The Steinbeck Youth Institute was founded in the fall of 2016 to provide students with an opportunity to engage in an in-depth study of the world of Steinbeck. This is a scholarly and experiential initiative rooted in academic inquiry and application modeled after, but separate from the National Endowment for the Humanities Steinbeck Institute.
Pete Barraza, an English teacher at Santa Monica High School and a member of the NEH Steinbeck Institute, created the program because “the privilege of learning and sharing through my role in the NEH Steinbeck Institute has provoked me to want to bring that experience to high school students whose voices are probably the most important in terms of future scholarship and inquiry.”
The annual program will begin with a 5-day trip to the Central Coast in California that includes doing archival work, special dinners with keynote speakers, excursions, and several seminar-based discussions driven by essential readings. In the spring, participating students will attempt to publish academic and creative research projects.
The eventual goal of The Steinbeck Youth Institute will be to expose students from across the country to the literary and physical landscapes captured in the works of Steinbeck and in the academic and creative works that continue to be written or produced.
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