The three-part summer program is an integral component of a Robertson Scholar's experience. Each summer is a transformative opportunity for scholars to seek their place in an increasingly diverse and complex world. Through a combination of domestic and international experiences, students work with program staff to design and implement comprehensive and challenging summer experiences that will complement their academic pursuits, allow them to explore and act on individual passions and inform their future careers. To learn more about our summers, read our students' summer blogs from New Orleans, Mississippi, Tanzania, Peru and New York.
The first summer, after freshman year, is the final component of a Robertson Scholar's first year. It builds upon the camaraderie and collaboration established during the first year by placing students in an environment where they can live and learn from each other as they engage in community-service placements in one of our four partner communities: Atlanta, Georgia; Cleveland, Mississippi; New Orleans, Louisiana; and Whitesburg, Kentucky.
Scholars live together and work individually on an eight-week project that furthers a social mission relevant to the partner community. Program- and student-organized events help scholars understand the unique historical, social, and cultural history of each location. We have built a network of contacts and mentors in each of our partner communities to help students get acclimated, provide strong leadership examples, and advise students on how best to immerse themselves in and contribute to their host communities.
The second summer, after sophomore year, allows students to take the next step towards fulfilling their potential, choosing between programs with varying degrees of collective and independent experiences. For a minimum of eight weeks, scholars can stretch boundaries via cultural immersion with one of our existing International Summer Programs (in Argentina, Vietnam, or South Africa); participate in the design and implementation of a small group project with community leaders ranging from sites as varied as Durham and Bangladesh; or conceive and implement an individual project whose goal is to explore a passion in a way they have not been able to do previously. During this summer, students improve their skills in a second language, experience an unfamiliar culture, or learn more about their role as global citizens. What ties these experiences together if the exploratory nature that will allow Robertson Scholars to go where their intellectual curiosity leads them, challenge themselves in unfamiliar environments, and learn about the myriad issues our world confronts.
In their third summer, after junior year, Robertson Scholars have the chance to act on a passion by designing and implementing a project in a location of their choosing that is the culmination of three years of experience they have accrued via their previous summer experiences, the other components of the Robertson Scholars Program, and their own extracurricular activities and coursework. This summer prepares students to launch their postgraduate life by providing them with the chance to act on a self-identified passion in a deliberate and meaningful way, taking concrete steps to realize a personal, professional, or academic goal. With help from the Assistant Director of Summer Enrichment and a faculty mentor, students are afforded a high degree of independence and are in charge of creating a budget, arranging accommodations, and identifying resources for the research, internship, or service project they plan to undertake.
Third-summer projects are as varied and diverse as the scholars themselves. Robertson Scholars have written short stories in Ireland supplemented by coursework and independent reading; conducted physics research at the world's largest particle accelerator in Switzerland; and helped launch an all-girls boarding school in Kenya.