Dawson Summer Initiative

Thank you for your interest in DSI. The application process for summer 2024 is now closed. 

Discover and Invent with Like-Minded Peers

Dawson Summer Initiative (DSI) is a unique, tuition-free summer program that provides enriching, intellectual opportunities for high-achieving public school students from Boulder County and surrounding areas. Enrolled students (“scholars”) are given the knowledge, tools, and flexibility to pursue real-world concepts, projects, and ideas. Dawson strives to make DSI a dynamic, inclusive, and supportive environment where every scholar's voice is heard and respected.

One of the greatest benefits of DSI is that a cohort of students with similar interests and academic drive come together to solve some of the world’s greatest challenges. Many families say that friendships formed during the program last long beyond the summer months.

The DSI program begins in June each year and runs from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Bus transportation and lunch is provided.

List of 1 members.

  • Photo of Lisa Michael

    Lisa Michael 

    Director, Dawson Summer Initiative

Thematic Session

The 2024 thematic session, Next: Tomorrow Today, will run June 4 - July 3, 2024. Scholars have the opportunity to work with similarly motivated and engaged peers on the Dawson campus in Lafayette, Colorado. The five-week session allows students from over 30 different schools the time and space to focus on one central issue and to work with leaders in the field to develop pertinent solutions.

Weeks 1 and 2:
  • Engage in thoughtful discussions with guest speakers/experts in the field.
  • Work within a single discipline: Inquiry, Analysis, or Communication with an instructor and peers to develop skills for project development.
  • Learn the ins and outs of video production and Photoshop
  • Participate in daily physical activity, enjoying the outdoors and moving around.

Weeks 3-5:
  • Re-group into multi-disciplinary project teams.
  • Identify and create projects that examine authentic solutions to local, national, and global challenges.

Session Themes Through the Years

Two-Week Leadership Session

Those who successfully complete the previous summer’s thematic session may then attend a two-week leadership session the following summer.
  • Learn cooperation
  • Hone presentation and writing skills
  • Engage with community leaders

Leadership groups explore the question, 'what makes you unique?' through introspection, improvisation, group challenges, and creating a digital portfolio. Each scholar then completes a This I Believe statement and presents it to their peers.

This I Believe Video Statements
Use the dropdown to view different "This I Believe" presentations

Academic Advisory

Scholars who have successfully completed one or both of the DSI sessions will have access to academic advising through high school graduation. Academic advising assists DSI scholars with course selections, identifying additional enrichment resources, and college counseling. Individual meetings and numerous resources are available to scholars as they navigate the high school and college enrollment processes.