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e-focus Seminar Series | Northwestern SPS - Northwestern School of Professional Studies

Northwestern College Preparation Program

Wildcat Connect: e-FOCUS Seminars

These highly engaging Wildcat Connect: e-FOCUS Seminars are designed to expose students to top Northwestern faculty highlighting themes relevant today. These five noncredit interactive seminars are two weeks in length and are structured like a college seminar course.  These seminars may also include virtual field trips and guest speakers. Our Wildcat Connect: e-FOCUS Seminars include a robust co-curricular component which includes preparation for college and integrates all students into the Wildcat community. NU faculty will lead the seminar through rigorous college level work, enabling a rich learning experience. The academic coursework in the schedule below will focus on one of five Wildcat Connect: e-FOCUS seminars offered and will vary by course (see course description).  Depending on the course, you can expect to devote additional time outside of class to readings or assignments at the discretion of the instructor. 

Once you successfully complete your e-FOCUS seminar, you will receive an official Northwestern University transcript. If you wish to request credit at your high school for a seminar, discuss this with your counselor ahead of time since the acceptance of credit depends on your school's policy.

Begin application REQUEST INFORMATION

 

2020 e-FOCUS Courses

Admissions for the 2020 e-FOCUS Programs has closed

July 20–31

Ethical Problems: Public, Controversies, and Democracy

So You Want to be a Doctor?

Writing for College Success

Legal Interpretation and Communication

Chemistry Research with Real World Application


Wildcat Community Involvement

 In this program, you will be part of Northwestern University’s Wildcat Connect community in many ways.  Check out the exciting schedule to learn how you can best prepare for college and meet peers enrolled in Northwestern classes this summer!

Week One

Time

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

10:00 – 10:15am CST

 

Orientation

 

Opening Day Activity

 

Opening Day Activity

 

Opening Day Activity

 

Opening Day Activity

 

10:15 – 10:30 am CST

Orientation

 

Academic Coursework

Academic Coursework

Academic Coursework 

Academic Coursework

10:30 – 11:30pm CST

Academic Coursework

 

Academic Coursework

 

Academic Coursework

 

Academic Coursework

 

Academic Coursework

 

11:30 – 12:00pm CST

 

Lunch hangout with breakout groups

 

 

 

Lunch hangout with breakout groups

 

 

Lunch hangout with breakout groups

 

 

Lunch hangout with breakout groups

 

 

Lunch hangout with breakout groups

 

 

12:00– 1:00pm CST

Academic Coursework

 

 

Academic Coursework

 

 

Academic Coursework

 

 

Academic Coursework

 

Academic Coursework

 

1:00 – 1:45pm CST

College Prep: Using your high school years wisely

 

The role of extracurricular activities including competitions and challenges

 

 

College Prep: Using your high school years wisely

 

Leadership: Creating and leading a club in your school

College Prep: Using your high school years wisely

 

Leadership: Giving back through community service

College Prep: Your application

 

Your interview

College Prep: Your Application

 

Writing the essay

 

Different types of applications

1:45 – 2:00pm CST

Closing Activity

 

Closing Activity

 

Closing Activity

 

Closing Activity

 

Closing Activity

 

 

Week Two

Time

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

10:00 – 10:15am CST

 

Opening Day Activity

 

Opening Day Activity

 

Opening Day Activity

 

Opening Day Activity

 

Opening Day Activity

 

10:15 – 12:00am CST

Academic Coursework

 

Academic Coursework

 

Academic Coursework

 

Academic Coursework

 

Academic Coursework

 

12:00 – 12:30pm CST

Lunch hangout with breakout groups – optional

 

Lunch hangout with breakout groups – optional

 

Lunch hangout with breakout groups – optional

 

Lunch hangout with breakout groups – optional

 

Lunch hangout with breakout groups – optional

 

12:30– 1:00pm CST

Academic Coursework

 

Academic Coursework

 

Academic Coursework

 

Academic Coursework

 

Academic Coursework

 

