HATS Summer Courses

Every summer the Stetson HATS Program offers weeklong academic enrichment courses for high achieving and gifted students in kindergarten through 12th grade. 

Class Information/Times

  • All classes will meet Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
  • Classes are located in Sage Hall at the University's DeLand campus.
  • Please read the 2016 HATS Enrollment Information before registering.


Registration for our 2017 Summer Program will begin in February 2017. If you have any questions about enrollment eligibility, please email hats@stetson.edu.

SUMMER Week One - July 11-15

Agriculture - From Farm to Table

Course Code: BER-101 | Open to grades K-1

Old MacDonald had a farm … but have you ever wondered just where all that food on the grocery store shelves comes from? Let’s mosey on down to the farm as we cultivate a weeklong adventure. We will plant our way through the fields and learn how the sun, soil, and water make our crops flourish. Then, we’ll jump on the tractor as we tinker in the barn, learning how our machinery works. Don’t forget to feed the animals! Horses, pigs, cows, and chicks! Whoa! We may need to build a new barn! Join us in this farm-fresh, agricultural quest and become true farm-hand! Now that’s food for thought.

Robots in Motion!

Course Code: DEL-102 | Open to grades 2-3

Put your STEM skills into action as we build and program moving, spinning robotic devices! How can we engineer with Legos? How can computers make our robots GO? Come explore as we bring motors to life, set wheels and gears into action, and use our imagination to solve problems. Become familiar with the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math behind these robots in motion.

Geocaching – A Treasure Adventure

Course Code: DEL-103 | Open to grades 4-5

Do you like treasure hunts? If the answer is yes, then geocaching is for you! Join us on an outdoor hide-and-seek in which you’ll use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver to find hidden containers called “geocaches.” There are over 2 million worldwide! You will create a name for yourself and start your account as you begin “collecting” caches around the area. We will also create and hide our own caches and see who comes to find them. So let’s get ready for an adventure that will take us to some amazing places.

Harry Potter Science Magic

Course Code: DEL-104 | Open to grades 6-8

Hop on the Hogwarts Express! Have you ever thought about being a student at a school similar to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry? Then come immerse yourself in the fictional world of Harry Potter. Discover the magic as we explore the world of the famous wizard in classes such as Arithmancy, Astronomy, Care of Magical Creatures, Charms, Defense Against the Dark Arts, Divination, Herbology, History of Magic, Potions, and Transfiguration. Once students are sorted into their houses they will work together on cooperative learning projects and experiments, as well as earn house points. Aspiring witches, wizards, and warlocks are welcome. Leave the Muggle world behind and meet me at Platform 9 3/4.

Comic Strip Studio

Course Code: DEL-105 | Open to grades 4-12*

Whether you're a skilled artist or a consummate doodler, you too can become a cartoonist. All you need is your imagination. What's your favorite cartoon? Zits? Peanuts? Calvin and Hobbes? This course will introduce you to techniques used by professional cartoonists to bring characters and ideas to life on the Sunday comics page. We'll supply the materials and instruction, you'll supply the imagination. Taught by the creator of the Mr. Fitz comic strip. You'll enjoy a unique opportunity to learn to cartoon from a professional cartoonist.

*Registration for this course requires students to submit a sample of their drawings and/or characters with the application. Contact hats@stetson.edu for more details. 

SUMMER Week Two - July 18- 22

The Hawaiian Islands: An Oceanic Island Chain

Course Code: DEL-201 | Open to grades K-1

Aloha! Join us as we embark on a marvelous adventure to Hawaii! Let’s go on an expedition to seek out the most mind-boggling eruptions as we climb to the top of Kilauea on Hawaii’s Big Island. Then we can dive into the Pacific to discover some of the most amazing creatures on the reef and visit the towering cliffs and caves of the Na Pali Coast. Are you ready to visit the North Shore of Oahu and ride the waves? Surf’s up! Grab your board and hang ten in a quest for the Big Kahuna. Then, go ashore to visit some of the best beaches in the world on Maui. You don’t want to miss this exciting weeklong voyage through our 50th state. Throw on your shorts or hula skirt! It’s time to join the luau!

Adventures through the Biomes of the World

Course Code: DEL-202 | Open to grades 2-3

Our planet Earth has a great diversity of ecosystems that are both beautiful and dangerous, filled with many unique plants and animal species. Biomes are the world’s major communities where insects, animals, plants, and even people live in a certain type of climate. Join us this week on an adventure exploring the biomes of the world as we explore the tree canopies of the tropical rainforest, the species-filled marine ecosystems, the freshwater ecosystems, the intense heat of the desert, the bone-chilling cold of the tundra, and the grassland areas where giraffe and zebras roam freely. All living things are closely related to their environment and any change in a part, like an increase or decrease in one type of plant or animal, can cause a ripple effect of change through the entire biome. Become a world explorer and scientist as we embark on this journey learning about the biomes of the world with interactive labs, simulations, and hands-on learning.

