London Summer Scholars Program

Immersive learning through travel: A summer program for high school students

Explore London!


Art, Science, Architecture, Theater Arts, Literature, History

This will be the fourth annual Summer Scholars Program to London!  Using London as our base and laboratory for learning, we will explore the grandeur, sophistication and complexity of this beautiful world class city.


Program Dates - 2021

We plan to announce our summer 2021 program dates in August, 2020.


Amazing Educators and Innovative Programming

This faculty-led, one-week immersive experience allows high school students to engage their interests and expand their understanding in a fun and creative way.  Enrollment is open to high school students from current freshmen to current seniors.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Info

Due to health concerns and travel restrictions for the coronavirus  (COVID-19) we unfortunately will be postponing our summer 2020 program until summer 2021.  Please continue to check back for new program details.

A Summer Experience in London for High School Students

Open Enrollment

The program is open to any student from any school.  To date, students from ten different high schools have participated.  This is a rare opportunity for friends from different schools to experience student travel together.

Dynamic Faculty Leadership

Our faculty team members hail from different schools, have specific expertise in their curricular fields, years of classroom and real world experience, and a true love of learning.  All have extensive experience with student travel.

Session Based

Each student participant will have the opportunity to select from a variety of sessions each day, making the experience entirely customizable.  

Program Status and Enrollment

We really are looking forward to returning to London as soon as it's safe to do so.  We really want you to participate as well!  To that end, any students who enrolled in the 2020 program are welcome to join us in future programs, even if you are enrolled in college.

Session Information

Drama and Language Arts

History and Social Studies

Drama and Language Arts


From behind the scenes at a West End theatre, to exploring themes and places in literature, the language-based sessions offer students unique opportunities to understand theme and place through our shared written and spoken language.

Fine Art and Humanities

History and Social Studies

Drama and Language Arts


Sessions ranging from art history to art making, including photo/video-themed sessions, provide students with opportunities to explore this rich city.  Sessions include trips to world-class museums, as well as exploration of public art, both mainstream and underground.

History and Social Studies

History and Social Studies

History and Social Studies


In these sessions, we will explore themes ranging from the Roman origins of London, Medieval England, the banking system and finance, parliamentary government, the monarchy, universal suffrage, and Britain during the World Wars.  

Science and Engineering

London Evening Enrichment

History and Social Studies


Science themes include sessions based on both basic sciences (physics, chemistry, biology and earth sciences) and applied sciences, engineering and architecture.  Field trips to major London museums and off the beaten path science locales will be explored.

Cultural Core Sessions

London Evening Enrichment

London Evening Enrichment


These  field sessions combine all students and faculty in visits to major cultural institutions in and out of London in order to better understand cultural and historical context.  These may also include cultural exchanges with UK students.

London Evening Enrichment

London Evening Enrichment

London Evening Enrichment


Evening enrichment events each night  include frequent West End theatre excursions, cultural walks, and exploration of diverse cuisine and neighborhoods.

Download the Sample Program Brochures and Applications Here

Scholars 2020 Brochure (pdf)


Scholars 2020 application (pdf)


Past and Present Faculty Team Members

Faculty Profiles

Ashley Alcorn is an Art History, Creative Writing, and British literature teacher with over a decade of teaching experience in the classroom, at the museum, and on the stage.  After receiving her undergraduate degree in Art History and English from the University of Chicago, she obtained a Master's degree from Harvard in Arts Education, while working as a docent and teaching artist in performative poetry.  When she entered the classroom, she obtained a further Master's degree in Literature from DePaul, focusing her studies on British Literature.  Clearly, she is passionate about integrating the visual, literary,  musical, and dramatic arts together.  Ashley was fortunate enough to learn more about creative arts integration during her time working with Project Zero at Harvard University and dive deeply into the literature of the United Kingdom while studying at Oxford University.  Currently, she teaches at Benet Academy and works within the Drama department, the literary magazine, a Shakespeare performance group, with the Senior retreat program, and with an all-female student band and feminist group called Estro.  She has previously led service, retreat, and academic trips with students to Guatemala, Israel, Italy, and southwestern Virginia.  Ashley is an avid traveler, with a goal of reaching 60 countries in the next five years, but her favourite location is London!  Her biggest passion as an educator is experiential learning--whether it is standing in front of an art piece in a museum with her Advanced Humanities students, conversing with host families when living in Antigua, sitting in small groups on Benet's Logos retreat, or learning how to pray at the Western Wall in Jerusalem.   She looks forward to sharing her love of London's incredible museum scene, vibrant food culture, literary and dramatic history, and stunning scenery with students.  