1:00 – 1:45pm CST

College Prep: Admissions

NU Admissions presentation w/ Q & A

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

College Prep: Admissions

In time of COVID-19

 

Financial Aid

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

College Prep: School Choice

University visits

 

Understanding different types of colleges and universities

 

Picking the right college for you

 

 

College Prep: Student Life

 

Explore identity and privilege

 

Taking advantage of clubs and student life organizations, sororities and fraternities

 

 

College Prep: Student Life

 

Budgeting your time and money

 

Resilience and Balance

Dealing with stress and keeping a healthy outlook

 

 

1:45 – 2:00pm CST

Closing Activity

 

Closing Activity

 

Closing Activity

 

Closing Activity

 

Closing Activity

 

 

 


Legal Interpretation and Communication

Orientation: July 20
Session Dates: July 20 – July 31

Instructor: Lesley Kagan Wynes, Director of Partner Recruiting and Integration, Thompson Coburn LLP, Former Clinical Assistant Professor of Management, Assistant Dean for Academic Experience, Kellogg School of Management

Enrollment Capacity: 30

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 a the foundation for oral and written communication in all areas of legal practice.

Methodology

During the two weeks of this program, we will survey five main topics: 

  • Introduction to the American legal system and sources of law
  • Reading and briefing cases
  • Mastering the Socratic Method
  • Legal reasoning and analysis
  • Oral advocacy and persuasion

In the seminar, you will 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. You will also learn the fundamentals of law school exam success and participate in a persuasive argument exercise. Last, you will develop teamwork and collaboration skills by working in groups inside and outside of class. You will get practical perspectives on future careers in the law and insight into how the legal system operates. 

Objectives

By the end of this course, you will:

  • Have previewed the experience of law school and introduce strategies for successful student behavior (on the pre-law and law school levels)
  • Have learned how to read and analyze legal sources and apply the law to a client’s problem
  • Understand the unique ways that lawyers communicate with other lawyers, clients, and judges
  • Have developed teamwork and collaboration skills
  • 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

Applicants

This seminar is appropriate for high school students who are interested in a career in the law or government and want to better their critical thinking and analytical skills. No previous knowledge or experience with legal studies is required.

An Example of Academic Coursework

A detailed daily schedule will be provided before the program begins.

Example of academic coursework

Understanding the Socratic Method

Law School 101: Understanding Legal Education -Open discussion of readings about the purpose of legal education, teaching methodologies employed by law professors, and the types of legal education (doctrinal, theoretical, and clinical).

Reading and Briefing Cases. Lecture and discussion on reading a legal decision (a “case”) and preparing for a Socratic discussion of the case in a law school classroom

Rule Development and Application. Introductory lecture on rule development. Analytical exercise: understanding rules and how to apply them to a client’s story



Resources and Materials

Required text for the course will be Writing a Legal Memo by John Bronsteen.  You are expected to bring the book to the first class. Other reading and analytical assignments will be provided. Readings will be excerpted from textbooks on legal reasoning and analysis.  Additionally, you will read edited legal decisions and complete exercises designed by the seminar’s professor.

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Ethical Problems, Public Controversies, and Democracy

Orientation: July 20
Session Dates: July 20 – July 31

Instructor: Professor Mark Sheldon, PhD, Distinguished Senior Lecturer Emeritus, Department of Philosophy, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences; Faculty in the Medical Humanities and Bioethics Program, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University

Ethicist, Department of Religion, Health and Human Values, Rush University Medical Center

Enrollment Capacity: 30

The US President, Donald Trump, following the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh, declared that we need the death penalty.  Many agreed with him, taking the view that there are some circumstances where this is the only punishment that is appropriate and just.  Others disagreed, claiming that the values of our country and our Constitution prohibit or should prohibit the imposition of death as a form of punishment.  This is one of the issues that we will discuss, along with 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. 

While we will be dealing with clearly very controversial issues, there will be no agenda other than giving attention to the value of thoughtful argument and rational analysis of the issues in question, and hopefully seeing the worth of such endeavors.

