Welcome to Upper School Expedition!


Upper School Expedition will be open for application very soon!


In this, the second year of Upper School Expedition, we are thrilled to be expanding the program across all four weeks of camp.

These courses, taught by Nueva educators and visiting professors, allow participants to become fully immersed in an area of study during their time together. Each of these classes have separate sections for campers entering grade 9/10 and 11/12 – they will gather as a large group many times during the week.

Here is the program schedule followed by individual course descriptions:


  Grades 9–10
 Grades 11–12
 July 2–6  Vital Dialogues  Vital Dialogues
 July 9–13  Cold War Part One: Truman to Johnson  Cold War Part One: Truman to Johnson
 July 16–20 Cold War Part Two: Nixon to Reagan   Cold War Part Two: Nixon to Reagan
July 23–27

Water: The Art, History, and Science Behind Our Most Precious Resource

Water: The Art, History, and Science Behind Our Most Precious Resource

Vital Dialogues: Explorations of Self Across Difference (Week One: 7/2-6)

Brian Cropper, Upper School History Teacher 

Jake Fauver, US Science of Mind Instructor, School Counselor

Alison Williams, Equity and Social Justice Associate Teacher

Through the one-week deep dive, campers will have the opportunity to develop a critical consciousness about ourselves, our community, and the world we live in.

Through an interdisciplinary lens of history, psychology, social justice, and social-emotional learning we will build practical skills for grappling with topics such as: race, religion, ability, age, socio-economic status, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation.

Campers should expect to walk away from the course empowered to engage in difficult conversations across difference. With the support from educators and peers, campers will be prepared to step into leadership and advocate roles.

Cold War: A Two-Part Deep Dive (Weeks Two and Three: July 9-20)

Brian Cropper, Upper School History Teacher 

Arta Khakpour, Upper School History Teacher

Join Nueva Upper School teachers Arta Khakpour and Brian Cropper this summer for a deep dive into the political, technological, and cultural history of the Cold War.

The longest war of the twentieth century is also the most misunderstood. Despite its name, the “cold” war between the United States and the Soviet Union was frequently hot as well, fought on a global battleground that was physical as well as economic and ideological.

Korea, Vietnam, the Indian Subcontinent, Cuba, Egypt, and Berlin were some of its flashpoints; a generation of utopian and apocalyptic fiction and cinema its literary gifts; the intercontinental ballistic missile and the Apollo lunar module its technological legacy, and diplomats, spies, and revolutionaries from Henry Kissinger and Adlai Stevenson to Che Guevara and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn its heroes.

Throughout the course, history and political science will be meshed with cinema and literature. Campers can attend both weeks or join us for Part One or Part Two, whatever works best with your summer plans!

Cold War Part One: Truman to Johnson (July 9–13)
The theme of the first week will be containment and deterrence as we focus on the nuclear standoff, arms races, and proxy wars of the 50s and 60s.

Cold War Part Two: Nixon to Reagan (July 16–20)
The theme of the second week will be diplomacy and the global balance of power, as we investigate the complex statecraft of the 70s, 80s, and early 90s.

Water: The Art, History, and Science Behind Our Most Precious Resource (July 23–27)

Jamie Biondi, Upper School English Teacher
Veena Krishnan, Upper School Math & Science Teacher
Ramki Kalyanaraman, Professor. Department of Materials Science & Eng., Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Eng., The University of Tennessee

Water covers 71% of the Earth’s surface and makes up almost two thirds of the human body. The simple H2O molecule is simultaneously essential to all life on this planet and in danger of causing the downfall of human civilization as we know it. Due to its vital and fundamental qualities, water has long been an obsession of human culture and creativity.

During our week-long interdisciplinary deep-dive, students will explore artistic representations of water and use hands-on experimentation in physics and chemistry to uncover the scientific properties of water that underlie these representations – all with the goal of fostering appreciation and understanding of this essential resource.

In the end, we will move to practical implications to help ourselves and others better understand, preserve, and celebrate the role water plays in our lives and how it may shape the future of our planet and its inhabitants.