Two young women make a poster presentation to a group of adults

College Quest: Bellingham

Program Overview

College Quest is a higher education preparatory program for high school students that places an emphasis on academics and personal responsibility. Immerse yourself in the college experience – from residence hall to classroom - through College Quest on Western’s campus located in Bellingham, WA. During your stay, you will complete a real college course, earn 1 university credit, gain valuable college success information, and form extraordinary social connections that come with life in a residence hall.

The Audio Described version of this video can be accessed on YouTube.

Campus Living

Experience a community living environment with a roommate in a designated residence hall. Students will be placed by gender on separate floors. Gender neutral housing options are available upon request.

WWU Residential Advisors will provide support during the week, including recreational activities, counseling, and the appropriate level of supervision. Students will be responsible for managing their time; getting to meals, reporting to class, labs and workshops, working on assignments, etc.

Classrooms, computer labs, dining halls and the library are easily accessible from your residence hall.

Note: Residence keys are checked out to individual participants as part of the check in process and are due back on the last day of the program. Any loss or damage of a participant’s residence hall keys will result in a charge of one hundred and fifty dollars ($150), or actual cost of key core replacement, and will be charged to parent/guardian.

Western Washington University is not responsible for any lost and/or found items.

Youth program participants and staff must abide by all University regulations and program rules.

At a Glance

Entering Grades 10-12

Sunday – Friday, June 23-28, 2019
Sunday – Friday, July 7-12, 2019

Daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Western Washington University
See location details



Week 1: June 23-28, 2019

FAIR 162B: Principles of Film and Video Production

Advance your skills and gain confidence with video and audio editing techniques – from basics to special affects - with Adobe Final Cut Pro. Students will:

  • Explore development of the story board, shot list and scripting the story appropriate for your audience.
  • Learn the equipment including digital cameras, tripods, external microphones, lighting, Mac hardware and Adobe software.
  • Learn the basics of shooting footage with a green screen, lighting kit setup, audio voice-over, and B-roll and footage syncing.
  • Practice these principals by producing and critiquing short films each day including a commercial, a silent film and short "My Life on Campus" film.
  • Produce a music video for the final project.

Course Objectives

  • Explore educational, personal and career goals in a safe, student-centered environment.
  • Learn the equipment including digital cameras, tripods, external microphones, lighting, Mac hardware and Adobe software.
  • Learn shooting composition and shot framing, such as angles, pans and tilts, leveling and zoom.
  • Acquire tape engineering knowledge.
  • Create and construct a script, shot list, story board and finished product.

Instructor: Mark Miller 

COMM 100: Introduction to Communications and Public Speaking

“Ability is what you are capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.” ~ Holtz, L.

Explore the process of oral communication and build essential skills that will culminate in a Ted Talk presentation. Students will:

  • Examine the basic principles of public speaking
  • Participate in lively and interactive discussions, observations, reflections, and skills-rehearsal
  • Apply each principal of speech as the speaker and as the listener
  • Deliver speeches in their own voice and style in front of an audience
  • Learn to critique and receive feedback in a constructive manner
  • Build speaking skills and self-concept that are essential for success in life

Course Objectives

  • Understand the process of creating, organizing, revising, and delivering various types of speeches
  • Develop critical thinking and reflection skills
  • Build self-concept and confidence
  • Demonstrate ability to apply concepts

Instructor: Dr. Tara Perry

MSCI 110: Introduction to Renewable Energy for Scientists and Engineers

The effort to find reliable and affordable carbon-free energy sources is one of the greatest scientific challenges facing the next generation. In this course, students will:

  • Explore renewable energy technology and learn about the science underlying biofuels, wind, wave power, nuclear power and solar cells.
  • Create biodiesel fuel in the laboratory and construct and test their own solar cell devices.
  • Take field trips to local energy companies where they will be introduced to current and emerging energy infrastructures.  
  • Work in small groups to research a focus area of renewable energy, and at the end of the course, give group presentations to communicate their findings.
  • Keep a lab notebook of their experiments.
  • Perform in-depth research on one particular energy source and present their findings.

NOTE: Student must wear appropriate attire for labs: long pants and closed-toed shoes.

Course Objectives:

  • Explore renewable energy topics.
  • Learn the role of materials science in renewable energy technology.
  • Critically evaluate and discuss renewable energy options.
  • Structure design and planning of experiments.
  • Meet with and interact with experts at local energy companies.

