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Summer Conferences

Does your dream summer include meeting living writers, discovering the ecosystems in your own community, exploring the world through technology, or investigating history beyond the printed word? If so, you have come to the right place!

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Chose the Summer Program topic that interests you!    

Hosted by faculty and staff at the Center for Environment & Society.
Presented by faculty and staff at the Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience.
Programming by the faculty and staff that support the Rose O’Neill Literary House and nationally renowned guest authors.

Led by staff at the Washington College Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Program.

This Year's Programs

Learn more about each of our week long summer programs, below!


Cherry Tree Young Writers’ Conference Online

Program Dates: July 14-17, 2021

Scholarship Application Deadline: July 1, 2021

Registration Closes: July 1, 2021

Cost: $295

Our motto is “Write Your Truth.” Creative writing workshops at the Cherry Tree Young Writers’ Conference are designed to help you discover the stories that matter to you. What is your truth? What voice will you use to tell it? 

The world has never been in more urgent need of young people who are willing and able to bear witness. Washington College—home to the famous Sophie Kerr Prize, the world’s largest undergraduate writing award, worth nearly $70,000—has made a name for itself as a thriving literary community where aspiring poets, novelists, journalists, and memoirists can study with prize-winning authors to hone their craft. Writing is often a solitary art, but it needn't be a lonely one. The Cherry Tree Young Writers’ Conference is a vibrant summer gathering that helps rising high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors build both their skills and their identity as writers.  

At the Young Writers’ Conference, students will take intensive creative writing workshops with nationally renowned authors in one of four genres (poetry, fiction, memoir, or journalism), and discuss literature at the college level with current English department faculty, attend professional readings. They will explore the world of literary internships and grants in publishing, writing, and editing, and learn what it’s like to work at college publications such as Cherry Tree, Washington College’s national literary journal. 

The conference will take place July 14-17, and will feature nationally renowned writing workshop leaders, literature discussions led by College faculty, and an abundance of literary camaraderie. The cost is $295 per participant, which includes our “Writing a Successful College Admissions Essay” workshop. We have a limited number of full-ride merit and regional scholarships available, and any student who goes on to enroll at Washington College will receive an Engagement Credit that lowers their first-year tuition by $1,000.   

We offer a number of scholarships that cover the full cost of tuition. These fall into two groups: 

  • General Merit Scholarships, which are open to all interested students 
  • Dixon Scholarships, which are reserved for students from (or attending school in) Kent & Queen Anne’s Counties, Maryland.  

This program is no longer accepting applications as the deadline has passed

You can find more information here.


Virtual Geospatial Discoveries Conference

Program Dates: July 27-30, 2021

Scholarship Application Deadline: June 13, 2021

Registration Closes: June 27, 2021

Cost: $250

The Geospatial Discoveries Conference is an interactive and dynamic virtual experience with a wide range of out-of-the-box activities and technology used to explore the world. Led by staff at the Washington College Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Program, this four- day conference gives participants a practical introduction to the systems that connect satellites, drones, data analysts, mobile apps, and web- sites in modern life. Take part in a virtual college classroom experience and participate in experiential learning activities designed to take you outdoors. Faculty and staff will guide lessons on imagery and how drones and satellites take those concepts in different dimensions. Experience the power of remote sensing through a presentation of a 46-foot research vessel and see how sunk shipwrecks can be detected even when completely buried in mud. Learn to create your own spatial data using mobile applications. Build out your experience using cutting-edge data visualization tools to embed maps, applications and multimedia data into an online story! You will see GIS technology used in environmental research, historical and cultural discoveries, crime analysis and mapping, and 3D virtual world creation. Spend time virtually in our GIS Lab working beside our undergraduate interns and see them put their skills in action to tackle real world problems. Discover the adventure of geospatial technologies at work outdoors, in the classroom, and in your life!

This program is no longer accepting applications as the deadline has passed


Virtual Young Environmental Stewards Conference

Program Dates: July 12-16, 2021

Scholarship Application Deadline: June 1, 2021

Registration Closes: June 18, 2021

Cost: $250 + $100 deposit on a materials kit that will be mailed to you. Your $100 deposit will be refunded at the conclusion of the conference, when your materials kit has been successfully returned. 

