Champlain College Pioneers Future-Ready Pre-College Summer Programs

At the heart of Champlain College’s Pre-College Summer Programs is a unique blend of expert-led instruction and immersive, hands-on learning experiences. These aren’t conventional, lecture-based summer programs. They’re dynamic, interactive opportunities for high school students to actively engage with exciting new course material, develop tangible skills, and build their confidence in areas that are critical to their success as they look beyond high school.

With the professional landscape undergoing constant transformation, Champlain is excited to expand its offerings this summer to include academics in Creative AI and Filmmaking & Media Production Exploration, giving students an unparalleled early advantage in fields that are rapidly evolving.

“Our Pre-College programs give students a real idea  of what it’s like to live and learn on a college campus—they get to experience the curriculum, hands-on, and get a taste of how welcoming the Champlain community is,” says Kerry Zuccareno, Champlain’s Director of Pre-College Programs. This sentiment captures the essence of what these summer programs aim to achieve: an opportunity to build skills and confidence in your area of interest, and experience the collaborative innovative spirit of Champlain College.

“They’re definitely academic-focused and academically rigorous,” Zuccareno points out, underscoring the programs’ commitment to providing a substantive, impactful learning experience. The programs are designed to be more than an educational exercise; they are a launchpad for students to explore the areas they are passionate about, and to find their path.

Empowering the Next Generation of Innovators and Storytellers

Creative AI Academy

Creative Artificial Intelligence (AI) immerses students in the revolutionary convergence of artificial intelligence and human creativity, which shapes new frontiers in the ways we can conceive, create, and interact with media. At its core, creative AI involves the use of machine learning algorithms to generate new content, from artwork and music to complex narratives and design elements. 

This technology has the power to augment human creativity, offering tools that can inspire new forms of artistic expression and innovative solutions to tough challenges. The importance of creative AI lies not only in its capacity to push the boundaries of traditional art and design, but also in its potential to make sophisticated design and artistic expression accessible to a broader audience. 

Alexandre Tolstenko, the Creative AI Academy Program Coordinator has noticed rapid changes in the world, many of which involve AI at the forefront. Understanding and leveraging creative AI is becoming more prevalent in entertainment, marketing, and product design industries, and learning to navigate this new AI world is crucial for anyone who wishes to remain competitive in these fields and beyond.

In the Creative AI Academy, Tolstenko prioritizes hands-on learning, and students will have the opportunity for early engagement in advanced creative AI tools and processes. “They’re going to learn how to train different kinds of models and then learn how they can use these models to solve some problems,” he shares. This program empowers students to use AI as a tool for innovation rather than view it as a daunting, inaccessible technology.

Filmmaking & Media Production Exploration Academy

The film and media industries have been undergoing transformative changes driven by digital technology and the rise of streaming platforms. This evolution means that storytelling, production, and distribution methods are rapidly changing, creating new opportunities for storytellers to reach audiences in innovative ways. 

The Filmmaking & Media Production Exploration Academy is an exploration of the various avenues available within the industry. With a broad curriculum that encompasses both fiction and non-fiction filmmaking, students will be hands-on in everything from writing, editing and producing to production design, conducting interviews, and directing.

Far beyond just directing, it’s led by Julia Swift, an Associate Professor of Filmmaking at Champlain College, who has extensive professional film experience in Hollywood. The summer academy provides a comprehensive introduction to the film industry and media production, covering everything from the fundamentals of cinematography to the nuances of media production, providing participants with a rich and varied foundation in both traditional and contemporary media storytelling techniques. “Not a lot of schools have the teachers or the equipment to let people really start digging into film before they go to college,” Swift notes.

Through hands-on experience with professional-level equipment, students learn the ins and outs of creating compelling content for film, television, and streaming platforms before they even start their degree. “They’ll learn script format, they’ll learn storyboarding, they’ll learn how to work a camera. And then they’re also going to work together as a group to create projects,” Swift explains.

This approach makes the filmmaking process less daunting, but also showcases the wide range of roles available in the industry, from writing and production management to editing and sound design. This academy is designed for those who dream of discovering new ways to tell stories that captivate and inspire.

By choosing to participate in Champlain’s summer programs, students not only gain a head start on their college education, but also position themselves at the forefront of innovation in their chosen fields. Reflecting on his experience at the Pre-College Summer Program, Alexander Cowell ’26, a Game Design student, highlighted the nurturing educational environment, saying: “They were very attentive in helping anyone get through their major projects. They’d go around group to group and they’d check in. It’s a great way to get yourself into the scene and get some experience, and meet some friends.”

The essence of these programs extends beyond the academic rigor and hands-on learning, offering an opportunity to join a community that is as forward thinking as it is welcoming. With spaces limited, this is a golden opportunity to explore passions, develop new skills, and step confidently toward a successful future.

Don’t miss your chance to be part of Champlain College’s transformative pre-college experience! Register today to secure your spot and get a jump start on your college education and the job market of tomorrow.

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