Summer Programs
Polymers & Metals Science Camp
July 19-July 23, 2015

View our Camp Brochure. Student with Slime

This is a great opportunity to learn about polymers and metals, to sample life on a college campus and to meet other students with similar interests and academic ability. The emphasis is on having fun and enjoying our beautiful natural surroundings while learning! Check out comments from past campers.

With our dynamic, engaging, talented and caring faculty and staff; terrific facilities; and lovely campus, the AU Polymers and Metals Science camp could make this your best summer ever!

Who Can Attend?
This co-ed, overnight summer camp is designed for high school students who are entering grades 10, 11, and 12. The number of participants is kept small to allow for individualized attention and optimal use of equipment.

Classes are taught by faculty of Alfred University's Inamori School of Engineering and by NYS certified educators. Instructors include Dr. Eric Payton, Assistant Professor of Materials Science & Engineering; Ms. Kathryn Pilgrim (NYS certified in Chemistry and Special Education); and Dr. Steven M. Pilgrim, Professor of Materials Science & Engineering and NYS certified in Chemistry.

The Program
Students participate in inquiry based, hands-on lab experiences related to making, testing and experiencing polymers and metals. They will learn about the breadth and importance of polymers and metals in our society, and how to apply general science and engineering principles in a broad sense.

Elastic Plastic and Plastic Metal?!! Polymers, both natural and synthetic, have unique properties based on their chemistry and physics. They are the material that separates our society from that of a century ago - discover how and why! Learn how society has changed and what future changes are possible. Think like a Mythbuster to understand how the absorbency of diapers relates to contact lenses and environmental cleanup while quantifying and modeling water uptake. Experience the extreme variability of polymer viscosity via student-created slime, wall-walkers, and oobleck - three materials whose components seem boring, but whose combination yields unexpected and important properties. Consider the wider applications of viscosity control from “molasses in January” to personal armor protection.

While polymers may often be referred to as “plastics,” another class of important materials exhibits “plastic behavior”: Metals! Plasticity is the ability of a material to accommodate permanent deformation without breaking, and is one of the properties that makes metals useful for engineering everything from skyscrapers to airplanes. Learn about what gives them the strength and toughness to handle many of the world’s most demanding structural applications.

Participants will:
  • Destroy an oligomeric suspension of biological origin by controlled addition of highly ionic solid and extreme mechanical agitation in the quest for a gustatory product (yes, we'll translate on-site!!).
  • Make and characterize varieties of slime, wall-walkers, and/or oobleck, while learning and applying the underlying physics and chemistry.
  • Experience the unique optical properties that make polymers the enabling material for Liquid Crystal Displays.
  • See the frequency effects on polymer mechanical properties and link this with the Boston Big Dig Collapse and the fall of 100 lbs of Silly Putty.
  • See the microscopic structure of metals and observe how the "microstructure" affects the strength and toughness of the material.
  • Learn about how microstructure can be controlled to give some metals a "memory."
  • Learn about microscopes and see an electron microscope in action.
  • Experience changing the properties of metals by exposing them to heat and cooling them at different rates.
  • Measure the toughness of metals under different conditions and link this with the fracture of Liberty ships in World War II.
  • Experiment with the electrical and magnetic properties of metals and metal-polymer composites.
  • Experience the temperature effects (77K, -196°C) on polymer behavior
  • Depart Alfred University with: their slime, wall-walkers and/or oobleck, new friends, new perspectives and new knowledge.

Students arrive between 2:00 and 4:00 PM on Sunday for registration and check-in and they check-out after lunch on Thursday. Students attend classes/labs during the day and have lots of fun participating in planned recreational activities on and off campus each evening. Living, dining and learning together, they have ample opportunity to get to know each other well and develop lasting friendships. View a sample weekly schedule.

