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Students can 'teach, learn anything' at Splash! event

Splash! chemistry
Students from iGEM, Cornell’s synthetic biology team, lead a chemistry class at the most recent Splash! event in October.
Splash! chess
Nationally ranked chess player Adarsh Jayakumar ’16, left, will lead two sections of Chess Strategy: Play Like a Pro, as part of Splash! at Cornell on April 18. More than 85 Cornell students will teach at the all-day event.

Hundreds of area middle and high school students are anticipated for Splash! at Cornell on Saturday, April 18, a day packed with classes across campus on virtually any topic.

With the slogan “Teach Anything – Learn Anything,” the event will involve more than 85 Cornell students, sharing their expertise on everything from writing in Russian and saving a life with CPR, to topics in medicine, computer science and history. The Splash! course catalog features more than 100 courses in all.

“Our last event [in October] had about 20 courses, and we reached out to a lot more folks” to teach, said Joseph Fridman ’17, president of the Splash! at Cornell executive board and a College Scholar in cognitive science. “Some of our board members and I did these programs back in high school. It allows kids to make their own schedule and attend college for a day. I did it at MIT, and it was one of my first memories of getting excited about neuroscience.”

Splash! also lets students “share things that we are passionate about,” he said. “If you give them the opportunity, they will lecture for an hour about one of their most loved hobbies.”

There are 170 different class sections in classrooms across campus, including “all the available rooms” on the Ag Quad, Fridman said. Splash! at Cornell organizers have sent invitations to the principals of more than 20 schools in the region and are encouraging students to register. “We’re hoping for about 500 students to attend. We’re ready for it,” Fridman said.

Courses cover “topics as diverse as neuroscience, Romanticism, dance, physics and how to build a website,” he said. “All the teachers are super excited about it. I’ll be teaching a course called Arguments Against Free Speech, on the history, political nature and utility of the rights to freedom of speech and assembly.”

Splash! registration
Splash! at Cornell is April 18, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Classes run from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and all students are invited to an opening keynote by Jesse Goldberg, assistant professor of neurobiology and behavior, at 10 a.m. in Call Auditorium, Kennedy Hall.

Registration is online; classes will be assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. The program costs $25, and financial aid is available. All students will be served lunch and will receive a Splash! T-shirt and notepad. Parents and guardians also can sample Splash! courses and attend information sessions on admissions and financial aid at Cornell. For more information, email

Adarsh Jayakumar ’16, ranked No. 2 nationally among 18-year-old chess players in 2013, will lead two sections of Chess Strategy: Play Like a Pro.

Other classes include Music: A Motivation for Math; How the Internet Works; Hip-Hop: Music, Myths & Mainstream; The Limits of Computation; Make Your Own Language; and Activism 101, taught by Emma Court ’15, president of the Every1 Campaign.

Graduate student Elizabeth DuPre will lead one of the neuroscience courses, Basic Brain Research: Is My Brain Really in Technicolor? Future Ivy Leaguers might want to consider Spontaneous A Cappella. Physics? Try Painless Special Relativity or Makeup for Everybody: A Physicist’s Practical and Philosophical Guide.

The Cornell Public Service Center and education faculty are providing support for Splash! in the form of “materials, teaching techniques, facilitating good student-teacher interactions and to make sure we uphold standards,” Fridman said.

Splash! at Cornell also receives support from Learning Unlimited, a nonprofit that advocates for teaching and learning and advises similar programs at more than 20 universities across the country.

Media Contact

Joe Schwartz