Native American High School Summer Program Curriculum


In this intensive three-week session, students attend lectures, participate in small-group, case-based learning sessions, do homework assignments, and present a final project demonstrating what they have learned and how it might be useful to their home communities. There are also extracurricular activities meant to enhance group cohesion and reward hard work.


An essential principle of the Program has been scrupulous respect for community jurisdiction. The communities select the students and teachers who will attend. They also determine the parietal rules for the students in their dormitories, within the constraints of university rules. The communities, in consultation with Program staff, have determined the subject area at the core of the academic program.  The students' final projects are selected by the students and their community teachers/chaperones. This attitude of honoring the communities' authority has created an important degree of trust between Harvard Medical School and the Native communities; it has been seminal in the development of a collegial and productive partnership. 


Program Goals

  • To help students experience the joy of learning and the effectiveness of cooperative learning in small groups
  • To provide Native students with a college-style course in a large urban university in order to make higher education feel more accessible
  • To increase the number of Native high school students attending leading colleges and universities
  • To provide professional development for community high school teachers in both biomedical science content and pedagogical methods
  • To empower students to be change-agents in their home communities
  • To increase students' knowledge of biomedical science, and to demonstrate the relevance of such knowledge to real-life problems


Final Presentations

The entire third week of the program is devoted to the development and presentation, by the students, of individual and group projects. During the development phase Program faculty are available to answer questions and provide advise. Students will give their presentations to an invited audience in a medical school seminar room. Each community group will create a separate presentation that focuses on its own community. Students are encouraged to devise creative ways to present their knowledge in their home communities.


Application Information

Summer 2019 Dates: June 2 – 22, 2019


Applications are received through Fort Peck and Hopi High Schools only. Each community is responsible for their own application process. Please fill out the attached application and contact Jane Riccardi at with any questions.


The 2019 deadline is February 28th, 2019.

© President and Fellows of Harvard College