Online Expert-Led Minicourses

Students can earn class credit through a personalized and accelerated minicourse taught by a subject
expert. Each course is ten sessions of live, one-to-one, virtual instruction.

Writing the Next Great American Novel

This expert minicourse takes students on the exciting journey of novel-writing. Here, students will learn to get started, hone their craft, and understand the self-publishing process. The major focus of the course will be story development, character arcs, and, most importantly, keeping your readers engaged! Let’s take our journey together!


Tierney Cashman has a passion, more like an obsession, with literature and the writing process. She has had numerous articles published on various topics including parenting, mental health, and humor. She is currently working on completing and publishing her novel entitled The Keeper. She has received her B.A. in English Literature from Virginia Tech and is in the process of receiving her Master’s in Counseling from Our Lady of the Lake University. When she’s not juggling her two perfectly wild children, teaching, studying, and writing, she reads. And reads. And reads. She cannot wait to work on the novel-writing process with your family!

Backstage: Auditioning & Self Tapes for Theatre and Film

This course will focus on how to master your acting audition. Students will begin with theatre, then move to film, and we will break down the components of an audition, practice, and perfect. Our course will integrate a “self-tape” audition and real-world application by providing students an opportunity to submit their audition tape to an actual ongoing project.


FaithAnn Jones (AEA) holds a BFA in Theatre Directing from Abilene Christian University. She has completed directing internships with The Julliard School of Drama, and The Redbull Theater Company. She continued working with the Redbull Theater Company helping to facilitate their Master Classes with numerous theatre industry professionals. Many of these Master Classes focused on auditioning for Shakespeare. She has worked in NYC as an actor for theatre and film, as well as an assistant director for multiple Off-Broadway productions. In her spare time, she enjoys collaborating and coaching fellow artists with their self-tape audition submissions.

Improv Theatre: Writing & Performing Comedy

Students will learn the fundamentals of comedic writing and performance by creating pieces that are fit for the stage, screen, and publication! Like sketches on SNL or articles from The Onion, students will learn what makes writing funny and how to use humor to enhance their writing. Students will learn a variety of structures and formats as they analyze and compose pieces, and they will practice theatrical skills to hone their success and confidence as they prepare for performance.


Eli Sloan has over a decade of experience improvising, writing, and performing comedy. He’s a former ensemble member with improv theaters in Washington, D.C., and has coached teams of diverse skill levels. He’s studied at iO and the Second City, and is currently a staff writer for an online humor publication. He teaches acting and creative writing at Fusion Evanston, as well as science, and believes that comedy is the perfect blend of the analytical and the creative.

Political Science: Uncovering the Relationship Between the Media and Politics

The Media and Politics minicourse seeks to explore and raise awareness about the bias and ideology present in media. Without endorsing any political viewpoints, our course will survey the current state of affairs and examine ideas of “fake news” as well as the history of telecommunications and the media. We’ll also delve into the ways that history and current events are shaped by government language, political organizations, and representatives of media.


Brian Houghton was an English major at NYU and LIU. He benefitted greatly from the mentorship of several prominent figures in the world of literature and journalism, especially Jules Feiffer, the Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist and Peter Mattheissen, the co-founder of the Paris Review and the only writer to win the National Book Award for fiction and non-fiction. He worked as a social worker serving the street homeless population in New York City for seven years before making the transition to teaching and it was through both careers that the power of language emerged as the thread that defined his understanding of the world. It is this passion for uncovering the way all forms of media and government communication seek to shape a narrative that he tries to impart to his students when they are searching for the proper lens to understand history and the world around us.

Brand Creative: How to Market Yourself as an Artist

Do you like making music but don’t know what to do with all of your songs? After your song debut – how do you keep your fans and followers engaged? In the digital age, your music is just the first step in gaining a loyal fan base. This course teaches how to build an authentic brand and market yourself as an artist.


Matt Rivera is the Electives Department Head at the Fusion Academy – Los Angeles campus. Over the course of his time at Fusion, Matt has focused on the creation and organization of many programs like Fusion’s Open Mic Nights & Arts & Music Festival. He also led the charge in launching the Digital Media Initiative, a program designed for students and teachers to create and host podcasts and web series as a way to expand learning and discussions from outside of the classroom into the digital landscape. In addition to his work at Fusion, Matt is still heavily involved in the music industry. Matt has collaborated and performed with artists all over the world and currently works as a performer, writer, producer, and consultant for artists and brands.

