e-FOCUS Seminars


Our online e-FOCUS Seminars expose you to top former and current Northwestern faculty and instructors highlighting themes relevant today. These interactive courses are two weeks in length, highly engaging, and are structured just like an undergraduate seminar. Once you successfully complete your e-FOCUS seminar, you will receive an official Northwestern University transcript and certificate. Students earn a Satisfactory "S" grade by attending and participating in all classes, and completing all assignments. 

e-FOCUS courses include access to our "Wildcat Connect: Get Ready Series". This series adds an additional robust co-curricular component to your schedule outside of the classroom with recorded workshops that will prepare you for college and integrate you into the Wildcat community!

Please note: Students cannot be active in more than one program or take classes from a program other than that which they are enrolled in (e-FOCUS/IN FOCUS/Credit Online/Credit In Person).



e-FOCUS dates: July 22 - August 2

Northwestern's College Prep program is something that every high school student should take part in. The experience showed me what college has to offer and provided an amazing chance to meet new people and establish lifelong memories.”

Rapheal Mathis, former College Prep student


Read what some of last year's College Prep students thought about the online experience.

Rapheal Mathias, former College Prep student

How To Get Away With Lying: Understanding Deceptive Communication

Instructor: Brady Clark
Online Program Dates: July 22 – August 2, M–F
Time:10:00 AM –12:15 PM CST   

Course Description 

Ideal uses of language involve cooperation, honesty, and trust. Real-world communication isn't like this at all. We often use language to lie, mislead, insinuate, and manipulate. In this seminar, you will examine communication in our non-ideal world. Your focus will be several forms of deceptive communication (lying, misleading, and "B.S."ing) in a range of settings with a special focus on deception in political speech (both how to expose it and how to resist it). Among other case studies, we will examine the non-ideal language used by members of the George W. Bush administration to justify the 2003 invasion of Iraq and Donald Trump’s deceptive communication regarding the 2020 presidential election. Along the way, we will address the following questions: what is the survival value of deception and self-deception? What are the linguistic cues to deceptive communication? does lying necessarily involve an intention to deceive? How is perjury related to lying? Why is there so much manipulation in political speech? Has technology made that problem worse? If so, how? Together we will develop the tools and concepts you need to understand and challenge the varieties of deception that characterize human language interaction.

Academic Coursework  and Activities

By the end of this course, you will:

  • examine the different forms of deceptive linguistic devices used by members of the George W. Bush administration to justify the 2003 invasion of Iraq, before, during, and after the invasion.  Your research team will analyze multiple instances of verbal deception and present your findings to the other seminar participants on the final day of class.  
  • complete writing assignments, revision of several short papers, and in-class peer review of students’ writing.
  •  complete two brief writing assignments. The first will focus on lying and misleading, examining the linguistic difference between these two forms of verbal deception and determining if they are morally distinct. The second writing assignment will a report on the final project for the seminar.
  • identify the tools and concepts needed to understand and resist the varieties of deception that characterize human language interaction.
  • develop an understanding of several dimensions of linguistic meaning and acquired a working knowledge of several analytical tools used to investigate meaning in linguistic communication.
  • participate in class discussion of lying and the lying-misleading distinction. How is lying distinct from misleading? Should we worry about the distinction? Can we lie about something without asserting it?

“I really loved when my Professor posed questions, and we had discussions with other students. Talking with other informed peers was very interesting and helpful for my learning.” 2023 CPP Participant 

Instructor Biography

Brady Clark is a Weinberg College Adviser and Associate Professor of Instruction in the Department of Linguistics. He received a B.A. in linguistics from the University of Washington and a Ph.D. from the Department of Linguistics at Stanford University. Since joining the Northwestern University faculty in 2004, he has taught courses on syntax, meaning, historical linguistics, and the origin and evolution of language. His publications cover topics such as international meaning, the history of English syntax, the application of game theory to problems in several areas of linguistics, and theories of language evolution. Currently his primary areas of teaching and research interest are semantics and pragmatics.  

So You Want To Make a Difference? Politics, Conflict and Action

Instructor: Arda Gucler 
Online Program Dates: July 22 - August 2, M–F  
Time: 10:00 AM -12:15 PM CST 

Course Description   

How did Martin Luther King Jr. move the people with a single sentence, “I have a dream!” What was so special about his promise? How did it give a sense of purpose to the American nation? In what ways are politicians still practicing this? Politics may seem like an intimidating topic of discussion in or out of the classroom, but it does not have to be that way. Politics is about big ideas that speak to our minds and emotions. Political speeches and action bring hope to communities and allow people to express their ideals to achieve a better world.    

This class mixes ideas with action. It first introduces you to key political concepts and arguments such as wealth redistribution, gender equality, national pride, and free speech. It then invites you to act on these ideas as future policymakers, activists or responsible citizens. The final debate, for instance, encourages you to pick an ideology and defend it against other competing ideologies in politics. By taking this class, you will become someone who can talk about politics knowledgeably and who can act on this knowledge to make a real difference in the world.  

