Design & Innovation

Open to rising 10th, 11th, and 12th graders
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
July 13-17, 2020
Commuters: $850.00 Residential: $1835
Application Information: 

Prerequisites: Students looking to explore careers in product design, industrial design, architecture, art, marketing, user experience design, or the applied social sciences are encouraged to apply for this program. Applications will be selected based on GPA, extra curricular activities, and reference letters.

Application details: In addition to the online application, students must submit a copy of their transcript and two recommendations. Supplemental information including recommendation letters, transcripts, etc. can be copies, we do not need originals or official copies. Applications will not be reviewed if they are incomplete. Please follow the directions on the application page carefully.

Application LInk:

Questions?: If you have any questions regarding submitting your application, please contact Summer@Rensselaer staff at (518) 276-6809 or email


This week-long intensive program immerses students in the product and industrial design process, which combines the social sciences, arts, and engineering to develop objects that are aesthetically appealing, functional, and useful.  Participants work in small groups, facilitated by a product design mentor, to define real-world problems, think about user experiences, rapidly iterate divergent ideas, prototype, build, and pitch their refined concepts.  Students will use the Design, Innovation, & Society (DIS) Program’s wood shop, 3D-printing and digital manufacturing center, modeling and animation lab, and sketching and physical concepting spaces, and will work with faculty and advanced students from the DIS Program.

What You Will Learn: 

Participants will identify real-world issues and work through an entire design process, starting with the potential new solution, into the creation of the mock-ups and prototypes, and product pitching.

Participants learn a host of skills associated with turning your ideas into reality, including sketching, modeling, user experience testing, CAD, rapid manufacturing, and lighting and rendering presentation software.

Participant groups develop your own original concepts in response to a broad prompt. Groups will work together and with product development mentors to design, critique, test, iterate, and push their concepts in more robust and innovative directions.

Students who have completed this program have gone on to apply to the Product Design and Innovation program offered jointly by Rensselaer's Schools of Engineering, Architecture, and Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences. For additional details regarding the Rensselaer undergraduate experience, visit the Office of Admissions at Rensselaer.

Faculty Profile: 

Dr. James Malazita is Assistant Professor of Science & Technology Studies at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He teaches studio-based design courses in the Design, Innovation, & Society program, and his research focuses on blending the social sciences with arts, computer science, and design. His research has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Popular Culture Association, and RedHat Inc., and he has published widely in the fields of creative design, game design, engineering, and the social sciences.

Program Cost and Accommodations: 

Commuter Cost is $850.00 There is a $425.00 non-refundable deposit required in order to reserve your spot in the program, once the student is academically accepted. This cost includes tuition and program materials only. Commuters must furnish their own transportation to and from campus. Check-in will be on Monday morning and Check-out will be on Friday, after a final presentation.

Residential Cost is $1835.00. There is a $425.00 non-refundable deposit required in order to reserve your spot in the program, once the student is academically accepted. This cost includes tuition, program materials, field trips, room and board, and all residential activities. Check-in will be on Sunday afternoon prior to the start of the program and Check-out will be on Friday, after a final presentation.

Accepted students will receive inormation regarding accommodations, arrival/departure times, and full program details upon registration. Please note that all students will be required to submit health and medical information (including immunization records) before arrival on campus. All residential students must possess medical insurance.

Important Dates: 

January 7 – Application opens
March 31 – Application deadline 
April 30 – Students are notified of their acceptance
May 15 - Registration deadline for accepted students
June 1 – Final day to submit health forms
June 1- Final payment is due for accepted/registered students

Registration Information:  Accepted students should register as soon as possible after admission. A link will be provided to you upon your acceptance.

High School