Fluid Futures

Imagining Water in the 21st Century

High School Students: Join us for this special one-week early college experience designed to bring together the rigors of concentrated college-level classes with hands-on activities and field trips. Our program will challenge you to think broadly about how water has been understood across cultures, histories, and the arts, and challenges you to explore how these understandings can help us approach the emerging global water crisis we now face.

  • Work closely with full-time Eckerd College professors in disciplines ranging from literature to media studies, to history, to cultural studies to marine science.
  • Sample college life through interactions with Eckerd faculty and students on our beautiful waterfront campus and beyond

Together we will explore how people of the past and present use, interpret, and represent water and its inhabitants. Some of the questions that will drive our seminar include:

  • What symbolic and narrative function does water play across time and culture?
  • How can we prepare for the water shortages and crises of tomorrow?
  • What are the water stories in our own communities?

In a world increasingly reliant upon, yet also increasingly threatened by, access to water, the questions we ask of this fundamental aspect of our day-to-day lives will prove to be of immense importance.

Download the Brochure
Monday – Friday: 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.

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June 12-17, 2016

Students entering 11th or 12th grade in August/September 2016

$396 per student

Cost includes: participation in (and transportation for) all sessions, activities, program supplies, field trips, entrance fees, use of college recreational facilities, meals, lodging, and snacks.

Scholarships Available.

Application Deadline: May 6

Watch a recap from our 2014 program: New Eyes for a New Century


An exciting blend of on-campus activities, field trips and course sessions will help us to explore our own humanity as well as that of others. Our schedule includes:

  • VISIT CLEARWATER MARINE AQUARIUM  Discuss the scientific and cultural influence of Florida’s iconic marine mammal with Professor of History Lee Irby and travel to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium to encounter dolphins up close.
  • TRAVEL TO TAMPA BAY HISTORY CENTERProfessor of French Rob Watson will lead you on a tour of the multifaceted and multicultural history of the Tampa Bay region through a field trip to the interactive exhibits of Tampa’s history center.
  • EXPLORE HISTORIC FORT DESOTOAccompany Professor Rhetoric Kat Robinson on a trip to Fort DeSoto County Park to explore literary means of addressing landscapes (and seascapes) just steps from the beach!
  • PRACTICE T’AI CHI  Study the methods and beliefs underlying the ancient art of T’ai Chi with Professor of Chinese Hong Gu. Gain techniques for mental focus, stability, and poise.
  • CREATE PHOTOS AND FILMS UNDERWATERJoin Professor of Film Studies Christina Petersen on a tour of classic films using underwater photography, learn how it works, and get in the water to try it yourself.
  • PRODUCE A WEB-BASED DIGITAL EXHIBIT – Show off your discoveries by creating an online multimedia display. Throughout the week, Professor of Rhetoric Alexis Ramsey-Tobienne will guide you through the process of building a creative web space to chronicle your experiences.
  • ATTEND COLLEGE LEVEL CLASSES – Take part in advanced discussions on a selection of topics relating to the humanities in addressing contemporary water issues.
  • EVENING ACTIVITIES – Keep the conversation going after classes as you join your fellow students for a variety of relaxing social activities which may include: pool party, karaoke, movie night, discussions as well as recreational opportunities! You’ll also meet and talk with Eckerd College students and learn about the Eckerd Experience.

During free time, you can enjoy Eckerd’s facilities including outdoor swimming pool, tennis courts, sand volleyball courts and more.

At the end of this program, a certificate of completion and a description of the sessions offered will be available to any students completing the program, should they wish to include them in future college applications.

Room & Board

Participants will live on the Eckerd College campus in St. Petersburg on Florida’s Gulf Coast.


Few colleges have a more attractive setting than Eckerd College. The 188-acre waterfront campus provides a magnificent atmosphere and safe environment. Eckerd College is located in St. Petersburg, just off I-275 exit 17.

Directions & Map


Residential counselors work with students in the late afternoons, evenings and overnight. Staff consists of well-trained Eckerd College students eager to share their enthusiasm for learning. Overnight dormitory accommodations will also be supervised by a trained adult counselor.


