Ready for a Winter Weekend Full of Fun, Learning, and Community-Building?

Winter Weekends are a smart way to get a taste of what GIV summer Institutes are like.

About the GIV Winter Program

Unfortunately, GIV will not be hosting Winter Weekends this year. 

But there’s more GIV to come in the near future! So keep an eye out for updates and announcements and start getting excited: all new programs are on the way in 2021!

Winter Weekends are two-day intensive learning experiences for Vermont 9th-12th graders. You’ll live on Goddard College campus all weekend and explore a topic you’re interested in in-depth with professional mentors and new friends who love the same things you do. Winter Weekends are jam-packed with fun, learning, and community-building and are a smart way to get a taste of what GIV summer Institutes are like. For information on tuition, please visit our Winter Tuition page.

Winter Program Topics

Winter Weekends are now closed.

Watch this space for information about Winter Weekends as it becomes available.


Choose your favorite topic and spend an exciting, intensive weekend learning in depth with college faculty, professionals, and new friends from around the state.

Below are samples of some of the previous years’ strands.

Space Mission Design

Ready to blast off? Your mission is to design hardware for a Mars polar mission to drop a seismometer on the surface. To protect the seismometer from wind noise and the cold environment, you’ll need to design and test a protective cover that will fit around the seismometer and seal it around the ground. We’ll tinker to find good cover designs, build prototypes using realistic materials, and then deploy our seismometers to test throughout the day and night. We’ll use real data to keep iterating our designs until we have a working product that we can design for a mission. Taught by Deborah Sigel, a mechanical/aerospace engineer who worked on the Mars Insight mission proposal at NASA and the Mars Rovers, and mechanical/aerospace engineer John McNeil who specializes in drones, airplanes, and rockets.

Entrepreneurial Leadership

Can an entrepreneurial mindset change the world? Yes! Business founders approach problems from a unique strength-oriented perspective to assess opportunities and formulate effective solutions – whether the goal is a profitable business, social impact or both! We’ll explore what an entrepreneurial mindset means and how to leverage your own strengths to create, launch, and lead visionary change. If you’ve ever been curious about social enterprise, business, entrepreneurship, or corporate social responsibility, don’t miss this springboard to your future. Taught by Tamie-Jo Dickinson MBA, a business teacher with over 20 years of teaching experience, and Gwen Pokalo, Vermont Director of the Center for Women & Enterprise and 2019 winner of the Athena Young Professional Leader Award.


Have you ever wanted to create your own flash mob? Eager to develop a solo dance or original choreography that evokes emotion and moves an audience? Whether you consider yourself a talented dancer, a yogi or gymnast, or just someone who likes to move, in this workshop you’ll gain the structures and prompts to build your own performances, and you’ll leave with insight into dance as an art form and a communication and community-building tool. Taught by Heather Bryce, Artistic Director and founder of Bryce Dance Company and Teaching Artist for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Lincoln Center Education.


Help solve some of the sky’s greatest mysteries using art!  We’re partnering with the Northern Skies Observatory to bring you the Governor’s Institute on Astrophotography, a unique blend of art, graphic design, math, science, and information technology that captures and shapes cosmic images for use in science and art.  You’ll use professional-grade equipment to produce professional quality results. Past Astrophotography students have had their work featured in National Geographic!


Come explore how our perception of the world around us emerges from neural activity at the molecular, cellular, and systems levels. We’ll delve into cutting edge research to learn how neural signals travel throughout the body and brain and conduct our own hands-on work using physiology, anatomy, and perceptual studies to understand the biology underlying how we think and feel. Taught by Vermonter Kameron Clayton, PhD student at Harvard University. We recommend you take biology before completing this course.

Storytelling and Writing Film

We live in an unprecedented era when high schoolers write history for the world, social media topples governments, and ethical issues ricochet around the world in seconds. If you are eager to publish content with impact, join professor Rob Williams, publisher of “The Vermont Independent” and founding head of the national Action Committee for Media Education, for a deep-dive into digital storytelling. Students will gain hands-on experience as backpack journalists, using mobile devices to develop, shoot, and edit video that packs a punch.  We’ll explore the unprecedented power and responsibility teen communicators have as members of the digital generation and the role of news, information, censorship and empowerment in our digital age.

Social Psychology

Ever wondered why people do what they do? Come explore the science behind people’s behavior. Social psychology studies the interaction between individuals, groups and society to answer questions like “How do biology, culture and situational settings influence our understanding of ourselves and others?” This course, taught by social psychology researcher Dr. Leslie Johnson, will take a good look at self-concept and social roles, bias, and stigma and students will try their hand at some behavioral research of their own. We recommend that students have completed an advanced science or advanced English class.

The Art of Cartooning

Are you a visual artist? If so, you’re in luck! Join us and try your hand at non-fiction memoir cartooning and single panel gag comics. You will learn how to pull memories from your own life that have shaped who you are and illustrate them in a multi-panel cartoon style. You will also learn how to refine a joke down to a single panel (or meme) and create a cartoon composition that spotlights the funny. Professor Isaac Eddy, actor and author of the animated series Cat, Dog, Stoop, has had single panel cartoons published in the New Yorker, non-fiction journalism cartoons in the New York Times online, and animated documentary shorts published in Time magazine online. Prior experience with cartooning, illustration, drawing, or other visual arts is recommended.

GIV’s Winter Weekends fill up fast! Apply now for the best chance of getting into your 1st choice topic.