Methodology

Each online class meeting will begin with a brief lecture and discussion of the readings.  In preparation for each class students will be asked to submit a half page written reflection on the day’s topic, outlining some of their thoughts on the issue. After class, students will be asked to record a three-minute video in which they comment on whether or how the discussion affected their thinking. Finally, students, towards the end of the two week seminar, will submit a three-page paper where they engage in a critique of one of the assigned readings. They will choose the reading for their critique but they will be asked to follow a particular format.

Objectives

There are two basic learning objectives.  One is to become more able to understand the nature of the challenges associated with the controversial topics that are the focus of the course.  The second is to be introduced to writing that reflects thoughtful attempts to deal rationally with topics that too often are used as vehicles of division and political advantage.  One could argue, as John Stuart Mill did in 19th Century England, that democracy depends on respect for reasoned argument and rational discourse. 

Towards these two ends, you will be introduced to moral and political theory in the form of literature selected for balance and diverse perspective. You will acquire an understanding of how good arguments are constructed, how they can be further defended, and also how they can be subjected to good criticism.


Applicants

The seminar is appropriate for high school students who are 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.

An Example of Academic Coursework

an example of academic coursework

Structured discussion of topic in question

Debate representing different positions set out in assigned readings

Consideration of relevant real-life examples or court cases

Written assignments and video responses

 

 

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Writing for College Success

Orientation: July 20
Session Dates: July 20 – July 31

Instructor: Charles Yarnoff, PhD, Associate Professor of Instruction in Writing, The Writing Program, Northwestern University

Enrollment Capacity: 40

What do college professors look for when evaluating student writing? This course teaches practical and effective strategies for meeting professors' expectations when writing at the college level. You will learn about the conventions of writing in a range of academic disciplines and in different types of papers, such as close analysis of texts, reflective responses, and research-based persuasive essays. Through creative exercises, peer editing, and discussion of thought-provoking articles, you will develop your 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.

Methodology

Seminar sessions will include brief lectures on writing topics, discussion of readings, peer editing of students’ writing, and in-class writing. Through these methods, you will learn about the different kinds of papers you will write in college, and techniques for drafting and editing your own papers. You will read examples of college admission essays, draft your own, receive feedback on it, and write a revision.

Objectives

Through this course you will:

  • Become familiar with the types of papers you will write in college
  • Learn about the expectations professors have for writing
  • Learn strategies for drafting and revising college papers
  • Produce a draft and revision of your college admission essay

Applicants

This seminar is appropriate for high school students who are interested in improving their writing to help prepare themselves for college. No previous knowledge of college writing is required.

 

An Example of Academic Coursework

Example of academic coursework

Lecture and discussion on the topic for the day

Follow-up on previous day’s activities, e.g., peer editing of a paper followed by time to work on revision

In-class writing, e.g., starting to work on a paper or practicing editing techniques

Introduction of next day’s topics

 

Resources and Materials

Readings will include examples of writing assignments from various Northwestern University courses; articles about effective writing; readings for analysis and critical reflection; handouts on editing techniques; and examples of college admission essays.

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Chemistry Research with Real World Application

Orientation: July 20
Seminar Dates: July 20 - July 31
Instructor: Shelby Hatch, Assistant Professor of Instruction, Chemistry, Weinberg Adviser

Enrollment Capacity: 30

Would you like to do research? Be a published scientist? In this course, you will experience all aspects of scientific research; from writing a research proposal to submitting your work for publication! You will design and perform your own experiments as well as write a scientific paper with your classmates on a group research project. You will have the opportunity to meet virtually with scientists in a variety of fields. You will also interact with researchers from Chicago-area research institutions including Northwestern University and museums such as the Shedd Aquarium and the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum as they give us curated virtual tours of their laboratories, describe their research, and take questions from all of you. 

