Learn. Engage. Prepare for college and a life beyond.
The Freedom and Citizenship college seminar and academic enrichment program began in 2009 as a partnership between Columbia’s Double Discovery Center and the Center for American Studies. Our goal is to introduce dedicated high school students to college-level work in the humanities and prepare them for lives as informed, responsible citizens.
Students attend a free four-week residential program in July where they take an intensive seminar course on political philosophy taught by Ivy League professors. The summer program is followed by a year-long civic leadership project where students research contemporary political issues and develop advocacy initiatives under the supervision of undergraduate teaching assistants.
In the autumn, students also benefit from college application guidance from the Double Discovery Center and mentoring from Columbia College undergraduates. Successful students receive letters of recommendation from their summer professors to accompany their college applications.
Shaun Abreu, a participant in the inaugural Freedom and Citizenship program of 2009, wrote an op-ed with Amber Moorer and Congressman Adriano Espaillat. Their essay defends the Upward Bound programs that President Trump's proposed budget would underfund through major cuts to TRIO spending.
Freedom and Citizenship's Casey Blake, Tamara Tweel, and Roosevelt Montás write: "Ownership of the democratic tradition is key to a civic education. [Political Philosopher Danielle] Allen understood that if students formed a personal relationship with a text, if they acquired it as a work that awakened their own civic intelligence, they would move from passive recipients of a heritage that they didn’t believe was theirs to active participants in shaping their country’s democratic future.
Undergraduate Teaching Fellow Sophie Wilkowske has received a Gates Cambridge Scholarship to pursue a an MPhil in political thought and intellectual history at the University of Cambridge. Sophie is one of thirty-six American students to receive this highly prestigious award. She intends to study the place of children in relation to early modern European economic thought.