, mechanical engineering, and electronic engineering principles, by working through several hands-on projects. The main project involves a robotic sailboat. After learning the basics of sailing, students will program and sail instrumented radio-control sailboats according to algorithms that they create. Students will then sail and conduct experimental research on the robotic sailboats. For the electronics design project students will build a portable stereo speaker set with custom-designed packaging. On the steam-boat project students will design a boat to hold a small steam engine that they build and refine.

Biotech & Pharma - Students will follow the process of drug discovery from selection of targets to identification of a lead compound and onward through lead optimization and pre-clinical trials. The pharmacology portion of the program is great for those who are interested in pursuing a career in medicine, pharmacology, or biotech/chemistry research. Students will learn basic principles of computational chemistry and use computer models to identify and test characteristics of new drug candidates.

Biomedical Engineering - This course will provide students with a strong knowledge of the fundamental biology required for the development of medical technologies. starting with genetics and how biology engineers itself from cells to complex tissues (via biochemistry); then, materials chemistry to understand the components available to engineers for replicating these structures. Many of the labs are open-ended and promote critical thinking skills. Students will work with DNA via extraction and transformation into bacteria, as well as 3D design and 3D printing. In addition, student will discuss the ethics and societal implications of biomedical engineering.

Applied Physics and EngineeringThis hands-on program, designed for students who are preparing to take high school Physics or have already completed it, covers critical laws of flight, gravity, and motion. Students construct and test model airplanes while examining thrust, lift, drag, and weight under varying conditions. During their experiments, they will also explore the ways in which ailerons, elevators, rudders, and flaps affect a plane's stability. Many lectures and exercises will center around acceleration, centripetal force, and g-force. 

Engineering: Electronics and Robotics - Students will employ principles of mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and computer science while designing and assembling robotics vehicles and machines. They will then write computer code to operate their creations. Students' designs will be sophisticated enough to pass challenges that they students assign to them, such as reacting to sound or finding and retrieving objects. They might even climb up hills or navigate and obstacle course! This allows students to be creative while also engaging in exploratory work in engineering. This year, students will be attending the MIT Edgerton Center and the MIT Museum.


1-Week Programs:


Architecture - Students with a passion for design, structure, and space are a perfect fit for our new Architecture course. From drawing up a plan to constructing a model, our young architects will learn how it feels to contribute to a city’s skyline.

Clinical Psychology -  Students will gain understanding of the major forms of mental disorders such as: Autism, Schizophrenia, Phobias, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Depression, Eating Disorders, and Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity. Students will also gain understanding of interventions and treatment options.


Intro to Dentistry - Students will be introduced to the dental school environment and explore the career opportunities available. The program includes hands-on activities in simulation labs and trips to observe dental care in a clinical setting.

Physiology - Students will participate in hands-on learning activities in simulation labs and workshops as well as lectures focusing on human body function in the nine organ systems

Oncology -  This program will provide great exposure for the next generation of scientists who are considering a cancer research related career in the future. Boston, one of the medical capitals of the world, is home to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, which is one of the best and most comprehensive cancer treatment and research centers.

Sports Medicine - Some of the topics covered in this week-long course include physical therapy, surgery, orthopedics, concussion research, and much more. Students will receive hands-on experiences learning about a variety of advanced techniques on rehabilitation and performance.

Anatomy - Students will be taken on a journey of discovery into the marvels of the awe inspiring human body. Our work will include hands-on lab activities, discussions, and a field trip.

Contagion -  Students will explore the diseases that have shaped the past and continue to shape the world of medicine today. They will simulate disease transmission and learn the history of epidemiology through hands-on lab work and concrete examples.

Intro to Surgery - This program will present students with basic surgical skills, such as surgical knot tying and suturing, and then allow them to translate these skills to mock surgeries. Cardiovascular diseases and surgical procedures will be focused on this week, including coronary artery bypass grafting.

Marine Biology - This one week course will provide students with foundational knowledge of the biology and ecology of marine ecosystems, with a specific focus on the methods that scientists use to study marine habitats. The program will include several field trips that will vary based on the tides and ocean conditions.

Medicinal Plants - Students will have the opportunity to explore some of the most common medicinal plants and their uses like enchinecha, bloodroot, milk thistle, chamomile, sage, witch hazel, aloe vera, and much more. The course will also cover carnivorous plants such as bladder worts, sundews, and venus flytraps.


STEM Journalism - The program will focus on the basic methods and techniques for reporting, producing, and delivering news concentrating on breaking news within the STEM curriculum. Students will learn about science news writing as well as multimedia storytelling.

Forensics - This is a chance for students to delve into a subject they don’t see in school! Perfect  for those who are interested in Anatomy and Biology, no other course combines these topics as well as Forensics. This course includes a lesson in facial reconstruction software and fingerprinting.

Physics of Space - This course offers an exciting look into the fundamental physics of the universe, covering cutting edge topics such as black holes, dark matter, neutrinos, and the "God" particle. Students will learn how to manipulate the massive amounts of data coming in from NASA and other space research institutions.


Big Data - In this course, students will be introduced to some of the core principles of Big Data. Students may learn techniques related to controlling the costs and benefits of information processing. The course may focus on elements such as decision-making, data structure and analytical models.

Finance - Students will be exposed to the mathematical concepts and techniques used in finance and how to apply them to financial markets such as the stock market. This course may cover bond valuation, stock valuation, dividends, developing forecasts, spotting trends, options/pricing, cash flow, seasonality and trend.

Real Estate Statistics - Bring math and applied statistics to life while studying one of the most lucrative career paths – luxury real estate and investment. Wendy Fox, the Vice President of Coldwell Bankers in Weston, MA and former Director of Marketing at Platinum Magazine, will teach students how to utilize trends, location, and investment techniques to reach the top of the real estate game.

Sports Statistics - This class combines the study of statistics with the fun of sports.  Students will learn about fundamental statistical measures and will also extend their knowledge of secondary math through the use of graphing calculators.  While baseball, with its wealth of data, figures most prominently in our work, students are encouraged to bring their interest in other sports to the session.  Included will be a trip to Fenway Park to see the Red Sox play as well as another sports-related excursion.


AP Biology Edge - This one-week program will prep you before classes even start. Our goal is to provide early exposure to the most difficult topics, thus preparing you to succeed on the AP exam later in the year.

AP Calculus AB Edge -  AP Calculus AB is a rigorous, college-level course, but is also one of the most popular AP courses. If you like to get ahead, this is the perfect one-week program for you.

Chemistry Edge - Chemistry topics to be covered will include algebraic manipulation, dimensional analysis, identifying common sources of error, atomic structure, the design of periodic table, formula writing and naming compounds, and basic problem solving in chemistry.  Ideal for those taking Chemistry this fall or in upcoming years.

Geometry Edge - Get a jump on proofs, theorems, and topology in this one-week Geometry course. An introduction to the most creative subset of high school math, this course helps students get an edge on the material before reaching it in school.

Physics Edge - Some of the most challenging concepts will be previewed in lectures and principles will be illustrated in experiments. Great for students looking for that edge to help them excel in their fall Physics courses.


Cryptography - In this course, students will be exposed to the exciting practice of making and breaking secret codes. Students will have the opportunity to invent their own ciphers and encrypt and decrypt messages.

Intro to BiotechThis one-week program is for students interested in understanding the process of drug discovery and development in the pharmaceutical and biotech industry. Students learn Synthetic Chemistry techniques through hands-on synthesis of a simple drug molecule, its isolation, and purification.