When not in classes, students have lots of fun participating in recreational activities. Living, dining and learning together, students 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
  • Visiting a nearby lake for picnics and campfires
  • 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 the Terra Cotta Coffee House
  • Farewell party on the last night

View AU Summer Academic Camps Video

Out-of-class supervision is provided by our team of Camp Counselors, who are specially trained to serve as positive role models, mentors and friends. In order to ensure everyone has a safe, healthy and enjoyable time on campus, summer students are expected to abide by the University's summer programs rules & regulations.

Housing and Meals
Students stay in secure University residence halls dedicated to summer campers (2 per room) and must bring their own pillows, blankets and bed/bath linens for the week (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.

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.

Tuition, Room and Board
The program fee is $895 (includes a $100 deposit). This covers room and board from dinner on the first day through lunch on the last day, tuition, supervision, materials and recreational activities.

The $100 deposit must be submitted with the application. Full payment of the balance is due June 1, 2015.

(Commuter Rate: Students living locally who wish to attend this camp as commuters may do so. The commuter rate, which covers tuition, supervision, program materials and lunch, is $625. Evening recreational activities are not included. Students who wish to commute must check in at registration on Sunday and arrive on campus by 9:00 AM for classes Monday-Thursday. They must be picked up no later than 5:00 PM each day, except Thursday, when pick-up time is 1:00 PM. Please be sure to check the "Commuter" box on the application form.)

Financial Aid
Sorry, there are no scholarships or other forms of financial aid available for students in any of our summer programs.

How to Apply - The application deadline is May 1, 2015.

Students who wish to apply must submit:

  • A completed online application form
  • $100 deposit (paid on online application form)
  • Copy of an up-to-date transcript or most recent report card
  • Two letters of recommendation from teachers (on official school stationery)
  • A one-page essay telling us why you would like to attend this program (in your own words, with your signature at the bottom)

Send to: Office of Summer Programs, Alfred University, Saxon Drive, Alfred, NY 14802 or fax to 607-871-2045, or scan and send to us in PDF form via email.

The Summer Programs Admissions Committee will evaluate all applications after the May 1st deadline and determine which students will be accepted. Acceptance/non-acceptance notification will be provided to applicants by email and letter by the middle of May. (Students who apply after May 1 will receive notification within 1 week after we receive their application materials.)

Accepted students will receive, along with their acceptance letter, instructions on where to find and download all required materials including medical forms, liability releases, emergency notification forms, etc. These materials must be filled out as soon as possible and must be back in our hands 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.)

Cancellation Policy
Refunds, less the $100 non-refundable deposit, will be made for cancellations received by June 5. 50% refunds will be made for cancellations received from June 6-19. There are no refunds given for cancellations received after June 19.

For further general information contact the Office of Summer Programs at email or 607-871-2612. For specific information concerning class content please contact Dr. Steve Pilgrim at email or 607-871-2431.

Comments from Past Campers:

  • "I absolutely loved this camp! It was so much fun and very entertaining. They knew how to keep us moving and active." - Emily S. from Norwich, NY
  • "Everything was super awesome!" - Stephen O. from Westport, CT
  • "I liked making new creations in my polymers classes!" - Jeannette A. from New York, NY
  • "The classes were very enjoyable. The professors were great and the projects were a lot of fun. This experience helped me narrow down what kind of engineer I may want to be." - Jake W. from Florida, NY
  • "It was a lot of fun and I learned a lot!" - Patrick C. from LeRoy, NY
  • "The best thing was seeing the really cool demos. I was perfectly satisfied with everything. Thank you!" - Alex C. from Chappaqua, NY

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Please note: We also offer camps in Computer Engineering, Robotics Engineering, Ceramic & Glass Engineering, Astronomy and Chemistry.

About Alfred
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 a favorite subject and meeting other students who share your interests!

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 the request by the date indicated in the acceptance notification. After that date students must make their own arrangements with an airport limo service.

To read or print documents you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader which can be downloaded for free.

Program Cancellation: 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.

AU Policy Against Discrimination: 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