Carnegie Mellon University

Pre-College photos of two students

January 06, 2020

CMU English Launches 'Writing & Culture' Pre-College Program

By Angela Januzzi

NOTE: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, CMU Pre-College residential and in-person instruction has been canceled for summer 2020.  Since the majority of the academic experience is predicated on the in-person curriculum, we have determined after careful review, that the Pre-College Writing & Culture program is unable to offer an online learning opportunity this summer.  The program will be offered in summer 2021.

In Summer 2021, The Department of English will host its first Pre-College Program at CMU: the summer Pre-College Program in Writing & Culture.

Over six weeks, high school students accepted into the Writing & Culture Pre-College Program will encounter the humanities inside and outside of the classroom. They will read and analyze literature and art, they will produce different creative genres, and they will examine how language, art and culture combine in spaces across the city of Pittsburgh. Students will also learn visual principles for document design, revising their own work in order to produce their own publication by the program’s end.

The Program aims to offer a rich, rigorous experience that allows students to work creative muscles and take critical risks that they might not regularly be able to exercise  within the constraints of a high school classroom environment. Students will also encounter activities to facilitate their thinking about potential trajectories for their own work and emergent professional lives. The program's Director is Danielle Zawodny Wetzel, Teaching Professor in English, and the program’s Assistant Director is Necia Werner, Associate Teaching Professor in English. Wetzel and Werner agree that “CMU English is doing something very unique with our Pre-College Program in that our award-winning faculty will be teaching these high school students. Several of our faculty have given us their time and thoughts on how to connect with students contemplating higher education in the humanities, and this support from the faculty will be the reason for the program’s success.”

To be eligible for Pre-College Writing & Culture students must: 

  • Be at least 16 years old by the program start date (to participate in the residential program).
  • Be a current sophomore or junior in high school.
  • Have an academic average of B (3.0/4.0) and/or have received a B or higher in their last English class.

More detail on the curriculum, application requirements, and goals the summer program can be found on the Writing & Culture Pre-College Program page, also above here. For further questions, contact Program Director, Professor Danielle Wetzel.