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Fuel jr. at amherst college

Discover new interests, pursue existing passions and create a summer to remember with middle school students from around the world.

Session 1: June 28 - July 10, 2020
Session 2: July 12 - July 24, 2020
Both Sessions: June 28- July 24, 2020
Program Fee:
One Session: $4,395
Both Sessions: $7,995
Campus Dormitory
Completing grades 7 - 8
Program Fee includes:
Tuition, room, 3 meals per day, use of select campus facilities, included excursions and daily activities, bed linens, pillow and towels, 24-hour residential care and support, staff accompanied airport transfer during specified windows.
Not Included:
Airfare/transportation to and from home city, courses and activities shown to have an extra fee, laundry, spending money, souvenirs, meals eaten away from program, airport transfers outside of specified windows, trip cancellation insurance, medical insurance, medical and dental expenses.
Fuel Junior at Amherst College is an exciting summer opportunity specifically designed for students in grades 6, 7 & 8 to engage intellectually and personally as they experience life at the nation’s top liberal arts college. Join us in the beautiful New England setting of Amherst this summer, explore exciting hands-on courses and get a glimpse of campus-life. Based on the format and appeal of our high school programs, this unique program will give younger students a taste of the Summerfuel experience, and introduce them to one of the most picturesque and charming college campuses in the US with access to the beautiful Berkshire area of Massachusetts.

Fuel Junior at Amherst College takes advantage of a collegiate liberal arts environment, and our middle school students are strongly encouraged to explore and experiment with what interests them. Choose two exciting seminars during your time on campus. Seminars are small, active and engaging, and always encourage student involvement.  Activities are designed by staff with student input to ensure a personalized experience as you enjoy becoming part of a community and sharing your experiences with students from all over the world.

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  • 08.30am • BREAKFAST
  • 09.15am • MORNING COURSE
  • 12.00pm • LUNCH
  • 02.00pm • WORKSHOP
  • 04.30pm • ACTIVITIES
  • 06.30pm • DINNER
  • 07.00pm • FREE TIME
  • 08.30pm • EVENING EVENTS
  • 11.00pm • CHECK-IN
Amherst living labeled


Amherst College enjoys a beautiful location in the foothills of the Berkshires in the quintessential New England college town of Amherst, located 90 miles west of Boston. Our middle school students have full access to the campus, which is within easy walking distance of town.


Ford Hall is one of the newest dormitories on campus and is located next to the playing fields just below the main quad. This state of the art dorm provides air-conditioned double bedrooms furnished with extra-long twin beds, desks, chairs, and a built-in closet. Rooms are on a common hall, and halls are divided by gender and age. Roommates are determined based on the housing questionnaire that students fill out prior to arrival, as well as considering age and geographic diversity. Full bedding and bath towels are provided and replaced weekly. Wi-Fi is available throughout campus. 

College Facilities

Students have full access to libraries, computer lab, student center, and the LeFrak Sports and Fitness Center, featuring racquet courts, a swimming pool, and cardio and weight-training equipment. Nearby basketball and over 35 tennis courts are open for use as well.


All meals on campus are at Valentine Dining Center, conveniently located a few minutes from student housing. Valentine provides a wide variety of menu choices, including vegetarian, vegan, and an organic salad bar. Amherst College dining is able to accommodate most dietary restrictions and preferences. Meals will be provided off-site during excursions. Please advise Summerfuel of dietary needs during the application process.


Students spend much of their day on campus, but also have full access to the town of Amherst and staff accompany our students there on a daily basis. Amherst is an energetic place in the summer and town is full of cafes, restaurants, and shops, as well Bart’s famous ice cream and Antonio’s pizza. Amherst’s location, surrounded by rolling hills and rivers, also makes it perfect for hiking, swimming, biking and outdoor fun.

The Farmer’s Market

Every Wednesday, Amherst green plays host to the most varied and well-attended farmer’s market around. It’s a great spot to grab a fresh snack in between classes.

Puffer's Pond

Enjoy some sun, go swimming, canoeing, and even have a picnic at this 11 acre freshwater pond. Puffer's is your ultimate summer afternoon destination, visited by locals for decades, and a beautiful centerpiece to the surrounding nature conservation area.

Bart's Ice Cream

Bart’s Ice Cream is an Amherst staple, having served the area for over 20 years. Indulge in quintessential New England flavors like maple cream, try something unexpected like some Deep Purple Cow, or dare to dive into their massive sundaes! Known for for it's exceptional quality, Bart's gets their ingrediants from local farmers across Northern Massachussetts.

