2017 JBS Programs have been announced!

The Summer 2017 JBS Programs have been announced
The Summer 2017 JBS Programs have been announced

The 2017 Justice Brandeis Semester (JBS) programs have been announced!

The JBS programs are engaging, immersive academic programs in which small groups of students explore a topic in depth while working closely with faculty.  In addition to a strong, connected classroom component, students participate in field trips, innovative project work, and engage with guest speakers. Students earn 12 credits toward graduation while building their professional resume.  Most students also earn a semester of residency toward graduation (With enough credits, this allows a student to potentially graduate early – students should consult their Academic Advisor if attempting to graduate early).

Each JBS is tailored to a specific area of interest and is an immersive, hands-on learning experience. Summer 2017 programs include:

  • A “Bio-Inspired Design” JBS program where students study the natural world and then use nature’s example to create innovative products using the resources of the Brandeis MakerLab.
  • A “Psychology Research into School Bullying” JBS where students take two core PSYC classes (Statistics and Research Methods) while learning about, and developing solutions to, the school bullying epidemic.
  • A “Health, Law, and Justice” JBS where students explore the legal, ethical, and policy issues facing American health care. Also, given the recent presidential election, students will consider “What comes next for American health care?”
  • And a “Voice, Web and Mobile Applications” JBS where Computer Science students work in teams to design their own working smartphone apps!

Summer 2016 JBS Applications are now OPEN!

The date many students have been waiting for is finally here.

Applications for the Summer 2016 JBS programs are now open!  To submit your application visit: http://www.brandeis.edu/jbs/apply/application.html

Because of the unique nature of the JBS programs, most programs have a limit to the number of students who can enroll.  The size of each program is limited for a few reasons.

jbsclassFirst, the JBS is an intensive summer program where students receive a lot of direct attention from their instructor.  Last summer, the 6 JBS programs offered had an average of just 11.5 students enrolled!  Even the largest JBS program had only 17 students.  These students were working with 2 Instructors and 3 Teaching Assistants over the course of their JBS.  So students really get personal attention as they learn about the topic of their JBS.


Second, JBS programs do some amazing things that wouldn’t be possible with a large group.  For example, this summer:

  • The Emerging Powers JBS will be travelling to New York City for a few days to meet with journalists, and UN diplomats
  • The Health, Law, and Justice JBS will be meeting with lawmakers on Beacon Hill and experts int eh health care industry.
  • The Sports Writing JBS will have unprecedented access to organized Training Activities at Gillette Stadium while Patriots players train for next season.
  • The Art Today JBS will be travelling to art galleries and artist studios to learn from working professionals what it takes to succeed in today’s art world.
  • The Voice, Web, and Mobile Applications JBS will be creating apps for smartphones and tablets and meeting with key figures in the Boston tech world about how to create a commercially successful app.

Logistically, these unique programs couldn’t be as meaningful and as exciting if each program had too students many enrolled.

In addition to the fact that each program has a limited number of openings, there is also a limited amount of financial aid available for these programs, so early application is encouraged!

Apply today.  Don’t be closed out!

2015 Bio-Inspired Design JBS students continue to work on their designs


The 2015 Bio-Inspired Design JBS students continued working on their design projects from the Summer as part of a Fall experiential learning practicum.

In their JBS students learned about animal anatomy (like cats paws, elephant trunks, snake jaws, gecko feet, hummingbird wings, etc.) and various natural phenomena (flight in birds, etc.).  They then took this knowledge to create products using their own designs and 3-D printing technology.

One of the students, Margot Field, created a website showcasing her group’s work.

2016 JBS Programs have been announced!


The Summer 2016 Justice Brandeis Semester (JBS) programs have been announced!

The programs scheduled for Summer 2016 will be:

  • Art Today with Peter Kalb
  • Emerging Powers and the New World Order: The Politics and Culture of Globalization 2.0 with Chandler Rosenberger, Harleen Singh and Pu Wang
  • Health, Law, and Justice with Sarah Curi, Alice Noble and Andy Hart
  • A Sports Writing Summer in Boston with Peter May
  • Voice, Web and Mobile Applications with Timothy Hickey and Marie Meteer

These JBS are intensive 8-, 9- or 10-week programs that combine thematically linked courses, internships, field-based research experiences, creative work, and community engagement opportunities – all designed to delve deeply into a specific area of inquiry.

More detailed JBS program information can be found at:

Please note that there are limited spaces and financial aid available so early applications are encouraged! 


