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Splash Makes Waves

Children Visit MIT for a Variety of Classes

By Jennifer Krishnan


Splash, a project of the Education Studies Program, brought over 800 high school and junior high school students to MIT for a weekend of classes.

“You get to learn a little about a lot of things,” said Sasha Seletsky, a high school freshman from Andover, Massachusetts.

Over 160 classes were offered this weekend, ranging from “Special Relativity” to “Songwriting Workshop” and from “All About Anime” to “How To Wage War.”

“MIT students [and other volunteer teachers] make up classes about subjects that they wish they could have studied in high school, so the teachers love their material,” said Elaine M. Lai ’03, co-director of Splash.

Seletsky and his twin brother, Oleg Seletsky, took classes in C programming, Linux and UNIX, web page design, and engineering design.

Leilani McCallie, an eighth grader from from Roslindale, Massachusetts, said she had enjoyed the weekend and would probably come back next year. “There are so many different types of classes,” she said.

McCallie took classes in songwriting, singing, and divination.

Students volunteer to teach

More than 80 members of the MIT community volunteered to teach classes and help run the program. Splash co-director Owen W. Ozier ’98 said about 60 percent of the teachers were MIT undergraduates, and another 10 percent were graduate students.

Jeeyun Kim ’05, who taught a class in origami, said she enjoyed “getting to teach kids ... and feeling helpful.”

Issel A. Lim ’05 and Shaunna S. Stanton’05 taught a class called “Hey Baby, Are You an Aquarius?: An Introduction to Divination,” which drew 63 participants.

“You know students who teach it are choosing to teach it, rather than being to talk at you,” Lim said.

The students “want to learn, and the teachers want to teach,” Ozier said. “It’s a classroom environment you don’t find anywhere else.”

Adam D. Rosenthal G taught “Cardiovascular Physiology,” which was “my favorite course at MIT,” he said. “I wanted to get them interested in biomedical engineering.

“The best part was working with enthusiastic kids,” Rosenthal said. “They really want to learn. ... It’s nice to see that at such a young age.”

Turnout is best ever

Ozier said that this year’s Splash program had the highest turnout ever since its inception in 1988.

The program was named “Splash” because its aim is for high school students “to get their feet wet,” said Ozier.

Lai said that the program “has doubled in size since 1998, both in number of teachers and number of students.”

Splash has also expanded to Stanford University and Iowa State University.