Basic Optics High School Institute


July 26-July 30, 2020

Each summer Alfred University welcomes high school students from all over the country to participate in exciting summer camps. These programs offer a great opportunity to learn, sample life on a college campus and to meet other students with similar talents and interests.

Camp Director:
Alexis Clare, Professor of Glass Science, Alfred University since September 2001. She was Associate Professor of Glass Science from 1995-2001. While with Alfred University she has held many roles such as Evaluator for ABET, Director for NYS Advance Research Center in Photonics, Program Chair for Glass Science and Interim Program Chair for Biomaterials Engineering (2006-current). She was also Commissioner ABET Engineering Accreditation Commission from 2000-2005. She was a Post Doctorial Research Fellow, British Telecom with the University of Sheffield, UK for “Fluoride Glasses for Active Optics” as well as “Heavy Metal Fluoride Glasses for Long Range Telecommunications.” She received her BS in Chemical Physics from the University of Reading, UK and her Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Reading, UK. Her thesis was on “Neutron Studies of Amorphous and Related Crystalline Materials.”

She has won many awards and honors such as SUNY Chancellors Award for Excellence in Teaching; Alfred University’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, the John F. McMahon Ceramic Teaching Excellence Award, Alfred University, (three separate years), Recipient of NYS Faculty Development Award for retaining talented researchers in New York State, elected “Fellow of the Society of Glass Technology,” UK just to name a few. As well she has chaired many committees, is a member of and served as chair to several professional societies.

The Program:
Ever wonder why you see your face reflected in the glass when you look out at the sky at night but when you look out during the day all you see is what’s outside? Ever wonder why you cannot see too well through fog? Ever wonder why objects can be different colors even though we are looking at them in the same light? This this is the camp for you; we will talk about what light is, how it interacts with materials and how that makes it look a certain way! And, we might even branch out very briefly into the light on the edge of our vision (UV and Infrared).

  • Light (EM radiation); what is it? And how much of it (what colors) can we see?
  • What happens to light when it finds materials? (e.g., reflection, refraction, transmission, scattering)
  • What material qualities control what happens to the light and why?
  • We will do some measurements and tests with light to see what happens when it interacts with materials to see what it looks like and why.
  • And, don’t worry – you don’t have to be a physicist to do this; we will explain stuff without equations!!! You just have to be someone who wants to know “why?”

When not in classes, campers have lots of fun participating in a variety of recreational activities. Planned activities include indoor and outdoor games, hikes and movies, possible planned trips to the Equestrian Center, Foster Lake, and social gatherings at a local coffee house. There is also a farewell party on the last night of camp. Admissions interviews and campus tours can be arranged with the Admissions office by appointment (607-871-2115) on the last day of camp. Living, dining and learning together, campers have a great opportunity to get to know each other and develop lasting friendships.

Tuition, Room & Board:
Cost of Camp: $930.00 ($100 DEPOSIT DUE AT TIME OF REGISTRATION)
This covers tuition, supervision, program materials, recreational activities, housing and meals. Students stay in the University’s residence halls dedicated to summer campers. Campers are required to provide their own pillows, blankets and bed linens (to fit an extra-long twin mattress). Should the camper need, linens can be provided for an additional cost and you MUST let us know by June 1, 2020, for arrangements. Cafeteria-style meals are served in the University dining hall.

Commuter Rate for Local Students - $775.00
This covers tuition, daytime classes, program materials and lunch only. Commuting students must check-in at registration on Sunday and must arrive on campus by 8:45 AM for classes Monday through Thursday. They must be picked up by 5 PM each day with the exception of Thursday when pick-up time is 1 PM (after lunch).

How To Apply:
Application Deadline: May 1, 2020
We will begin accepting applications February 1, 2020

  • Complete the online application
  • Submit the $100 deposit at time of application – due May 1
  • Provide a one-page essay telling us why you would like to attend (in your own words and signed)

We are again partnering with CampDoc (an online registration program) to better serve our campers and staff. CampDoc offers online registration and an electronic health record system for campers. The CampDoc site is secure, encrypted and password protected. Only Alfred University Summer Health Staff will have access to camper health information.

To gain access to our online application, please use the following link (we support the current and previous major releases of Google Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge and Safari):

Camp Registration Portal (CampDoc)
CampDoc Registration Instructions

A deposit of $100 is required at the time of applying. Applications will not be considered if the deposit is not paid by the May 1 deadline. The remaining balance is due by June 1, 2020. Late applications will only be considered if space is available.

