Evanston high school parents look for educational opportunities at Northwestern


(Thea Showalter/The Daily Northwestern)

ETHS parents meet to discuss ETHS partnerships with NU. Opportunities for ETHS students include STEM programs, internships, and opportunities to connect with members of the NU community.

Thea Showalter, Reporter

Evanston Township High School parents met Wednesday to discuss opportunities for their children to work with Northwestern students and faculty through various programs in the ETHS-Northwestern partnership program.

The partnership program, which started in 2012, aims to “effectively connect the resources of both institutions in order to enhance the educational experience of students at both NU and ETHS,” according to the ETHS website. Programming includes courses and events led by NU students for ETHS students, among other opportunities.

Northwestern-ETHS partnership coordinator Kristen Perkins said the partnership program was not designed to act as an “admissions pipeline” to recruit students to NU, but rather to provide “equity of access” for all ETHS students to NU partnership programs.

“(The program) is unique because of the leadership at Northwestern that is really dedicated to community engagement in a different way,” Perkins said. “It’s community engagement that’s really based on a model that’s collaborative and not one that places the academic realm in an ivory tower above the community that it’s part of.”

ETHS parents said they were interested in how their high school students could participate in the partnership programs.

Zhiling Lan (McCormick ’02) said she attended the meeting to learn about opportunities for her son Alan, who is a sophomore at ETHS.

“He’s interested in computer science, and he’s already taken all the AP computer science courses,” Lan said. “He has two years left, so I’m really thinking that Northwestern could maybe offer some computer science courses to students here. That would be wonderful.”

Lan added that her son has participated in Northwestern’s Center for Talent Development programs in the past, and really liked Northwestern. CTD programs offer summer educational opportunities to interested students in grades 4-12.

Other parents, like Karen Goodgold, attended the meeting to get a sense of what opportunities their children may have over the summer and later in high school.

“Our interest is long term, so it’s okay if our specific needs don’t get met right now,” said Goodgold, who added that her daughter Deena was interested in biology and learning more about the partnership program.

Perkins presented information about other opportunities to ETHS parents, like the Women in STEM initiative, which introduces young women at ETHS to female STEM majors and professors at NU.

Other initiatives include STEAM, a program that combines STEM fields with art and design. Another initiative called Identity, Diversity, and Social Consciousness [reporter’s notes] gives students a head start on learning to discuss issues of race, sexuality and identity, which Perkins said is valuable looking ahead to college.

“For students who have their eye on Northwestern … all of these programs offer students ways to get to know Northwestern, to engage with Northwestern,” Perkins said, adding that the number of ETHS students attending NU has grown in recent years and is becoming more diverse.

“That tells us that because of these partnerships…we’ve got a more diverse group of students that are taking a look at Northwestern,” Perkins said. “And while all of these things are not the goal at all, we certainly take them as a measure of success for what we’re doing.”

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