Colleen Aufderheide is a studio artist and art educator with over 25 years of teaching experience.  As a working artist, Colleen most enjoys nurturing creative thinking and a love of the artistic process with students through art making and art history. Currently, she serves as the Interim Visual Arts Chair at Loyola Academy in Wilmette, Illinois where she has taught introductory through advanced classes including Advanced Placement Studio Art and Advanced Placement Art History. This year she is leading and instructing a new service learning art course in which students examine and respond to social justice issues through contemporary art and art making. Colleen earned a BFA from Miami University, Ohio and a MA in Education from North Park University in Chicago. Colleen exhibits her own artwork in the Chicago area and volunteers with the Illinois High School Art Exhibition (IHSAE) to provide exhibition opportunities for the state’s youth.  Ms. Aufderheide  is a veteran of the 2018 and 2019 Summer Scholars UK programs.

Diane Haleas is an award-winning educator with over 20 years teaching experience at Saint Ignatius College Prep in Chicago. She graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a BA in Government and International Relations and earned a Master’s Degree in Education and Social Policy from Northwestern University. She has been the director of the internationally-recognized Saint Ignatius Model United Nations (SIMUN) program for 17 years. Ms. Haleas is renowned for her interactive approach to teaching and learning. She was voted “Teacher of the Year” at Saint Ignatius by the student body. She received Outstanding Educator Awards from the University of Chicago and Stanford University. She has been recognized for her excellence in teaching as a Golden Apple Finalist and as the recipient of the Singer Family Prize for Excellence in Secondary School Teaching from the University of Rochester. Her Advanced Placement Comparative Government and Politics program was recognized by the College Board as the premier program in the country. Ms. Haleas  is a veteran of the 2017 Summer Scholars UK program.

Sarah Johnson is an English teacher at Riverside-Brookfield High School, a position she has held since 2007. Ms. Johnson graduated from the University of Tennessee with a Bachelor’s Degree in English Language and Literature, followed by Master's Degrees in Literacy and Language from the University of Illinois at Chicago (2003), and Educational Leadership and Administration from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2011). Prior to teaching at Riverside-Brookfield High School, Ms. Johnson taught English at Hinsdale Central High School from 1998-2007. Ms. Johnson is a veteran of the 2018 Summer Scholars UK program.

Mary Kettering teaches Social Studies at the Chicago Academy for the Arts.  She attended the University of Montana - Missoula, majoring in political science and history, while earning her secondary teaching certificate. Ms. Kettering ran track for the Grizzlies. In 2011, she had her first teaching experience abroad, teaching for the summer, through Tsinghua University in Beijing, China. After earning her Bachelor of Arts degree she moved to teach in Tbilisi, the capitol city of the Republic of Georgia. Ms. Kettering then moved to England to teach Humanities, so she is very excited for the London experience! While in England she took students on several trips to the continent to study the battlefields of The Great War and World War II. After completing her time in England she moved home to Chicago teaching at Taft High School. In 2016,  she moved to Dublin to attend Trinity College, where she earned her masters in women and gender studies. While in Dublin she lived and worked at Rathdown Junior School for Girls, a private boarding school, taking the girls on various trips throughout Ireland. In addition to teaching Ms. Kettering is the adviser for the Youth and Government program at the Chicago Academy for the Arts, and has coached six seasons of track. She accompanied Mr. Pipal to the Czech Republic and Germany in the summer of 2018 with Saint Ignatius College Prep High School.  Ms. Kettering is a veteran of the 2019 Summer Scholars UK program.