Students will live in air-conditioned Eckerd College student residence halls, double room occupancy, reserved exclusively for participants in this program. Counselors will be present in each single sex residence hall.


Student participants will eat in the main cafeteria which can accommodate allergies and vegetarian diets. If you have particular needs, please contact us at summerconferences@eckerd.edu or 727-864-8058.

Meet the Faculty

Interact with Eckerd College’s dynamic faculty in the classroom, during informal discussions, meals and field trips.


Daniel Spoth

Dr. Daniel Spoth
Assistant Professor of Literature at Eckerd College

Dr. Daniel Spoth, Assistant Professor of Literature at Eckerd College, will direct the program with the assistance of Dr. Amanda Hagood, Director of the Program for Experienced Learners and Adjunct in American Studies at Eckerd College. Spoth and Hagood will oversee the development of the academic program and direct all activities the week of the seminar. Spoth will lead the Community Gaming and Team Building exercise on Monday morning, and Hagood will assist in the Filming the Ocean session on Thursday.

Amanda Hagood

Dr. Amanda Hagood
Director of PEL, Adjunct in American Studies


Alexis Ramsey-Tobienne

Dr. Alexis Ramsey-Tobienne
Associate Professor of Rhetoric

Dr. Ramsey-Tobienne, will guide students in a week-long digital documentary project entitled “Telling Florida’s Water Stories” that will result in a student-produced website displaying issues students have explored throughout the week.

Robert Watson

Dr. Robert Watson
Visiting Assistant Professor French, Director of the Language Commons at Stetson University

Dr. Robert Watson will lead a field trip to the Tampa Bay History Center and lead an interactive session entitled “Imagining Paradise: Florida in the Age of European Exploration.”

Kat Robinson

Dr. Kat Robinson
Scholarship & Fellowship Advisory (formerly Assistant Professor of Rhetoric)

Dr. Kat Robinson will lead a class session and field trip entitled “At the Seashore: Water’s Relation to Story” in which students will practice close reading poetry and essays exploring Florida’s coasts and apply the lessons learned to the landscape of Pinellas County’s historic Fort Desoto.

Dr. Tonya Clayton

Dr. Tonya Clayton
Author, How to Read a Florida Gulf Coast Beach

Dr. Clayton received her Ph.D. in Oceanography from Old Dominion University and is a graduate of the Florida Natural Resources Leadership Institute. Dr. Tonya Clayton will lead an interactive session titled “Changing Before Our Eyes: Sea Level Rise and Florida.” Students will explore observed and potential climate-change impacts in Florida, focusing in particular on contemporary sea level rise.

Lee Irby

Dr. Lee Irby
Assistant Professor of History

Dr. Lee Irby will lead a field trip to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium (Clearwater, FL) followed by a class session, entitled “A Dolphin’s Tail,” considering the power of this marine mammal and the cultural impact it has had on Florida.

Christina Petersen

Dr. Christina Petersen
Christian Nielsen Assistant Professor of Film Studies

Dr. Christina Petersen will lead a session entitled “Filming the Ocean,” in which students will explore the history of underwater filmmaking through a variety of genres, then complete their own short film projects along campus waterways.

Hong Gu

Mr. Hong Gu
Assistant Professor of Chinese

Mr. Hong Gu will offer a session on “T’ai Chi: Theory and Practice.”


Don’t Delay – Spaces Fill Quickly

To apply, you must complete and submit the following:

Your application will not be complete until we are in receipt of ALL items. 

We will notify you on or before May 6 if you have been accepted.

Refund Policy

Students who are not accepted will receive a full refund.

For students who are accepted, our refund/cancellation policy is as follows. No refund will be issued for the following:

  • cancellation within 14 days of program start date
  • if a participant fails to show-up for the program
  • if a participant is dismissed from the program by the College

Registrations that are cancelled prior to the “no refund” period will be assessed a $25 administrative fee.

Participants who cancel their registration and are eligible for a refund should contact summerconferences@eckerd.edu or 727-864-8058.

Florida Humanities Council

“Funding for this program was provided through a grant from the Florida Humanities Council with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this website do not necessarily represent those of the Florida Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.”

Florida Humanities Council