Beyond the Classroom

    • Going Deeper

Signature Programs allow students to increase their depth of knowledge and experience

Signature Programs

List of 4 items.

  • GAIL (Global Alliance for Innovative Learning)

    GAIL, the Global Alliance for Innovative Learning, is a consortium of schools from all over the world committed to promoting cross-cultural understanding, global awareness, and citizenship through student exchange and collaboration with one another. Through such interactions, not only does one have the opportunity to learn from others, but also, the opportunity to truly see his or her own culture. After all, it is only when we are among those who are different from us that we truly see ourselves.

    GAIL is comprised of schools in eight countries:

    • Kimball Union Academy, USA
    • Scotch College in Adelaide, Australia
    • Robert Gordon College in Aberdeen, Scotland
    • Prestige College in Pretoria, South Africa
    • Woodstock School in Mussoorie, India
    • Kristin School in Auckland, New Zealand
    • Western International School of Shanghai, China

    There are two primary ways to take advantage of our affiliation with GAIL:

    • Student Exchange: Several Kimball Union Academy students, including Prestin LeBlanc, Liz Nanavati, Grace Cahill, and Kelsey Schiltkamp, have all taken advantage of the opportunity to study abroad at GAIL schools.
    • Annual GAIL Conference: You can also attend the GAIL Conference, which rotates from member school to member school each summer.
  • Cullman Scholarships

    Explore unique educational opportunities to expand your horizons beyond the classroom - see the detailed descriptions at right for more information.

    Download the Application Form
  • Senior Capstone Projects

    In addition to the Capstone Projects that are part of each Scholar Program, the Senior Capstone Program offers seniors the opportunity to pursue an in-depth independent study of an interest or passion during their final year. Capstone applicants submit proposals to the Senior Capstone Committee for approval and are supported by a faculty mentor throughout the project. Depending on the scope of the project, a senior may be able to substitute a course or activity with the Capstone project during the third trimester.
    Recent Senior Capstone projects have included:
    • Building a radio-controlled, autonomously-piloted, quad-rotor aircraft
    • A pictorial analysis of mammal anatomy
    • Writing, illustrating, and publishing a children’s book
    • A study of the relationship between dance and religion
    • Fundraising for, purchasing, and installing a wind turbine on the KUA campus
    • Writing and producing an original play
    • Creating a compilation of creative writing pieces including prose, poetry, and analytic work, based on the progression of fantasy elements in popular literature
    • Shadowing a nurse and volunteering in the Elderly Acute Care unit at Dartmouth Hitchcock Hospital
    • Creating a series of art works in clay that represent our current historic period
    • Teaching Chinese to children
    • Gaining knowledge and experience as a luthier by building guitars
    • Urban Farming  - installing and using vertical hydroponic farming devices
    • Creating a travel documentary of a cross-country road trip on historic US Route 66
    • Telling the story of the Tibetan Crisis through dance with original choreography
  • Writing Across the Curriculum

    The Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) program is a campus-wide initiative that emphasizes the importance of written English as an essential life skill for students and a pedagogical priority for faculty.
    All academic courses at KUA include a purposeful writing requirement intended to elicit written work for the Junior Writing Portfolio, the principal expression of the program. To complete the Junior Writing Portfolio, juniors submit selections from their written classwork to the WAC committee for assessment on a pass/fail, honors, and honorable mention basis.

    Support throughout the process for underclassmen ensures that KUA seniors have developed the competence in written expression demanded by college curricula and the modern workplace. The portfolio project also gives students the opportunity to reflect on their growth as writers as they approach graduation. Honors earned appear on student transcripts and contribute to the academic profile of seniors as they apply to college.
In-depth Scholar Programs allow students to develop advanced mastery in areas of particular passion or interest

Scholar Programs

List of 3 items.

