BWSI 2020 FAQ & Dashboard


Welcome students applying for BWSI 2020 (our 5th year)!


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) re. Beaver Works Summer Institute

Note: BWSI is managed with just a few people, PLEASE make every effort to read or search for your keyword/question on this FAQ and to find the answers prior to emailing staff

COVID-19, BWSI and MIT Policy Update here

We are evaluating which courses we can offer as a virtual course, as we will not be having an in-person program this summer. The Enrollment application is being updated along with ALL due dates. We hope that have that available this week (4/6). All online courses will continue to be available for access throughout the summer.

Virtual Courses 2020
Autonomous Cognitive Assistant (Cog-Works) Mini-RACECAR
Build-a-Cubesat Embedded Security
Remote Sensing for Disaster Response Medlytics
Serious Games Development with AI  
Question Answer
Where can I get more information? We try to keep our website as up-to-date as possible.
Do you offer programs for middle school? We piloted our first course last year with the Mini-RACECAR course and are working to create a virtual middle school course. Here is info on our Middle school program
What other STEM programs are available? MIT has many programs here, Lincoln Laboratory has more listed here and pleased to add Media Lab’s All are adapting to policy changes based on COVID-19
I’m a freshman/sophomore, can I apply? We encourage interested students to be nominated to access the online course, but as we can only accept a limited number of students, accepted students are generally finishing their junior year (i.e. rising seniors)
I’m a senior, can I apply? Current seniors are not eligible to apply (you should be getting ready for college and mentoring younger students)
What does the program cost? Is there a fee for the program? The program is free for students, we are making every effort to provide materials to support the virtual BWSI but students may have to purchase some supplies to participate.

Enrollment Questions for Summer program at MIT

Question Answer
WHY is the enrollment link not available/open?? See our COVID-19 announcement, We are changing the enrollment application AND deadlines to match the expected virtual courses that will be provided this summer.
Where is the link for the enrollment application? Student enrolled in the online course have received this link, with password.
Why didn’t I receive the enrollment application? The summer enrollment application is a link and was sent out to all students registered this year in the BWSIX online course. If you did not receive it, check your spam/junk email and then contact to request it again.
You ask for 3 choices (1st, 2nd, 3rd) for courses- do I have to do all three? Enrollment is competitive and you may not get your first choice. Upon acceptance into the program, you will be placed into one (1) course and will need to complete the online portion for that course.
When is the teacher recommendation due? Your teacher recommendation due date is being extended and can be via this link.
Does the teacher recommendation have to be submitted at the same time?/Can it be submitted early? Your teacher can submit the recommendation at any time now, and will also need the Unique ID number, provided with your online course access (and is also your BWSIX user name)
What do I do if I hit submit before the application was complete? We do not have the resources to edit incomplete enrollment applications, they will be deleted and you will have to re-submit
How can I save my application prior to submitting? Formstack has a “save and submit later” link at the bottom of the page so you can collect all your required information before submitting
I have more than 5 honor/awards and cannot fit into the space provided, what should I do? In order of priority, please list the most important, then most recent, then most relevant ones to you. Adding more does not increase your chances of acceptance, separate emails with additional information will not be correlated with your application
My “List work/volunteer/hobbies/sports” doesn’t fit- what should I do? In order of priority, please list the most important, then most recent, then most relevant ones to you. Adding more does not increase your chances of acceptance, separate emails with additional information will not be correlated with your application
Where do I send my school grades/transcripts? We do not require school transcripts but rely on your progress in the online course and teacher recommendation for enrollment into the summer program.

