Cornerstone Summer Institute


In light of the ongoing pandemic, the state of Virginia issuing a stay-at-home order that is in place until June, and UVA’s decision to cancel all in-person programming at the university through June 30, we are sorry to announce that the 2020 Cornerstone Summer Institute has been cancelled.
In keeping with that mandate prohibiting any in-person summer programs through June 30, we have to cancel this year’s Cornerstone Summer Institute. We do expect the camp will run again next year and encourage this year’s applicants to simply save their materials and submit them again next spring. In the meantime, we hope everyone is safe and practicing social distancing as we work together to flatten the pandemic curve.

The Cornerstone Summer Institute provides rising high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors with the opportunity to engage in historical investigation, archaeological excavation, and community engagement in order to learn and develop thinking skills that will prepare them for success in college and beyond.

Designed by members of the University of Virginia President’s Commission on Slavery and the University, the institute encourages critical thinking while students learn about both the University’s past and the modern-day legacies of slavery. Students explore the early history of the University by getting hands-on experience with archival records, by rolling up their sleeves on an archaeological dig where enslaved people lived and worked, and by learning–through community engagement–how the U.Va. story had an impact on the surrounding area. Students, in addition to collegiate skill-building, get the full U.Va. experience–living in dorms, eating in dining halls, meeting new friends, and exploring the Jefferson-designed school.
Guided by top faculty and a team of U.Va. students, participants explore the university, Charlottesville, and area landmarks, including Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello and James Madison’s Montpelier. Every year, students leave the camp with a wealth of new knowledge, a passion for history, friends from across the country, and lasting memories. Watch students talk about their CSI experiences in this short video.

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis from during the spring until the camp is full. The deadline for applying is April 1 each year.

Some financial aid is available for students with demonstrated need. If you have questions about the program, please contact Ashley Schmidt, Ph.D., at
 The inaugural camp ran from June 26 to July 1, 2016. To learn about the 2016 camp, please read this CSI post. The 2017 camp ran June 25-June 30, 2017, with 35 students participating.
 The 2020 camp has been canceled.

Are you a current UVA student who would like to work as a counselor? CLICK HERE to apply for a counselor position.

Questions about the Cornerstone Summer Institute? Please contact Ashley Schmidt, Ph.D., at

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The University of Virginia does not discriminate on the basis of age, color, disability, gender identity, marital status, national or ethnic origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, veteran status, and family medical or genetic information, in its programs and activities as required by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, the Governor’s Executive Order Number One (2018), and other applicable statutes and University policies. The University of Virginia prohibits sexual and gender-based harassment, including sexual assault, and other forms of inter-personal violence. You can read the full statement at Notice of Non-Discrimination and Equal Opportunity.

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