  • Arts Scholar

    The Arts Scholar Program centers student learning through the creation and exploration of art. Whether in-depth study of one discipline or a broad exposure to the arts, students seek meaning and purpose in an ever-changing world.
    Through course work and production, students develop breadth and depth of understanding in their area of focus: visual arts, dance, theater or music. Arts Scholars engage in creating, examining, and reflecting on art. Making art on and off campus is supplemented with viewing art and understanding how these expressions reflect the society in which we live. Arts Scholars' culminating works demonstrate leadership, agency, exploration, and mindfulness.
  • Global Scholar

    The Global Scholar Program aspires to cultivate future leaders, problem solvers, and active citizens of the global community. The program is supported through a grant from the Edward E. Ford Foundation that encourages global education and the expansion of student knowledge of economic, political, cultural, and social issues facing our world.
    Students admitted into the Global Scholar program maintain a rigorous academic course load with an emphasis on courses international in nature. Through international travel, Global Scholars study, experience, and reflect on our global society. This includes community service and diverse cultural opportunities. By actively participating in events on and off campus, Global Scholars develop their communication skills and present their findings through a culminating Senior Capstone project. 
  • STEM Scholar

    Enter one of the labs in the Makerspace or Fitch Science Hall and you may see students:

    • dissecting a pig’s heart
    • designing a wind tunnel
    • building a circuit board
    • using a soldering iron
    All while the 3-D printer hums productively in the background. This isn't a quiet group—you’ll hear observations, discussion and differing opinions punctuated by exclamations of success and, sometimes, groans of disappointment when the experiment doesn't go quite the way it was planned. 

    These are scenes of experiential learning at its best. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) at Kimball Union is a shining example of what can happen when learning is accomplished through doing.

    Lecture? We don't think so.

The Cullman Scholars Program offers exciting opportunities to  work and travel the world

Cullman Scholarships

List of 7 items.

  • See the world...

    Cullman Scholarships support students as they travel the world exploring unique opportunities to develop leadership skills, global and environmental awareness, and service to others. The program was created in 1983 by Hugh Cullman '42.

    Click below to see where recent scholars explored.

    Download the Application Form
  • Manitoba - Colleen '18

    Senior Colleen Donoghue Presents Summer Research in the Subarctic.

    Students and faculty alike agree that The Hilltop has been uncharacteristically warm this fall. It’s only fitting that one of this year's Cullman and Global Scholars spent her summer researching the real effects of climate change at the Churchill Northern Studies Center in Churchill, Manitoba on the west shore of the Hudson Bay.

    Senior Colleen Donoghue recently presented about her unique experience during All School Meeting. Her research contributed to an ongoing 30-year study of climate change in the subarctic and arctic regions, where the effects of climate change are felt every day.
    Over the course of Colleen’s eleven-day adventure in Churchill, she participated in the collection of data in a pond region. She and a team collected water samples and tracked the temperature, percent oxygen, and conductivity of the water. The team also studied the creatures in the ponds, some of which included water beetles, dragonfly larvae, and Colleen’s personal favorite, fairy shrimp; “they float around on their backs swimming backward.” She and the team also conducted field work for a graduate student's research project, studying the metamorphosis and growth of tadpoles in different water temperatures.
    Colleen’s experience was very similar to what a professional research scientist would have had in the area. Since Churchill is home to more polar bears than people, she and the team members had to sign a polar bear release form: “Essentially, the form was to say that it was not the organization’s fault if we were eaten by a polar bear.” In addition, the team was brutally attacked by mosquitos on a daily basis; “They always found a way to get inside our bug jackets or snack on our hands.”
    The trip wasn’t around-the-clock grueling work, however. Colleen and the other researchers were given the opportunity to get into town and experience some other aspects of life in Churchill, Manitoba. They went on a beluga whale expedition, where they were “able to see hundreds of belugas and were close enough to touch them at some points.” The team was also taken on a tour of some recently-painted murals as part of the “Sea Walls: Artists for Oceans” project. This project, in collaboration with over 200 artists, has helped create over 300 murals in 12 countries since its founding in 2014. The murals depict different aspects of sea life to raise awareness about the message of sea conservation.
    Colleen’s experience helped her understand “how field data is used to put together a story of what is actually happening in the Arctic region.” The people of Churchill and the wildlife around the town have been feeling the effects of climate change in multiple aspects of their lives:
    “The sea ice is receding farther and farther north, making it much harder for the polar bears to find food because they depend so much on the sea ice for hunting grounds. Bears are dying and resorting to finding other means of food. In March, there was a giant late snowstorm in Churchill. It destroyed the train tracks that were essential to get food, materials, and people into Churchill. Essential construction vehicles and other necessities can’t be brought to Churchill. Food prices have skyrocketed. A box of Capri Sun costs $50. These people are being stranded and the decline of Churchill continues to accelerate.”
    The devastation that is being felt in places like Churchill, Manitoba, and the research that Colleen and other scientists have been conducting, will hopefully bring to light the real and scary problem of climate change. With the help of the Cullman Scholars program, Colleen was able to use her passion to contribute to this real cause.
    “The Cullman Scholarship is a once in a lifetime opportunity to pursue your passion. I owe a huge thank you to the Cullman family for making this journey possible. I am so thankful for your generosity. I also want to thank my family for supporting me on this trip. It not only reaffirmed my passion for research on climate change, but also allowed me to truly see its effects firsthand.”
  • Tibet - Kathy '14

