Centre College offers Summer Scholars Program to motivated high school students
Summer is a time for students to kick back, relax and enjoy some much-needed time off from studies; however, for a select group of high-achieving high school students, summertime will be a period of intense and interactive education, thanks to Centre College’s Summer Scholars Program.
Summer Scholars, which runs from Sunday, June 29 through Saturday, July 12, is open to rising high school juniors and seniors. Led by Centre faculty members, the program offers three different academic tracks: Global Diversity and Cultures, State and Local Politics, and The History and Production of Food.
Assistant Professor of Religion Lee Jefferson, who directs the program, will be teaching Global Diversity and Cultures, a course that examines religious diversity through Islam, Buddhism, Judaism and Christian monasticism, as well as cultural diversity through art and imagery. Students will be immersed in contemporary theories, readings, films and experiential learning opportunities.
“Many high school students may not have much knowledge of non-Western religious traditions or have a skewed view of other traditions,” Jefferson explains. “That’s why understanding diversity, both religious and otherwise, is so pivotal for them. This class allows me to teach a pre-college audience something about this diversity, as well as instill critical thinking skills they will need in college.”
State and Local Politics, taught by Assistant Professor of Politics Benjamin Knoll, introduces students to politics at the local level. This will include topics such as how local governments and communities are organized and how students can effectively participate in the process. As part of this track, students will have opportunities to attend local political meetings, interview local elected officials and participate in political decision-making activities.
“I’m teaching this track because one of the primary objectives of a college (and high school) education is to help us learn how to be more effective and engaged citizens so that we can better learn how to be a positive force in the world around us,” Knoll explains. “This track will give students hands-on experiential learning opportunities that focus on civic engagement at the local level.”
Knoll is very much looking forward to immersing his students in local politics.
“Surprisingly, most American citizens actually know very little about how politics works at the local level,” Knoll explains. “I’m excited for students to get a taste for local political activism and engagement that will hopefully spark a desire to make a positive contribution to their local communities through their high school and college experiences, as well as for the rest of their lives.”
Knoll is also passionate about the ways his course prepares students for college life.
“Students will have the opportunity to think through real-world problems and how they can marshal resources to address those problems effectively,” he says. “There will also be opportunities to exercise leadership skills and organize groups of people toward specific goals. Each of these skills will come in handy as students prepare for college.”
Assistant Professor of History Sara Egge will teach The History and Production of Food, a class that explores the transformation of American agriculture from family-based farms to large agribusiness corporations. Students will travel to local farms, food processors, distribution centers and restaurants to understand more fully the complex relationships we have with the food we eat.
“We’ve witnessed a tremendous rise in food culture—foodies, organic foods, slow food movement, food blogs and Instagram photos of food,” says Egge. “A course on food in U.S. history seeks to answer questions about how Americans have related to food production, processing and consumption throughout our past.”
Egge is especially looking forward to immersing her students in hands-on and experiential learning opportunities.
“Students can connect concepts and ideas honed in academic settings to real-world experiences, and I find those learning moments particularly meaningful,” she says.
Egge’s course, while designed to introduce students to the rigors of a college education, will also encourage them to grow personally.
“This class will challenge students to read carefully and construct arguments that rely on strong analysis and evidence,” she explains. “Food is an excellent topic for academic study, to be sure, but it is also a personal issue. How we think about food—how it resounds in our memories—is vital to understanding ourselves, our families and our culture, and this course will call for students to think diligently about their own histories of food.”
No matter which track students choose, they will all have an unparalleled opportunity to test-drive the college experience, both academically and socially. Students will live on campus in residence halls, take meals in the dining hall and attend classes taught by Centre faculty.
Registration is open through May 1. Interested students can apply and learn more about the program by clicking here.