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e-FOCUS Seminars

Our online e-FOCUS Seminars expose you to top 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. 

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!



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

So You Want To Do Politics: Construct Your Political Ideologies

Instructor: Arda Gucler 

Online Student Orientation: July 8 at 10 am CST  
Online Program Dates: July 11- July 22, M–F 
Time: 10 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 will introduce you to key concepts, arguments, and figures that have shaped politics over time such as liberalism, conservatism, communism, anarchism, and feminism. The class, therefore, will make you a more informed individual who can speak knowledgeably about fundamental political ideas. It will invite you to engage with the material in a way that you can ask what values and principles construct your political actions and where you stand on foundational matters such as wealth redistribution, gender equality, national pride, and free speech.  

To make this learning experience more interactive, we will utilize innovative techniques such as one-minute papers, peer reviews, and public debate. You will also be reading some of the most canonical texts in political history such as Adam Smith’s ‘The Wealth of Nations’, Karl Marx’s ‘Communist Manifesto’, and Abraham Lincoln’s ‘The Gettysburg Address’. 

Academic Coursework 
- In preparation for each class: Read short academic pieces and formulate your own questions and arguments. 
Beginning of each class: Brief lecture and discussion on the topic for the day.  
After each class: Discussing the material with others on the discussion board    
Culminating Activity/Final Project: Write a final essay, compare and contrast two ideologies, and explain why you find one more convincing than the other.  


- Read canonical texts that shaped the history of political ideas and action.  

- Interpret these texts and the lectures to formulate your own political point of view. 

- Defend your viewpoint in class via different activities such as in-class debate. 

- Learn how to express yourself in writing by working on short academic pieces. 

- Relate the class content to actual events and problems in contemporary politics.  

- No previous knowledge of topics is required. 
- Enrollment Capacity: 40 

“I really appreciated the frequent discussions that took place in the program. The ability to interact with my peers and their unique ideas really helped me to learn and improve my own knowledge and intellectual curiosity." 

Instructor Bio 

Arda Gucler received his PhD degree in international relations and political theory from the Department of Political Science at Northwestern University. 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.  

How To Get Away With Lying: Understanding Deceptive Communication

Instructor: Brady Clark, PhD
Online Student Orientation: July 8 at 10 am CST  
Online Program Dates: July 11 – 22, M–F 
Time: 10am–12:15pm 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 Donald Trump’s use of deceptive speech, focusing on the Washington Post compilation and analysis of the more than 30,000 falsehoods that Trump produced during his presidency. 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  
- In preparation for each class: Complete assigned readings and be prepared to discuss in class.  
Beginning of each class: Opening questions, brief interactive lecture, discussion of assigned readings, debate, and group exercises  
- Final Project:  An examination of 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. Your team’s analyses will include: (i) classification of the instance of verbal deception (as lying, misleading, “B.S.”ing, etc.),  (ii) presentation of evidence for that classification, drawing upon the required readings for the course, and (iii) sharing any generalizations that you uncover while conducting your research. 

- Writing assignments, revision of several short papers, and in-class peer review of students’ writing.  
- There will be 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, described below 
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. 
- 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? 
- Are you a high-school student interested in how to analyze and interpret language to discern deceit? 
- No perquisites are required for this course. 
- Enrollment Capacity: 40 

“I enjoyed the group presentation because it made us work on our time management but also gave us a chance to meet new people. I loved the mini debate about perjury!” 

Instructor Bio 

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 be a Business Executive: Jump Start your Journey to Leadership

Instructor: Joseph Patton

Program Options
Session 3 Session 5
Online Student Orientation: July 8, 10 am CST Online Student Orientation: July 29, 10 am CST 
Online Program Dates:  July 11-22, M–F  Online Program Dates: August 1-12, M–F 
Time: 7:00 PM- 9:15 PM CST  Time: 7:00 PM- 9:15 PM CST 

Course Description

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 of 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 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

- In preparation for each class: Complete previous assignment and/or readings and be prepared to discuss in class.
- During class: Brief interactive lecture, engaging discussions focused on the assigned readings, and guided individual and small group developmental exercises.
- Homework: At the conclusion of each class session, students will receive a homework assignment focused on solidifying their understanding of the daily subject matter and how to practically apply it.
- Culminating Activity/Final Project: The course includes 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.


- Coached 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


- Are you a high-school student interested in developing business insight and enhancing your leadership capabilities? Are you currently in a leadership position or hope to one day lead projects, people and/or initiatives? Are you looking to become a stronger contributor in any extra-curricular activities you are involved in?
- No perquisites are required for this course.
- Enrollment Capacity: 25

“I liked this highly interactive seminar, learning very important concepts and values to becoming a great leader while engaging with my peers from across the country.”

Instructor Bio

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 currently serves as 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. He is also a highly-rated lecturer for select Executive Education programs at Kellogg.

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.

