Quad Cities Campus

WIU-QC Summer Enrichment Programs 2018

Words & Music: The Art of Songwriting

June 11-15, 2018, 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.  Grades 9-12  $295  |  Brochure/Registration PDF

This program is designed for high school students in 9th through 11th grades. Participants in the program examine the A, B, Cs of song structure, rhyme schemes, bridges, lyric writing, and melody. These writing principles are applicable to all genres of music including pop, folk, American, rock, Hip-Hop...and even Broadway and show-tunes! This program may appeal to those with an interest in songwriting, poetry, and music appreciation as well as English, literature and creative writing.

In addition, participants will learn about the workings of the music industry, including copyrighting, promotion, and marketing. Field trips include visits to hear from music professionals at Daytrotters Recording Studio and Graveyard Studios as well as a talk by DJ K Yung of Flood 93 Radio.

On the final day of the program, instructors and students will perform on the WIU-QC campus (Please note that although participants are not required to sing their work, we ask that they make available their pieces for performance by the instructors or another student). Students are encouraged to bring one to two songs with song lyrics to discuss during the program. For students interested in writing rap music, we ask that they bring their beats with them.

Words & Music:  The Art of Songwriting

Lojo Russo is a professionally touring musician and songwriter who has produced eight albums. Self-taught on guitar, mandolin, bass and voice Russo spent her early years in different bands in the Twin Cities (MN) playing in or fronting folk, funk, jazz, jam, Celtic and indie bands. This range of genres has given Russo a broader understanding of the music she plays and a deeper understanding of the music she wants to create. For her efforts, Russo has earned a nomination for a "Mammy" (MN Music Award) for "Best Folk Artist" and the title of "Best Female Artist" from the Minnesota Women's Press. When she’s not on the road performing she’s at home writing, recording and teaching guitar and mandolin as a private instructor. A songwriter since the age of 10, Russo is looking forward to the opportunity to share her experiences and skills in songwriting with students so that they may find their song within.

David G Smith has lived or worked in Nashville, TN for over 20 years. He is an acoustic solo performer and songwriter who tours nationally. Recently, Smith released, First Love, his 6th album in as many years. The album features appearances by Mary Gauthier, Keb’ Mo’, and America's Got Talent powerhouse singer and semifinalist, Alicia Michilli. Two of his albums, First Love and One House have been accepted for Grammy consideration. They landed #1 and #2, respectively, on the Roots Music Chart in Iowa.

Smith earned First Place in the International Song Competition, country category with the song “Made For You” from the album One House.” He recently had a national #1 song as well, "Sunday Morning Drive" co-written and recorded by Anne E. DeChant. Smith’s songs have been featured on TNT's "Saving Grace", Travel Channel's "Rissi Palmer's Country", and Lifetime's "Chasing Nashville". His song, “Angels Flew” a 9-11 commemorative song about the rescue & relief effort on September 11th, has been placed on the 9-11 Memorial Museum’s Artist Registry.

Dr. Matt Bean is a professor of Musical Theatre and Voice for Western Illinois University’s Bachelor of Fine Arts program in Musical Theatre. He holds degrees in music and theatre from Indiana University, Manhattan School of Music, and Brigham Young University. Matt has taught highly acclaimed professional workshops on singing/acting and pop/belt vocal technique throughout the U.S.  While at WIU, he has performed the title role of Sweeney Todd and has wielded the baton for more than twenty musicals.  He has authored numerous articles published in the Journal of Singing and The Sondheim Review and hisstudents have performed on Broadway and in national touring companies. As a composer, he penned the children’s musicals The Emperor’s New Clothes and The 101 Dalmatians, both of which enjoyed long national tours. He is now writing Just ‘cause, a new musical theatre revue of original songs.

Courtney Blankenship has a B.S. in Marketing from Miami of Ohio and an M.A. in Arts Administration from Indiana University. She joined WIU in 2008 as the Director of Music Business in the School of Music and is a current board member of MEIEA (Music and Entertainment Industry Educators Association). She has held positions in public relations/marketing at the Bloomington Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Indiana University School of Music’s Publicity Office and the Musical Arts Center Box Office. In her current faculty position, she has taken WIU students to the National Association of Music Merchants Show in Anaheim, CA every year since 2008, continuing a longstanding tradition for the 30 year-old degree program. In 2017, Blankenship received the College of Fine Arts and Communication Dean’s Award of Teaching Excellence. For a complete list of where her students have interned and are successfully employed, visit http://www.wiu.edu/cofac/musicbusiness/.

Math on the Mississippi

Grades 4-6: June 18-22, 2018 & Grades 6-8: June 25-29, 2018, 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.  $275 |  Brochure/Registration PDF

Math on the Mississippi

“Math on the Mississippi,” is an engaging and interactive commuter summer enrichment camp at Western Illinois University-Quad Cities. This program is offered from 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. each day and is available in two sessions.  Session I is offered for students in grades 4-6 and Session II is offered for grades 6-8; Sixth grade students may choose to attend Session I (June 18-22, 2018) or Session II (June 25-29, 2018).

Each morning, participants begin their day with brain teasers or an excursion into the local area. A topic such as Earth and Space Science, Pressure, Indirect Measurement, Statistics, or Buoyancy are introduced each day to guide the day’s activities and discussions.  Past and present participants will explore relative motion as well as decipher patterns in complex behaviors by analyzing data and learning to track trends. In addition, participants will create a blog of the day’s lessons, detailing what they have learned.  Members of the math education department as well as physics and math faculty and university students coordinate and lead instruction for the program. On the closing day of the program, a panel of professionals in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields discuss how they use math in their carer choices.


