The main purpose of the Weill Cornell Youth Scholars Program (WCYSP) is to expose underprivileged, underrepresented students, especially from inner city high schools, to the vast educational resources and opportunities at Weill Cornell Medical College and New York Presbyterian Hospital. Many of these high schools have exceptionally high drop out rates that coincide with low percentages of graduates that go on to attend a four-year university. By developing early experiences in medicine, students can develop appropriate attitudes towards their education, interpersonal skills and, more importantly, confidence in themselves to succeed academically. The WCYSP curriculum is designed to educate, inspire and groom participants for personal and professional success. We seek to address some of the weaknesses that prevent many inner-city students from performing well at the college level through an innovative format that emphasizes critical reading and writing. Our daily Problem Based Learning (PBL) sessions provide a forum for youth scholars to interact with one another and build their teamwork abilities. All high school students that completed the program reported that it had a significant impact on their personal motivation to pursue a career in science or medicine and are more motivated to take more challenging courses in high school. Weill Cornell medical students, residents and attending physicians serve as mentors and teachers in the program. Volunteer teachers can choose one or more topics and will be given lecture notes and PowerPoint slides that are already prepared for each topic. The program runs for one month every July from Tuesday to Friday. Typically, each lecturer will give one to two one-hour lectures, but if they choose they can volunteer more of their time. We also recruit new leadership every year to plan the next summer's program under the guidance of leaders from the previous year.
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