By: Lauren Perrodin

High school students join summer programs for all types of reasons; they want to get ahead in the next year of school or want to add something interesting to their scholastic resume before applying to college. Whatever the reason may be, UCR University Extension is offering a stellar summer academy experience filled with interesting, engaging courses that are sure to get them on the right path come next school year.

Let’s take a dive into the particulars of this summer event.

What Is the Academy all about?

The 2023 Summer Academy is offered to both local and international students in grades (or equivalent to) 10, 11 and 12. It combines enrichment and academic classes for a holistic approach to summer learning.

Classes are cut into two offerings: UC Experience and University Credit.

UC Experience

This track gives students the opportunity to gain campus experience while working toward earning a UCR University Extension Certificate of Participation. They will get the chance to engage with fellow students and their instructor in rich discussions. Students will hear from UCR student panelists and engage in presentations from UCR administrators and Financial Aid.

Courses include:

  • Cybersecurity Technologies (online): Become a cybersecurity wiz with workable knowledge.
  • Introduction to Project Management (hybrid): This course delivers a framework for what great project management looks like from idea to implementation.
  • Leadership for the Next Generation (hybrid): Students learn the difference between management and leadership by working within a group to create a business plan presentation.

University Credit

By taking a course in this category, students gain not only experience in taking a college-level course, but add credit toward all University of California, and California State Universities, and many U.S. Higher Education Institutions. It shows a student commitment to academic focus, and helps them establish realistic expectations for college. They will engage in riveting conversations with their classmates and professors on various topics, spend time on a UC campus, and hear from students and staff through panel discussions and presentations.

Courses include:

  • Cultural Anthropology (online and hybrid): Explore the similarities and differences between cultures around the world.
  • Intro to Critical Thinking (in-person): Develop a foundation for argument building with a practical examination of reasoning.
  • Intro to the Study of Race and Ethnicity (online): Examine how social institutions have shaped how we approach racial relations and social processes that have cultivated inequalities around class, gender identity and racial concepts.
  • The Origins (in-person): Into the origins of existence and the universe as a whole? This course looks at the fundamental questions surrounding chemical, cosmology and physics sciences.

We talked to Xi Zhang, Regional Director of International Programs at UCR University Extension, about the class he’s most excited for students to explore. He told us it's the “Intro to the Study of Race and Ethnicity” course. Xi said, “I want to emphasize this course because of all the tragedies, hate, and tension within our own communities. We really want to help Academy students understand that different people can live in harmony together, and this course will show them that.”

Study of Race and Ethnicity is a UC requirement and can help students understand how to relate to people who do not look like themselves or believe in the same things. It helps support better empathy for future generations.

What value does the program offer students?

The Summer Academy provides students with a UC-level learning experience, and promotes academic readiness. In university classrooms, students enjoy a different dynamic with professors that they don't often see in high school. The hope is that this program could be a life-changing experience that will set students on a new, more successful, trajectory.

The outcome of the course, in a measurable sense, is that students will begin to think like experts — not only remembering all the notes from the instructor, but really making a connection with the information.

What makes this program different from all others?

Students will connect with students from around the world and across the country in rich discussions while expanding their understanding of certain subjects only offered at the college level. Additionally, UCR is offering partial scholarships on a first-come, first-served basis so act quickly!