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Flagler College receives Florida Humanities grant to hold summer program for high school students

Dec 20, 2017

High school students from across the nation and our state will have the opportunity to learn about the academic disciplines of the humanities at Flagler College, specifically focused on St. Augustine, thanks to a $20,000 grant from the Florida Humanities Council.

The week-long residential academic seminar, titled “Pirates, Protest and Preservation: Exploring the Stories of St. Augustine,” will offer a preview of college life for 25 high school students and explore the nation’s oldest city through history, literature, women’s studies, Latin American Studies, rhetoric and ethics. Students will also experience the field of environmental science with a coastal tour of the town’s reported discovery site. The seminar, taught by Flagler faculty, will take place from June 10-16.

“Students have been choosing humanities as a major in college less and less,” said Jay Szczepanski, who teaches in the English Department and co-wrote the grant with Stephanie Burgess, assistant director of College Relations. “Today we see more of a focus on the STEM [science, technology, engineering and math] disciplines, but students need to understand that studying in the humanities helps make them broader thinkers and better citizens. It also puts them more in control of their lives in the world.”

As part of the seminar, students will participate in lectures, relevant field trips, daily debriefings and engage in typical college activities, such as living in a residence hall and eating meals in Flagler’s historic Dining Hall. Field trips will include visiting sites such as the town’s “City Gates,” Fort Matanzas, St. Augustine’s coquina quarry on Anastasia Island and Lincolnville.

The seminar’s curriculum was developed collaboratively with participating Flagler faculty, including Szczepanski, also director of the college’s Learning Resource Center; Alexandra Asbille, adjunct professor of Women’s Studies; Maria Jose Maguire, assistant professor of Spanish and Latin American Studies; Ed McGinley, assistant professor of Natural Sciences; Mark Huelsbeck, assistant professor of Communication and Documentary Production; Kristine Warrenburg-Rome, associate professor of Rhetoric and Communication; and J. Michael Butler, professor of History.

Funds for the summer seminar are provided by the Florida Humanities Council through a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Flagler College is one of three institutions to receive the funding, which will help pay for costs associated with faculty/staff, supplies, meals and student field trips. The University of Florida and Eckerd College are the other recipients. Szczepanski said Flagler was honored to be selected for the grant.

“We support Florida Humanities Council’s mission to encourage high school students to select a humanities discipline as a focus of study,” he said. “If we can help, we’re all for it. We hope by the time students complete this seminar that we’ve convinced them of the tangible and intangible rewards that study in the humanities provides.”

The summer seminar will be open to high school sophomores and juniors. The cost is $400, and three to five scholarships will be available to need-based students. For more information on the seminar, contact Stephanie Burgess at For more information on the Florida Humanities Council, visit

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