Application process

Question Answer
How do I apply? See for information
Have I been nominated for online courses? After nomination, students are sent an email that contains this link, if you don’t have the password from your teacher, you cannot register.
Do I need teacher a recommendation? Yes, a nomination for the online course and a recommendation for the enrollment application. You will need a teacher (or mentor) to nominate you to participate in the online course, and you will need a teacher (or mentor) recommendation for the enrollment application. The teacher recommendation is submitted via an online form that is provided with the enrollment applications in March.
I did not receive BWSIX (or online course) registration email- why not? Emails are sent to the addresses provided by your teacher, very often our emails are blocked by school network firewalls
I used my gmail/hotmail/icloud address and still did not receive BWSIX (or online course) registration email- why not? Please check your spam or junk mailbox to make sure it wasn’t filtered, See this document for more in-depth answers
I did not receive BWSIX (or online course) registration email after I completed the online form- why not? Did you check the email entered was correct? The automatic response is sent to the email provided on the form, please contact to see if this needs to be corrected.
How can I get BWSI emails at my school? Talk to your school administrator to allow emails from “” through the school firewall
How can I get BWSI emails at non-school email address? Provide a non-school email address to your teacher when you ask them to nominate you for BWSI
Can you change my school email address on the form? Due to our limited resources it may be faster to ask your teacher to resubmit a new nomination form with an email that won’t be blocked
What do I do after I get the BWSIX email? We are updating based on making the program virtual as we are not having an in-person program this year, but this document for more in-depth answers
Can I apply if I’m not a US Citizen? Every student can enroll for online course, but acceptance for on-campus program is limited to US Citizens or students already attending school in the US
Can I apply if I go to school internationally? We can accept US citizens going to school in non-US schools, the process is the same, contact us if your instructors cannot access the required forms.
Can I apply if I am homeschooled/go to alterntive school? Yes, the process is the same, (nomination for online, registration for online, enrollment for onsite) contact us if your instructors/mentors cannot access the required forms.


Question Answer
What’s my password?? 1) The password for formstack course registration (See next question), for see 2) below, for piazza- see 3) below.
1) What’s the password for the formstack online course registration form? Please contact your teacher or mentor that nominated you for BWSI.
2) What’s the password for my BWSIX account on the login page? At first login, simply select the “forgot password” link on this page, and you will be able set it (or reset it) at any time.
3) What’s my password for Piazza? Piazza is self-registration (select sign-up) corrected
How do I get to correct course on Piazza? Go to sign-up, select green Students get started, enter MIT, and select “Massachusetts Institute of Technology”, type “bwsi” in the course field and a course selection list will appear.
Where’s my access code to register for course on Piazza? Access codes are located in introductory module for your course or in course updates (check all updates for Jan 14)

Online Course

Question Answer
I registered but cannot access/find the correct course? Check you have selected the correct semester (Spring 2020) and the courses for 2020 (not 2019)
Can I just do the online course (and not apply to the summer program) ? Yes, the online course is open to all high school students who are interested. The process for the online course access is the same whether you plan on applying to the summer program or not.
Are the courses open yet? Yes, most opened on Jan 16.
How do I register for the online course? Select the link provided in the course registration email (see this document )
How long does it take to complete? The length of time depends on your experience and skills, as well as the course selected, but encourage applicants to start early as it may take several weekends to complete a course.
I’m having trouble logging into BWSIX, what can I do? See this document for more in-depth answers
How do I pick a course/What courses should I do? After logging in to BWSIX, you will see all the 2020 courses, you should select the one course that interests you most and begin it, other courses, like Python, may be required to qualify for the summer program and it will state that in the course syllabus or description.
Can I take more than 1 online course? You are eligible to work on more than 1 course (courses like RACECAR require it), voluntarily completing additional courses does not improve your chance of acceptance, but can provide interesting learning opportunities.
Since the application asks for your top three choices, would you have to finish at least 50% of your top 3 courses before you apply? No, just your prefered course. Not all students can be accepted into their top preference and this will help make sure promising students can be in a personally interesting course.
How do I register for additional courses? Your login for BWSIX provides access to any of the 2020 courses, and you self-register by selecting the course and starting it (don’t forget that each course has its own piazza forum).
How do I ask questions about course material? We use Piazza as a forum for online course collaboration, you can register for an account on Piazza but course codes are ONLY available through the individual BWSIX course.
How do I register for Piazza? See Piazza under Passwords section Q & A; Check the Introductory module or Course Updates in individual course for links and access code
Piazza says my access code is incorrect- what do I do? EACH course has its own piazza forum, so there are different access codes to each piazza course forum, confirm that you have the correct access code for the appropriate piazza forum
I see the 2019 courses, can I work on them? No, the 2019 courses are closed, and do not count towards the 2020 application
After I register on BWSIX, can I change the email for the account? No, is administered by a different organization and we cannot change email/account settings.
What email is used for correspondence for BWSI? We use the email entered by you, the student, on the student online course registration form as the primary method to send updates and information
Are there certificates available after completing the online course? Not yet, but will be by end of March. Certificates will be available at the end of the course and automatically put in the score of the student when selected.
When is the Cyber Security/Reverse Engineering Software course going to be available? We have been delayed in releasing the course. The Python Core and GitHub will be required elements when it is available and you can start on those. We will take the delayed start into consideration in determining ‘signifcant progress’ on this course during enrollment decisions.

