The Environmental Studies Summer Youth Institute (ESSYI) at Hobart and William Smith Colleges is offering two full scholarships, funded by the Wyckoff Family Foundation, for students at Geneva High School. The two-week interdisciplinary program runs from Sunday, July 14 through Saturday, July 27.
ESSYI introduces students to environmental issues and interdisciplinary approaches for addressing those important topics. Class sessions range from explorations of environmental justice and ethics to arts and the environment taught by HWS faculty in the Biology, Economics, Philosophy, Art, and Architectural Studies, as well as other departments and programs.
In addition to classroom learning, students conduct research aboard the William Scandling research vessel, in streams and bogs, during a four-day camping trip in the Adirondacks, and in HWS laboratories.
Now in its 28th year, ESSYI’s summer program allows the 50 students accepted each year to earn one credit (four semester hours) over the two-week program. Since its inception, it has welcomed nearly 800 students from across the country and internationally. In 2018, students hailed from 14 states as well as Spain, China and India.
To help broaden the scope of participants, ESSYI has worked with partners to provide scholarships through collaborations with organizations such as the Wyckoff Family Foundation, Schuler Scholar Program, and the Christodora Foundation.
In 2018, Lauren DeVaney ’23 and Electra Laird received scholarship funding from the Wyckoff Family Foundation, an organization dedicated to the well-being of children in Geneva through grants for education, health, justice, and the arts. “I appreciated the opportunity to learn and be with like-minded students, a caring staff, and teachers who are passionate about what they do,” says Laird. “This experience helped me to consider a variety of possibilities for my future.”
For DeVaney, who will enter HWS this coming fall, ESSYI gave her a glimpse of what to expect as a college student, and opened her eyes to the complexities of environmental issues. “This program helps us to understand that our concerns are real,” she says. “Learning through hands-on activities in the field, and learning about specific issues in the classroom, will definitely [help us to] make a positive change in the world.”
Professor of Education and ESSYI Director Jim MaKinster says the benefits to students are two-fold. “First, students come to understand environmental problem solving as they develop an appreciation for interdisciplinary thinking,” he says. “We need to consider not only the scientific evidence, but the social, economic, political and ethical aspects in order to develop viable and meaningful solutions.”
A second benefit comes in allowing students to experience college life and gain familiarity with a collegiate curriculum. “Because students learn from 20 different HWS faculty from a wide variety of fields and disciplines, they leave with a much better understanding of what they might pursue in college,” says MaKinster.
Geneva High School students who are interested can apply on the HWS website. “We look forward to receiving applications from a wide array of candidates,” says MaKinster.