Greek Mythology: Percy Jackson

Course Code: DEL-203 | Open to grades 4-6

It is a rare opportunity for a chosen few to venture into the ancient and awe-inspiring world of the Greek gods. But thanks to Percy Jackson, this mystical world can become part of yours. Welcome to the training program for young demigods. The time has come to meet the "Original Olympians," including Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Demeter, Athena, Aries, Apollo, Hermes and, lest we forget, Percy Jackson! Mount Olympus has opened its doors for you to explore the myths and realities, art, architecture, music, culture, cuisine, games, land, battles, and triumphs of the Ancient Greeks. We have been "Keeping Young Heroes Safe from Harm (Mostly) For Over Three Millennia." Don't waste a minute! Contact your school satyr or send word via Hermes Express. Please include two golden drachmas for return postage. (Note: Human parents must use online registration as Hermes Express is reserved for demigods only). Are you up to the adventure? Can you brave the unknown? Are you strong enough to take on Hades? Then welcome to Camp Half-Blood!

Flash Fiction

Course Code: DEL-204 | Open to grades 6-12*

This fiction-writing seminar will explore the principles of good storytelling and specific writing techniques including moment-by-moment narration, dialogue, and description. Students will get a chance to create and share short fiction, and to get feedback from both peers and the instructor, who is the author of the book Writing Extraordinary Essays. The week will culminate with a finished novella that will be published.

*Registration for this course requires students to submit a writing sample with the application. Contact hats@stetson.edu for more details. 

SUMMER Week Three - July 25-29

Beyond the Equator – A 20-Year Anniversary of the HATS Program

Course Code: DEL-301 | Open to grades 6-10

In 1996, HATS founder and Stetson University alumna Cindy Lovell held her first summer program at Stetson for gifted and high achieving students. That class was called “Following the Equator” after Mark Twain’s book of the same title and brought 19  4th- and 5th-grade students to campus to create a 70-minute animated video that brought Mark Twain’s book to life. Coincidentally, that program coincided with the 100th anniversary of Mark Twain’s famous yearlong trip around the world.

"Following the Equator" was offered in 1996 and 1997, followed by additional summer programs that Lovell administered through the University of Iowa. Upon returning to Stetson to teach as a faculty member, Dr. Lovell fittingly changed the name of the program, which now offered a wide variety of courses, to the HATS (High Achieving Talented Students) Program. The HATS Program has served thousands of 4th- to  9th-grade students across Florida since then and has now expanded to include K-12 students.

Now, 20 years later, Dr. Lovell will return to her alma mater to join other HATS educators in a special weeklong anniversary course, "Beyond the Equator." Since leaving her tenured faculty position at Stetson in 2007, Dr. Lovell has served as the executive director of the Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum in Hannibal, Missouri; has written and co-produced Mark Twain: Words & Music (which features the likes of Jimmy Buffett, Brad Paisley, Sheryl Crow, Clint Eastwood, Garrison Keillor, and others); and, in 2013, began serving as the executive director of The Mark Twain House & Museum in Hartford, Connecticut, which National Geographic named “one of the ten best historic homes in the world.” Now, she’ll bring her Mark Twain expertise and join veteran HATS instructors Lynn Albinson (current director), David Finkle, and Andrea Finkle for this unique interdisciplinary study of the adventurous life and writings of Mark Twain, one of America’s most beloved authors.

Beyond the Equator:

Did you know that Mark Twain's fictional character, Pudd’nhead Wilson, was the first American lawyer to use fingerprints as evidence in a court of law? Did you know that Mark Twain not only wrote dozens of books but that he also wrote plays? Did you know he coined the term "The Gilded Age" more than 140 years before Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes would develop the television series of the same name? Did you know that "Wile E. Coyote" exists only because Mark Twain described the first coyote he ever saw in such vivid terms that animator Chuck Jones instantly imagined the animated version of this Wild West creature? And did you know that last year Smithsonian magazine named Mark Twain the most influential pop icon of the last 100 years?

Even if you did know all of this, you are guaranteed to learn much more about creative genius Mark Twain (whose real name was Samuel Clemens) as you delve into the hands-on world of forensic science (fingerprints!), perform scenes with a Connecticut Yankee (time travel!), discover that "lectures" are not supposed to be boring (improve!), and investigate the real people, places, and events that Mark Twain convinced readers were fictional (creative writing!). Join four "Twainiac" instructors for five adventurous days of American literature, culture, and history through the lens of that Mississippi River steamboat pilot, Sam Clemens. We’ll have more fun than Tom and Huck on a raft!