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Young Public Scholars

Tulane University's high school pre-college summer programs encourage the educational goals and career interests of today's academically talented youth. Designed specifically for the young social justice advocate, our Young Public Scholars Program allows students to expand on their knowledge, focus their vision, and contribute to real-world change.

Your Voice Will Be Heard!

Tulane’s School of Liberal Arts Young Public Scholars Program is a selective pre-college program centered around students’ knowledge of complex global problems and their ability to effect change. The program offers students entering their sophomore, junior, or senior year of high school the opportunity to preview the virtual college classroom while diving deep into pressing issues of our time, their historical roots, and the most current frameworks for researching them. All Young Public Scholars courses are enrichment courses, meaning students do not get college credit for completing the course.

Students will be inspired to create a public impact on the topic(s) they discuss in the program, which include:

  • Climate Change
  • Social Inequalities
  • Inclusive Diversity
  • Restorative Justice

Working with a professor and their peers, each student is challenged to hone their unique voice based on evidence obtained from their research and analysis. Students will receive a media tool kit to enable students to communicate learning creatively and effectively through writing, photography, video, and audio clips. Each student will strive to reach over 3,000 weekly readers through publication in ViaNolaVie.org, New Orleans’ online culture magazine founded by local professional journalists. At the end of the experience, each student will have a digital portfolio to include in their résumés.

Program Highlights

  • All Young Public Scholars courses work together to deepen students’ understanding of complex global problems.
  • Instructors are all experts with professional media-making experience.
  • Four on-campus, one-week courses with residential or commuter options.

Explore Our Courses

Tulane's Young Public Scholars Program offers four, one-week courses that can be taken during a residential session or as a commuter session course on campus. Students may take more than one course.

William Saas

Green WAVs: Climate Justice & Sonic Advocacy

Offered: July 3-7

New Orleans is a world-historical city on the frontlines of the global battle against climate change. In this course, students will explore the ways that sound and sonic cultures—e.g., music, radio, and podcasting—have amplified the voices of Gulf South residents as they fight climate change and struggle for climate justice. We will heed these voices by listening to podcasts, meeting with guest speakers, and assessing how different forms of audio storytelling may help to advance the cause of climate justice.

Instructor Dr. William Saas teaches, researches, and produces digital media about political economic heterodoxy and movements for economic justice. He cohosts the podcast Money on the Left (presented in partnership with Monthly Review Online) and serves as cofounder of the Money on the Left Editorial Collective (moneyontheleft.org). His writing on the rhetoric of war and the rhetoric of economics has appeared in Advances in the History of Rhetoric, Dollars & Sense, Quarterly Journal of Speech, Rhetoric & Public Affairs, symplokê, and Western Journal of Communication. He is jointly appointed as a Professor of Practice in Communication and Digital Media Practices at Tulane University, where he teaches courses on podcast production, rhetoric and political economy, and cultural studies.


Betsy Weiss

Punishment and Redemption from the Prison Industrial Complex

Offered: July 10-14

Louisiana leads the world historically in incarceration rates and now in criminal justice reform. Learn about the broad social impacts of a justice system rooted in inequalities and the struggles to reverse them. Students meet with formerly incarcerated activists while studying the structures for incarceration through film, video, and reportage and learn interview techniques in producing a profile for ViaNolaVie.

Instructor Betsy Weiss, LCSW (M.F.A., San Francisco State University; M.S.W. Hunter College) trained as an experimental filmmaker and a social worker before blending these in a social justice documentary. Using collaborative oral histories as her method, she has worked with activists and artists to create social change through media.


Amy Kirk Duvoisin

Social Media as Socially Conscious Storytelling

Offered: July 17-21

Everyone seems to be expressing themselves online, telling their story, and trying to explain their point of view. But rarely is someone’s authentic voice able to come through. We are in a hurry and unconsciously editing ourselves as we post a comment or create a post. There is little time to think through how we know what we know, why we feel what we feel, and to express our true selves. How can we tell our stories and our truths and show our unique perspective in new and interesting ways? What social issues matter to you, and why and how do they personally affect you? What is it about certain political topics that relate to your personal experience, and how can you develop your authentic voice to create messages that are meaningful and surprising, creative, and simply true—your truth?

Instructor Amy Kirk Duvoisin moved to New Orleans in 2004 and has remained actively engaged in the arts, non-profits, and event planning ever since. She has worked as a marketing director and event coordinator for local publishing, retail, festivals, radio, and theater. She served on the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival for 10 years and is a current board member of Alliance Francaise New Orleans. She is the founder and president of The Joan of Arc Project, which annually produces the Joan of Arc parade. She holds a Masters in English (Playwrighting) from San Francisco State and in 2017 was named a Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters (Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres) by the French government for her cultural work in the arts in New Orleans. She has worked as a performance artist and playwright (San Francisco); taught writing, speech, and theater and been awarded grants for her playwrighting and social change projects (Providence, Rhode Island); and currently works as Director of Marketing and Community Relations for Jefferson Performing Arts Society. She previously served as the Director of Public Programs for Louisiana Children’s Museum and as the Marketing Development Coordinator for The French Market Corporation (City of New Orleans). Her work for political theater companies Bread and Puppet Theater (Vermont) and Underground Railway Theater (Boston) right after college laid the groundwork for her continued philosophies and projects of merging the personal and political through the arts and media.


Abdul Aziz

Picturing Social Justice in Housing

Offered: July 24-28

This class will examine the intersection of social justice, housing, and photojournalism. Students will study current housing issues in New Orleans, particularly in marginalized communities, and how photographers can use their craft to bring attention to these struggles and advocate for fair and adequate housing. The class will explore the role of social justice organizations in advocating for marginalized communities and their right to safe and affordable housing and how documenting these organizations can amplify their cause and raise awareness of the issue. Through the course, students will gain experience in the ethical and technical aspects of producing photojournalism that addresses issues of social justice and housing.

Instructor Abdul Aziz, a freelance New Orleans based photojournalist, brings a rich background of chronicling imagery of global communities, from the Middle East to Africa, Asia and the United States to his work. He has worked in documentary filmmaking worldwide for over a decade chronicling social issues related to race, exploitation of indigenous cultures, and unfair labor practices. He also produced the award winning documentary “Member of the Club”, a film about Black debutante society and culture in New Orleans. He was named the 2021 Documentary Photographer of the Year by the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities.