Cowen Institute helps high schoolers advance

April 5, 2012 5:41 AM

Michael Celone

Each year the Cowen Institute’s AdvanceNOLA program gives several Tulane graduate students the opportunity to positively impact the lives of New Orleans high school students.


In 2008, a $1.6 million grant from the ExxonMobil Foundation allowed the Cowen Institute to implement AdvanceNOLA, an Advanced Placement (AP) training and incentive program in several high schools throughout the city.  The purpose of the program is to establish AP courses, develop mentoring opportunities for teachers, principals and counselors, and foster an academic environment that emphasized higher education.

“As the program evolved, we recognized that we needed coordinators to work on school sites so we hired graduate students for that purpose,” says Emily Remington, assistant director.  

To strengthen AdvanceNOLA, and thanks to funding from James and Susan Patterson, the Cowen Institute began to hire graduate students to work 20 hours each week in one of four partner high schools: Walker, Karr, Sci High or Sci Academy. These Cowen Scholars are responsible for a variety of activities including SAT/ACT prep classes, tutoring, developing college fairs, implementing mock AP exams and helping students gain a better understanding of the college process. Graduate students come from a variety of Tulane disciplines including law, public health, international development and business.  

“The major requirement is that you have previous experience living, working or volunteering in a high-needs community,” says Remington. Potential Cowen Scholars must possess strong organizational skills and a proactive attitude, she says, because they are essentially developing their jobs as they go along.  

The success of AdvanceNOLA and the Cowen Scholars is measurable in the number of high school students who receive qualifying AP scores, Remington says. This number has increased from one student in 2009 to 19 students in 2011.  More than 30 students are expected to obtain a qualifying score for 2012.  

The application deadline to become a Cowen Scholar for the 2012-2013 school year is April 9.

Michael Celone is a junior majoring in public health.

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Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000