Wildlife Sanctuary

Outdoor life in Amherst can’t be beat – hiking trails, fishing streams, the Connecticut River, and the college’s 500-acre Wildlife Sanctuary leave visitors with an amazing outdoor experience. Enjoy a walk, jog, or bike along the Norwottuck Rail Trail.

Antonio's Pizza

Every college town has pizza places, but Antonio’s 'pizza by the slice' in Amherst is one of the best in the country. With unusual creations  - Barbeque Chicken and Tortellini anyone? - and fresh ingredients, you won’t be able to stop at just one slice!

Amherst Museums

There is no shortage of galleries and museums throughout Amherst to explore. From the Emily Dickinson Museum, The Amherst College Museum of Natural History, and Mead Art Museum, there is something for everyone.
Amherst learning labeled


At Summerfuel we believe learning should be inspiring and interactive. We design courses for our middle school summer program that reflect the strengths of Amherst College and the greater Pioneer Valley in order to incorporate field trips, expert speakers, and hands-on learning opportunities. Curricula is created to foster students’ ability to think critically and independently, and to dive in to explore their passions. 

Seminar Structure

Students select one morning major course and one afternoon workshop course. Morning courses meet five times per week, and afternoon courses meet three times weekly.
Morning Major Course
Courses are seminar style with an emphasis on participation and engagement. Content is engaging and dynamic, with limited homework to ensure that students make the most of their experience at Amherst. Class size ranges from eight to twelve students.


Take the learning beyond the classroom with these hands-on, immersive workshops. Explore something new, or hone an existing passion while working closely with your peers and Summerfuel team members. Workshops meet three afternoons per session. 


Courses are designed and taught by an accomplished and passionate faculty recruited from many area colleges, universities and professional forums.  Each faculty member is selected for their subject area expertise and proven ability to both challenge and captivate students.  
Past Summerfuel faculty include:

Lauren Rollins
Lauren completed a BA in English and World Literature and a BA in Government and International Politics at George Mason University.  She then completed her MA at Georgetown University and her PhD at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.  Lauren has been active as a Summerfuel faculty member and faculty recruitment director since summer 2013.

Michael Potts
Michael completed his Bachelor of Science at Brunel University, London.  He has since worked as a business analyst and consultant with a particular focus on business growth, team development, efficacy, and lean manufacturing.  Michael has taught Entrepreneurship at Summerfuel since summer 2014.


Morning Seminar

Science & Technology

Augmented Reality & Game Design

Do you love playing video games and feel fascinated by how they are created? In this seminar, students will design and make their very own Artificial Reality game in Unity3D game engine, learning skills such as game design, C# programming, and animation in a highly interactive and exciting process. Students will put these skills into practice in their own virtual world, complete with complex models, props and mechanics. Students will even receive a copy of the game, along with their original designs, so that they can continue creating long after the course has finished.

Visual Arts

Photography, Design, and New Media

Spend time exploring campus and learning the art of photography with new friends. Discover Amherst through street portraits, sweeping landscapes, self-portraits, and more. Channel your inner artist and learn how to create gallery-ready prints with every click of the shutter. Bring your camera and your desire to discover. All levels welcome.

Writing & Communications

Creative Writing

Imagine your favorite stories with different endings or plots – in this seminar students will learn to tell their own stories, describe their experiences and observations, and turn their ideas into words. Students learn the fundamentals of creative writing, and explore pieces of fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. Learn how to turn even the most unbelievable daydream into an exciting story full of characters and plots of your very own creation.

English as a Second Language

English classes are designed to build confidence through communicating in English and intensive classroom teaching in small groups of 8 – 12 students. Students are grouped by age and ability and are tested at the beginning of the course and placed in a class of the appropriate level. During the course, teachers monitor students’ progress and an academic report and a certificate are awarded at the end of the course. Our syllabus is designed to suit the needs of our students, providing them with practical language skills. The aim of the course is to improve English comprehension skills, along with grammar and pronunciation, as well as building confidence in communicating through English.


Sports & Fitness

Hike & Bike Amherst

Explore the beautiful Amherst area on foot as we hike nearby trails and on two wheels as we rent bikes from a nearby shop and discover the rail trail. A great way to connect with new friends and see the Pioneer Valley.

