e-FOCUS Seminars

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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!



e-FOCUS dates: July 17 - July 28

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, PhD
Online Program Dates: July 17 – 28, 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 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? 

The knowledge I gained from this course is so useful, I think I couldn’t have spent my time these past weeks any better. I learned so much and I understand so much about lying and deception that I feel like I’m able to pick out deceptive utterances from politics everydayy iinteractions, and even courtrooms.” 2022 CPP Participant 

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 Make a Difference? Politics, Conflict and Action

Instructor: Arda Gucler 

Online Program Dates: July 17-28, 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 

  • In preparation for each class: 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’.  
  • 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.   


In this course you will: 

  • 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.   

The overall experience was fantastic—from the opening activities to the "Get Ready Series" to the class itself. However, my favorite part was listening, taking notes, and sharing my thoughts when the professor gave lectures.” 2022 CPP Participant  

Instructor Bio  

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.   


Stay Alive! Avoiding Death from Plagues, Epidemics, or Pestilence 

Iinstructor: Michael Diamond, Ph.D. 
Online Program Dates: July 17 – 28, M–F 
Time: 10:00 am – 12:15 pm CST 

Course Description  

Take the STEAM approach! The emergence of new and more virulent infectious diseases, the threats of bio-terrorism, and the growing resistance to antibiotics require new approaches to reduce death and disability. Explore the impact of sustainable integration of appropriate biomedical and other technologies to address these problems.  The course will examine real life examples of innovative, multidisciplinary approaches   that have played a role in controlling Ebola in Sudan and Liberia, Guinea Worm in Africa, Arsenic Poisoning in Bangladesh, Tuberculosis in South Africa, Machupu hemorrhagic fever in Bolivia, Cholera in Haiti and the role of Ivermectin to reduce River Blindness in Nigeria.  Responses to neurological disorders such as polio throughout the world, mad cow disease in Michigan and New Guinea and metabolic disorders such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases will be explored.  Special attention will be given to examples of effective technologies and intervention strategies. You will explore how partnerships in the international community use technology and organize responses to current problems in global public health.   

Academic Coursework 

  • In preparation for each class: Read and analyze academic articles and case studies and be prepared to discuss them in class.  
  • Beginning of each class: Brief lecture and discussion on the topic for the day. 
  • After each class: Write a reflection of how the class discussion affected your thinking. 
  • Culminating Activity/Final Project: Your group project and presentation will include the design, and analysis of a strategic intervention on a health issue of your choice.   


  • You will engage in group discussions, lectures and analysis of case studies and utilize epidemiology and technology as management tools to control infectious and chronic disease.  
  • Analyze the roles and benefits of specific technologies and how they are appropriately and sustainably integrated into public, private and civil society sectors in public health. 
  • Students will form teams to design their own intervention strategies that help to reduce the burdens of disease and build and strengthen local communities.  

“I really enjoyed the many different viewpoints that challenged my original beliefs. Whether it be from other students or the professor, I always felt like I was being pushed to think more critically and look at situations through many lenses.” 2022 CPP Participant  

Instructor Bio 

For more than 40 years, Michael worked with global and local health, refugee, rehabilitation and social and economic development programs. For ten years, he managed the global program to eradicate polio for Rotary International in cooperation with the World Health Organization, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UNICEF and national governments. He was the Division Manager of Humanitarian Programs of The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International and in that capacity, he managed over 2,500 Rotary Club projects per year.  For 17 years he worked with the international YMCA and lived in Bangladesh and Switzerland. In these positions, he worked directly in 45 countries and with people in more than 150 countries. He has supported student groups such as GlobeMed, Engineering World Health, Community Health Corps, Chicago Student Health Force, UNICEF Clubs, Red Cross Training Corps, and the World Health Imaging Alliance. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. His service to the Chicago community was recognized with the Public Service Award of the Institute of Medicine of Chicago in 2011.  