My Genes Don't Fit, and Other Tales of Applied Biology 

Instructors: Erin Cable, Program Manager for Professional Health Programs 
Online Student Orientation: July 8th at 10 am CST  
Online Program Dates: July 11th – 22nd, M–F 
Time: 7:00 PM–9:15 PM CST  

Course Description 

Have you ever wondered why we talk about carbon when discussing climate change, or why a stressful semester can make it easier to get sick? And how did that cold virus spread to your school, anyway? How does cancer develop with the body? We ask questions about our living world at all scales; from how changes to your DNA “blueprint” can impact behavior, to what influences the speed of disease spread throughout a population. In this course, you will uncover the answers to these questions by making connections between key biological principles and your lived experience, and more importantly by beginning to ask (and answer) some of your own questions about biology. You will learn to apply key concepts in biology to address broad societal challenges such as climate change, cancer, and disease spread. You will be able to identify the diverse scientific methods (observation, experimentation, theoretical modeling) and processes of science (interpretation of data, uncertainty, peer review) that underlie the generation of knowledge in the biological sciences. We will participate in an interactive case study prompting to investigate current treatment interventions for cancer and discuss how to address misleading information. We will conduct analytical discussions of current research in Immunobiology, circadian rhythms, and their application to interactions with our everyday environment. 

Academic Coursework  
- In preparation for each class: Read assigned text or articles and complete a brief written reflection.  
Beginning of each class: Brief lecture, activity and in-depth discussions   
Culminating Activity/Final Project: Students will work with a small group to select a topic of interest, conduct research, and develop a presentation to share with the class. 

- Brief lectures on topics in biology connecting the foundational concepts to real-world applications.  
-Interactive discussions and web-based labs will continue to develop your understanding of these biological concepts, while incorporating them into explanations for everyday life.  

- Conduct your own at-home experiment extracting DNA from strawberries using everyday materials. 
- Critically evaluate current scientific research presented in popular media. 
- Research a question or current challenge in the biological sciences based on interests 

- Are you a high-school student interested in the intersectionality of biology, ecology, neuroscience, psychology and your environment to understand how key biological principles can be applied to daily life?  
- No perquisites are required for this course. 
- Enrollment Capacity: 40 

“I like that everyday I get to learn about a new topic in biology, so I decide what I want to study in college.” 


Instructor Bios 

Erin Cable completed her BS in Brain, Behavior and Cognitive Sciences at the University of Michigan in 2010. Following her undergraduate work, she completed her PhD in Psychology with a focus in Integrative Neuroscience from the University of Chicago in 2016. Her research primarily focused on the neural mechanisms by which circadian disruption affects the function of the reproductive and immune systems. During her graduate education, Erin lectured at the University of Chicago in the Department of Psychology and served as a Preceptor for the Career Advancement Office at the University of Chicago. Following completion of her doctorate, Erin began working with Northwestern University’s School of Professional Studies in Professional Health Advising, and Academic Program Management. Erin has been a Lecturer in SPS Biology and Psychology courses since 2018. 

So You Think You Understand Reality? Quantum Mechanics and Relativity

 Instructor: Andrew Rivers  
Online Student Orientation: July 17th at 10 am CST 
Online Program Dates: June 21 – July 1, M–F
Time: 10:00 AM- 12: 30 PM CST

Course Description 
In our world of intuitive everyday experience we travel together along a shared “time river” agreeing on what is happening now and when events happened in the past. We live in a world of predictable cause and effect - knowing the precise physical conditions, we can apply laws of physics and predict what happens next. According to our current theories of the physical world neither the shared time river nor the straight lines between cause and effect have basis in reality. In this course we will take a tour of the ideas that led us to a new scientific view of the world - theories that turned our intuitive understanding of reality on its head. We will examine the two foundational and revolutionary theories of modern physics - relativity and quantum mechanics exploring paradoxes that illuminate the contradictions between our intuitions and the world “as it is”. Quantum mechanics and general relativity have been enormously successful - making accurate experimental predictions, suggesting new phenomena and leading to technological development that revolutionized the world. Despite unprecedented success, uncertainty remains. Theoretical physicists still disagree on the foundations of quantum mechanics and how to resolve matters such as wave-particle duality, entanglement and the measurement paradox. Experimentalists continue to test the accuracy of General Relativity in observations of black holes and gravitational waves, looking for clues and tiny discrepancies. Additionally, in their current forms, the quantum mechanics and general relativity are incompatible with each other. The next generation of scientists may resolve these paradoxes and disagreements about the nature of reality. In this course we will examine the big questions and debate the road ahead.

Academic Coursework 

-In preparation for each class:  Complete readings and participate in on-line discussion boards.
- Beginning of each class: Breakout Sessions, Icebreakers, lecture, small group discussions, and interactive demonstrations.
- Culminating Activity/Final Project: Research a current scientific experiment or theoretical model, analyze the topic through the lenses explored in class, refine research topic, collaborate with professor and TA, and present research findings to the class. 

-In-class demonstrations will be used to elucidate concepts. For example, we will build our own spectroscopes, explore light    interference, and use class interactive demonstrations to explore physics concepts.
-Field trip to Adler Planetarium and to the Dearborn Observatory for nighttime observing. 
- Guest presentations from Northwestern experts.
- Invited panel of Northwestern undergraduates to discuss their experiences of scientific research at Northwestern.
- Scientific concepts will be supported by on-line readings and interactives organized on Northwestern’s Canvas Learning Management System.

