Empower yourself and get engaged to help shape the policies that govern our community, our state and the nation!

The Wake Forest Summer Immersion Policy and Politics Institute is an unforgettable experience for high school students. During the institute students will learn about American democracy, constitutional rights, international politics, and how elections shape current laws. Students will engage with each other during class, becoming empowered citizens as they discuss and develop a public policy plan. Working collaboratively, they will consider how everyday citizens can make change happen, and practice the art of persuading others.

At a Glance

2024 Dates: Week of July 7 – 12* and week of July 14 – 19

*A waitlist has been implemented for the July 7 – 12 session of the 2024 Policy and Politics Institute.

Program Length: Sunday – Friday

Who Can Apply?Current 9th – 12th grade students

Tuition: $2,800

Location: Winston-Salem, NC – Wake Forest University Campus

Online Immersion Program: Study online with Wake Forest anywhere, anytime, at your own pace.

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

What You’ll Experience

Topics Covered

  • Basic Ideas of Democracy: Liberty, Equality, Justice, and Diversity
  • Basic Ideas of International Politics: Nation-States, Sovereignty, and Human rights
  • Political Parties and Polarization
  • Organizing to Influence Public Policy 

Hands-On Experiences:

  • Speak with policy leaders
  • Hear from Wake Forest alumni working in the fields of law and government
  • Analyze political messaging in the media
  • Discuss and debate hot topics in domestic and foreign policy
  • Develop a public policy proposal and plan to influence the legislative process

*Hands-on experiences are subject to change.

A Day in the Life

Typical Daily Schedule
  • 8:00 – Morning Meeting and Breakfast
  • 9:00 am – Welcome from Dr. Michael Pisapia and Program Ambassadors
  • 9:30 am – Discussion: Political Ideologies
  • 10:30 am  – Guest Speaker: Federal Judge 
  • 12:00 pm – Lunch
  • 1:00 pm – Discussion: Democracy and the Presidential Election
  • 2:00 pm – Research – Policy Project 
  • 3:30 pm – Career Panel: Working in Politics
  • 5:00 pm – Debrief for Next Day
  • 5:30 pm – Dinner
  • 6:30 pm – Evening Activities
  • 7:30 pm – Free Time
  • 9:00 pm – Prepare for Bed
  • 10:00 pm – Lights Out

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

Meet Your Academic Leader

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. As an Assistant professor at Wake Forest University, Michael taught 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. He is a previous Secretary and active member of the North Carolina Political Science Association. He currently teaches Civics, Economics, Philosophy and social science AP courses at The North Carolina Leadership Academy. 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 (17), Darian (15), Amalia (13), Elliot (9), and Crozer (7).