A classroom full of young adults in white lab coats give thumbs up while sitting at their desks.

College Quest: Bellingham

Registration for summer programs will begin February 1, 2019

Immerse yourself in the college experience – from residence hall to classroom - through College Quest on Western's campus located in Bellingham, WA.  During your stay you will complete a real college course, earn 1 university credit, gain valuable college success information, and form extraordinary social connections that come with life in a residence hall.

College Quest is a higher education preparatory program for high school students with an academic emphasis. The program’s goal is to introduce students to the college learning and living experience that gives them an advantage as they plan for their future.

Prior to attending, participants are asked to review Western’s rules & regulations

Campus Living

Experience a community living environment with a roommate in a designated residence hall.  Students will be placed by gender on separate floors. Gender neutral housing options are available upon request.

WWU residential advisers will provide support during the week, including recreational activities, counseling, and the appropriate level of supervision. Students will be responsible for managing their time; getting to meals, reporting to class, labs and workshops, working on assignments, etc. 

Classrooms, computer labs, dining halls and the library are easily accessible from your residence hall.

Check-In and Out dates and times listed here.

Sunday, between 2:30 - 4 p.m. 

Friday, between 2:30 - 4 p.m. 

Check in and Check out will occur at Residence hall listed in confirmation email.

Note: Any participant not returning their room key or facility key will result in a cost of one hundred and fifty dollars ($150), or actual cost of key core replacement, and will be charged to parent.

Western Washington University is not responsible for any lost and/or found items.

College Quest Memory Book 2017

At a Glance

Entering Grades 10-12

Sun - Fri, June 24-29, 2018
Sun - Fri, July 8-13, 2018

Daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Western Washington University
See location details



Week 1: June 24-29, 2018

COMM 197: Introduction to Communications and Public Speaking

“Ability is what you are capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.” ~ Holtz, L.

Explore the process of oral communication and build essential skills that will culminate in a Ted Talk presentation. Students will:

  • Examine the basic principles of public speaking
  • Participate in lively and interactive discussions, observations, reflections, and skills-rehearsal
  • Apply each principal of speech as the speaker and as the listener
  • Deliver speeches in their own voice and style in front of an audience
  • Learn to critique and receive feedback in a constructive manner
  • Build speaking skills and self-concept that are essential for success in life

Course Objectives

  • Understand the process of creating, organizing, revising, and delivering various types of speeches
  • Develop critical thinking and reflection skills
  • Build self-concept and confidence
  • Demonstrate ability to apply concepts

Instructor: Dr. Tara Perry

ENTR 197a: Exploring Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Welcome to E+ lab! E + lab is about Entrepreneurship + Excitement + Empathy + Exploration + Experimentation + Evidence + Enthusiasm + Everybody… anything you can think of that starts with E.

This experiential course explores the practice and underlying theory of very early stage entrepreneurship and innovation with varied economic and non-economic purposes. Developing ideas through application of entrepreneurial and innovative processes is the focus. Students will:

  • Demonstrate understanding of the processes for opportunity recognition through writing opportunity/problem statements
  • Demonstrate understanding of the process for early-stage idea development through drawing out ideas in the process framework
  • Demonstrate understanding of the scientific method to build empathy and engage in evidence based entrepreneurship and innovation through:
    • Writing idea hypotheses, getting out of the classroom and conducting primary research (effectively engaging with customers and beneficiaries of their ideas) and secondary research (use of existing data) to test their hypotheses and making appropriate adjustments for additional tests
  • Demonstrate ability to communicate ideas through:
    • Building and explaining an idea prototype
    • Creating and delivering a live idea ‘pitch’ presentation demonstrating learning accomplished
  • Demonstrate basic understanding of teaming through effectively working a with team and completing a peer and self-performance evaluation

Course Objectives

  • Understand the properties of materials and how they are tested
  • Examine types of materials, and how their characteristic properties influence their applications
  • Learn how materials are processed to produce products
  • Gain knowledge of the processing effects on the microscopic structure of materials
  • Observe and discover how the microscopic structure of materials affects their properties, and how those properties can be optimized by manipulating that structure during processing

Instructor: Dr. Art Sherwood

FAIR 162B: Principles of Film and Video Production Techniques

Advance your skills and gain confidence with video and audio editing techniques – from basics to special affects - with Adobe Final Cut Pro. Students will:

  • Explore development of the story board, shot list and scripting the story appropriate for your audience.
  • Learn the equipment including digital cameras, tripods, external microphones, lighting, Mac hardware and Adobe software.
  • Learn the basics of shooting footage with a green screen, lighting kit setup, audio voice-over, and B-roll and footage syncing.
  • Practice these principals by producing and critiquing short films each day including a commercial, a silent film and short "My Life on Campus" film.
  • Produce a music video for the final project.