 - Required books, purchase before course. 
-The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself, by Sean Carroll. ISBN–13: 978–1101984253
-Through Two Doors at Once: The Elegant Experiment that Captures the Enigma of Our Quantum Reality, by Anil Ananthaswamy. ISBN–13: 978–1101986097
- Enrollment Capacity: 40

“There's a lot of interesting reading materials given by the professor, and I'm able to interpret and evaluate all kinds of opposing or supporting perspectives towards one issue, which is really interesting.” - 2021 Participant

Instructor Bio
Dr. Andrew Rivers joined the Northwestern University Physics department in 1999 and has since taught a courses in physics and astronomy including the introductory physics sequence, Modern Cosmology, and Highlights of Astronomy. Andrew was awarded the Weinberg College Distinguished Teaching Award in 2008 and has been named to the Associated Student Government faculty-administrator honor roll 6 times. Andrew serves as a Weinberg College adviser and has been active in Northwestern's Residential College (RC) system, serving as Faculty Master of the Cultural and Community Studies RC from 2004-2009. He assisted in development of the Gateway Science Workshop program in physics and has worked on other curricular innovations within the Northwestern community. Andrew's Ph.D. research included a large scale radio survey of the so-called "Zone of Avoidance": his project revealed 20 previously unknown nearby galaxies.

How to Fix U.S. Politics?

Instructor: Andrew Roberts, PhD
Online Student Orientation: June 17 at 10 am CST
Online Program Dates: : June 21 -July 1, M–F
Time: 10:00 AM- 12: 30 PM CST

Course Description

Americans are justly proud of their political system which produced the first modern democracy and has endured for over two centuries. But this political system also produced the Civil War, the most destructive conflict of its time, and arguably plays a role in all the problems the US suffers today from polarization and populism to increasing inequality. This course asks whether our political system has outlived its usefulness and should it be changed. Can we solve existing problems within the bounds of our current constitution and political institutions or is it time to go back to the drawing board? If they should be changed, what sort of changes should we make and what are the prospects of enacting them? This course will try to answer these questions.

You will learn about the origin and development of the American political system. You will analyze the different elements of the US constitution like the presidential form of government or our first-past-the-post electoral system and their effects on current politics. You will look at alternative political arrangements from countries around the world and consider how they would work in the US – things like parliamentary government or proportional representation. We will also consider what you as a citizen can do to make things better and what sort of actions are most likely to make a positive impact. Through it all you will learn how to think — that is, how to construct and critique explanations of politics and law.

Academic Coursework
- In preparation for each class: Complete assigned readings and be ready to discuss in class.
- Beginning of each class: Brief lecture and class discussion.
- Final Project: Create a presentation on a potential solution to our problems.

- Debates over the pros/cons of constitutional changes and the merits of American political institutions.
- Analyze different options for structuring a constitution; electoral rules, executives, legislature, judiciaries, federalism, and rights.
- Study a non-US constitution, write short reactions to readings, present a non-traditional political institution.
- Present recommendations for changes to the US political system.

- Are you a high school student interested in law, domestic and global politics, public policy, history, debate, and wanting to create an analytical argument?
- No previous knowledge of any of these issues is required.
- Enrollment Capacity: 40

“I enjoyed learning about real-world examples. The content was really interesting. It was a fun challenge to try to understand the politics of another country and try to draw connections to our own political systems.”- 2021 Participant

Instructor Bio
Andrew Roberts studies the quality of democracy, political institutions, and political behavior. Most of his research focuses on postcommunist Europe where he once taught English. His main research program has been understanding how democratic politics works in the region, particularly issues of representation and accountability. He is currently working on projects related to the influence of biography on politics, the effect of nationalism on citizenship, and the role of billionaires in politics. Outside of political science, he writes about popular culture in Europe and how to get a better college education.

So You Want to Be a Lawyer: Legal Analysis and Communication  

Instructor: Lesley Kagan Wynes 
Online Student Orientation: June 17 at 10 am CST  
Online Program Dates: June 21– July 1, M–F 
Time: 10:00 AM- 12: 30 PM CST

Course Description   
The American legal system is premised on the idea that legal rules are subject to creation, change, and interpretation. In our common law system, government actors and private citizens alike take part in the process of defining the legal principles and understanding how those principles apply to resolve disputes and controversies. In this intensive seminar, you will learn the fundamentals of creative legal interpretation, the cornerstone of law school learning, and the legal profession. This process of interpretation and re-interpretation of legal ideas (often called “thinking like a lawyer”) is what students learn through the Socratic dialogue in law school and must master to succeed on law school exams, and it serves as the foundation for oral and written communication in all areas of legal practice. You will preview the experience of law school and be introduced to strategies for successful student behavior on the pre-law and law school levels. Be prepared to conquer the college admission process and to maximize pre-law learning opportunities during the undergraduate years. Be inspired to select the professional path that best suits their personality traits, analytical strengths, and intellectual interests. 