Maureen Lonergan is an educator in the Science Department at Saint Ignatius College Prep in Chicago where she teaches Physics, Chemistry, and Advanced Placement Biology. She graduated from Boston College in 2008 with a Bachelors of Science in Biology and minor in Irish Studies. Maureen stayed at Boston College to earn a Masters in Secondary Education in 2009. Upon graduation, she was hired by Saint Ignatius, her alma mater, and has enjoyed seven years of being a teacher, retreat director, student council moderator, service trip chaperone, and international trip chaperone to France, Italy, and Peru. Maureen values life-long learning and is currently working on a Masters of Arts in Educational Leadership at the University of Notre Dame. She enjoys traveling, serving on the Young Professionals Council at Misericordia, and cheering for Boston College- Go Eagles!  Ms. Lonergan is a veteran of the 2017 Summer Scholars UK program.

Charles Pipal is a practicing architect, lecturer, architectural historian and award winning professor in Historic Preservation at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he has taught since 1999. He holds a Bachelors degree in Landscape Architecture and a Masters degree in Architecture, both from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, with a concentration in Historic Preservation. He is a past board member of Landmarks Illinois, the state’s premier preservation advocacy group. His professional projects include the Chicago Historic Resources Survey and the Walt Disney Birthplace.  Prof. Pipal’s particular professional and academic focus has been on the documentation and rehabilitation of historic buildings and the interpretation of historic sites. In additional to his teaching and architectural practice, he is also co-owner of Blueprint Tours, a destination management company specifically focused on academic and curricular-based learning through travel.   Mr. Pipal serves as Program Director of the Summer Scholars UK program and has participated since its inception.

Lori Rogalski is an award winning educator with more than 20 years of teaching experience.  In addition to her passion for English Literature, Mrs. Rogalski is the English Department Chair at Benet Academy and a recipient of the “Outstanding Educator Award” from the University of Chicago. Prior to Benet, Mrs. Rogalski taught at Archbishop Hoban High School in Akron, Ohio, where she was selected as the “Outstanding Female Teacher” two consecutive years. In 2017, Mrs. Rogalski attended the AP Oxford Academy in England, after being selected as the recipient of Benet’s Career Teacher Grant. At Benet, Mrs. Rogalski teaches Advanced Placement English, College Preparatory Literature, junior English (“Brit Lit”), and Advanced Composition. Moderating Benet’s literary/creative writing club and producing the school’s literary magazine, “The Muse,” is also Mrs. Rogalski’s specialty. An enthusiastic teacher and scholar, Lori is eager to share her passion and knowledge of the plays and sonnets of William Shakespeare, the memorable Canterbury pilgrims of Geoffrey Chaucer, the powerful reflections of John Milton, the stories of James Joyce, the contemporary poetry of Seamus Heaney, and the beautiful works of the British Romantics Byron, Shelley, Keats and Wordsworth. Making connections between the modern lives of teens and the timeless, universal themes of classic works of literature is her goal. Mrs. Rogalski holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Indiana University and an M.A.T. from Kent State University.  Ms. Rogalski is a veteran of the 2017 and 2019 Scholars UK program.

Matt Wash is a physics teacher at Benet Academy in Lisle, Illinois.  A Benet graduate, he attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, majoring in Engineering Physics along with a minor in German language. As a part of his minor, he spent five weeks in the summer of 2009 in a study-abroad program in Darmstadt, Germany. He graduated from Illinois in 2010 with a Bachelor of Science degree, and received his educator's credentials concurrently with a Masters degree in Secondary Science Education in 2012. After teaching for one year at Lincoln Park High School in Chicago, he made the move to his alma mater, where he coaches the school's Science Olympiad team, and has chaperoned multiple student service trips to southwestern Virginia. He is fascinated by the role science has played throughout history, which he finds extremely important to incorporate into his teaching of science. His favorite scientists are Sir Isaac Newton, Nikola Tesla, and Albert Einstein. In his free time, he enjoys (very) amateur astronomy, recreational math (yes, that's a real thing!), playing guitar, watching the White Sox, doing crossword puzzles, and is an avid reader of both fiction and nonfiction. He is well-versed in both the metric and Imperial systems of measure. Mr. Wash is a veteran of the 2018  and 2019 Scholars UK program.