    Born and raised in China, a dual image of Tibet has always been planted in my heart. I was taught that Tibet is part of China, but the media often reported about angry Tibetan mobs seeking independence from their motherland. In travel books I saw the pilgrims treading for months along the breathtaking Himalayas to pray for peace in the holy city of Lhasa and in meditation music, I heard the Buddhist monks chanting words of wisdom and melodies of compassion. I was captivated by the peacefulness of Tibet, but the news kept haunting me. I wanted to see Tibet with my own eyes and hear the people speak for themselves. The Cullman family gave me the opportunity to solve my puzzle. I originally planned to teach Tibetan students at a summer camp in Tibet but unfortunately, the local government denied our program. In the end, I planned my own trip to Tibet with my mother. We saw the awe-inspiring Mt. Everest from its 5,200-meter-high base camp, shared fun stories with Tibetans who have never traveled beyond their hometowns, and watched the sunset at Namtso Lake —the highest river in the world. We visited a remote ashram perched on a steep cliff to catch a glimpse of the life of Buddhist hermits, drove by fallen rocks caused by a recent mudslide, and climbed the sacred Potala Palace with hundreds of pilgrims to pray for peace. The truth is: Tibet is peaceful and safe, and the people there are compassionate and hospitable. Though political controversies still exist, Tibet is certainly one of the few heavens on earth. In the end, I was proud of having found my own perspective about Tibet because this journey was not only about searching for the truths but also about finding myself.
  • Zimbabwe - Henry '15

    Receiving a Cullman Scholarship allowed me to travel to City Central Church in Mutare, Zimbabwe, with a group of five delegates from my home church.  (South Congregational Church, UCC in Newport, NH). We landed in Harare, Zimbabwe, on June 25
     and were taken to a small Christian education retreat closely affiliated with UCCZ (United Church of Christ- Zimbabwe) where we slept and recovered from 28 hrs of traveling. The next morning we were welcomed with a very large breakfast-there was more food provided for that one meal than I normally eat in a day. The delegation then traveled by van to Mutare. When we arrived, people of City Central Church gathered to welcome us and were so happy about our arrival that they sang loud enough for us to hear them before our van even pulled into the churchyard. That night we each stayed with different host families. The family I stayed with has a boy my age by the name of Taurai. Taurai and I went into town to meet a friend of his, buy some food and drive to a place called “Christmas Pass” which is on the top of a nearby mountain. I could see the whole city of Mutare, which at night was stunning.  During the rest of the two-week period, our group was in Zimbabwe, we traveled slightly south to Mt. Selinda, (the area near the first UCC mission church in Zimbabwe), and helped out at the Daisy Dube Orphanage. This, in particular, was an amazing experience. I saw how much happier than many western kids these orphans were without all the gadgets and toys that we have or even food. (The orphanage can only serve protein to the children once a week). While in Mutare we helped to build a pole and roof outdoor kitchen so that the women of City Central could be shielded from the blazing sun or the pouring rain as they prepared food.  Once the kitchen was completed, we held a celebration on the 4th of July. The party was both a celebration of the partnership between the two churches and a 4th of July party. After serving cheeseburgers and hot dogs, (a first for most of the people) we introduced s’mores to everyone. S’mores were a BIG hit and the children especially could not stop eating them. Some ate as many as eight. During the whole trip I experienced a culture much more friendly and accepting than my own culture, and one far more generous. Despite having little compared to me, everyone I met shared their home, food, and friendship with joy and openness. I hope I can now treat strangers I meet with this same generosity. This was by far the best experience of my life, and I cannot thank the Cullman Family enough. I encourage all Sophomores and Juniors to apply for a Cullman Scholarship. It will change your life for the better.
  • New Zealand - Stephanie'17