Academic Coursework  
- In preparation for each class: Complete assigned readings and exercises. 
Each class: Mixture of lecture, group discussion, analytical exercises and reflection  
Culminating Activity/Final Project:  Legal Memorandum and a Torts Final Exam 
- Required Book:  Writing a Legal Memo by John Bronsteen 

- Hone your critical thinking skills as you work on a client-based legal problem and communicate your analysis of how the law applies to the client’s problem in a clear, concise written form.  
- Develop teamwork and collaboration skills by working in groups inside and outside of class.  
- Learn practical perspectives on future careers in the law and insight into how the legal system operates. 

- Understand the unique ways that lawyers communicate with other lawyers, clients, and judges. 
- Field trips may include, if permitted: visit to Thompson Coburn, LLP to meet with practice lawyers, visit to Federal Courthouse, visit to Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law 

- Are you a high school student interested in a career in the law or government and want to better their critical thinking and analytical skills? 
- No previous knowledge with any of the topics is required.  
- Enrollment Capacity: 40 
“Visiting a Federal Judge that was actually appointed by a president was amazing. It was very educational and exciting. I would never have been able to do on my own!” - 2021 Participant

Instructor Bio 

Lesley is an experienced leader with a passion for the development and training of professionals and the creation of seamless integration programs that enable professionals to become high-performing members of an organization. 

As Thompson Coburn's Chief Legal Talent Officer, Lesley leads the Firm's efforts to recruit attorneys in all of its offices, from lateral partners to associates and counsel, and to the law students selected for Thompson Coburn's summer associate program. 

Lesley leads a team of recruitment and professionals and collaborates with outside recruiters to identify candidates, guide them through the interview process, and determine whether a candidate is a professional and cultural match for Thompson Coburn. For lateral partners who accept an offer, Lesley serves as a key liaison between the partner and the multi-disciplinary administrative team that handles all logistics for a seamless partner transition, from conflicts checks and file transfer to billing and IT issues. 

Before joining Thompson Coburn, Lesley served in a number of senior leadership roles at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management and Pritzker School of Law. Most recently she served as the Assistant Dean for Academic Experience at Kellogg, where she led a team responsible for the creation and delivery of customized tools, resources and support to enhance the academic experience of more than 3,000 graduate students across three campuses and multiple degree programs. Since 2004, she has served as a Clinical Assistant Professor, teaching courses in legal interpretation, communication and reasoning. 

How to Get Away With Murder: Forensic Chemistry 

Instructor: Shelby Hatch, PhD 
Online Student Orientation: July 1 at 10 am CST  
Online Program Dates: July 5 – 15, M–F 
Time: 10:00 AM- 12: 30 PM CST

Course Description  

How does someone get away with murder – or not? This course will explore forensic chemistry techniques from those used by Sherlock Holmes to modern spectroscopic methods. Like Holmes, as amateur armchair forensic chemists, you will solve murders from your homes around the world.  You will learn the basics of forensic chemistry through a series of murder mysteries both fictional and factual. Throughout the course, we will alternate between the theoretical underpinnings of various analytical methods and utilizing those same methods to solve murders. We will read books, watch films, examine court documents, take virtual field trips, and welcome forensics experts into our classroom.

Examples of forensic chemistry techniques we will study in this course are: analyzing samples taken at a fire to find the cause; illustrating different fingerprinting techniques; using trace metal analysis to connect bullets to the manufacturer and/or particular weapon; identifying paper through spectroscopic techniques; analyzing pigments from documents and taking samples from car accidents; using multivariate analysis; identifying tools from their steel composition. You will evaluate analytical techniques and use statistical and multivariate methods to distinguish complex chemical traces collected from crime scenes. You will also critically analyze results obtained with different methods with respect to selectivity, specificity and sensitivity.

Academic Coursework 

- In preparation for each class: Expect to watch films, do readings, and prepare for forensic analyses outside of class time. Outside of instruction hours, you will also be working on individual projects throughout the course and preparing a presentation to be shared at the close of the course.
- Beginning of each class: Taught as a combination of lecture, discussion, group work, individual projects, and “armchair analyses.” In class, the primary focus will be on how forensic chemistry is (or can be) used to solve each of the murders presented.
- Culminating Activity/Final Project:  Present your individual project orally to the rest of the class and submit a final report.


- Recognize the chemistry that undergirds methods used to analyze findings secured at crime scenes (such as fingerprints, paint, and chemical residues).
- Explain the chemistry involved in the analysis of chemical substances used in possible criminal activities and be able to use these analytical techniques.
- Utilize the principles of the instrumental analytical techniques presented during the course.
-Virtually visit crime scenes and laboratories.
- Meet guests (e.g., medical examiner, forensic anthropologist)
- Possible projects could involve studying and presenting a particular aspect of forensic chemistry not otherwise included in the course, learning about a forensic method in another area of science – e.g., DNA analysis or forensic genealogy, and/or exploring another “case study” (factual or fictional).

