Issue 10 News

S3(++) 2021

🕒 5 min

Co-author: Mario Zelić

Dearly beloved, we have gathered here today to join together the Summer School of Science and the Internet in matrimony. Due to current circumstances, which make it impossible to organize S3 in Požega like we used to, this year we are in dire need of evolution and adaptation. The School is coming back, but in a different format. In this post, we bring you a detailed description of how we envisioned this year’s Summer School (and what you need to do if you’d like to join).

General information

If by some chance you have found this post without having heard of S3 before, here’s a quick rundown: Summer School of Science is an international summer workshop organized by the Society for Out-of-Frame Education. It is usually held in Požega, Croatia, and split into two camps:

  • S3, for high school students who have completed 9 or 10 years of schooling (or equivalent, usually 15 or 16 years old)
  • S3++, for high school students who have completed 11 or 12 years of schooling (or equivalent, usually 17 or 18 years old)

Each camp is ten days long, with the dates being:

  • S3 2021: July 25th – August 4th
  • S3++ 2021: August 5th – August 15th

Application process

This year’s application process remains the same as it’s always been, seeing as it was done remotely due to the international nature of the camp. To apply, you have two tasks to complete: the application form + the motivational letter, and an interview.

The application form is your first step towards applying for the Summer School. It allows you to share your essential personal information, previous experiences with summer camps and other similar programs, your educational background and your preferences regarding this year’s projects. This part of the application process also requires you to write a motivational letter. We need it to get to know you better – this is where you describe your interests in science, plans for future development, any thoughts or ideas that you find important – all in your own words and much more in depth than a form would allow. We don’t expect you to have prior research experience, medals from science competitions or anything of the sort. In fact, when it comes to experience with summer camps, we give the upper hand to those who haven’t had the chance to participate in one before.

The next part of your application is the interview, which will be held over Skype. Sometime after applications close, you will talk to your chosen camp’s organizers about a wide range of topics (not necessarily science). This is where we assess your proficiency in English and your personal motivation, often based around your motivational letter. You will find out whether you got in about a week later. After that, you will receive detailed instructions on the software you will need so you can be ready in advance for the start of the Summer School.

S3(++) 2021 structure

As usual, the participants will do a couple of hours of project work every day. Usually, this would amount to about 8 hours, but now we are looking at 4 to 6 hours per day. Project work will be followed by a few hours of social activities and science lectures. This year, we are preparing a wide range of different activities to ensure that everyone is able to have fun, meet other people, and enjoy themselves as much as possible, to truly try and emulate the real thing.

During the camps, the participants will have to present their project twice, in what are colloquially known as The Briefing and The Final Presentation. The briefing is held on the fourth day of the camp and its purpose is to see if the participants have a firm grasp on the theoretical basis for their project, which they will have covered over the first few days. It is a unique opportunity to summarize everything you had done up until that point and put the whole project into perspective. The final presentation is held on the last day and is essentially the culmination of your project work. In it, the participants present everything they did during the camp, as well as what they learned and experienced while working on their projects. They tell us how their experiments went, which conclusions they came to, what they could have done better and whether they are going to keep on working on the project after the Summer School is finished.

Social activities and science lectures

This year, we are trying to make as many different social activities during which you can spend time with your fellow students and project leaders. We will not tell you what we have planned just yet – it is not fun to know everything in advance, some things are best kept secret!

However, what we can tell you is that, on the first day, all the participants and project leaders will take part in a teambuilding session to get to know each other. Afterwards, the project leaders will briefly introduce their projects and the participants will be assigned their best possible match.

Every year so far we’ve had various famous scientists come to Požega in person to hold a lecture. They’d usually also stick around to see what kind of projects the participants are doing, as well as to simply talk to them. We think this is an integral part of the Summer School – meeting a living, breathing scientist, talking to them. We want you to understand that they are also people and not just walking encyclopedias. That is why we will have a couple of scientists hold science lectures on various topics in science and give you a unique chance to ask all the questions you have, hopefully making it more than just another Zoom session.

And don’t worry, there will be plenty of free time for you to just hang out with everyone and talk about anything you wish.

Technical aspects

This year’s Summer School will be held on Discord. We decided to use Discord, a very popular and widely used platform for video calls for several reasons: it is very reliable, optimized, customizable and casual, which ticks all of our boxes for the Summer School of Science. If you are accepted, you will be added to a fully customized server, which we will try to make as suited to the Summer School’s natural environment as possible.

Of course, this is just the beginning! We will keep you updated on our social media whenever we have something new to share. We will soon have the descriptions of all our available projects ready for you. The applications are open until June 1st, however, so take this as a cordial invitation to join us on yet another S3 adventure this year!

By Laura Busak

Laura is a physics student with a love for all things cosmic. She enjoys making and listening to music, reading books that make her think, and generally doing whatever random things she thinks of, often until 2 am.

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