The w!se Institute is an award-winning college and career-readiness initiative offered throughout the year to students in New York City high schools as school-day seminars and after-school work experiences. Students interact with nearly 300 volunteers who, as role models, inspire, motivate and guide students to develop an understanding of economics and finance, STEM, communications and arts and humanities to acquire essential academic and career skills.
In 2016, the w!se Institute added the groundbreaking EGE Initiative which provides an interdisciplinary educational approach to developing sustainability and new talent with the capacity to influence change. Students learn about subjects ranging from climate change, resource efficiency, clean energy, green careers and new technologies to address environmental, social and business challenges.
Picture this scene:
The high school corridors and classrooms are buzzing with excitement. It is w!se Institute day! Each student attends one of dozens of seminars the Institute offers, or heads to an internship or community service experience at one of the Institute’s many partner organizations. Volunteers from industry and government descend on the school to deliver seminars, each volunteer an expert in his or her field and brimming with creative energy. Budding entrepreneurs learn how to write successful business plans; young sous chefs prepare a dish that exemplifies healthy eating; and self-conscious students challenge themselves to build confidence through musical dance theater.
Seminars, Work Experiences and More
The Institute is integrated into a school’s curriculum and can offer an intensive one- to four-year learning experience. Each year, students are offered more than 100 one-hour, eight-week seminars, 80 hours of community service and 120-hour internships.
The credit-bearing seminars reinforce or enhance classroom instruction and are varied, thought-provoking and fun. Through the Institute, the school transforms into a learning laboratory each week as w!se brings in a community of volunteers and partners from private, public and nonprofit organizations.
A Summer Experience
Since 2003, w!se has also offered the Moody’s Summer Experience, through the w!se Institute for incoming freshman at the High School of Economics & Finance. The program successfully prepares students for high school and significantly improves their knowledge and skills. They perform better academically and attend school more regularly compared to nonparticipants. Additionally, Moody’s summer program participants had a mean first semester average GPA of 84.3% as compared to non-Moody’s Experience students who had an average GPA of 70.7%.
w!se Institute has been recognized by Business Week, the Freedoms Foundation, the New York State Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Education and the University of California, Berkeley.
“Through the w!se Institute, I was exposed to opportunities I hadn’t imagined were available to me at the time: a hands-on learning experience that led to a summer paid internship at a major financial institution and college and exam prep classes that turned inconceivable aspirations into very real possibilities. I truly believe if I had attended a high school without a program focused on individual development, I would not have pursued higher education.” Stephanie Perez-Gravesande, Project Manager | Alumni Relations, Citi