- Are you a high school student interested in using forensic chemistry to solve a murder? 
- No previous knowledge of topics is required. 
- Enrollment Capacity: 40 

“I enjoyed the lectures and discussions that I had with my peers because they were most helpful in the learning experience.” - 2021 Participant

Instructor Bio 

 Shelby Hatch is an Academic Adviser in Weinberg College and Assistant Professor of Instruction in the Chemistry Department at Northwestern University. Shelby earned a PhD from the University of Rochester in Biophysical Chemistry. Shelby’s current research focuses on “youth participatory science” in the field of sustainable and environmental chemistry. Shelby is one of the scientists on the “Poisoned Onion Project” (POP), an NSF-funded endeavor that studies heavy metal contamination in Chicago, with particular focus on how that contamination impacts communities of color and low-income areas of the city. POP researchers include high school students, teachers, community organizers, and university scientists. 

Investigating the Power of Ethics: Are There Two Sides to Every Issue? 

Instructor: Mark Sheldon, PhD 
Online Student Orientation: July 1 at 10 am CST  
Online Program Dates: July 5- 15, M–F 
Time: 10:00 AM- 12: 30 PM CST

Course Description 

One could argue, as John Stuart Mill did in 19th-century England, that democracy depends on respect for reasoned argument and rational discourse. This course will introduce moral and political theory in the form of literature selected for balance and diverse perspective. For example, one of the issues we will analyze is the aftermath of the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh in 2018. Former US President, Donald Trump, declared we need to reinstate the death penalty. Many agreed, taking the view that there are some circumstances where the death penalty seems to be the only appropriate punishment. Others disagreed, claiming that the values of our country and Constitution prohibit or should prohibit the imposition of death as a form of punishment. You will be introduced to high-level writing that reflects thoughtful attempts to deal rationally with topics that too often are used as vehicles of division and political advantage. Issues include: affirmative action, the treatment of animals, hate speech and censorship, physician assisted death, abortion, and the just allocation of scarce medical resources, particularly in the time of Covid-19. Our frequent mature structured discussions and presentations will create intellectual stimulating conversations with diverse student perspectives to share ideas and analyzations. By the end of the course, you will develop an understanding of the nature associated with the controversial topics focused in the course. You will also acquire an understanding of how good arguments are constructed, how to further defend a stance, and how to subject good criticism. 

Academic Coursework  
- In preparation for each class: Complete assigned readings. 
Beginning of each class: Brief lecture prior to discussion of topic 
Culminating Activity/Final Project: Brief essay and group presentation  
- Debate representing different positions set out in assigned readings. 
- Consideration of relevant real-life examples or court cases. 
- Written assignment. 
- Each week students will be placed in small groups to discuss, conduct research, and present their findings on Friday. 
- Previous field trips have included: Science and Industry and Holocaust Museum in Skokie, IL.  

- Are you a high school student interested in philosophy, debate, and public policy?  
- No previous knowledge with any of the topics is required.  
- The topics under consideration have implications for all members of society. 
- Enrollment Capacity: 40 

“I really appreciated the frequent discussions that took place in the program. The ability to interact with my peers and their unique ideas really helped me to learn and improve my own knowledge and intellectual curiosity.” - 2021 Participant

Instructor Bio 

Distinguished Senior Lecturer Emeritus in Philosophy and currently faculty in the Medical Ethics and Humanities Program, Feinberg School of Medicine. He received his PhD from Brandeis University, where he was awarded a Sachar Fellowship to study at Oxford University. He has served as Adjunct Senior Scholar at the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics at the University of Chicago, and Senior Policy Analyst at the American Medical Association. Formerly Professor of Philosophy and Adjunct Professor of Medicine at Indiana University (Northwest campus) and Indiana University School of Medicine, he currently serves as adjunct faculty and ethicist at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. Sheldon has published and presented talks on a variety of issues including informed consent, confidentiality, the forced transfusion of children of Jehovah's Witnesses, children as organ donors, disclosure, and the use of Nazi research. 

So You Want to Be a Doctor? 

Instructor: Sarah B. Rodriguez, PhD  

2 timeframes to choose from: 

Program Options
Session 2  Session 2 
Online Student Orientation: July 1, 10 am CST Online Student Orientation: July 1, 10 am CST 
Online Program Dates: July 5 - 15, M–F  Online Program Dates: July 5 - 15, M–F 
Time: 10:00 AM- 12: 30 PM CST

There are two days where the classes meet together online, Friday, July 8 and Tuesday, July 12  from 11:30 am -2 pm CT

Time: 1:00 PM- 3:30 PM CST 

There are two days where the classes meet together online, Friday, July 8 and Tuesday, July 12  from 11:30 am -2 pm CT

Course Description  

What does it mean to be healthy, what is medicine, what does the practice of medicine look like in the United States, and how may the practice of medicine change in the future? By framing this course around these fundamental questions, we will explore what it means to be a medical professional, why someone chooses to become a doctor, what the path to medical school consists of, and what it is like to go to medical school. Health care is such an impactful matter to medicine, we will analyze how health care is paid for in the United States as well as alternative models for funding health care. Further, we will consider the importance of medical codes of ethics, and what characteristics frame medical professionalism, and how doctors know what they know. We will consider what it means to be healthy and the importance of non-physiological factors (such as social, cultural, and environmental) on one’s health. Further, we will examine where medicine is heading in the future. Because the practice of medicine involves critically analyzing information and working in teams, you will be analyzing materials from a variety of sources and working on team-based projects. 

