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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:

  • Public Health
  • 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.
  • Two on-campus, one-week courses for residential or day options
  • Two virtual, two-week course options

Explore Our Courses

Tulane's Young Public Scholars Program offers two, one-week on campus course options that can be taken during a residential session or (for students within commuting distance) as a day session course. Students can also choose from two, virtual two-week course options. Students may take more than one course.

Amy Kirk Duvoisin

Influencing for Social Justice

Offered: June 21-24
On-Campus Only

We live in a society where truth—personal, political, socio-cultural, and historical—seems subject to constant scrutiny and critique. What is real, and how can we “be real” on our social media messaging and storytelling? How can we be authentic to ourselves and to social justice in a mediated world of Instagrams and TikToks? In this course, students will talk about social justice movements through a performance studies lens. We will ask: How do people embody their values and fight for change on platforms that seem designed for “fake news” and illusory personal branding? Then, we will work to create our own social media campaigns to become social justice influencers ourselves. There is no need to toss aside the image you have been creating over the years; how can we use your true voice to combine your messages, thoughts, feelings, passions, and social justice struggles, ideals, and dreams for truly change-making posts? Find your voice and change the world—one post at a time.

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 is on the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival and The Joan of Arc Project, of which she is the founder and president. She holds a Masters in English (Playwrighting) from San Francisco State and has participated in the Idea Institute’s Pre-Accelerator Program and is currently in Leadership Jefferson. 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.


Kathryn A. O'Dwyer

Pandemics Past and Present

Offered: July 5-15
Online Only

The bubonic plague, yellow fever, influenza, AIDS, SARS… the coronavirus is not the first contagion to destabilize entire societies. From the 14th century to the present day, students will be able to contextualize the current crisis. Digging into archival materials will reveal how systemic inequities make some communities more vulnerable to disease and economic hardships. Students will contribute to the national research archive A Journal of the Plague Year and publish an opinion piece on ViaNolaVie.

Instructor Kathryn A. O’Dwyer is a trained public historian who uses digital technologies to empower people to create, document, and analyze their own historical narratives. She has worked closely with museums in New York, New Orleans, and Amsterdam, and currently serves as managing editor of New Orleans Historical, a site dedicated to authentic historical walking tours of New Orleans. 


Punishment and Redemption from the Prison Industrial Complex

Offered: July 18-29
Online Only

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 (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.


Chuck Perkins

The Politics of Naming

Offered: June 27 - July 1
On-Campus Only

What’s in a name? That question has resounded nationally as citizens are re-examining those memorialized in through the names of streets, mascots, schools, and monuments. This seminar focuses on the historical lenses through which we see those representations and the contemporary protests for changing them. Learning the basics of spoken word and poetry, students learn how to raise their voices to analyze, interpret, respond to a vibrant discussion in the public sphere. Student’s spoken-poems will be shared on ViaNolaVie.

Instructor Chuck Perkins is an internationally recognized artist and activist. He is known for infusing New Orleans rhythms and vernaculars into his musical spoken-word pieces. With performances spanning France, the UK, and the Netherlands, he founded a theater to promote visual and performing arts. He has recently hosted his own talk-radio program on current affairs and is currently writing a book about naming and social justice.