Acceptance Policies:
The Camp Director will review all applications after the May 1 deadline and determine which students will be accepted. Acceptance/non-acceptance notifications will be provide to applicants by the middle of May via email. If you require an earlier decision, please contact the office of Summer Programs at

Once final decisions have been made, accepted campers will receive notification of acceptance along with information and dates on what is required for attendance. Questions can be directed to the Office of Summer Programs, 607-871-2612 or via email to

Student Cancellations:
Refunds, less the $100 non-refundable deposit, will be made for cancellations received by June 1. A 50% refund will be made for cancellations received June 2-10. There will be no refunds for cancellations made after June 10.

Alfred University – Office of Summer Programs
1 Saxon Drive, Alfred, NY 14802
Phone: 607-871-2612 Fax: 607-871-2045

For specific information about the program schedule or class content, please contact Professor Alexis Clare via email:

After the May 1 deadline, the Director of Summer Programs and Camp Director will evaluate all applications and above listed materials, and determine which students are accepted. Acceptance/non-acceptance notification will be provided by email by the middle of May. If you require an earlier decision, please indicate this by including a note with your application form. (Students who apply after the deadline will receive notification within one week after we receive their application materials.)

Once campers are accepted they will be provided a link to complete the required documents (parental permissions to attend as well as health records) for camp.  These are required by June 1. Updated immunization information (including dates) is also required at that time. (If you do not have updated immunization information on hand, you may want to acquire this from your physician now to avoid processing delays.)

When campers are not in class, they are supervised by our wonderful team of Camp Counselors who serve as mentors, positive role models and friends. In order to ensure everyone has a safe, healthy and enjoyable time on campus, summer campers are expected to abide by the University's summer programs rules & regulations.

When not in classes, campers have fun participating in recreational activities. Living, dining and learning together, campers have ample opportunity to get to know each other and develop lasting friendships. Sample activities include:

  • Ice-breaker games on the first night to help everyone get acquainted
  • Movies in Nevins Theater
  • Outdoor games such as "Capture the Flag" and "Ultimate Frisbee"
  • Indoor games such as "Who Wants to be a Millionaire," ping pong, board games, basketball, etc.
  • Social gatherings with refreshments & music in the Knight Club
  • Relaxing and socializing at a local coffee house
  • Farewell party on the last night

Campers stay in secure University residence halls dedicated to summer campers (2 per room) and must bring their own pillows, blankets and bed/bath linens (bed linens must fit the extra-long twin residence hall beds). Laundry facilities are available in each hall at no charge. Males and females are housed in separate halls. Our Camp Counselors will be on-site in the residence halls at all times.

Delicious, all-you-can-eat, cafeteria-style meals are served in the campus dining hall. Our Dining Services chefs do an excellent job in accommodating campers with food allergies and other special requirements.

Campers living locally who wish to attend as commuters may do so. The commuter rate, which includes tuition, program materials, and lunch $775. Campers who wish to commute must check in at registration on Sunday and arrive on campus by 8:45 AM for classes Monday-Friday. They must be picked up no later than 5:00 PM Monday-Thursday unless they will be participating in evening activities (please make arrangements with Director of Summer Programs for pick-up times). The last day of camp (Friday) pick-up time is 1:00 PM. Please be sure to check the "Commuter" box on the application form.
Sorry, there are no scholarships or other forms of financial aid available for campers.

Alfred University is located in the peaceful village of Alfred in Western New York State, where summer days are warm and nights are cool and comfortable. Surrounded by rolling hills and beautiful meadows and valleys, Alfred University is the perfect place to spend an enjoyable week learning more about your favorite subject and meeting other students who share your passion for astronomy!

The campus, a 6-hour drive from New York City, 2 hours from Buffalo and 1 1/4 hours from Rochester, is easily accessible by car or bus from all directions and is located just five miles south of Interstate 86. The nearest major airport is the Rochester International Airport (about 65 miles north). Transportation to and from that airport can be provided for an additional charge if we receive your request by the date indicated in your acceptance notification. After that date students must make their own arrangements with an airport limo service.

The University may cancel any course or activity at any time because of insufficient enrollment or other unforeseen circumstances. If a program is canceled or postponed, the University will refund registration fees, but cannot be held responsible for other costs, charges, or expenses, including cancellation/change charges assessed by airlines or travel agencies.
Whether considering candidates for admission or financial aid, applicants for employment or the management of its policies and school-administered programs, Alfred University does not discriminate on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, age, race, color, national or ethnic origin, religion, or disability. Alfred University is an affirmative action, equal opportunity employer.