Nomination process for Online (prerequisites)

Question Answer
I’m a teacher/parent/mentor/coach - how do I nominate a student? Please use this link to nominate, up to 5 students per form and you can submit additional times as well
Have I been nominated? After nomination, students are sent an email that contains this link, if you don’t have the password from your teacher, you cannot register.
I don’t have the student password, they are asking me for to register for BWSIX- where is it? The student password was sent to nominators in the teacher information package email from Lisa Kelley, if you need it again, please contact

Middle School Information

Question Answer
When will you offer a middle school course? We will not be running an in-person program this summer, but are working to create new content for a virtual middle school program. (click here)
How can I apply/ or apply for my child? See link above
How can I do this in my school? We can partner with you and your school to provide the course and curriculum content for classes, enrichment or clubs. Please email us (

Internship Opportunities (to be updated as we have more information)

Our sponsors understand that the best and brightest are coming here for courses and offer internships to selected students attending BWSI for the following summer.

Name Application Link Additional Info Due
Raytheon TBD N/A TBD
Lockheed Martin TBD N/A TBD

Daily Seminars during July (from 2019)

We have world class researchers and educators present lunchtime lectures to attending students. You can watch selected seminars online, Click Here!

2019 Schedule (2020 Coming soon!)

Name Date Title Organization
Prof. John Hart 7/9/19 Adventures in Additive Manufacturing MIT Mechanical Engineering
Don Kieffer 7/10/19 Dynamic Work Design: Principles, Structures, Methods MIT Sloan School of Management
Jerry Wohletz 7/11/19 Autonomous Intelligence: The AI You Don’t Know BAE Systems
Katie Rae 7/12/19 Inspiring the Next Generation of Tough Tech Founders The Engine
Dr. Jalal Khan 7/15/19 3D Imaging using Photon-counting Laser Radars MIT Lincoln Laboratory
DJ Rock 7/16/19 Applying to Highly Selective Colleges MIT Admissions Office
Prof. Kerry Cahoy 7/17/19 Using Weather Balloons and CubeSats to Learn About Space Exploration MIT
Prof. Hamsa Balakrishnan 7/18/19 Lean, Green, Flying Machines MIT Aeronautics and Astronautics
Prof. Neil Gershenfeld 7/19/19 How to Make (almost) Anything MIT
Prof. Sanjay Sarma 7/22/19 How We Learn MIT
Dr. Eric Evans 7/23/19 MIT Lincoln Laboratory Overview MIT Lincoln Laboratory
Prof. Cynthia Breazeal 7/24/19 Toward Human-Friendly AI MIT
Joonhee Won 7/25/19 The Future of Learning: Changing Pardigm of School KAIT
Prof. Evelyn Wang 7/26/19 Nanoengineered Materials for Advanced Energy and Water Technologies MIT
Prof. Fikile Brushett 7/29/19 Building an Electrochemical Future: Innovators Needed! MIT
Natalia Guerrero 7/30/19 Worlds Beyond Our Own: New Exoplanet Discoveries by NASA’s TESS MIT
Dr. Mark Russell 7/31/19 The Future, Arriving Today: Advanced Technology, Cyber and Machine Learning Raytheon
Keith Lynn 8/1/19 Artificial Intelligence: AI in Every Domain Lockheed Martin

Program Links

Name Link
BWSI 2020 Brochure Click Here
BWSI’19 Program Brochure Click Here
BWSI’19 Final Event Brochure Click Here