Instructor: David Rider

ENVS 118: Local Perspectives on Environmental Science and Sustainability

How is climate change affecting our environment and our every-day life?  How can we address this global issue and create a healthy, just society for ourselves and for future generations?  Learn about climate science through research, discussion and field observations, then work with your peers to develop a sustainability action plan that will minimize our collective environmental impact.  Participants will:

  • Explore the Nooksack River watershed through the lens of global climate change.
  • Examine the environmental impacts of their energy, waste, food and transportation choices.
  • Discover how WWU, other schools, governments, non-profit organizations, businesses and people work together to help solve the problems associated with climate change and create more sustainable communities.
  • Collaborate with their peers to develop a project that will promote social, economic and environmental solutions to local, regional and international problems.
  • Document their experience with multi-media to create a culminating presentation.
  • Gain the knowledge, experience and tools to implement sustainable solutions in their homes, schools and communities.

Course Objectives

  • Study climate change science and sustainability from an interdisciplinary perspective, examining interconnections among environmental, social and economic issues, using the Nooksack River watershed, the Bellingham community and WWU as case studies.
  • Think critically about climate change and the associated problems and work together to devise solutions.
  • Gain insights into high demand and entrepreneurial “green” jobs and careers.
  • Discover how to use multi-media as an educational tool.
  • Work together to make real progress toward creating a future that is healthy and just for both people and the environment.

Instructor: Katie Fleming

THTR 184: Creative Writing for the Stage

Writing for the Stage is an intensive writing course that can give opportunity for creation of a vlog or a podcast by using dialogue to generate action. Every webisode, Netflix series, TV show, movie, commercial, lecture, and even documentary have one thing in common – the script! Students will:

  • Create a ten-minute play and work with trained actors to present a reading of your work.
  • Create tangible and dynamic characters.
  • Practice giving feedback to fellow writers in a constructive and safe environment
  • Work in teams as a company of writers.
  • Produce a professional reading of premiere 10-minute plays.

Course Objectives

  • Learn to collaborate with other artists to realize the page to stage process
  • Discover the skills and understanding of playwriting that can be applied to scholarly or creative writing
  • Demonstrate clear understanding of the five part structure in creating scene – exposition, rising action, climax, falling action and resolution.
  • Understand how to receive constructive criticism and workshop writing.
  • Gain insight into how professional playwrights make a living.
  • Class is held Monday through Friday; various hours.  Enrollment is limited to a maximum of 20 students.

Instructor: Kamarie Chapman

Learn more about Kamarie's love for playwriting in a recent Western Front article.


Week 2: July 7-12, 2019

BIOL 194: Ecology of Local Marine Habitats

Marine ecology examines the environmental and biological factors that affect distribution, abundance, and diversity of organisms. This course will survey local marine habitats to examine ecological patterns. Students will:

  • Take daily field trips to collect specimens for lab or data analysis.
  • Gain an understanding of human impacts and how citizens can help protect marine habitats.
  • Participate in two Citizen Science projects considering their findings.
  • Develop questions and hypotheses, conduct field sampling research, analyze data, and present results.

Course Objectives:

  • Gain an understanding of environmental and biological features with a focus on invertebrates.
  • Develop familiarity with local marine habitats and organisms.
  • Research how organisms' life habitats enable them to utilize their habitat.
  • Record research data in a detailed field journal.
  • Design and plan experiments that address specific hypotheses.
  • Gain an understanding of Citizen Science and how to become a steward of our local marine environments.

Instructor: Cristina Villalobos

ENTR 197A: Exploring Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Welcome to E+ lab! E + lab is about Entrepreneurship + Excitement + Empathy + Exploration + Experimentation + Evidence + Enthusiasm + Everybody… anything you can think of that starts with E.

This experiential course explores the practice and underlying theory of very early stage entrepreneurship and innovation with varied economic and non-economic purposes. Developing ideas through application of entrepreneurial and innovative processes is the focus. Students will:

  • Demonstrate understanding of the processes for opportunity recognition through writing opportunity/problem statements
  • Demonstrate understanding of the process for early-stage idea development through drawing out ideas in the process framework
  • Demonstrate understanding of the scientific method to build empathy and engage in evidence based entrepreneurship and innovation through:
    • Writing idea hypotheses, getting out of the classroom and conducting primary research (effectively engaging with customers and beneficiaries of their ideas) and secondary research (use of existing data) to test their hypotheses and making appropriate adjustments for additional tests
  • Demonstrate ability to communicate ideas through:
    • Building and explaining an idea prototype
    • Creating and delivering a live idea ‘pitch’ presentation demonstrating learning accomplished
  • Demonstrate basic understanding of teaming through effectively working a with team and completing a peer and self-performance evaluation