Academic Coursework 
- In preparation for each class: Complete assigned readings, take notes and have questions ready to discuss in class.  
Beginning of each class: Brief lecture and discussion of readings and assignments. 
Culminating Activity/Final Project: Write a 2-page paper talking about 2 insights they gained from the course, with supporting materials (lecture, readings, etc). 

- Describe the variety of methods used in medical research. 
- Appraise the importance of socioeconomic impacts on health and illness. 
- Become familiar with using medical journal indexes and critically reading medical journal articles and case studies. 
- Articulate the importance of working in teams to solve a problem. 
- Outline possible routes regarding the future of medical practice. 

- Are you a high school student interested in issues and careers related to medical practice and health care systems? 
- No previous knowledge of any of these issues is required. 
- Enrollment Capacity: 20 
“The quality of the class was very top notch, and it was interesting learning from a college professor and 2 TA’s. There were also a lot of resources that came with the class.” - 2021 Participant

 Instructor Bio 

Sarah B. Rodriguez is a medical historian who focuses on women’s reproductive and sexual health since the early 20th century, and how history has framed current discourse. Her second book, The Love Surgeon: A Story of Trust, Harm, and the Limits of Medical Regulation, is from Rutgers University Press. Her first book, Female Circumcision and Clitoridectomy in the United States: A History of a Medical Treatment, was published in 2014. Rodriguez is currently working on the history of the ‘standard of care debate’ regarding the mid-1990s trials to reduce the likelihood of vertical transmission of HIV from mother to fetus and on the history of episiotomy as a standard of care. Her next project will concern the history of the International Confederation of Midwives and maternal health. 

How to Make Better Decisions With Math

Instructor: Daniel Cuzzocreo, PhD 
Online Student Orientation: July 15 at 10 am CST  
Online Program Dates: July 18- 29, M–F 
Time: 2:00 PM- 4:15 PM CST 

Course Description 

We’re always told by teachers that math is all around us, but the real world never looks anything like a math textbook. When you need to make real decisions, like how to pay for college, what kind of insurance to get, or a new miracle drug could really be as good as it sounds, you may believe that thinking analytically should lead to better outcomes than relying on a hunch. But you also know that in life, no one is there to tell you which formula to use, or to give you all the data you need in a handy boxed chart, or even to mark your final decision as “right” or “wrong.” You’re on your own and need to “decide how to decide.” This course is all about solving real world problems in a real way, using imperfect data, making messy assumptions, keeping biases in check, knowing when you can and can’t generalize your conclusions, but all the while basing the entire decision-making procedure on rigorous mathematical techniques and ideas.   

Academic Coursework  
- In preparation for each class: Read and annotate daily pre-reading assignment. 
Beginning of each class: Brief lecture and discussion of the homework readings. 
After each class: Submit a problem set. 
Culminating Activity/Final Project: Choose a special topic as the subject of the final project, which will include written, and oral components. 

- Readings and lectures on the fundamental mathematical concepts.  
- Understand how to think quantitatively, and get comfortable with solving problems that don’t have a “right answer”. 
- Find primary sources, analyze data, and learn how to fill in the gaps when all of the info you need isn’t out there. 
- Write models to represent real world scenarios with mathematics. 

- Enrollment Capacity: 40 

“I really enjoyed listening to my professor's answers to my peer's and my own questions. I found that I learned much more from him than I did from the textbook or Youtube, and he taught in a way which was very inclusive of all academic backgrounds.” - 2021 Participant

Instructor Bio 

Dr. Daniel Cuzzocreo has been a Lecturer in the Department of Mathematics at Northwestern since 2015, and previously taught at Smith College in Massachusetts and Boston University. 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, and he was recently named to the Associated Student Government Faculty and Administrator Honor Roll at Northwestern.  

Game Theory and Practice  

Instructor: Scott Ogawa, PhD 
Online Student Orientation: July 15 at 10 am CST
Online Program Dates: July 18–29, M–F
Time: 10:30 am - 12:45 pm

Course Description  

You will apply tools of game theory to a wide range of domains, including economics, politics, and biology. We may even dabble in less serious stuff like sports and, well, games! Why do candidates focus on such a small group of voters? Why do trees have such big trunks? We will examine the answers to these questions through the lens of game theory. Whenever possible we will play games with a focus on the concept of Nash equilibrium and how to find it using a bit of mathematics. We will also investigate how well theory matches practice. We will not be learning how to play chess or poker, though if you enjoy games like this you will still likely find this course particularly interesting. Some of the games we will play are The Prisoner’s Dilemma, The P-Beauty Contest, The Battle of the Sexes, and The Ultimatum Game. You will be involved in frequent small group and class discussions that will enable effective problem-solving, critical thinking, and peer interactions. Specific topics will include: rationalizability, backward induction, commitment, and evolutionary stability. You will acquire a better understanding of strategic interactions as they take place all around us. 