Academic Coursework and Activities

By the end of this course, you will:

  • read short academic pieces and formulate your own questions and arguments such as Adam Smith’s ‘The Wealth of Nations’, Karl Marx’s ‘Communist Manifesto’ and Abraham Lincoln’s ‘The Gettysburg Address’.
  •  attend lectures and participate in discussions on the topic for the day. 
  • discuss class material with others on the discussion board. 
  • write a final essay, compare and contrast two ideologies, and explain why you find one more convincing than the other.
  • learn how to express yourself in writing by working on short academic pieces such as one-minute papers and peer reviews. 
  • interpret influential texts and lectures to formulate your own political point of view.  
  • defend your viewpoint in class via different activities such as in-class debate and online discussions.
  • relate the class content to actual events and problems in contemporary politics.

Not only did I enjoy a fascinating class on a topic I would not normally study, but I have also met a group of people so unique in background and life story, which has truly changed my perspective on the world, and given me renewed sense of empathy and compassion.” 2023 CPP Participant  

Instructor Biography  

Arda Gucler received his PhD degree in international relations and political theory from the Department of Political Science at Northwestern University and is currently teaching in the Department of Social Research and Public Policy at NYU Abu Dhabi. His research interests are at the intersection of international relations, politics of representation, and global health. He has been teaching at the MSGH Program at Northwestern since its inception on global health policy, sustainability, and healthcare systems. In 2016, he was the recipient of the graduate faculty Distinguished Teaching Excellence Award that is granted by the School of Professional Studies at Northwestern University. He also participated in a yearlong Teaching Certificate Program in Searle Center for Advanced Learning and Teaching at Northwestern University.   


So You Want To Be An Influencer? Technology for Content Creators

Instructor: Victoria C. Chávez
Online Program Dates: July 22 – August 2, M–F 
Time: 10:00 AM – 12:15 PM CST 

Course Description  

How can you produce influencer-like high quality content for TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube? What tools are available and how do you get started? How do you use the ‘the algorithm’ work for you to promote your content? In this course, we’ll explore these questions and more as we learn about computing as a creative activity. You will learn how technology can support content creation and create projects such as: digital images, videos, data visualizations and infographics, and web pages.  We’ll also discuss computing concepts related to algorithm recommendations, search engine optimization (SEO), and social impact. We will explore the differences between copyright, public domain, and fair use, and explore best practices for each pertaining to your personal content.

This class is activity-based, and you will be learning by doing. Each day we will focus on a new topic, and you’ll have the opportunity to create and showcase a ‘final project’ of your own choosing, separate from the activities we’ll be doing together.

Academic Coursework and Activities

By the end of this course, you will:

  • use online video and photo editing tools.
  • create your own “link in bio” link list, landing page site, visualization from data, and a basic web site using a web builder.
  • create content using original as well as stock media (i.e., images, videos, songs).
  • generate charts and graphs to visualize data from spreadsheets.
  • differentiate between Copyright, Public Domain, and Fair Use.
  • describe how digital images can be created by generating pixel patterns, manipulating existing digital images, or combining images.

This course will include brief lectures and tutorials, followed by applied activities supported through additional resources (such as additional videos, tutorials, and documentation). Through this methodology, you will be learning by doing as well as developing skills to continue your learning after the course ends.

Instructor Biography 

Victoria (they/she/V) is a third year PhD student in the Joint PhD Program in Computer Science and Learning Sciences at Northwestern University. Their research interests include computing education, disability, accessibility, and social justice, particularly in college settings. Their recent work spans unpacking how students learn about accessibility and how computing education codifies ableism. V is of complicated and proud Guatemalan descent, was born and raised in the west side of Chicago, and currently resides in the Narragansett lands and waters known as Rhode Island.

Topics in Applied Advanced Calculus (CLOSED)

Instructor: Daniel Cuzzocreo
Online Program Dates: July 22- August 2, M–F 
Time: 10:00 AM – 12:15 PM CST

Course Description 

So you got through AP Calculus—what’s next? Calculus is sometimes spoken of as if it is a finish line—the culmination of all the mathematics you have worked so hard to master in school. In the greater mathematical world, however, calculus is just the beginning. In this course, we’ll build on what you’ve learned in the past and get a real taste of what lies in the immense mathematical realm beyond the high school calculus curriculum. We’ll discuss selected topics from advanced university-level math courses like multivariable calculus, differential equations, complex variables, dynamical systems, and more.

Along the way, we’ll also explore the age-old question: “So what is this stuff good for?” You will learn how to apply what you’ve learned in calculus to problems in physics, biology, economics, and much more, from plotting the motion of a mass on a spring, to deciding how to efficiently allocate company resources, to predicting the outcome of a zombie apocalypse.      

Academic Coursework and Activities

This course will include pre-readings and lectures on a variety of pure and applied advanced calculus topics. Each course meeting will also involve lively discussion among small groups of peers as well as among the entire class as we work together to solve challenging problems. You’ll also learn how to communicate mathematically by reading, understanding, writing, and critiquing solutions to exercises.