Course Objectives

  • Explore educational, personal and career goals in a safe, student-centered environment.
  • Learn the equipment including digital cameras, tripods, external microphones, lighting, Mac hardware and Adobe software.
  • Learn shooting composition and shot framing, such as angles, pans and tilts, leveling and zoom.
  • Acquire tape engineering knowledge.
  • Create and construct a script, shot list, story board and finished product.

The PDF icon Permission and Release and Loss or Damage to Property Form must be signed by students taking the FAIR 162B: Film/video production course.

Instructor: Mark Miller

MSCI 110: Introduction to Renewable Energy for Scientists and Engineers

The effort to find reliable and affordable carbon-free energy sources is one of the greatest scientific challenges facing the next generation. In this course, students will:

  • Explore renewable energy technology and learn about the science underlying biofuels, wind, wave power, nuclear power and solar cells.
  • Create biodiesel fuel in the laboratory and construct and test their own solar cell devices.
  • Take field trips to local energy companies where they will be introduced to current and emerging energy infrastructures.  
  • Work in small groups to research a focus area of renewable energy, and at the end of the course, give group presentations to communicate their findings.
  • Keep a lab notebook of their experiments.
  • Perform in-depth research on one particular energy source and present their findings.

NOTE: Student must wear appropriate attire for labs: long pants and closed-toed shoes.

Course Objectives:

  • Explore renewable energy topics.
  • Learn the role of materials science in renewable energy technology.
  • Critically evaluate and discuss renewable energy options.
  • Structure design and planning of experiments.
  • Meet with and interact with experts at local energy companies.

Instructor: Tim Kowalczyk

PSY 194: Experience in Behavioral Neuroscience

Is it true that we use only about 10 percent of our brain? Why should we only believe part of what we see – and what is a phantom limb? Students will:

  • Explore the discipline of Behavioral Neuroscience in Western's new, state-of-the-art neuroscience research and teaching facility.
  • Investigate the role the nervous system plays in normal and abnormal behavior, thought and emotion.
  • Learn about brain structure and function during brain dissections and observe brain-activity monitoring techniques in action.
  • Experience real-world medical imaging technology by observing unique research projects being conducted through the Behavior Neuroscience Program at Western Washington University.

Course Objectives

  • Explore normal brain structure through hands-on dissection and state-of-the-art models and software.
  • Investigate how neurons in the nervous system communicate using a combination of chemical and electrical signals.
  • Learn about the tools behavioral neuroscientists use to study brain activity in laboratories and clinics.
  • Learn about brain structure and function in psychiatric or neurological illnesses.

Instructors: Dr. Janet Finlay and Dr. Michael Mana


Week 2: July 8-13

BIOL 194: Ecology of Local Marine Habitats

Marine ecology examines the environmental and biological factors that affect distribution, abundance, and diversity of organisms. This course will survey local marine habitats to examine ecological patterns. Students will:

  • Take daily field trips to collect specimens for lab or data analysis.
  • Gain an understanding of human impacts and how citizens can help protect marine habitats.
  • Participate in two Citizen Science projects considering their findings.
  • Develop questions and hypotheses, conduct field sampling research, analyze data, and present results.

Course Objectives:

  • Gain an understanding of environmental and biological features with a focus on invertebrates.
  • Develop familiarity with local marine habitats and organisms.
  • Research how organisms' life habitats enable them to utilize their habitat.
  • Record research data in a detailed field journal.
  • Design and plan experiments that address specific hypotheses.
  • Gain an understanding of Citizen Science and how to become a steward of our local marine environments.

Instructor: Mira Lutz

ENRG 197: International Energy and Environmental Policy

Access to energy, especially low-carbon energy, impacts both the economic opportunities and environmental conditions of people around the world. The choices we make today have far reaching impacts on our children, children’s children, and potentially the entire human race. With energy markets that span continents, and an environmental problem – climate change – that requires a worldwide effort, understanding the policy options can be overwhelming. Students will:

  • Develop a framework for thinking about energy usage decisions by learning about sources of energy
  • Visit alternative and conventional energy producers such as a dairy digester or a steam plant
  • Learn the basics of energy demand and supply in conjunction with a brief survey of the geography, energy needs/institutions, and opportunities of nations on six continents
  • Investigate the policy options – worldwide

Course Objectives:

  • Gain an understanding of how we use energy – cooking, lighting, industry, transportation, heating and cooling across six different continents
  • Compile background information on the geography and peoples of those continents
  • Learn the sources of energy
  • Research environmental impacts of energy – especially regarding climate change
  • Understand environmental policies to reduce the negative impacts of energy usage
  • Explore international agreements to limit climate change

Instructor: Dr. Sharon Shewmake

THTR 184: Creative Writing for the Stage

Writing for the Stage is an intensive writing course that can give opportunity for creation of a vlog or a podcast by using dialogue to generate action. Every webisode, Netflix series, TV show, movie, commercial, lecture, and even documentary have one thing in common – the script! Students will:

  • Create a ten-minute play and work with trained actors to present a reading of your work.
  • Create tangible and dynamic characters.
  • Practice giving feedback to fellow writers in a constructive and safe environment
  • Work in teams as a company of writers.
  • Produce a professional reading of premiere 10-minute plays.