Earth and Space Science: Participants will learn how to create measurements of the shape of the Earth as well as determine our location and orientation on it. They will also explore our movement and place in the solar system using a combination of observations and computer programs. In addition, they will have the opportunity to calculate the speed of light through measurements from the motion of Jupiter’s moons!

Buoyancy: During the program, participants have the opportunity to learn about buoyancy through lessons using the Mississippi’s Sylvan Slough. Under the supervision and guidance of faculty, students design and build a cardboard boat to test on the water. They also paddle board with faculty as part of this interactive day.

Pressure: Participants learn about air, water, and surface area pressure during the program. Students are given a tour of Lock & Dam 15 by a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers civil engineer to examine the concept of water pressure and how it works to open and close the dam. In addition to the field trip, students create bottle rockets to study air pressure, and examine surface area pressure through a variety of demonstrations.

Indirect Measurement: Participants will study indirect measurement and visit Black Hawk State Park for a field trip. They will determine circumference, height and distance of various objects based on their own reasoning within the natural environment of Black Hawk State Park.

Statistics: Participants will learn basic concepts related to statistics and statistical analysis, and how to use them to in real life situations.


Muggles in a Wizard’s World: Harry Potter & The Chamber of Secrets

July 9-13, 2018, 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.  Grades 5-7  |  $275  |  Brochure/Registration PDF

Let us continue our journey through the halls of Hogwarts and consider script and screen as we explore the world of Harry Potter through science, art, literature, and writing. Using the second book of the series, new and returning students will delve into the secrets and mystery of the Chamber of Secrets, discovering new creatures, the characteristics of sound, and participating in the program’s first field trip to Nahant Marsh. In addition to participating in games of Quidditch, Dueling Wands, and Chess, participants will engage in a Reader’s Theater, allowing students to create their own dramatic scripts to be read aloud with student sound effects.


Muggles in a Wizard’s World: Harry Potter & The Sorcerer’s Stone

Science: Students will visit Nahant Marsh and/or Niabi Zoo to learn about snakes and other reptile characteristics, behaviors and habitats. Participants will also examine and learn about a variety of arthropods and insects native to the Mississippi River environment, with a particular focus on spiders. They will also explore the myths and science behind the phoenix. Students will work with dry ice and liquid nitrogen and discuss how things change when they become very cold. They will work with light and explore the properties of lenses and mirrors. They will also explore the nature and properties of sound waves, with a focus on the characteristics of wavelength and frequency, and the phenomenon of resonance.  Instructors are Dr. Brian Peer, professor of biology at WIU, and Dr. James Rabchuk, professor of physics and an assistant dean in the WIU College of Arts and Sciences.

Art: Participants will spend time creating a variety of Harry Potter-themed pieces using various materials. They will create wizard’s hats, invitations, howlers, and other fun projects during the program. There will be techniques for magicians of all skill levels during this portion of the day.  Instructor: Heather Calvert holds a BA in Art Education and MA in Museum Studies. Heather is a returning instructor, and a proud member of Hufflepuff House.

Literature: Using “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets,” we will explore the world of Harry Potter as J.K. Rowling brought it to life. We will look at the way diaries, journals, and personal narratives can be used to enhance a story. The influences from classic mythology and modern societal issues will be looked at as a way to add layers of meaning to a story. We will examine the way Rowling uses secrets and misdirection to create a compelling mystery.  Instructor: Marta Timbrook is a Cornell College graduate with a BA in Secondary Education and English.  After working in schools in Iowa and Illinois, she turned her focus to her love of reading and sharing that with children who visit the Moline Public Library. There she is involved in the planning of numerous children’s programs, writing for the Moline Public Library Kid’s blog, and providing outreach services for schools and groups.

Writing: In this session, we will learn how J.K. Rowling used writing techniques to create compelling people, places, and plots. We will experiment with those techniques in our own writing exercises. Students will work together to take what they’ve learned and write their own Reader’s Theater scripts to perform at the end of the week.  Instructor: Jan LaRoche is the teen services librarian at the Moline Public Library. She holds a BA in English, MLS in library science, and MFA in creative writing for children and teens.

Blogs: Students will collaborate to create a blog detailing their experiences and featuring the projects they have developed during the course. The blog will feature an opportunity for students to dialogue on theories or concerns about the texts, and to learn about the role that blogging and social media play in generating discussion on the series.

STEAM in the 21st Century

July 23-27, 2018, 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.  Grades 8-10  $275  | Brochure/Registration PDF

Research shows that STEAM education nurtures both sides of the human brain, allowing us to learn science and math concepts and then apply them to find creative solutions in various ways.  Emerging technologies in Digital arenas, DNA Mapping, robotics, nanotechnology, 3D printing, and biotechnology require cross-functional aptitudes and innovation and this is where STEAM comes into play.  By combining technology with imagination, we cross disciplines to create interesting solutions to complex problems.

Students will learn not only through instruction, but through several hands-on projects in art, computers, and engineering. The first day is structured so participants begin the week learning drawing and design. By creating 3-dimensional art pieces, students will explore the mathematical Golden Ratio, including its impact on creating compelling two dimensional artwork and architecturally sound 3-D structures. 

On day two, participants will work in university labs to study electricity, magnetism, circuits, and mechanics.  This day is offered as the second conceptual learning day in the program.  Both day one and two lay the foundation for project-based work with computers, Arduinos (microprocessors/controllers), and hovercrafts in the program.

As part of working with microprocessors/microcontrollers, students will be given a starter Arduino kit to build upon during the week. The kit is included as part of the program fee and students will take home their Arduinos for additional project development after the program’s completion.  Finally, toward the end of the program, participants will learn about hovercrafts and will work in teams to build a hovercraft in the university labs.