Course Objectives:

  • Understand the properties of materials and how they are tested
  • Examine types of materials, and how their characteristic properties influence their applications
  • Learn how materials are processed to produce products
  • Gain knowledge of the processing effects on the microscopic structure of materials
  • Observe and discover how the microscopic structure of materials affects their properties, and how those properties can be optimized by manipulating that structure during processing

Instructor: Meg Weber

BNS 194: Behavioral Neuroscience

Is it true that we use only about 10 percent of our brain? Why should we only believe part of what we see – and what is a phantom limb? Students will:

  • Explore the discipline of Behavioral Neuroscience in Western's new, state-of-the-art neuroscience research and teaching facility.
  • Investigate the role the nervous system plays in normal and abnormal behavior, thought and emotion.
  • Learn about brain structure and function during brain dissections and observe brain-activity monitoring techniques in action.
  • Experience real-world medical imaging technology by observing unique research projects being conducted through the Behavior Neuroscience Program at Western Washington University.

Course Objectives

  • Explore normal brain structure through hands-on dissection and state-of-the-art models and software.
  • Investigate how neurons in the nervous system communicate using a combination of chemical and electrical signals.
  • Learn about the tools behavioral neuroscientists use to study brain activity in laboratories and clinics.
  • Learn about brain structure and function in psychiatric or neurological illnesses.

Instructors: Dr. Janet Finlay and Dr. Mike Mana

Students are asked to bring:

  • A rain jacket
  • A healthy snack
  • A water bottle
  • A curious mind
  • Good walking shoes

Registration requirements due May 31:

  • Unofficial High School transcript
  • Headshot photo for Western ID card

Mail to:

  • Email:
  • Youth Programs
    Outreach and Continuing Education
    516 High Street, MS 9102
    Bellingham, WA 98225
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Sunday (Arrival)

2:30 – 4:00 p.m.


4:00 – 4:30 p.m.

Student Orientation

4:30  – 5:30 p.m.

Campus tour

5:30 – 6:30 p.m.


6:30 – 7:00 p.m.


7:00 – 10 p.m.

Ice breakers, social activities

Daily Schedule

7:30 – 8:30 a.m.


9 a.m. – noon

Class, assignments

noon – 1:00 p.m.


1:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Labs and research

4:00 – 5:00 p.m.

Workshops, class assignments

5:15 – 6:30 p.m.


7:00 p.m.

Hall Meeting

8:00 – 10:00 p.m.

Social activities and homework time

10:00 p.m.

Quiet time in residence hall

11:00 p.m.

Lights out


7:00 – 8:30 a.m.


9:00 a.m. – noon


noon – 1:00 p.m.


1:00 – 2:30 p.m.

Final project presentation*

2:30 – 4:00 p.m.

Reception and Check-out

*Parents and Family are welcome to attend final presentations. Students will be responsible for sharing location and directions with family for their specific presentation.

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Location Details

Western Washington University
516 High St, Bellingham

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Bellingham International Airport is serviced by Horizon/Alaska and Allegiant Airlines, Greyhound Bus Lines and AMTRAK National Rail Service. Transportation from SeaTac Airport to Bellingham is serviced by Bellair Airporter Shuttle (phone: 866-235-5247). Contracted taxi service is available from the Bellingham Airport and the bus/train terminal be Yellow Cab Service (phone: 260-734-8294).

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Cost Details

  • $1050 – before May 15
  • $1050 – WWU faculty, staff and alumni (after May 15)
  • $1100 – after May 15

Register for both weeks and receive a $50 per week discount.

Cost covers tuition, lodging, linen pack*, meals, recreational activities, and residence hall supervision.  

* Linen pack includes: two blankets, two sheets, one pillow with pillow case, one hand towel, two bath towels, a face cloth and small bar of soap.

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Cancellation Policy

A full refund is granted if a class is cancelled. No reduction in fees is given for late arrival, early departure or expulsion for disciplinary matters. Cancellation requests must be submitted via email to 12 working days prior to the first day of your session; a $250 handling charge will be deducted.

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Assistance League of Bellingham offers Summer Enrichment scholarships to middle and high school students from Whatcom County. Applications are available online or at your school counselor’s office and due in mid-March. Visit them online for more scholarship information.

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Our Locations

Western Washington University is conveniently located throughout the Puget Sound and Central Salish Sea regions.

Visit us at one of our locations.