2020 Aspiring Scientists Short Courses

Welcome to the 2020 Aspiring Scientists' Short Course Page! 

Join Mason College of Science's Inspiring Scientists in the following fascinating remotely-connected research options! These short courses are not for college credit; students will earn a certificate for successful short course completion.

All course sessions are conducted remotely and live for students to

interact with experts! 

Although these course are fee-based, several need-based scholarships may be available for students eligible for free/reduced lunch aid or Pell Grant assistance (documentation required).


Aspiring Inventors' Club 


Click HERE to apply for the Inventors' Club

Led by Marissa Howard (left) & Lance Liotta, MD, PhD (right)

The 2020 Aspiring Inventor’s Club will address and prototype solutions to several of the world’s great challenges. Students will choose a challenge area and be advised by a local expert in the field. This is an 8 week virtual course that teaches students the fundamentals of inventorship, product design, and commercialization. Students develop creativity skills to identify problems and maket needs. During the course of the summer they will build a prototype solution to their identified problem. By the club’s end, students can complete a draft of a patent application for their creation.  Participants are rising 10th graders through college undergraduates. Teams will be composed of groups of 5. If you have a pre-existing group of students who want to participate as a team please indicate the team members in the application.Biweekly sessions start June 23rd through August 6th (no sessions week of July 4th), Tuesday & Thursday 5:00 pm – 6:30pm (attendance at each session is recommended but not required; no make-up sessions are available). Limited to 30 students. Fee-$600 -includes prototyping materials shipped to student's homes.

2020 Sample Aspiring Inventors' Club Design Challenges (or your own idea)

Engineering Design Challenge: New Solutions to Orthopedic Surgery
            Expert Advisor: Dr. John J. Kim, MD, Nothern Virginia Orthopedic Specialists
 Sample Projects: Wearable Devices for Rehabilitation, Robotic Tools to Aid Surgery
      Global Health Design Challenge: Improvements to Pandemic Personal Protection
            Expert Advisors: Dr. Alessandra Luchini & Dr. Amanda Haymond, GMU CAPMM
            Sample Example Projects: Sanitation Systems that indicate infectious contamination, Social distance device
 Social Wellness Design Challenge: How would you improve human wellness (mental or physical) using technology?
           Sample Example Project: Self-isolation mental health via mobile app game, app to monitor elder's well-being
         Sustainable Planet Design Challenge: Create a tool to address a looming environmental problem.
            Sample Example Project: Using global quarantine climate data to identify solutions to reduce global warming.


Introduction to Hands-On Data Sciences Using "R" 

This course has reached its enrollment limit and is now closed.

Thank you for your interest!

Led by Dr. Dominic White, Assistant Term Professor in the Department of Computational and Data Sciences, George Mason University, Gideon Gogovi , Mason College of Science's Computational and Data Sciences Doctoral student, and James Colchao, Mason College of Science's masters student in Data Engineering

 Dr. White is a paleontologist who uses data science to study the evolution of dinosaurs. His recent research contributed to the Smithsonian’s amazing new Fossil Hall

This course explores the fundamentals of data science, with many hands-on applications such as analyzing which baseball team might win next year's World Series, to understanding the spread of COVID-19 around the world.

A majority of the course will be dedicated to learning and applying skills through practical activities. These will teach you data structures and visualization techniques, how to find and analyze data from open source or private data sets, and how to use compelling methods to describe your findings. Students will need access to a computer (desktop or laptop) capable of installing the open-source R programming language and the RStudio editor (both are free, and installation instructions will be provided at the start of the course). Students should have successfully completed high school algebra II, and some programming experience is helpful but not required. Course meets July 6-17, Mondays-Fridays, 9 am-4pm (1 hour lunch break included). Each student will receive a certificate for successful completion.                                                  Limited to 10 participants. Fee is $650 for the entire 2 week course.


Using Bioinformatics to Investigate Current and Future Global Challenges

This course has reached its cap and is now closed. Thanks for your interest!

Led by Dr. Ylenia Chiari, (picture at right below) Assistant Professor, George Mason University Biology Department, and Dr. Chiari's doctoral student, Nickolas Moreno (pictured at left below).

This remote, live-conducted course uses molecular data and bioinformatics tools that can be applied to several of the world’s great challenges, from conservation of endangered/other species, to disease origin and spread, to agriculture and aquaculture, and to habitat management.
Students will use our actual molecular data we previously collected for our research with endangered aquatic species to answer an original research question. We will guide in a live format with step-by-step instructions on how to organize, analyze and interpret our data. This course introduces students to the basic bioinformatics tools commonly used in conservation genetics, population genetics, and phylogenetics with application to very diverse fields (e.g., to study the spread of the different covid-19 strains).
This course is open to high school students who successfully completed first year biology or equivalent as well as  undergraduate students and adult learners.  We provide basic content in genetics and bioinformatics to ensure full understanding of the data, of the analyses and of the results.
Students will need to access to a computer (desktop or laptop, Mac, Linux or PC) capable of installing the freely available software necessary for the data analysis and access to wi-fi connection. Installation of the software and instructions will be provided at the beginning of the course.
The 2 1/2 week course meets for a total of 13 weekday sessions, each from 9 am to 1 pm 
Week 1: Monday, June 15th-Friday, June 19th
Week 2: Monday, June 22nd- Friday, June 26th
Week 3: Monday, June 29th through Wednesday, July 1st.  
Although make up dates are not possible, we will provide materials covered for all sessions. 
Each student will receive a certificate for successful completion. Limited to 15 participants. Fee is $650 for the entire 2 and a half week course.


QuickStart Your Life Science Research!


Several needs based scholarships may be available for students who can document their need (free/reduced lunch status).  If you are seeking a scholarship, please contact cosassip@gmu.edu before you register for a fee waiver code. 


Led by Dr. Andrea Cobb, Director of Student Research and Internships, George Mason University College of Science, former Director of Biotechnology Research, Thomas Jefferson HS for Science and Technology, and colleagues

Join us in this interactive workshop to employ tools and resources Dr. Cobb has used with hundreds of students to create award winning projects!  Get a head start designing your next original life-science research project for school (or maybe at home!). Information is included about a number of STEM competitions! Each session limited to first 30 participants to submit fee. Fee is $80/session. Sessions 1 and 3 offer the same information. Sessions 2 and 4 offer the same information. Workshop participants will receive a certificate of completion.


              Session 1 Tuesday, June 23, 2020, 1-5 pm For students who'll be in grades 10-12 
Session 2 Tuesday, June 30, 2020,  5-9 pm For students who'll be in grades 8-9
Session 3 Tuesday, July 7, 2020,     1-5 pm For students who'll be in grades 10-12
Session 4 Tuesday, July 14, 2020,    5-9 pm         For students who'll be in grades 8-9