Congratulations to all of the Summer 2015 JBS students!

2015-JBS-WrapYou’ve accomplished quite a bit over the summer.  From designing mobile apps to creating policy documents on healthcare, from 3-D printing a new type of silent shoe based on animals who walk silently like cats and elephants to delivering research-based marketing plans to Boston area companies.


The Summer School Office is amazed by your accomplishments!


Bio-Inspired Design – Week 7

This week, the Bio-Inspired Design JBS managed to fit in two awesome field trips: the Franklin Park Zoo and the SIMPeds program at Boston Children’s Hospital!

The zoo took us on a tour of the major sections of the park, explaining facts about the animals as we went along. Although seeing the animals was great, the highlight of the trip was a trip behind-the-scenes in the giraffe exhibit. We climbed up onto a balcony so that we could be face-to-face, and we all got to meet Beau, the zoo’s resident male Masai giraffe!

joint photo

On Friday, the class took a trip out to the Boston Children’s Hospital and took a look at the SIMPeds program. We went into a simulation room in the ICU and saw the training tools that physicians themselves use to practice their skills. Following a presentation there, we walked over to the program’s lab and got a chance to see their enormous 3D-printer, along with getting a close-up look at what they’re printing! This includes things like “skin” for suturing practice: simpeds skin for sutures

The work they’re doing for surgical procedures is even more amazing! If a child comes into the hospital with a uniquely formed skull or heart, a surgeon isn’t likely to have seen something like it before. In light of this, the SIMPeds lab takes MRI and CT scans of those organs and 3D-prints models of them for the surgeons! This gives the surgeons a chance to look over the model and plan out their surgery in much greater detail, hopefully reducing the amount of time the patient is actually in the operating room.

Join us next week as we head out to the Concord Field Station!

HLJ Visits the State House

Health, Law, and Justice JBS students had the opportunity to visit the Massachusetts State House and meet with key legislators and staff members in state health policy.

We learned about current bills before the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing and the Joint Committee on Public Health, as well as the process of passing 2012’s Chapter 224. The students are now experts on Chapter 224, having examined it in class and having visited the Health Policy Commission.

To finish an exciting day, the HLJ students and faculty toured our beautiful and historic State House. We saw the Sacred Cod in the House of Representatives, murals depicting our state’s fascinating history–even Governor Baker’s office! An exciting day for our JBS.

Drumlin Farms

Drumlin FarmsDrumlin Farms

          Earlier this month, the Brandeis Storytelling Brigade travelled to Drumlin farm, a nearby wildlife sanctuary, to tell stories with summer campers between the ages of about 5 and 10. Split into two groups, the campers were regaled with familiar stories as well as those written just for the occasion. The Brigade elicited the young campers’ participation through improvisation and story co-creation which delighted throughout the event. The energy exchange between the children and the Brigade was amazing to watch and be a part of, and we departed hopefully having imparted as much entertainment as we received.

Bio-Inspired Design – Week 6

This week, the adventures of the Bio-Inspired Design class continued with final project discussions, field work, and learning about flight!

The students in the course have now come together in three groups to begin work on their final projects: designing a product that is partly or wholly inspired by a concept found in nature, then building a prototype! Each group is planning something unique, and they’ve named themselves Team Kitchen Aid, Team Suction, and Team Kitten Mittens. We’re all looking forward to what they can accomplish!


The class took a trip out to the Assabet River Wildlife Refuge with Professor Perlman to get an up close and personal look at some of the invertebrate and plant life found in the water! We saw some crazy examples of how to maneuver underwater, like the dragonfly nymph’s jet propulsion, the backswimmer’s backstroke, and the leech’s inchworm-style motion. Professor Perlman was a huge help in identifying the insects we found and showing us where to look, so here’s a shout-out and a thank you to him!

group throw cropped

The class also spent some time going over the physics of flight. We discussed pressure and how an object’s shape can alter the pressure it experiences – leading to a discussion on airfoils and lift! Making a long topic slightly shorter, the unique shape of an airfoil generates lift because the air is forced to move faster over its top than along the bottom. This makes the air below the airfoil have a greater pressure than the air above it, forcing the airfoil upwards! And obviously after learning about creating lift, the class needed to step outside to try out some wing designs for ourselves…and so began the great Bio-Inspired Design Paper Plane Challenge!

Stay tuned for next week as we visit the Franklin Park Zoo and the Boston Children’s Hospital SimPeds Program!