Online Handbook

Online Handbook


A summer program that propels learning and expands horizons

Connecting students worldwide through engaging summer programs

Summer Accelerator Online is a summer learning opportunity students can do from anywhere.  This handbook is your guide for what to expect, policies, and procedures.

Email with any questions.

Click here for the residential handbook.

Accelerator Mission

The North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics is the nation’s first publicly funded residential school to offer a specialized curriculum in science and mathematics. On the Durham campus, NCSSM educates academically and intellectually gifted high school juniors and seniors from across the state. The school serves hundreds more North Carolina students through online courses and interactive videoconferencing courses. 

The goal of the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics Summer Accelerator program, consistent with the school’s mission, is to provide rigorous, high-quality programs for academically talented participants from a wide range of backgrounds.

Important Contact Information

Instructors and Staff

Academic Life

Participant Health and Safety

Participant Expectations and Policies

Contact Information

Alicia Stokley is NCSSM’s Interim Summer and Extended Programs Manager at NCSSM-Durham. She is a graduate of Elizabeth City State University and started her journey at NCSSM in 2019 as a Summer and Extended Programs Associate Manager. With more than 9 years of experience in program management and recruiting, she is adept at expanding/creating new programs to serve diverse populations,  inspiring leadership growth within a work environment, and enhancing the customer experience. It is her desire to help students meet their fullest potential at Summer Accelerator by providing an environment that is safe, supports risk-taking, and invites a sharing of ideas. Alicia has received the COA “Catalyst” award two years consecutively (2017 & 2018), COA “Employee of the Year” in 2019, and NCSSM’s Chancellor Award for Excellence Nominee in 2021. She believes in making sure the quality of our work reflects our potential outcome for a successful and engaging environment. 

Blake Reed came to NCSSM as the Summer and Extended Programs Associate Manager in October 2020 at NCSSM-Durham. His main responsibilities in this role are to help manage the daily logistics of NCSSM’s summer programs. Most recently Blake served as a Youth Director at the YMCA of the Triangle where he managed school programs. Blake is passionate about connecting students with opportunities to explore their full potential and believes that successful students create thriving communities. Blake is a North Carolina native and attended East Carolina University. He enjoys golfing, traveling, and spending time with his family and friends.

Taylor Flach serves as an Associate Manager for Summer and Extended Programs for NCSSM-Durham. Prior to that role, she served as the Program Assistant for Summer Programs. She is a 2018 graduate of NCSSM and attended North Carolina State University. She graduated from NCSU with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. While in college, Taylor has served in various roles for NCSSM’s Summer Accelerator program and is excited to be working with the Summer Team year round now to expand her impact. In her free time she enjoys traveling and spending time with friends and family.

Gina Barrier is the Director of Summer Programs and Extended Partnerships at NCSSM-Morganton. For 21 years, she conducted teacher professional development for The Science House, NC State University. She has experience with K-12 programs that involve data-collection technology, robotics, coding, VR/AR technology, 3D printers and other makerspace technologies using inquiry-based pedagogy, including project-based learning. She has degrees from Lenoir-Rhyne University and Appalachian State University. She has taught high school Chemistry, AP Chemistry, and Physics and worked as an industrial chemist. She has also served as President of the NC Science Leadership Association (NCSLA) and was presented with their Michael C Jackson Distinguished Service Award for outstanding service to STEM education in 2019.

Susan Gantt is the Associate Manager of Summer Programs at NCSSM – Morganton.  She is a retired public educator with 30 years of service in Alexander County Schools. She has been a middle and high school teacher, middle school assistant principal, middle school principal, and, lastly, served as the Director for Career and Technical Education (CTE) and Secondary Curriculum. She holds education degrees from NC State University and Appalachian State University. She resides in Hickory with her husband of 30 years and is the mother to 3 children. She enjoys reading, hiking, crossword and sudoku puzzles, the beach, and spending time with her family. 