By the end of this course, you will:

  • understand how calculus concepts such as functions, limits, and derivatives can be extended to the multivariable setting.
  • learn a variety of techniques for solving and analyzing differential equations.
  • apply techniques of advanced calculus to problems in physics, biology, economics, and more.
  • write careful solutions to problems and give and receive peer feedback.
  • read, annotate, and discuss pre-reading assignments in online discussion forum.
  • work in small groups on daily problem sets.
  • carefully write up clear solutions to assigned problems.
  • give and receive peer feedback on homework solutions.

Note: The completion of AP calculus is required for this course.

Instructor Biography 

Prof. Daniel Cuzzocreo is an Assistant Teaching Professor at Georgetown University, and a former Lecturer in the Department of Mathematics at Northwestern. He earned a BA in Mathematics from Tufts University in 2009 and a PhD from Boston University in 2014. He has published several papers in the field of complex dynamical systems, he earned the Excellence in Teaching Award from the Northwestern Department of Mathematics. Prof. Cuzzocreo has been an e-FOCUS instructor since 2021, having taught The Mathematics of Chaotic Dynamical Systems, and How to Make Better Decisions with Math.

So You Want To Be A Business Executive: Jump Start Your Journey To Leadership

Instructor: Joseph Patton  
Online Program Dates: July 22 – August 2, M-F 
Time: 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM CST 

Course Description

This is not the ‘typical’ business course! It is about starting your journey down the path to becoming a great leader. Which can be applied to your career in the future, but more importantly will be incredibly powerful and useful to you immediately!

Hosting this course online is a huge advantage as this allows you to learn and engage with peers from regions around the world in an easily accessible way. You can build a great toolkit, while expanding your network globally!

In this highly interactive seminar, you will be coached through several tools, techniques and skills which have been integral in helping business executives bolster their success and MBA’s from around the world accelerate their career progression. This course will benefit students by enhancing their self-development and tactical leadership skills. The focus will span both (internal) self-development and (external) tactical skill development.

Self-Development: You will benefit from getting to know yourself more acutely, through a professional lens, and leverage this understanding to develop more intentionally moving forward. Self-development is a continuous process and the sooner you refine your individualized approach to it, the better positioned you will be.

Tactical Skill Development: You will strengthen several imperative business skills including interpersonal communication, project management, and effective team engagement. Additionally, you will gain a heightened understanding of how all these areas connect to your ability to effectively lead in the future!  

If you engage meaningfully, you will understand how to leverage these insights through the remainder of your academic journey and later into your career. The course will provide you with an incredible advantage regardless of chosen industry pursuit or specialty. If you are interested in becoming an inspiring leader and sharing your vision with others, this seminar is for you! Your journey to leadership starts now! 

Academic Coursework and Activities

By the end of this course, you will:

  • attend interactive lectures, engage in discussions focused on the assigned readings, and participate in guided individual and small group developmental exercises. 
  • complete homework assignments focused on solidifying your understanding of the daily subject matter and how to practically apply it.
  • complete a Capstone assignment which will drive you to focus on your individualized key takeaways from the subject matter, in addition to how you will apply them moving forward to succeed on your journey. 
  • receive coaching through live individual and group exercises during class to develop and test relevant skills. You will give and receive feedback as part of the process.
  • gain insight into several executive coaching topics, tools and techniques, in addition to understanding how to strategically apply them.
  • enhance your ability to self-assess and leverage introspection to further your professional pursuits. 
  • strengthen your interpersonal communication toolkit, including how to pitch and position yourself, in addition to persuading others.
  • develop your ability to participate in and lead effective teams and projects. 
  • develop your leadership capabilities and insights.

At the end of the course, you will have the opportunity to participate in a Capstone Project competition to win the “Leader of the Year” award with a prize of $100. If you choose to participate, you will develop a case study reflecting how to best apply the learning from the course to produce a meaningful and impactful outcome.

“I loved how the course forced me to analyze myself in a way that I'd never done before. I feel like I understand my motivations and goals so much better, and that can be such a powerful tool.” 2023 CPP Participant

Instructor Biography

Joseph Patton is an executive coach who left Wall Street to focus on the comprehensive professional and personal development of others. He helps executives, managers, and aspiring leaders identify their individual strengths and discover ways to help themselves grow and advance. His coaching clients span the globe, across a range of industries. He is also an established speaker and author, leveraging his insightful expertise in career advancement, personal engagement, sales, and diversity & inclusion to create and deliver impactful content to a variety of organizations.

In addition, Joseph is a highly rated lecturer for select Executive Education programs at Kellogg. He also currently serves as Sr. Associate Director of Career Advising & Education at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, where he helps MBA students identify their career goals and carve out a carefully crafted path to achieve those aspirations.

Previously, Patton was a Vice President at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in New York, where he provided strategic advice and guidance across multiple asset classes. He is also a former board member of the Evanston Community Development Corporation (ECDC). He received his MBA in Analytical Finance from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and his Bachelor of science in Finance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Please note: Students cannot be active in more than one program or take classes from a program other than that which they are enrolled in (e-FOCUS/IN FOCUS/Credit Online/Credit In Person).

Find out more about Northwestern's College Prep Program!

^ Back to top ^