Academic Coursework 
- In preparation for each class: Nightly readings and group problem sets. 
Beginning of each class: Students present their solutions. 
Culminating Activity/Final Project: Each student will ccreate their own a game and have the opportunity to play it in class.  

- Structured discussions.  
- Collect data and analyze results. 
- Use mathematics to derive the equilibrium in games played with peers. 
- Model real-world scenarios, apply newly acquired theories and solution concepts to economics, politics, and biology. 

- Enrollment Capacity: 40 

“I enjoyed game theory, being able to put theories into practice is crucial for understanding the topic. I also enjoyed the overall formatting and difficulty of the class. Each activity and lesson felt purposeful and challenging, but not overwhelming.” - 2021 Participant

Instructor Bio 

Scott Ogawa's research focuses on the economics of education and the decisions of students and teachers. He has applied the techniques of experimental economics to ask whether students who pay more for their education put forth more effort. More generally, he is interested in the behavioral effects of price on product utilization. He has been a fellow for the Searle Center for Teaching Excellence. Prior to attending graduate school, Scott taught high school math and economics at Lakeside School in Seattle. Scott sits on the AP Microeconomics Development Committee. 

How Can Computer Science Intersect With Race, Power, and Ethics? 

Instructor: Natalie Araujo Melo 
Online Student Orientation: July 15 at 10 am CST  
Online Program Dates: July 18- 29, M–F 
Time: 2:00 PM - 4:15 PM CST 

Course Description 

Why should we care about ethical questions with respect to technology? 

Computing technologies shape our personal, social, and political lives in increasingly complex and consequential ways. Providing tremendous benefits (e.g. convenient access to information, connecting to one another across time and space) and harms (e.g. biased decision-making, mass surveillance, disinformation campaigns, and exclusion from critical material opportunities) that are important to examine and understand. 

At the same time, these technologies are born and shaped by the societies in which they are developed. Thus, grappling with the ethics of technologies (i.e considering the harms and benefits, how and why they were created in the first place, and how and to what ends they are used) is important not only for ultimately creating more moral technologies but a more moral society. Thus, our approach to the ethics of computing technologies requires a multifaceted assessment of their harm and benefit to our individual, cultural, and political lives, and simultaneously a critical examination of the values, ideologies, and contexts through which computing technologies emerge. You will consider some of the intended and unintended consequences of computing applications within our communities, institutions, and social systems (e.g. schooling, employment, policing, transportation, business, etc.). This involves paying attention to who wins and who loses, as well as how these technologies might amplify existing marginalities and privileges. 

Academic Coursework  
In preparation for each class: Complete assigned readings, take notes to prepare for in-class discussions, and answer questions in Identity Journals. 
Beginning of each class: Brief lecture, in-class discussions, and interactive activities examining various technologies. 
Culminating Activity/Final Project: A prototype or short film related to topics in the course.  
- Engage in critical reading across a range of topics drawn from computer science and HCI, education and learning sciences, as well as ethics and philosophy. 
- Recognize the value judgements and subjectivities that undergird a wide variety of technical practices (e.g. sampling, data collection practices, categorization and classification, prediction, system design, etc.). 
- Examine the design choices and tradeoffs that various computing infrastructures make (and have made) in relation to important societal values (e.g. individual autonomy, free speech, equity, privacy, justice, security, access to opportunity, etc.). 
- Develop a variety of analytic lenses for examining computing technologies in terms of their social, ethical, and political consequences. 

- Are you a high school student interested in learning a solid foundation for thinking about the possibilities, risks, and impacts of computer-mediated infrastructures on society? 
- No previous knowledge with any of the topics is required.  
- Enrollment Capacity: 40 

“I really enjoyed the lectures; I was really interested in the way the professor presented the material. I was given the opportunity to draw my own conclusions.” - 2021 Participant

Instructor Bio 

Natalie Araujo Melo (she/they) is a PhD student in the joint Computer Science and Learning Sciences program at NU. Prior to NU, Natalie worked with a large introductory computer science course at Yale University, where she managed over 40 teaching assistants and taught multiple summer sessions of the course. Her interests lie in examining technology learning in the intersections of power, relationality, identity, and Critical Race Theo

So You Think This Stuff Is Easy? Using the Science of Psychology to Raise a Virtual Child 

Instructor: Alissa Levy Chung, PhD 
Online Student Orientation: July 15th at 10 am CST  
Online Program Dates: July 18 – 29, M–F 
Time: 2:00 PM - 4:15 PM CST 

Course Description  

Have you ever wondered what makes someone a good parent or if your parents are doing things “right”? There is actually a science to parenting, but a lot of what parents worry about (violin lessons or trumpet? Travel soccer or club? Should I get an SAT tutor or enroll in a prep class?) has very little to do with how well their children develop. In this class, you will learn about research on parenting and get a chance to try it yourself with the My Virtual Child program. You will create your own virtual child, name your child, and raise your child to adulthood. Will your child resemble your personality, appearance, or not? Will you be nurturing? Strict? Indulgent? You will be asked a series of questions along the way, make decisions for your child and each decision will slowly shape the trajectory of your child’s life.  