Josh Blackburn joined NCSSM in August 2023 as Assistant Director for Summer and Extended Programs on our Morganton campus. Prior to joining the team at NCSSM he worked in Burke County Schools as a classroom teacher for eight years and in Caldwell County Schools as a gifted education specialist. Josh is passionate about providing STEM opportunities to students in rural communities and helping teachers facilitate STEM activities in elementary classrooms so learners have a strong STEM foundation to begin their educational journey. He earned his bachelor’s degree in elementary education and his master’s in school administration at Appalachian State University. Outside of work, Josh enjoys photography, competing with his dog Oakley, and cooking. 

The managers can be reached by email at

Instructors and Staff


Instructors developed the Accelerator courses based on their experience teaching these topics to school participants year-round. Their expertise in the field, combined with their particular experience in instructing young adults is a cornerstone of the Accelerator program.

Student Support Specialist

The Student Support Specialist is responsible for reviewing health forms, supporting families with their preparation for the program, and supporting students’ success and social-emotional wellbeing during the summer.

ITS Support

Instructions for setting up your email account and logging into your course can be found here. If you have trouble logging into your NCSSM account or have questions about Canvas, email 

Academic Life


Instructors developed the Accelerator courses based on their experience teaching these topics to school participants year-round. Their expertise in the field, combined with their particular experience in instructing young adults is a cornerstone of the Accelerator program. Instructors may be in communication with participants up to two weeks before the start of their course with instructions on what to expect.


The first week(s) of each course takes place asynchronously and consist of about 7 hours of work per week. This includes time for students to introduce themselves and share common interests, and time for readings, discussions, video content, reflection questions, inquiry and/or data collection. During the last week of each course, students will interact with their instructor and other students via video conferencing meetings, and the course will be about 20 hours of work. 

Course instructors will send participants specific instructions by the end of the first day of the online component of the course. In order to prepare, participants should make sure to have computer and internet access for at least 7 hours during each of the weeks of the online course and have the ability to check email for instructions.

Evaluation/Certificate Letter

Each student will be evaluated at the end of his or her course by the instructor. A course summary, including a pass or fail, will be shared with the student and his or her parent/guardian by the end of the summer by email.

Participants can take this email to their high school to seek credit and can choose to use it for college applications. These courses do not have a school power code. While NCSSM cannot guarantee that a school will honor the letter or provide credit for the course, we are happy to provide schools with the information they request.

Participant Health and Safety

 Protection of Minors

In accordance with the UNC System Protection of Minors Policy and NCSSM policies, all instructors and staff members interacting with students enrolled in the program have undergone background checks and training. All NCSSM employees are required by law to report suspected abuse or neglect of a minor. Students are required to agree to a code of conduct before participating in online programs.

Reporting of illegal or inappropriate online behavior:; Brian Wiggs, NCSSM Security 919-416-2910; NCSSM Security Desk, 919-416-2911; or Any Summer Programs Manager, 919-416-2608

Participant Expectations and Policies

The NCSSM Summer Accelerator Program has established rules and standards of conduct for all Participants. It is the responsibility of the Participant to review the Program rules and standards of conduct. Dismissed Participants may not be eligible for a refund of any fees or expenses and may not be eligible to transfer scholarship funds to another course. 

Expectations of Participant Behavior and Conduct:

The following may result in being dismissed from the program:

What are the consequences if I do not meet the expectations of the program?

Academic Honesty

Participants are responsible for understanding what style of assignment preparation is acceptable to the instructor, and when and if collaboration is allowed. Participants are expected to act in an ethical and honorable manner at all times. All work turned in by a participant should be the result of his or her own efforts unless otherwise instructed. For essays and research assignments, participants must cite all sources for ideas that are not their own. For a guide to citing sources and avoiding plagiarism, see the NCSSM Writing Program webpage (

Damages and Charges

Each participant in NCSSM Summer Programs shall be responsible for any damage he or she may cause to property owned by the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics.  Should a participant cause any damage to school-owned property, NCSSM will charge the participant’s parent or guardian an amount to cover the costs of repair or replacement.

Non-discrimination policy

In administering its affairs, the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics is committed to equality of opportunity. It is the policy of the school to be fair and impartial in all its relations with its students, participants, employees and applicants for employment and to not discriminate against any person on the basis of race, color, creed, national origin, gender identification, sexual orientation, religion, disability, age or honorable service in the armed services of the United States.