The 2nd Annual Young Environmental Stewards Conference: Virtual Edition will challenge you to discover the place you call home: “who” shares the outdoor space with you, how eco-healthy is your “neighborhood”, what can you do to become an #environmentalinfluencer?  Using ArcGIS StoryMaps & Google Classroom as our platform we will combine real-time with on-your-own-time learning and doing.

On-line, Together

We will meet synchronously each morning to explore the topic of the day and again each afternoon to share your outdoor experience via your StoryMap, creating a virtual context to communicate your unique watershed story. We are excited to empower you to be a steward and to see yourself on the campus of Washington College as we share our Chester River watershed story with you.

Field Work & Outdoor Exploration

Spend the week exploring the connections between you and your place. Each morning session will prepare you for an outdoor connection.  You will still have the opportunity to “get in the field” with this conference, but instead of exploring George Washington’s backyard and the Chester River, you’ll

explore your own! This experience will take you beyond your computer screen and into your neighborhood to practice data collection, observe local trees and birds, explore the concept of environmental justice and put stewardship into action.


How will you do all this? As a conference participant, you will receive materials kit and a journal to facilitate your experience. In addition to the $250.00 cost of the conference, you will be responsible for a refundable deposit of $100.00.  The kit will be mailed a few weeks ahead of the conference with a prepaid return label. At the conclusion of the conference, return the materials to receive the refund of your deposit.

This program is no longer accepting applications as the deadline has passed.

Young Historians Conference Members

Young Historians’ Conference (An In-Person Experience)

History Off the Page: Making the Past Present 

Program Dates: July 27-July 30, 2021

Registration Closes: Until program is full or June 27, 2021

Cost: $200 (two or more full scholarships are available)

Number of Young Historians: Space is limited - only 12 spots this year! 

The Young Historians’ Conference gives high school students a backstage look into the many ways we make history — and a chance to make history themselves. This year’s theme, History Off the Page: Making the Past Present, is an introduction to the many ways we can investigate history beyond the printed page. (But don’t get us wrong — we still love books, too!) Together with Washington College’s Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, you’ll do hands-on work with original centuries-old archival documents and artifacts, conduct oral history interviews with civil rights activists, explore historic buildings and neighborhoods, and view the Chesapeake landscape from the deck of a boat. We’ll travel to Washington, D.C., for a behind-the-scenes tour with curators at the Smithsonian and a special visit to the Library of Congress. Check out photos from past conferences, here.

You’ll have unique opportunities to learn from Washington College faculty mentors and nationally acclaimed authors, as well as history undergrads following their intellectual passions on an array of historical topics.  Throughout the program, you’ll be living on the campus of the first American college established after the Revolutionary War, under the personal patronage of George Washington himself.

The Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience is housed in the original, colonial-era riverfront Custom House of Chestertown and features a Public Humanities Lab filled with state-of-the-art technology to create digital archives and exhibitions. Our interest in history goes far beyond our college’s namesake. From Frederick Douglass to the Freedom Riders, Maryland’s Eastern Shore is an ideal place to study four centuries of African American history, a topic of special focus at the Starr Center. No matter what your interest in history is, you will find a place in our community of young scholars. 

Registration Information:

  • Registrations are accepted on a rolling basis. Registration will close as soon as the program is full or on June 27, 2021.
  • Please submit a 250-500 word statement describing your interest in the “History Off the Page” program. It doesn’t need to be a formal essay — just tell us why you’d be excited to join!
  • If you wish to be considered for one of the scholarships, you or your parent/s or guardian/s may also include a short statement describing any relevant circumstances. (Requesting a scholarship will not affect your chances of being admitted to the program.) We would ask you not to apply for a scholarship if you do not have financial need, so that we can help all those students who would not be able to participate without a scholarship.

COVID Protocols:  Young historians will be housed in single rooms on campus and must present a negative COVID test taken within 72 hours prior to arrival to campus.  All conference attendees will be expected to follow the latest CDC, Maryland, and College guidelines regarding COVID for the duration of the experience.