Envoys High School Program

CWRU Pipeline Initiative to Develop Tomorrow’s Engineers and Scientists

The purpose of the Envoys Program is to increase access and persistence in STEM at CWRU for underrepresented minority students from the Cleveland and East Cleveland public schools.

Envoys is an immersive high school STEM education, training and college preparatory program. It includes:

  • Three years and three summers of progressive and intensive research, mentorship and STEM coursework offered free of charge to students starting in grade 10 through grade 12.

  • Coursework in chemistry, physics, math, engineering design and polymer science.

  • Real-world laboratory research under the guidance of a graduate student mentor.

  • Wrap-around supports, including industry mentors, leadership classes, tutoring and college-ready workshops.

  • An annual stipend to help prevent Envoys students from having to work part-time.

  • 1,400+ hours of individualized instruction above the normal high school curriculum.

Envoys, an innovative program for high school students, was developed at Case Western Reserve University as a vehicle for broadening participation in STEM fields through the NSF Science and Technology Center (STC) in Layered Polymeric Systems (CLiPS). The program continues in operation at CWRU with support from the university and investment from individual benefactors and philanthropic foundations. Special thanks to Mark Gelfand and the Gelfand Foundation for their support.

Connecting with Industry Partners

ENVOYS students also benefit from support of long-standing industry partnerships. For example, Case Western Reserve's nearly decade-long partnership with Underwriters Laboratories has resulted in scientists and students coming together to advance the state of the art in energy, fire science, and materials to train a new generation of diverse, curious, and engaged STEM leaders in the process.

Watch and learn more about this partnership. 

The program has exceeded expectations:

  • Enrolled 80 students since 2006

  • 100% of graduating Envoys students have matriculated to college

  • More than 88% in STEM fields

  • 91% are African-American or Hispanic

  • Increased the underrepresented minority pipeline to CWRU

  • To-date, 13 Envoys matriculated to CWRU, nine have graduated, one earned a PhD in Macromolecular Science & Engineering, and three are currently undergraduates 

To learn more about the Envoys program, contact Ebony Hood, director of engineering for the Gelfand STEM Center, at exh416@case.edu.


Taneisha Deans, Envoys Class of 2008

“Until I became an Envoy, I never envisioned myself going for a PhD. Throughout my time in the program I was always encouraged by the CLiPS faculty and staff to go beyond what was normally expected from a CMSD student. Now, as a PhD candidate in Macro, I get to give back to the program by being a mentor to an Envoy student and also by contributing to the CWRU community as a whole.” Taneisha earned her BS in Macromolecular Science and Engineering at CWRU in 2012 and a PhD in Polymer Science in 2017.

Envoy from MC2STEM High School

“My graduate mentor has become a role model for me. He has taught me so much academically and about responsibility. His instruction in the lab has made my love for science enlarge even further and made me want to pursue research in college.”

Envoy from Shaw High School

“I have learned the importance of time management, presentation, and how it feels to work in a lab. I have developed my presentation and communication skills. Starting the Envoys program, I was very anti-social and had no idea how I would be able to present something. But now I can say the program has helped me with that and in the learning field.”

Envoys parent

“The leadership, personal and professional assistance that my son received has provided him with an educational future exceeding anything we could ask or think.”

Envoys graduate student mentor

“Since the beginning of the program, my [mentee’s] writing and communication skills have increased dramatically. This was the area that she struggled with the most. She has done an excellent job the last couple times she has presented in front of her peers.”