    With my Cullman Scholarship, I chose to go to Auckland, New Zealand for three weeks to intern under a Ph.D. candidate working with the NZCDP (New Zealand Common Dolphin Project) at Massey University. Her goal is to understand how the mating patterns of the Bottlenose and Common Dolphin are affected by tourist boats in the Hauraki Gulf. I analyzed data she had previously collected, which entailed the comparison of photographs of dolphin fins to determine populations. On most weekdays, I walked a mile and a half to the university to analyze data with the goal of completing a full season in three weeks. I had the experience of going into the field and collecting my own data on a tourist boat by photographing the dolphins’ fins as they leaped out of the water. On the weekends I had time to hike around with other interns and see regions outside of Auckland, as well as taking the bus independently to Auckland city to explore its museums and culture. It was truly inspiring to be able to make a difference in the scientific community in a new field of study.  This trip was an incredible learning experience that not only taught me about the eco-systems and culture on the other side of the world but that friends can be everywhere and I can rely on myself.
  • Peru - Gavin '18

    Cusco, Peru, sitting in the Andes at 11,000 feet, is where the Inca people established their capital and over time created a network of provinces stretching through South America. In its heyday, the empire was laced with running paths and royal messengers. It is said that these men were so efficient, the emperor could order a fish in the morning and have it arrive fresh from the coast, many miles and mountain peaks away, for his cook to serve him at dinner. The people of Peru still love their seafood, and in Cusco eat it soaked in lime and sweet potatoes in cevicherias across the city.

    It is here that I spent three weeks of my summer learning and experiencing the great variety of cuzqueñan life. Seafood, other freshwater fish, and most meats remain a specialty of the heavily populated areas. Outside the city, the common diet of rural communities consists of grains and potatoes, lacking protein and nutrients. One of these communities, Mayrasco, invited a group of students into their village to dig fish ponds, three large pools terraced into a mountainside. It is here that we dug many mornings, side by side with villagers, visiting with school children, and leaving occasionally to backpack through the Andes, see Spanish Cathedrals, or the masonry of Machu Picchu. What we saw and what we built was a testament to the generosity and beauty with which these people live: from eating an offering of earth baked potatoes in the Mayrasco hills to watching the sunset on the peak of Mt. Veronica, deep in the Inca Heartland. 
  • Interested in learning more?

    For information about the Cullman Scholar, K-Term, and other experiential learning opportunities, contact Admission today! 


Kimball Union Academy

603-469-2000  · 603-469-2040 (fax)  ·
Founded in 1813, Kimball Union Academy is one of the country's oldest private boarding high schools. KUA blends the best of the New England boarding tradition with an innovative, modern educational program for a diverse and global group of day and boarding students. Located in Meriden, New Hampshire, in the heart of the Upper Valley, Kimball Union is minutes from Dartmouth College and has direct access to Boston and New York.