Methodology

This course will be project-based. You will work together on a group research project, as well as develop your own individual projects. The group research project will be a study of heavy metal environmental contamination in Chicago. Students will learn how to collect and prepare environmental (e.g., soil, water, and plant) samples for analysis. Where it is safe to do so, students will actually collect and prepare their own samples for analysis; we will also analyze samples previously collected in the Chicago area. Peer-Led Team Learning (PLTL) will be an integral aspect of this course. PLTL activities will center around the research process. Examples include learning to read a research proposal, designing a research plan, and preparing a scientific poster to present at a conference. 

Objectives

By the completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Read and summarize the main points of a research paper
  • Distinguish between primary and secondary sources
  • Explain the peer review process
  • Write an effective research proposal
  • Design and conduct scientific experiments
  • Communicate scientific results orally and in writing
  • Construct a scientific poster

Applicants

This seminar is designed for high school students who are interested in: delving into the scientific research process, conducting their own experiments, collaborating with classmates, and honing their communication skills.

 

An Example of Academic Coursework

Example of academic coursework
Question of the day/Check-in - What is your current research question?
Peer-Led Team Learning Activity - break into PLTL groups to work on activities to develop a research plan

Perform experiments - get a virtual tour of the 'trace metal analysis' laboratory where samples are being analyzed.

Data analysis/writing up results/planning upcoming experiments - get instruction on how to use Excel to analyze and graph data received from the inductively coupled plasma (ICP) spectrometer located in the 'trace metal analysis' lab

 

Resources and Materials

Readings will be distributed electronically at the start of the course. Film and television clips along with other multimedia sources will also be part of this seminar. 

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So You Want to be a Doctor?

"Insight Into Medicine"

Orientation: July 20
Seminar Dates: July 20 –July 31
Instructor: Sarah B. Rodriguez, PhD, Senior Lecturer, Global Health Studies, Weinberg College of Arts & Sciences, Lecturer, Medical Education, Feinberg School of Medicine

Enrollment Capacity: 40

This course provides you with an opportunity to critically consider these questions: what does it mean to be healthy, what is medicine, and 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. We will consider what it means to be healthy and the importance of non-physiological factors (such as social, cultural, environmental) on who is at risk for ill-health. Further, we will also examine where medicine is heading in the future. Because the practice of medicine involves critically analyzing information and working in teams, you will participate in presenting and analyzing materials from a variety of sources and working on team-based projects.

Methodology

This seminar will consist of lectures, discussion of readings and assignments, small group and individual coursework, student presentations, and visiting speakers. You are expected to come prepared to each class having done the readings and with comments and questions ready from which to participate in discussion.

Objectives

At the end of this course, you will:

  • Describe the path toward applying to medical school;
  • Outline what the first year of medical school consists of, and how undergraduate medical education has changed;
  • Summarize how health care is paid for in the United States, as well as alternative models for funding health care;
  • Describe the variety of methods used in medical research;
  • Articulate and consider the importance of anatomy in undergraduate medical education as well as how ideas about anatomy and bodies have changed;
  • Describe the importance of medical codes of ethics as well as medical professionalism;
  • Describe the importance of community, social, economic, and environmental factors affecting health and healthy living;
  • Appraise the importance of socioeconomic impacts on health and illness;
  • Become familiar with using medical journal indexes and critically reading medical journal articles;
  • Articulate the importance of working in teams to solve a problem;
  • Outline possible routes regarding the future of medical practice.
  •  

Applicants

This seminar is appropriate for high school students who are interested in issues and careers related to medical practice and health care systems. No previous knowledge of any of these issues is required.

An Example of Academic Coursework

Each day will be loosely organized around a topic such as: The American Health Care System

Example of academic coursework

Presentation by instructor on the economics of health care

Students will present researched information on health care delivery in America covering the private and government sectors

Discussion and debate about alternative ways of delivering and funding health care and what role the government should play in funding health care

Case study and discussion

 

Resources and Materials

A reading list will be sent prior to the start of the program so you can prepare for the seminar. During the seminar, you will be given assistance with sources for your presentations and will gain experience in using online databases. 

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