Columbia College Chicago

Summer at Columbia

High School Immersion

July 9-27, 2018

"My son had a wonderful experience. Everyone from the teachers to the RAs were inspiring and giving in their time and expertise."
-Johanna F., Florida (2017 Summer at Columbia parent)

"These three weeks have had such a profound influence on me. I apply the skills I obtained on a daily basis."
-Maia J., Ohio (2017 Summer at Columbia student)

Columbia College Chicago’s acclaimed Summer at Columbia program provides high school students with college credit and an introduction to campus life, while encouraging them to explore their creativity and talent in areas such as Filmmaking, Entrepreneurship for Creatives, Investigative Journalism and Podcasting, and Game Design.

As a Summer at Columbia student, you will:

Programs for Summer 2018:

(Click on the program name for more info)


In this program, students learn the basic management functions of planning, organizing, leading and controlling, as they explore their opportunities as future arts managers and entrepreneurs. Using text, activities, films, cases and projects, students deepen their understanding of the role of the arts manager; practice applying management skills, tools, and techniques; and identify ways to effectively and creatively respond to management problems and challenges.

In exploring these topics, students will be introduced to a wide array of guest professionals and organizations, and explore multiple Chicago destinations through the lens of marketing and entrepreneurship. Students will learn entrepreneurial skills and strategic leadership from creative professionals who bring their everyday business practice into the classroom. Students participating in the 2017 program were able to learn from leaders at Google Chicago, Sprout Social, and various arts and media organizations, businesses, and galleries.

Learning outcomes and credits for the Introduction to Management and Entrepreneurship course will be achieved by enrolling in this program.

About the Faculty Mentor:

Clayton Smith is a digital marketing professional, writer, and entrepreneur with a great passion for live and performing arts. He has extensive experience in social media marketing and communications, having managed social strategies and platforms for brands like Ticketmaster, NFL, NHL, NBA, and New York Yankees. He is a strong advocate of emerging digital platforms and their potential for positive impacts on non-profit organizations and entrepreneurial ventures. Smith runs a self-publishing services company called Dapper Press. He is a published author and a regular contributor to several digital publications, including the popular Dumb White Husband blog. He has marketing and development experience from Goodman Theatre, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Piven Theatre, and other arts organizations in and around Chicago. He has been teaching at Columbia College Chicago since 2010.

FILMMAKING (Full for 2018)

(Please note that the Summer at Columbia Filmmaking program is now full)

Great filmmakers start with a clear, independent vision, but bringing it to the big screen is all about collaboration, and the Filmmaking Immersion is a collaborative and exciting deep dive into the film industry.

Participants will attend a live set during production, and have the opportunity to meet and learn about film festival strategies from programmers at the Chicago International Film Office. Site visits in the Summer 2017 program included the Illinois Film Office, Cinespace Studios, Periscope post-production facilities, and the Emmy and Peabody award-winning Kartemquin Films. Students also participated in a screening and Q&A session with Dana Maksimovich, Associate Producer of IN THE VALLEY OF ELAH and the Best Picture Oscar Winner, CRASH. Students will also create their own collaborative filmmaking project.

By participating in this program, students will achieve the learning outcomes and credits for the Cinema Notebook course in the Cinema and Television Department.

About the Faculty Mentor:

DeAnna "De" Cooper is an award-winning producer with over 20 years of experience in the film industry, including serving as a senior executive at Twentieth Century Fox Studios and New Line Cinemas. She works in both Los Angeles and Chicago and has produced seven independent films and two award-winning commercials, including a 2015 Emmy winner. As a studio executive, De generated title-specific estimates on films like Titanic, X-Men and Ice Age, handling financial modeling, contract negotiations, marketing, and estimate analysis for both in-house productions and acquisitions. De is a founding member and president of Elston Films.

Check out this video our 2017 Summer at Columbia Filmmaking students made about their experience:


Game development as a course of study prepares students for the 21st century economy.

As an industry, consumers spend more money on games than music or film. In addition, in learning game development, students learn 21st century skills such as collaboration, digital tools proficiency, creativity, leadership, and virtuous action. Working hands on and in small teams, students will create playable games. While the focus will be digital games using a user-friendly but robust game development platform, learning to make card and board games will also be addressed.

Within this framework, students will work collaboratively to research, play, and discuss a wide range of alternative games that focus on topics such as education, human rights, and positive mental health. In addition, students will actively investigate emerging trends in mobile/social gaming, transmedia, Augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), mixed reality (MR) and direct-action gaming in order to conceptualize and create their own games.

Built around the curriculum of our Introduction to Game Development course at Columbia College Chicago, students will participate in various industry-specific field trips, enrichment activities, and meet-and-greet sessions with industry veterans and current talent from Netherrealm, Nintendo, and Sony. Students in the Game Development program will conclude their experience with a final project demo session that will be open to the public. 

About the Faculty Mentors:

Alex Damarjian is an author, professional game developer, and educator. He is the principal author of Focal Press's Path to the Game Industry series. As a professional game developer, Alex has worked for companies such as Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network and High Voltage Software. He currently owns his own studio, Damarjian Interactive, which recently signed a publishing deal with both Sony and Nintendo. Alex is a passionate life-long learner with a BA in Animation, MAT in Curriculum and Instruction, MS in Digital Media, and an MFA in Interactive Media.

William Guschwan is a game designer, field philosopher of videogame design, and entrepreneur. Currently he serves as a lecturer at Columbia College Chicago. His practice is embodied philosophy and the notion of a philosopher as designer. His notable achievements include being a founding member of Apple's QuickTime, designing Quicktime's first sample movie. He also co-wrote the first Apple sponsored video game article. He was also founding member of Apple's Newton handheld device, Sony’s Playstation console, and 3DO's game console. As an entrepreneur, he co-founded, designed games, and created the intellectual property for an in-game ad unit for the acquired company, Tap.Me.


In this program, you will learn reporting, research, production and writing skills through hands-on, real-world training in the heart of the nation's third-largest city.

Pulitzer Prize-winning Chicago Tribune reporter Sam Roe will teach the basics of investigative reporting, helping students learn how to expose injustice and wrongdoing. Veteran newspaper editor Suzanne McBride will show participants how to produce impactful journalism on deadline by conducting interviews, using social media and covering events alongside professional journalists. WCRX radio station manager Matt Cunningham will share the aesthetics of audio and give students a chance to make their own original podcast.

About the Faculty Mentors:

Suzanne McBride has worked in the media industry for more than three decades, serving as a top newspaper editor and reporter before joining Columbia’s faculty in 2005. Besides teaching journalism courses, Suzanne serves as chair of the Communication Department at Columbia College Chicago and also works as an editor for the Chicago Sun-Times. She’s looking forward to exploring the world of social media this summer with high school students participating in the college’s Summer at Columbia high school immersion program.

Matthew Cunningham is an award-winning multimedia producer with more than 15 years Major Market experience at WBBM Newsradio 780 AM and WBEZ 91.5 FM in Chicago. Focused on increasing the quality of content through the use of intriguing stories, he has received 2 Society of Professional Journalist, Peter Lisagor Awards, an Illinois Associated Press Award and a James Beard Award for Podcasting. He has a proven ability for enhancing the depth and breadth of pieces through storytelling, captivating audio and visual elements and superior editing ability. As full-time faculty, he teaches courses in Radio, Podcasting and Digital Journalism at Columbia College Chicago, as well as produces podcasts and exhibition videos at Chicago Museums with his production company Truthful Enthusiasm.

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