Young Public Scholars

Tulane University's School of Liberal Arts Young Public Scholars (YPS) Program is a pre-college summer program that encourages the educational goals and career interests of today's academically talented high schoolers. Designed specifically for the emerging social justice advocate, YPS allows students to expand their knowledge, focus their vision, and contribute to real-world change.

Your Voice Will Be Heard!

YPS is a selective program centered upon 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. They will have the opportunity to dive into pressing issues of our time, their historical roots, and the most current frameworks for research. All YPS courses are enrichment, meaning students do not get college credit for completion.

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 alongside a professor and classroom of peers, each student is challenged to hone their unique voice from evidence obtained in their research and analysis. Students will receive a media toolkit to help them communicate creatively and effectively through writing, photography, video, and audio clips. Each student will strive to reach over 3,000 weekly readers through publication in, 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 resume.

Program Highlights

  • • All YPS courses work to deepen students' understanding of complex global problems.
  • • Instructors are all experts with professional media-making experience.
  • • YPS offers four on-campus, one-week courses with residential or commuter options.

Explore Our Courses

Each of the four, one-week courses 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—(music, radio, and podcasting)—have amplified the voices of Gulf South residents as they fight climate change. 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 co-hosts the podcast Money on the Left and serves as cofounder of the Money on the Left Editorial Collective ( His writing on the rhetoric of war and the 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 a Professor of Practice in Communication and Digital Media Practices at Tulane, 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 of incarceration through film, video, and reportage to learn interview techniques in producing a profile for ViaNolaVie.

Instructor Betsy Weiss, Visiting Assistant Professor in the Digital Media Practices Department, was trained as an experimental filmmaker and a social worker before blending these in a social justice documentary. She has directed and produced films that have screened at venues around the country, including the New Orleans International Film Festival, the Ann Arbor Film Festival, and more. By using collaborative oral histories as her method, she works 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 does someone’s authentic voice come through. We are in a hurry and unconsciously editing ourselves as we post a comment or story. 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 show our unique perspective in new and interesting ways? What social issues matter to you, and why and how are they personally important? 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 true—what is your truth?

Director Of Marketing and Community Relations at Jefferson Performing Arts Society, Amy Kirk Duvoisin is actively engaged in the arts, non-profits, and event planning sectors of New Orleans. She’s served on the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival for 10 years and is a board member of Alliance Francaise New Orleans. She holds a Masters in English from San Francisco State University and in 2017 was named a Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French government for her cultural work in the arts. She has worked as a performance artist and playwright; taught writing, speech, and theater; and been awarded grants for her playwriting and social change projects. Her work for political theater companies Bread and Puppet Theater and Underground Railway Theater laid the groundwork for her continued philosophies and projects merging the personal and political through 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. Students will explore the role of social justice organizations in advocating for marginalized communities, their right to safe and affordable housing, and how documenting these organizations can amplify their cause and raise awareness. Through the course, students will gain experience in the ethical and technical aspects of producing photojournalism that address issues of social justice and housing.

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 U.S. 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.