Young students in Derry encouraged to apply for special Yale University programme

Yale Young Global Scholars (YYGS) in the U.S.A. is an academic enrichment programme for outstanding secondary or grammar school students from around the world

Young students in Derry encouraged to apply for special Yale University programme

Yale University is a private Ivy League research university in New Haven, Connecticut.

Young students in Derry have been encouraged to apply for an ‘unparalleled academic and leadership’ programme at one of the world’s most prestigious universities.

Yale Young Global Scholars (YYGS) in the United States of America is an academic enrichment programme for outstanding secondary or grammar school students from around the world.

Each summer, students from over 130 countries participate in one interdisciplinary, two-week session.

One pupil from St Columb’s College attended an online course during the summer and other local students are marked down to attend in summer 2021.

Usually the session takes place at Yale’s historic campus, however, this coming summer the session might be virtual because of the pandemic.

Those keen to apply have to be in their third-to-last or second-to-last year of secondary or grammar school and be at least 16 years old by July 19, 2021.

Addressing aspiring applicants at the information session will be alumni from this summer’s programme, John Augustine Joseph from St Columb’s College in Derry and Liam Hannigan from Letterkenny.

Bonnie Weir, lecturer in the department of Political Science at Yale, has been working alongside Ami Sobin, one of the directors of Yale Young Global Scholars, to expand recruitment to the summer programme to schools throughout Northern Ireland, in the Republic of Ireland and Scotland.

Photo: Bonnie Weir, Ami Sobin, Whitney Green (Director of international recruitment for Columbia university), and Keith Light (director of international admissions for Yale University). In Derry in October 2019 during a recruitment visit.

Ms Sobin visited Derry last October to hold information sessions on YYGS.

The summer 2020 programme was run remotely because of the pandemic. 

YYGS therefore offered a pilot virtual programme, ‘YYGS Connect’, which maintained core academic and social programme components, reduced tuition costs, and offered need-based financial aid to all eligible students.


Ms Weir said she hopes that the summer programme furthers the student’s interest in learning with peers from around the world.

“Ami and I would be committed to expanding educational opportunities for young people especially in areas that historically have had less access to higher education, and that’s part of the core mission of Yale Young Global Scholars,” she added.

Over 1,200 students participated in YYGS Connect, representing over 130 countries - including 47 U.S. states and territories.

Ms Sobin explained: “Due to Covid, we were only able to admit juniors - U.S. equivalent to 11th grade students - for 2020, so we deferred all sophomores - U.S. equivalent to 10th grade - to 2021.

“We had one student from Derry attend, and he came to us from St Columb's College.

“The good news there is that we have a few Derry students already in the mix for 2021 since they were sophomores this past summer.

“The schools that are represented in our applicant pool are: St Columb's College, Foyle And Londonderry College, Thornhill College, St Mary's College, Lumen Christi College and St Brigid’s College.”


Speaking about his own experience, St. Columb’s pupil, John Augustine Joseph (above) said YYGS Connect was a ‘great experience’.

He first heard about the programme in early 2019 and applied later than year when he was placed on the waiting list.

Around September 2019, Ms Sobin gave a presentation at St Columb’s College when pupils learned more about it.

There was also a seminar at the Guildhall.

John applied Early Decision for YYGS 2020, which means that you get your offer to join the programme in December instead of April.

That is the route he would recommend for any young people interested in applying.

Sharing his experience of the programme, John said: “I made friends from all over the world, with whom I am still in touch, and the seminars, lectures, and workshops that I took part in, widened my horizon.

“Even though I did the entire 2-week programme from a computer screen in my house, I still thought it was worth the effort.

“Overall, it was a pretty academic programme, but I got plenty of time to talk to other students even though it was on Zoom, through the family group sessions.

“The lectures were great as well. There was one lecture on how Nurses were taught how to identify sounds in the body, such as whether a particular sound was a bowel movement or just a breath.

“Then there were the seminars, which you got to choose. Since I was in the STEM course, our selection of seminars ranged from the Philosophy of Biology to the past and future of Intelligence.

“One of the seminars I did was on the Biology behind exercise, and even though I did not do Biology for A-Level, the content was not difficult to comprehend. Overall, by the end of the programme, I felt that it could have been longer.”

“I met new people. The academic component of the programme challenged me, and I was able to learn and understand new perspectives.

“During the programme, I had to do courses that I had no background, but I always got something useful that I could relate to my passions out of it.”

John hopes to study Particle or Quantum Physics in the future and studying in America is a ‘great opportunity’ he is open to exploring.

Please register for Yale Young Global Scholars: Online Information Session plus Q+A on Nov 5, 2020 7:00PM GMT at:


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