Suzanne Zimmerman is a studio artist, potter, illustrator, and educator. She has worked with young artists at Riverside-Brookfield High School, and several other area high schools, for over a decade and loves it a little more each year. She earned her Bachelor of Fine Art from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana in Art Education and studied abroad in Florence, Italy, to learn from local designers and historians amidst the cultural mecca of the west. That experience has forever sparked her interest in travel and exploring different cultures. After several years of teaching art and starting a girls varsity soccer program at Elmwood Park High School, she went on to complete her Masters of Fine Art in Interdisciplinary Arts & Media from Columbia College Chicago and is now pursuing her National Board Teaching Certification. Aside from working as a potter at a local studio, a lifelong friendship with an author has led to her most recent adventures illustrating a children’s book carried by Amazon, titled Make Way for Mitchell, A Kindergarten Story. Through this eclectic journey, Suzanne fully embraces the ever evolving digital era while continuing to champion traditional studio processes and art history in her practice and instruction. She currently teaches ceramics and sculpture, drawing and painting, digital art, and Advanced Placement Studio Art. She also has two tiny daughters who love to be outside hiking, biking, camping, boating, and playing with their dad and dog, Griffin. Suzanne adores working with high school students and lives to try new things right alongside them as a joint learning experience, adding a touch of humble expertise along the way. Ms. Zimmerman is a veteran of the 2017 Summer Scholars UK program.



1.  Who is eligible to participate?

  • Any high school student, from current freshman to graduated senior, is eligible. The program fee is calculated from Chicago, but other places of departure are possible and have been accommodated in the past.  Please contact us for further details.

2.  Why is the program so unique?

  • Unlike other travel programs, students have the ability to select from a wide variety of sessions, making the experience entirely customizable.  Students can essentially design their own week based on their interests. 

3.  What if I am the only person from my high school?

  • No problem!  Frequently, we have had students who knew no one before  the trip and made life long friends.

4.  I've participated before.  Can I go again?

  • Yes!  Students have participated  more than once!  Since the week is entirely custom to your selections, you have the ability to make a unique experience each time you participate.  The faculty team also go to great lengths to include new  sessions each year.

5.  Is there homework, testing or assignments?

  •  No, the program is immersive in nature and students learn by experiencing and participating.

6.  How much does the program cost and what is included?

  • The full program cost is anticipated to be just below $3000 and includes round trip air transportation from Chicago to London, all taxes, all gratuities, central area hotel accommodations based on twin occupancy (rooms are currently one double bed with one pull out or university en-suite lodging), all ground transportation, all breakfasts, tickets to three theater performances, all program fees  and admissions, and farewell group dinner.  Students who wish to participate from a departure city other than Chicago are most welcome. A custom price will be calculated from your departure city. Students who wish to utilize air miles for the flight portion are also welcome.  A "land-only" price for the weeklong program will be provided on request.

7. What if my family would like to come over and meet me at the end of the session.  Is this possible?

  • Yes, this is common.  There are several options available to discuss if you want to extend your stay.  Please contact us for further information.

8. What schools have participated in the past?

  • We have been fortunate to have had participants from a number of schools.  They include Benet Academy (Lisle, IL), Deerfield High School (Deerfield, IL), DePaul College Prep (Chicago, IL), Fenwick High School (Oak Park, IL), Loyola Academy (Wilmette, IL), Neuqua Valley High School (Naperville, IL), New Canaan High School (New Canaan, CT), New Trier High School (Wilmette, IL), Riverside-Brookfield High School (Riverside, IL), Saint  Ignatius College Prep (Chicago, IL), St. Laurence High School (Burbank, IL), St. Michael's High School, (Santa Fe, NM).  Any student from any school is most welcome!

9. Is there any financial assistance available?

  • There may be the possibility of grant assistance, based on your school.  In the past, some schools offer partial assistance for applicants, through grants or outside funders.  Please contact us for further information and we will direct you someone who might help.

Potential Funding Opportunities

Potential Funding Sources

We fully understand that this program, although very reasonably priced, still might not be attainable to those who wish to attend and yet have financial challenges.  Unfortunately, we are unable to offer direct financial assistance, but periodically parents, educators, friends and students share information with us about potential funding sources.  Most of these funds are specific to students from certain schools, interests or geographic areas.  Please contact us if you are interested in additional information.


Contact Us

For more information, please fill out this contact form:

Blueprint Tours, Inc.

39 East Quincy St., Unit 2A, Riverside, Illinois 60546

(708) 442-9914


Typical Hours Monday - Friday: 9am - 4 pm

Saturday and Sunday: Closed

Video Gallery

Have a look at this great video projects done by Brenden (2019) and Mason (2018)!