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Sophomore Seminar (TASS) | General Information

This summer, 54 intellectually curious high school sophomores ("rising juniors") will participate in one of three challenging six-week college-level seminars on topics related to Critical Black and Ethnic Studies. The seminars will be held at Cornell University, Indiana University, and the University of Michigan.



Telluride works with university faculty to create exciting courses designed to inspire young people to explore the histories, politics and cultural experiences of people of African descent and a variety of other topics.  Because we believe that students should have the opportunity to pursue their ideals, we cover all the program costs, including tuition, books, room and board, field trips, and facilities fees.

What do TASSers* do?

Lots! If you participate in TASS, you will attend a three-hour seminar each day, which will typically include discussions, small-group work, lectures by faculty and other activities.  You will be expected to prepare for class and write several papers during the summer.  Outside seminar, you will present a topic of your choice in the public speaking program and hear lectures from guest professors visiting the TASS house.  Writing workshops, field trips, and frequent cultural activities round out the summer.  You will also enjoy the company and intellectual stimulation of other talented students.

(*TASS students, that is!)

Who teaches TASS?

Two accomplished university scholars from the host institution (Indiana University, Cornell University or the University of Michigan) lead each seminar.  All of our faculty are very enthusiastic about the program and the opportunity it gives them to work with talented high school students;  indeed, many rank the TASS as one of their most rewarding experiences.

In addition to the faculty, there will be two factota assigned to each program;  they are college students, many of whom attended TASS themselves.  The factota live with the students, working with them on their critical reading and writing skills and helping them create a tightly knit intellectual and social community in which the students aid each other in their academic work.


What will I get out of TASS?


At the TASS, you will develop the skills you'll need to thrive in a college-level environment. You will improve your reading, writing, speaking, and critical thinking skills as you explore your interests in and out of the seminar. There are no grades assigned by the program, and no college credits are given.

So who pays for all this?

We do, with the support of the institutions that host the programs. For you, the participant, the program is completely free.  Additionally, students who demonstrate financial need can request help with travel costs to and from the program.  We also offer stipends of up to $500 to replace summer work earnings for students who would otherwise be unable to attend a summer program.

The programs are made possible in part by the bequest of Frank Monaghan in honor of Elmer M. "Johnny" Johnson and George Lincoln Burr. Johnny Johnson joined Telluride Association in 1915 and later served as Chancellor of Telluride Association from 1930-1960. George Burr was a Cornell librarian from 1890-1922 and variously a Cornell professor of ancient, medieval, and modern history. He lived at Telluride House as a faculty fellow from 1915-1938.
Telluride Association — 100 Years & Growing