What is Intersession?

Intersession is a time for high school students to develop interdisciplinary exploration with real-world experts. It is an intellectual and experiential feast of topics extending beyond the usual academic disciplines.

Students annually choose from nearly 200 seminars, intensives, and activity sessions offered by industry experts and academic presenters. Intersession takes place in the two weeks following winter break and spans a total of six days. 

View the 2019 Catalog

Intersession Offerings: Seminars, Activity Sessions & Intensives

There are three different types of sessions available during Intersession, and students are free to mix and match these towards their interests.


Seminars are deep dive sessions that meet two hours a day over three days. Students can experience up to four seminars during Intersession.

Previous Seminars

Political Cartooning

Explore the art of political cartooning and its role in the “political discourse of a society that provides for freedom of speech and of the press.” According to Encyclopedia Britannica, “a political cartoon is also an artistic vehicle characterized by both metaphorical and satirical language. It may point out the contexts, problems, and discrepancies of a political situation while not altering the facts.”

Students practiced the tools of satire, analysis, and ridicule while learning the art of political cartooning, the media available (print and digital), and how it can help shape conversations critical to our country and our world.

Interior Design 101

Residential interior design is truly the art of problem-solving. By curating interiors that represent clients' personalities, passions, and desires, they solve functionality obstacles and make day-to-day living more practical. And they build sanctuaries. Yes, there is a fair amount of creativity and artistic approach to interior design; however, the heart and soul of a successful interior designer is much more than that. In this three-day seminar, students dove deep and explored what it really means to be an interior designer, including group-based design charrettes. The final day was a half-day field trip at a client job site plus a tour of the San Francisco Design Center.

Activity Sessions

Stand-alone lectures, panel discussions, or interactive experiences meet one day for 90 minutes. Students can experience up to six activity sessions.

Previous Activity Sessions


Conservation Ambassadors

A perennial favorite, Conservation Ambassadors returned this year to offer a host of activity sessions, including: Desert Magic, Where Animals Call Home, Vanished, Wild America, Amazing Animal Adaptations, and Under the Canopy.


The World of Forensic Science: Cracking the Case

This session gave students an insider's look into the Trace Evidence Unit at the NYPD Crime Laboratory — the largest and busiest municipal crime lab in the country. Is real crimescene investigation anything like the television series CSI? How did three tiny hairs found on a car floor mat help solve a kidnapping homicide? Lisa discussed real cases and showes how forensic scientists work meticulously on microscopic items of evidence in order to provide detectives with answers and investigative leads. Students learned how technological advances in DNA testing have drastically changed the way criminal cases are investigated and solved. This session also demonstrated how forensic scientists can put their skills to use outside the crime laboratory — from authenticating a Jackson Pollock painting to helping the writers of NBC’s Law & Order: Special Victims Unit make their series as realistic as possible.


Interactive, retreat-style workshops held either on or off-campus meet all day for three days. Students can experience up to two intensives.

Previous Intensives

Afro-Cuban Jazz Ensemble

Since the 19th century, Cuban music has been hugely popular and influential throughout the world. It has been perhaps the most popular form of regional music since the introduction of recording technology. Cuban music has its principal roots in Spain and West Africa; however, over time it has been influenced by diverse genres from different countries, including American jazz. Afro-Cuban Jazz Ensemble explored the exciting Cuban rhythms in a big-band setting using brass, woodwinds, guitar, piano, bass, and drums. The ensemble was coached by two of the top recording and touring musicians in Havana today. Students gained firsthand knowledge of Cuban styles while playing alongside these great artists.

Film Making and Visual Effects

Students learned the tricks of the trade, as well as how to operate professional camera equipment to make amazing spectacles. Applying these new ideas, students wrote, shot, and edited their own stories using the visual effects program After Effects. By the end of the session, students had created their own original short film, complete with their own special effects.

Colin S.

“Nueva is a school that motivates students to find their true voice and pursue their passions. In my time here, it’s been easy to get involved because of how the school encourages us to dive into all of our passions.”

Previous Intersession Speakers

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Intersession in the News

Portrait of Daniel, an. Upper School Nueva student

The seminar was called "How Does UPS Get Your Package to Its Destination on Time?" The three-day curriculum was taught by Keith Devlin of Stanford University and categorized as a course in Creative Math. A snippet from the class summary read as follows: "Many aspects of our lives are controlled by algorithms that make things faster, better, cheaper, more accurate, more efficient, more suited to our needs and desires..."

Portrait of Morgan, an upper school student

For tenth grader Morgan T., Intersession was a true hands-on experience. From molding a newly discovered species of dinosaur out of clay, to removing a cyst from a pig’s foot in suturing class, to making frosting rosettes on top of a cake, Morgan’s Intersession classes brought new meaning to Nueva’s motto to “learn by doing.” Morgan infused her personal creativity into each seminar and activity session.

Portrait of two upper school students, Justin and Callista

“No matter what grade you are in, you are looking forward to Intersession!” said Justin S., a senior enjoying his fourth year of Intersession. “In general, at Nueva, we are engaged, happy, and interested students and that carries through to Intersession. All of my Intersession classmates have been excited to participate.”

Portrait of upper school student Anika

I am a twelfth grader and have been a Nueva student since first grade.

For me, Intersession is six days to step outside of my comfort zone. It’s a really fun way to jump into topics I’m completely new to, and a great opportunity to take seminars rooted in my current interests.

Students Explore with Outside Experts

Nueva’s Upper School was buzzing with excitement this month as students returned from break and started the new year and term with an assortment of “amuse-bouche” explorations from baking to bioethics. The first Intersession – an event more than two years in the making - enabled students to dive deep into passions, explore new interests, and engage with experts and peers on a variety of topics and educational experiences over the first two weeks of the new year. 

Intersession: A Time to Explore Passions

“Intersession is an opportunity for kids to experience and meet authentic purveyors of their craft...it gives students an opportunity to see different permutations (of) real life (and) how people leverage what they’ve learned.”

— Linda Yates, Intersession Committee Co-chair