Two recent humanities grads have started a summer program to help high school students develop their humanities research skills.
Pre-Collegiate Humanities Research is a 10-week online class founded by John Yoon ’20 and Eliana Rozinov ’20, who both majored in comparative literature (Yoon also majored in German and was a College Scholar, while Rozinov had a double major in English and a minor in French).
“Generally, there are a lot of pre-college experiences for high school students in STEM fields, but not in the humanities,” Yoon said. “And it’s a perfect time to start this because college grads have been left with canceled jobs and high school students are trying to figure out what to do when school is out.”
They have recruited three other recent humanities graduates from Princeton and Johns Hopkins as instructors and hope to work with around 15 high school students this summer. Tuition will be on a sliding scale and determined during an informational interview. Deadline for applications is June 9.
The course will include meetings twice a week, as well as one-on-one sessions between students and instructors, where students will develop a scholarly paper, which they will present at the end of the summer.
“We’re going to start with their interests and then see how they can expand on those,” Rozinov said. “ Many students get to college and wonder what to major in and why. This will give them a chance to evaluate a variety of majors in literature, philosophy, languages, cultural studies and other disciplines they may not have been exposed to in high school.”
Students will gain a foundation to the research methods, questions and important figures in their disciplines. They will then formulate a question and complete a literature review in which they evaluate contemporary scholarship relevant to their topic before starting to write their paper.
Yoon said the process of completing his own honors thesis was one of the sparks for starting this project. “In the humanities, you have to develop your own method and course of study and that kind of independent research has helped me to grow,” he said.
Rozinov said the summer exploration might open up a new area of interest for the high school students. Personally, she stumbled upon her comparative literature major after one of her French professors suggested she read an essay by Cathy Caruth, the Frank H. T. Rhodes Professor of Humane Letters in the departments of English and comparative literature.
“Having that chance encounter ended up moving me in a different direction,” she said “In high school, there’s so much pressure on finding your life’s work. We hope we can help our students see there are so many possibilities for them to explore.”