Writing & Communications

Finding Your Voice - Public Speaking

Do you enjoy speaking publicly in large groups of people, or are you the more shy and quiet type? This workshop will teach students how to gather their thoughts, stay calm, and speak confidently in public. Once we’ve mastered this, students will begin to hone effective debate and argument skills. Students learn how to clearly express themselves while having fun with their peers in this dynamic workshop series.

Journalism in the Digital Age

In a world where newspapers are becoming obsolete, explore journalism's digital evolution into the 21st century. From online magazines and blogs to web news updates, learn what it takes to be a journalist in a new age. Investigate various writing styles and the techniques used in modern media. Develop the skills you need to convey your ideas and point of view to the public and gain a broad understanding of the role of the journalist in today's digital world.

Writing and Performance

Hone your writing skills, experience the joy of performance, AND get a chance to have your voice heard on the Amherst Fuel Jr summer stage. During each workshop we'll write and perform original short pieces. As a final closing we'll pick our favorites to perform for the program.



When not in class, students enjoy a full and varied schedule of extracurricular activities to choose from. All trips and activities are included in the program fee, so students will never be at a loss for something to do.


Every weekend, we take full advantage of all that greater New England has to offer, visiting some of its most exciting destinations and attractions. Explore all that Amherst and the surrounding areas have to offer as you explore the city, visit historic landmarks, and indulge in delicious New England treats.


Boston is a big city with small town charm and is easily covered by foot. The city wears its history proudly and walking old cobblestone streets, reliving early stories of the US, is an unforgettable occasion. Add museums, shops, and classic Boston eats, and it’s hard to find a richer experience.

Six Flags New England

Experience the fun and thrills of New England’s premier amusement park. Home to the best rollercoasters on the East Coast, Six Flags also includes a water park that is perfect for relief from the summer heat. 

Mount Tom State Reservation 

Mount Tom offers 22 miles of trails for all experience levels. Enjoy amazing views of the Pioneer Valley, and even do some bird-watching!


This small arts town has been dubbed “Paradise City” and is nestled among the forest and mountains of Western Massachusetts. Indulge in some delicious eats, shop til you drop, enjoy live music, visit the farmers market, and even go hiking, boating or bowling. Northampton has it all!

Red Sox Game

Enjoy a day at the ball-park with America’s favorite pastime. Cheer for the Red Sox, explore the stadium, and munch on some peanuts and Cracker Jacks!

Daily Activities

Summerfuel offers a wide range of activities each and every day around Amherst, led by our faculty, staff, and local contacts.

Past favorites include:

Amherst Theatre on the Green
The Summerfuel Olympics
Design a Card
Bubble Soccer
Quad Kick-Ball
Lip Sync Battles
Ultimate Frisbee
Capture the Flag
Jewelry Making
Cooking & Baking Workshops
Murder Mystery Night
Water Balloon Fights
Amherst safty labeled


The safety, happiness and well-being of our students are of paramount importance to us.  In order to provide students with the best experience possible, each program will have two distinct teams of specialists – one to manage residence life and one to manage academic success.  Residential staff will work to create a safe, supportive, dynamic residential community and faculty will provide a safe, supportive, stimulating academic environment.  Each staff member is carefully vetted using a written application, personal interview, professional reference check and required background check. 

Residential Staff 

Residential staff includes a director, senior staff, and one resident advisor (RA) for every twelve students. RAs live on each hall and work to create an inclusive and supportive residential community. RAs serve as mentors and active leaders to aid students in every aspect of their summer experience. Senior Staff also live in residence and are available to address student safety, concerns, conflicts, and emergencies, at any time.


Summerfuel students are required to attend all classes and academic workshops each day, and attendance is taken at each class. During free time, students may choose between an organized activity or an individual pursuit such as classwork, laundry, or relaxing in the dorm. Students have freedom to explore with friends within an area surrounding campus defined by the program director. In the evenings, students check in with residence staff who will also use that time to catch up on the day’s events. Students are honor bound to follow safety protocols both on and off campus, and are required to use the buddy system during free time. 

We implement the following measures to ensure our students are well cared for and safe at all times:
  • 1 to 8 residential staff to student ratio
  • 24-hour security in the dormitory
  • Designated zone in which students can travel
  • Buddy system to ensure students never travel alone
  • 11pm daily curfew
  • Zero tolerance for drug or alcohol use

Campus Security

Amherst College campus is considered very safe amongst US college campuses.  Ford dormitory has 24-hour security, with separate key access required for entry to each building entrance, suite door and bedroom door. Amherst security is on 24-hour patrol and available to any student that may need assistance.