Course Objectives:

  • Learn to collaborate with other artists to realize the page to stage process
  • Discover the skills and understanding of playwriting that can be applied to scholarly or creative writing
  • Demonstrate clear understanding of the five part structure in creating scene – exposition, rising action, climax, falling action and resolution.
  • Understand how to receive constructive criticism and workshop writing.
  • Gain insight into how professional playwrights make a living.
  • Class is held Monday through Friday; various hours.  Enrollment is limited to a maximum of 20 students.

Instructor: Kamarie Chapman

Learn more about Kamarie's love for playwriting in a recent Western Front article.

VHCL 197: Experience in Vehicle Design: Wing-In-Ground Effect Vehicles

Students will design and build a scale model of an ocean or inland waterway marine vehicle that can efficiently travel long distances at high speed.  This experiential engineering course will introduce the 10 step tunnel hull design process, and explore power, lift and drag with design variations. 

Course Objectives:

  • Explain concepts of wing-in-ground effect vehicle design.  
  • Create vehicle design specifications from mission requirements. 
  • Demonstrate how to calculate vehicle loads including:
  • Aerodynamic Lift
  • Aerodynamic Drag
  • Hydrodynamic Lift
  • Hydrodynamic Drag 
  • Calculate moments on the vehicle 
  • Calculate power requirements  
  • Demonstrate engineering design process by constructing and testing a physical scale model of the vehicle.  

Instructor: Eric Leonhardt

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Sunday (Arrival)

2:30 – 4 p.m.


4 – 4:30 p.m.

Student Orientation

4:30  – 5:30 p.m.

Campus tour

5:30 – 6:30 p.m.


6:30 – 7 p.m.


7 – 10 p.m.

Ice breakers, social activities

Daily Schedule

7 – 8:30 a.m.


9 a.m. - noon

Class, assignments

noon - 1 p.m.


1 – 4 p.m.

Labs and research

4 – 5 p.m.

Workshops, class assignments

5:15 – 6:30 p.m.


7 p.m.

Hall Meeting

8 - 10 p.m.

Social activities and homework time

10 p.m.

Quiet time in residence hall

11 p.m.

Lights out


7 - 8:30 a.m.


9 - 2 p.m.

Class (with break for lunch)

2 – 4 p.m.

Final project presentation*

3 - 5 p.m.

Reception and Check-out

*Parents and Family are welcome to attend final presentations. Students will be responsible for sharing location and directions with family for their specific presentation.

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Location Details

Western Washington University
516 High St, Bellingham

For detailed parking instructions (if applicable), please refer to the confirmation letter.
Campus map

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Students are welcome to drive themselves to campus for College Quest. However, parking passes are not included in the fees and will need to be purchased separately. Please contact youth@wwu.edu to coordinate parking arrangements if necessary.

Drop off and pick up parking locations will be explained in detail in the confirmation letter sent one week prior to your arrival.

Bellingham International Airport is serviced by Horizon/Alaska and Allegiant Airlines, Greyhound Bus Lines and AMTRAK National Rail Service. Transportation from SeaTac Airport to Bellingham is serviced by Bellair Airporter Shuttle (phone: 866-235-5247). Contracted taxi service is available from the Bellingham Airport and the bus/train terminal by Yellow Cab Service (phone: 360-734-8294).

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Cost Details

  • $1000 (Before May 15)
  • $1000 for WWU faculty, staff and alumni (After May 15)
  • $1050 (After May 15)

Register for both weeks and receive a $50 per week discount.

Cost covers tuition, lodging, linen pack*, meals, recreational activities, and residence hall supervision.  

* Linen pack includes: two blankets, two sheets, one pillow with pillow case, one hand towel, two bath towels, a face cloth and small bar of soap.

Registration Requirements due May 31:

  • Unofficial High School transcripts
  • Headshot photo for Western ID card
Mail to:
  • Email: youth@wwu.edu
  • Youth Programs – Extended Education
    516 High Street, MS 9102
    Bellingham, WA 98225
  • Confidential fax: 360-788-0854
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Cancellation Policy

A full refund is granted if a class is cancelled. No reduction in fees is given for late arrival, early departure or expulsion for disciplinary matters. Cancellation requests must be submitted via email to youth@wwu.edu 12 working days prior to the first day of your session; a $250 handling charge will be deducted.

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Many local scholarships may be available that apply to this program. Check your area for Summer enrichment scholarships with local charitable groups.

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