Campus & Community

The Stevens Summer Boosts Brains, Forms Friendships and Makes College Applications Stand Out

How did you spend your summer vacation?

Did you produce a 3-D music video? Stress-test hockey gloves? Design a bridge truss? Trade stocks? Record an original song? 

The participants in the Stevens Summer program, the university’s renowned residential pre-college experience for high school students, did all of those things and more. The unique program, held annually on the Stevens campus overlooking the Manhattan skyline, gives talented high school students from across the U.S. their first taste of college life in vibrant Hoboken, which has been ranked a top college town by The Princeton Review.

“The Stevens Summer is pre-college high school program for rising juniors and rising seniors who want to experience the different disciplines that they can pursue for an undergraduate degree,” said Marsha Melnyk, director of summer programs at Stevens. “The variety of different programs allows students to gain exposure to the many fields that are available to them.”

The Stevens Summer features five distinct programs taught by Stevens’ distinguished faculty members and Ph.D. students – Engineering and Science (ECOES), Multimedia, Business, Computer Science and Pre-Med. Each program introduces high school students to a potential field of study through a project-based, hands-on curriculum and access to cutting-edge research facilities and technologies. The programs even include corporate site visits and interactions with working professionals in each field, including Stevens alumni. Getting an inside look at this breadth of potential disciplines helps participants understand what they want to major in during college or even pursue as a lifelong career.

ECOES participants learn first-hand what it means to be a scientist or engineer by working in teams to control robotic technologies and design and build bridges and other innovations. They use top-of-the-line engineering design tools in state-of-the-art scientific laboratories.

“We offered modules on nanotechnology, environmental engineering, biomedical engineering, civil engineering and so on," said Frank Fisher, professor of mechanical engineering. "Students got hands experience with some of our design labs that are core components of our undergraduate curriculum and were exposed to some of the research equipment in multi-user research labs that our graduate students and Ph.D. students are using for their research. There were also opportunities for students to network and have on site visits with local engineering and science firms.”

Just ten minutes from the financial capital of the world, Business students gain a background in marketing, finance, management, entrepreneurship and more. They get to work in Stevens’ Hanlon Financial Systems Lab, which recreates a real-world trading floor environment. And they engage in team projects which culminate in presentations to executives.

“Our students have access to everything Stevens has to offer in the way of technology and resources," said Ann Murphy, associate dean of the Howe School of Technology Management. "Throughout the week we cover all of the main, core areas of business, so the end of the week the students really do have a strong understanding of business and know what it’s like to study business and also be a business professional."

The Stevens Business program was all encompassing,” said student Aziza Khalfani. “It covered various aspects of business like marketing and information systems. We even used the Hanlon Financial Systems Lab to do a stock simulation. It had a vast amount of computers set up to simulate the New York Stock Exchange itself, so we were able to buy stocks and see how buying and selling stock at different times would hurt or help our chances of getting a stock at a good price.”

Computer Science students learn the leading programming languages which play an increasingly significant role in today’s digitized and information-driven era. They dabble in web technologies, cybersecurity, digital imaging and system administration.

“In the computer science intensive program we try to teach the students a variety of different things that you can do in the field of computer science,” said Steven Gabarro, assistant teaching professor of computer science. “We cover web development, cryptology, system administration and imaging.”

“We were given laptops on day one and from there we learned how to use different programs for languages like Java and PHP,” said student Casey Carratala.

In the Multimedia program – for students interested in visual and audio arts – a Media Arts Center, green screen room and professional recording studio serve as the classrooms in which students create soundtracks and produce videos in three dimensions, often under the instruction of top producers and artists.

“Our multimedia students work through the entire process of recording a song and creating a 3-D video,” said Brian Moriarty, teaching assistant professor of art and technology. "They use the latest in 3D technologies including cameras, display technologies and 3D television projectors.”

“We secured professional recording studios for different parts of the process so students are exposed to numerous different audio environments," said Rob Harari, teaching associate professor of music and technology. "Then we are able to teach theory that is applied to any audio environment you might work in, so the student really understands the most important thing in moving forward in this discipline is understanding the theory.” 

“There’s always equipment to work with. It’s always hands on. And we learn in the field and that’s what I love,” said student Matthew Brojock“We got to go to an off-site recording studio and record with a real band. There is so much technology and equipment. We worked with the newest high end Macs and soundboards. It’s just so cool to see the process.”

The Pre-Med program, which is new this year, provides students with the foundation in science and technology to become successful medical professionals. Projects include DNA analysis, neural control of prosthetics and 3-D printing of robotic hands.

"It was really interesting to see how you could combine the engineering and the medical aspects into one career," said student Samantha Martino.

Next year, the Stevens Summer will launch even a new track in Gaming, in which students will conceive of and develop interactive, educational video games to learn engineering concepts.

Beyond the classroom, Stevens Summer participants experience the excitement of dormitory life before they embark on the next stage of their lives – college. Many current Stevens students who are former participants in the Stevens Summer serve as counselors. They lead a range of social activities – from excursions to New York City’s world-famous tourist destinations to fun volleyball and bowling competitions – and relive their own Stevens Summer experience, in which they made lasting friendships, made their college applications stand out, and refined their college plans.

“You get to live the campus life, the college life," said student Lydia Vera. "You get to do everything a college student does. You get the real experience.” 

Learn more about the Stevens Summer at