On Tuesday we were privileged to host Dr Tristen Naylor, Fellow in International Relations at the London School of Economics. Dr Naylor gave an energetic and thought-provoking introduction to contemporary international politics and discussed the future of our current world order. Our students were highly engaged, asking lots of questions and continuing to discuss the talk throughout the day! The Oxford Summer Seminar gathers together the brightest and best from all over the world and it was great to see our global community of young people engaging with the issues that face our world and will affect their future.
There’s never a dull moment here in Oxford. Our genetics class led by Dr Marsha Wallace has been learning all about DNA and have already learnt how to read the genome sequence!
The genetics students teamed up today on the Say It With DNA challenge to decipher the genetic code in a battle of wits and speed against their peers, learning how DNA controls cells, and the consequences when things go wrong. They secretly hid an object on the grounds for their teammate to find, and wrote a message coded in DNA for their partner to translate.
Working against the clock, the team with the fastest time was Eliza Shapiro and Natialie Chaplin completing the challenge in an amazing 4 minutes!
As well as being an inspiring teacher, Dr Wallace has worked at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research and the Nuffield Department of Medicine, researching type 1 diabetes.
Meanwhile Will Jefferson has kept his Critical Thinking class scratching their heads and opening their minds. His course has included a trip to the Buddhist Monastery in Oxford, where they tried their hands at meditation. Will recently completed his Doctorate at Balliol College, Oxford on the moral significance of empathy.
Our students continue to relish the challenge and opportunity of learning from these experts in their fields!
The Oxbridge Summer Seminar had a brilliant trip to the Oxford Botanic Gardens this week. The oldest botanic garden in Great Britain, it dates back to 1621 and boasts a remarkable collection of rare and exotic plants. After a tour through the greenhouses, the students were allowed to explore the gardens themselves in beautiful sunshine.
We especially enjoyed looking at the carnivorous plants in the greenhouses – though some of the students didn’t want to get too close to the Venus Fly Traps!
We enjoyed looking at the collection of plants which have changed the world, from the rubber tree to the Cacao tree. There was something to interest everyone across the spectrum of subjects being studied.
After our tour, the students spent the rest of the afternoon exploring and happily reading in the beautiful gardens.
The weather cooled quickly in the shade of Oxford Castle and a few rain drops fell during Act II, but our group was laughing at all the right parts for Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. Thanks to a brilliant lecture by English professor Kathrina Herold just a few hours before the play, Oxbridge students were familiar with plot, characters, and themes.
“Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them,” says the Bard. Our hope is that the exposure to great minds through Oxbridge will engender our students’ own great contributions to their families and communities.
This Thursday the Psychology major took a trip to the Oxford Centre for Human Brain Activity to learn more about how technological advancement and neuroscience are revealing more about psychology.
After class we had the incredible opportunity to visit the Oxford Union, the home and heart of debate. Home to a beautiful library, and the largest society at the University, the Union has hosted speakers and debates since 1823, with guest speakers such as Winston Churchill, the Dalai Lama, Stephen Hawking, Buzz Aldrin, and even Michael Jackson.
Meanwhile PA-AD(Program Assistant/Activities Director) Rupert took another group of students round his alma mater the beautiful Magdalen College, while other students joing PA-AD Katherine for tea at Vaults Cafe.
This evening was Karaoke night! An opportunity to hear voices both angelic and raucous (many staff did find themselves joining in from the audience), it was a fun albeit noisy night!
This morning an action-packed week continued for students, who refuelled after their major classes with a trip to the Gloucester Green Food Market, a traditional fruit&veg market which also has stalls representing the culinary cultures of many nations, as well as some general bric-a-brac to peruse. Students enjoyed lunches ranging from Chinese dumplings to Sri Lankan curries to Greek wraps.
Later in the afternoon, our Deans Catherine and Nathan took a group of students on a classic Oxford “punting” trip, where they learned the tricky skill of manoeuvring the narrow boat.
After punting, the students had a guest lecture from Oxbridge’s founder Professor Jim Basker discussing the college process. Professor Basker gave some of his own insights on the college process, having been a professor at both Harvard and Barnard, and having worked in admissions at Harvard. After giving the students his advice, he emphasized the importance of enjoying school and not letting the stress of the process overwhelm their lives.
The excitement of Wednesday’s activities carried on into the night, as the students enjoyed a performance of Noel Coward’s Private Lives in the garden of beautiful Wadham College. The students enjoyed the comical misunderstandings and witty repartee of a very English production, braving the somewhat typical weather conditions.
A new week on the Summer Seminar! Classes commenced afresh with a change of majors for our continuing students and for the new students, introductions to our illustrious faculty members.
An assembly from Dr Luke Berryman and Professor James Basker on Monday evening welcomed new students, and gave them the opportunity to meet admin staff and the faculty, as well as each other — after a two minute interval for discussion, we reconvened for everyone in the auditorium to introduce their neighbour in the next seat!
This Tuesday afternoon students attended a guest lecture by Dr. Tristen Naylor, the London School of Economics fellow in International Relations, on ‘Decline and Fall: The End of Empire’. Dr. Naylor discussed the current political climate and opened the end of his talk up to some very insightful questions from the students.
After the guest talk, some students enjoyed playing board games, such as Oxford Monopoly, in the Junior Common Room of Corpus Christi, while others settled down to watch a film on the big screen in the auditorium, in preparation for an immersive week. After dinner several students chose to join us on a trip to G&D’s, Oxford’s famous icecream parlour. Tomorrow a busy day awaits!
Tonight was the final night on the Oxford Summer Seminar! We bid many of our students farewell while our Double Majors prepared for a second week with a celebration of everyone’s achievements.
This evening our students dressed up for a reception in the cloisters, before a formal dinner in the college hall. After dinner, students joined the staff in the Fellows’ Garden for speeches from Dr. Luke Berryman and Professor James Basker to celebrate the excellence of all students this week, and prize giving from the deans in recognition of achievements.
After this students made their way to the auditorium for the dance whose novelties included not only several laser lights but also a photobooth which proved popular with staff and students alike, as well as our ‘Wall of Memories’ in which students left notes for each other in envelopes to take home. We wish all our leavers farewell and hope to see them again in future!
Today is the final night of this week’s program for our single major students! Our majors wrapped up for the week with presentations from Medicine and Critical Thinking students, while Economics and International Relations students finished their lesson collaboratively by playing subject-related board games such as Pandemic and Risk.
The Psychology major took a trip to London, where they visited the Freud museum, pictured here with the famous couch!
This afternoon also saw a game of 5 aside football played with incredible athleticism in the summer heat.