So You Think You’ll Never Use it Again? Making Real-World Decisions with Math

Instructor: Daniel Cuzzocreo, PhD 
Online Program Dates: July 17- 28, M–F 
Time: 10:00 am – 12:15pm

Course Description 

Math is all around us, but the real world never looks anything like a math textbook. When you need to make important decisions, like how to pay for college, what kind of insurance to get, or whether a new miracle drug could really be as good as it sounds, you may know that thinking analytically should lead to better outcomes. But you also know that in life, no one is there to tell you which formula to use, give you all the data you need in a handy boxed chart, or mark your final decision as “right” or “wrong.” You’re on your own and need to “decide how to decide.”  

By applying the skills and principles featured in this class, you can learn to solve problems in real-world environments — using imperfect data, making messy assumptions, keeping biases in check, knowing when you can and can’t generalize your conclusions — while basing your entire decision-making procedure on rigorous mathematical techniques and ideas. After successful completion of this class, you’ll be equipped with practical math applications that will be useful throughout your college career and beyond.     

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. 

I enjoyed many things throughout the program including collaboration with peers, lecturing from the professor/explanations from the TA, and learning new math skills and processes.” 2022 CPP Participant 

Instructor Bio 

Dr. Daniel Cuzzocreois 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, and he was named to the Associated Student Government Faculty and Administrator Honor Roll at Northwestern.  He has taught courses in dynamical systems and quantitative reasoning in the E-FOCUS program since 2020.  

Separating Truth from Fiction: Using Information Literacy to Fight Misinformation

Instructor: Leslie Fischer
Online Program Dates: July 17 – 28, M-F
Time: 2:00 pm – 4:15 pm

Course Description 

New and more devious ways to manipulate your thinking are being developed every day.  How can you determine who to trust or who is trying to manipulate you?  What can you do to fight the rising tide of misinformation? While it is quicker and easier to find information today, finding credible and relevant answers is harder than ever. In this seminar, you will explore strategies and methodologies to find reliable information and to expose and fight back against deception, develop your ability to recognize quality sources, and utilize advanced search techniques. 

In this college-level course, you will develop the critical thinking, communication and research skills necessary to locate and use information effectively while improving your ability to identify, assess, organize, utilize and communicate information in any format.  Since much of our information is mediated through technologies that can speed both truth and lies and make them go viral, our focus will be on digital media. 

Academic Coursework 

-In preparation for each classCcomplete assigned readings, videos, and audios.
- Beginning of each class: Ddiscuss assigned media and your own questions, and complete individual and group activities
- Culminating Activity/Final Project: Create truthful content in a medium that substantively addresses an issue of information literacy and demonstrates your mastery of the genre in which you choose to express yourself. 


  • Individually, write a thoughtful comment in response to a blog post or a news article. 
  • In a small group, research and augment or correct a Wikipedia page.  
  • Understand the varieties of deception found in verbal, audio, and visual media. 
  • Distinguish a hypothesis from an opinion. 
  • Develop a toolkit of assessment techniques to separate truth from lies. 
  • Cultivate and implement strategies to combat misinformation. 
  • Create media for public distribution. 

Instructor Bio
Leslie Fischer has worked with thousands of students to improve their writing, communication, and information literacy skills. She has taught graduate and undergraduate courses (including writing, communication, design, leadership, and literature) at Northwestern University since 1987. She has been recognized as a Distinguished Teacher. She holds degrees in English and Information Design and Strategy and is currently working on her doctoral degree. Friends and family, hiking, reading, cooking, going to the theater make her happy. In her spare time, she goes letterboxing, an activity that combines art, orienteering, and mystery. 

So you Want to be a Business Executive: Jump Start your Journey to Leadership

Instructor: Joseph Patton  
Online Program Dates: July 17 – 28, M-F 
Time: 7:00 pm – 9:15 pm 

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

“I enjoyed both the content and the interaction with other students in the program. I learned a lot of important skills that I can immediately begin to apply. Also, I became acquainted with and met many people who were both extremely similar and different from me which was also enjoyable” 2022 CPP Participant

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. 

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!

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