You will work in small groups, each choosing a different kind of parenting style to learn the consequences of different kinds of decisions. Your choices will be grounded in research, we will also analyze the flaws in our research, such as limited information on parenting and child development outside of the U.S. Through these analyses, you will comprehend the science of parenting, how to think about your childhood experiences the way a psychologist would, and how parenting may differ in meaningful ways in other cultures. You will also receive writing and scientific thinking feedback from your professor. 

Academic Coursework 

- In preparation for each class: Academic readings before class and preparation for final project.  
Beginning of each class: Brief lecture and small group discussions. 
Culminating Activity/Final Project: Group presentation of the journey you experienced with your children. As a class, we will write to the company that produces the program to suggest areas of improvement.  

- Raising a virtual child: guided group work and discussion to apply class findings to raising a “real” child. 
- Lectures, discussions, video examples, examine popular books and films regarding parenting and child development. 
- Written responses to discussion questions.  
- Condition permitting: Child observation   


-Are you interested in learning how parenting techniques affect a human psychologically through childhood and beyond? 
-No previous knowledge of content is required. 
- Enrollment Capacity: 40 

 “I loved Professor Chung! She was warm but also held high standards for our work, both of which were beneficial to my engagement and performance in my course.” - 2021 Participant

 Instructor Bio 

Alissa Levy Chung is a clinical and developmental psychologist who received her Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota (Institute of Child Development and Clinical Psychology). She is joining the department as an Associate Professor of Instruction. Her early research focused on the intergenerational transmission of parenting and the role of early experience in the development of psychopathology. For the past several years, she shifted her focus to teaching and was an award-winning teacher as a member of the adjunct faculty in the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern, teaching courses in developmental and clinical psychology. Previous teaching experience also included participating in the development of and teaching classes in the infant mental health specialty program at Erikson Institute in Chicago. For the past 21 years, Alissa has been a licensed clinical psychologist in private practice, working with children, adolescents, adults, and families throughout Evanston, Chicago, and the North Shore. She is active in the Evanston public schools and has been a special education advocate for families. 

Follow the Yellow Brick Road: Writing for College Success

Instructor: Charles Yarnoff, PhD
Online Student Orientation: July 15 at 10 am CST
Online Program Dates: July 18- 29, M–F
Time: 10:00 AM- 12:15 PM CST

Course Description

Are you a high school student interested in improving your writing to help prepare yourself for college? This course teaches practical and effective strategies for writing at the college level. You will learn about the conventions of writing in a range of academic disciplines, close analysis of texts, research-based persuasive essays, and techniques for drafting and editing your papers. Examples of high-level readings and writing assignments from various Northwestern University courses will be incorporated, along with handouts on editing techniques. Through creative exercises, peer editing, and discussion of thought-provoking articles, you will develop advance critical thinking skills and learn to communicate your ideas clearly and persuasively.

 In addition to preparing yourself for writing papers in college, you will have the opportunity to work on producing a draft of your college admission essay. By reading examples of successful college admission essays, you will learn and apply methods for presenting college admissions officers with a compelling picture of who you are as an individual.

Academic Coursework
- In preparation for each class: Submit a page of notes or a rough draft of an essay in response to prompts related to the day's topic.
- Beginning of each class: Brief lecture and discussion on the topic for the day
- After each class: Write a page of notes or record a three-minute reflection video expressing how the class discussion affected your thinking.
- Culminating Activity/Final Project: (1) A revision of your essay on the short story "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas," and (2) A draft of your college admission essay.

- Brief lectures on writing topics, discussion of readings, peer editing, and daily in-class writing.
-Write a draft of an analytical essay, receive feedback on it, and revise it.
-Read examples of college admission essays, create your own draft, and receive feedback on it.
-Hear about college writing from NU faculty and student guest speakers.
- Take a field trip to the Northwestern University library.

- No previous knowledge of college writing is required.
- Enrollment Capacity: 40

“It's a pleasure to be taught by professor Yarnoff! Also, my confidence in English writing improved. I've been nervous because I'm not a native speaker. His approval has helped me a lot”- 2021 Participant

Instructor Bio

Charles Yarnoff, who received his PhD from Northwestern University, teaches a wide variety of undergraduate writing courses, including Intermediate Composition, Writing and Speaking in Business, and Freshman Seminars.

He was named a Charles Deering McCormick University Distinguished Lecturer, an award recognizing faculty members who “have consistently demonstrated outstanding performance in classroom teaching.” He has been voted to the Associated Student Government faculty honor roll three times, has been nominated for the freshman advising award, and has received the Distinguished Teaching Award from Northwestern's School of Professional Studies.

Dr. Yarnoff especially enjoys teaching students who are preparing for and starting out in college. He has been a freshman advisor in Weinberg College at Northwestern since 2000, and is the academic director of the Summer Academic Workshop, a writing seminar for incoming Northwestern freshmen. He has taught InFocus seminars in the College Prep Program since 2014.

Find out more about Northwestern's College Prep Program!

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