Podcast Studio: Tune in and Become a Podcaster

In this course, we will examine the art of storytelling through audio. You will learn how to be an effective interviewer and analyze a diverse selection of podcasts ranging from non-fiction narrative storytelling, hybrids, interview/panel discussion, and some fiction. Our final project will be producing your own podcast.


Elizabeth Boyarsky started her journalism career interning at Youth Radio in Oakland, CA in high school. In college, she majored in journalism and her first reporting gig was working for the Jackson Hole News and Guide in Jackson Hole, WY. She has written for a newswire in the Bay Area, a local broadcast news-station, and has contributed to popular food and news websites. She loves the art of storytelling, particularly through podcasts. One of her favorite ways to unwind after a long day of teaching is to listen to a podcast while doing the dishes at home.

Forensic Science: Deconstructing the CSI Effect

In this course, students will investigate the differences between real forensic science and how forensic science is portrayed in the media. Students will learn about forensic techniques in the following areas: fingerprinting, photography, crime scene processing, impression evidence, and forensic anthropology. After learning the techniques, students will be exposed to different scenes from shows and films allowing them to discuss the accuracy of the techniques presented in the media. ​


Vanessa Vargas is a Math, Science, and Spanish Teacher/Mentor at Fusion Academy. She has a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from USD and a master’s degree in Forensic Science with a concentration in Forensic Chemistry from GWU. In regards to Forensics, she has experience in CSI, drug chemistry, fingerprinting, fire debris, toxicology, trace evidence (glass, hair, soil), and many more topics.

Health & Wellness

Our Health & Wellness minicourse is intended to equip students with the knowledge needed to
establish patterns of behavior that will prepare them for living a healthy lifestyle. Using four key
disciplines; Emotional Wellness, Physical Wellness, Art Expression, and Music Expression, Fusion students will develop a sense of well-being and will be capable of making healthier choices.


Tarren Everette is passionate about providing an equitable education to all students. She believes it is her purpose to do the important work of closing the achievement gap and assisting those in need. Upon graduating from the University of Michigan with her B.A. in Child Psychology in 2010, Tarren landed a teaching fellowship in Houston, TX. In 2017, she received her Masters in Administration and Supervision. Tarren has recently been drawn back to the classroom and is now at Fusion Academy!

Outside of education, Tarren is very passionate about health and wellness. She is a certified doula, practitioner of yoga and meditation, and is going on her fifth year as a vegan. Tarren enjoys reading, dancing, writing, and practicing her violin. Tarren plays a lead role as a member of the Culturally Yours dance team and was recently certified in reiki and crystal therapy.  She believes that art, music, dance, and self-care are essential to maintaining our emotional, physical, and mental health.


Start your musical journey from anywhere and learn how to write, record, and edit songs as we master production and explore songwriting. Students will begin to produce their own compositions and will explore several genres as they work with our expert teachers who have extensive experience as musicians and recording engineers. GRAMMYs here we come.


Kurt Loeffler is a professional musician and educator who regularly works in the Chicago area.  He has extensive training in Classical (B.M., University of Michigan) and Jazz (M.M., University of Illinois) music. Additionally, he completed specialized studies from the Berklee School of Music (Master’s Certification in the Recording Arts, Music Composition and Arranging) with an emphasis on popular music.  He has taught composition and songwriting at Ravinia’s “el Sistema” Reach, Teach and Play music education program and regularly teaches privately in his own music studio in addition to his work at Fusion.

Studio Art: Developing Your Own Portfolio

Our Studio Art minicourse is designed to develop artistic expression. Students will explore chosen subjects in various styles and mediums as they bring their art visions to life. Find your inspiration as an emerging artist or simply use your creativity and have fun!


Giselle Mcmenamin offers a warm and inviting space for students to immerse themselves in the creative process. She has been an art educator for over 15 yrs in addition to being a professional live event painter. She encourages her students to focus their artistic endeavors on a favorite subject or theme in order to be motivated and inspired to create! Whether it’s Marvel comic books, nature scenes, fantasy or Anime, the subject matter is the student’s choice. Producing art that comes from personal inspiration promotes self- awareness and confidence. All skill levels welcome!

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