Policy and Politics Institute

Come learn how to use the power that is already yours, and help shape the laws and the policies that govern you, your community,  state and nation!

The Policy and Politics Institute offered in Winston-Salem, North Carolina is a week-long opportunity where students will learn about the democratic republic, their constitutional rights, and the powers that shape current laws. Students will learn about the efficacy of actually being empowered, which comes from the experience of doing politics effectively with others. Students will practice the art of thinking clearly, speaking persuasively, acting ethically, and working in collaboration with others. 

*The above content is representative of the Summer Immersion Program on-campus experience.

At a Glance


Dates: June 29 – July 2, 2020 or July 6 – 9, 2020

*Both weeks of the Online Policy and Politics Institute are closed for registration.

Eligibility: Rising sophomores, juniors and seniors in high school and incoming college freshmen

Program Length: 4-day sessions (Mon. – Thurs.)

Daily Hours: 1:00 – 4:30 PM (EST)

Program Tuition: $700

Location: Online

*Courses carry no secondary school or college credit. Upon completion of the program, an official Wake Forest University certificate of achievement will be awarded to all Policy and Politics Institute participants.

What You’ll Experience

Topics Covered

  • Central Ideas of a Democratic Society – Liberty, Equality, Justice and Diversity
  • Citizenship Rights and Human Rights
  • U.S. Constitution
  • Political Parties and Ideologies
  • Political Messaging in the Media
  • Public Policy

Virtual Experience:

  • Forsyth County School Board Member Panel
  • Speak with leaders of education, immigration and other nonprofit organizations
  • Meetings with state legislators
  • Hear from prominent Wake Forest Alumni working in the fields of law and government
  • Analyze political messaging in the media
  • Discuss and debate hot topics in today’s political arena

*Hands-on experiences are subject to change.

Policy and Politics Institute Costs:

Online | $700

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A Day in the Life

  • 1:00 PM – Sign-on
  • 1:05 PM – Norms surrounding online learning
  • 1:10 PM – Deacon Dive In- Welcome to Wake Forest University!
  • 1:15 PM – Online Icebreaker – Get to Know Our Cohort
  • 1:30 PM – Welcome from Academic Leader- Professor Michael Pisapia
  • 1:40 PM – Session 1 Topic: What are Rights?
  • 2:10 PM – Session 1 – Q&A  
  • 2:25 PM – Break
  • 2:30 PM – Session 2 Topic: Leadership Panel: Elected Officials in Partionship
  • 3:00 PM – Session 2 – Q&A
  • 3:15 PM – Academic Leader Daily Challenge, Whole Group Discussion – Polls, Q&A
  • 3:30 PM – Deacon Discussion- Wake Forest Student Mentors, Q&A
  • 4:30 PM – Wrap Up from Academic Leader

*This “A Day in the Life” sample schedule is subject to change. 

Dates for Summer 2021 will be announced on November 1, 2020.

Dr. Michael Callaghan Pisapia

Academic Leader, Policy and Politics Institute

Michael Callaghan Pisapia graduated from Amherst College with a B.A. in Political and Social Thought and the University of Wisconsin, Madison with a Ph.D. in political science. A professor at Wake Forest University, Michael teaches courses on American democracy and political philosophy. He is a recipient of the American Political Science Association’s William Anderson Award and the Carrie Chapman Catt Prize for scholarship on women and politics, and he is completing a book manuscript titled, Educating the Nation: Women’s Empowerment and the Shape of American Federalism. Michael loves teaching, playing music, community engagement, and above all, good faith conversations across the political aisle. He lives in Winston-Salem with his wife Page and their five children, Sophia (12), Darian (10), Amalia (8), Elliot (4), and Crozer (1.5).