High School Students

The Dickens Project maintains an ongoing partnership with the USC Neighborhood Academic Initiative. Under the terms of this partnership, the Friends of the Dickens Project support a scholarship program that brings several NAI students and their teachers to the annual Dickens Universe conference in Santa Cruz. The Friends provide funding to purchase books for two senior English classes at NAI where the featured novel for the next Universe will be studied. Students in these classes write an essay on the featured novel, and the authors of the best essays are selected to receive full scholarships to attend the following summer’s Dickens Universe conference.


USC NAI is a seven-year college prep program catered to students attending public school in South and East Los Angeles. Students who remain in good standing within the program from sixth grade to graduation are eligible for full scholarships to USC. Since its first graduating class in 1997, nearly 1,000 students have completed USC NAI, 83 percent of whom were enrolled as freshmen at four-year universities.


The USC NAI program culminates when students reach their senior year. In partnership with the Dickens Project, seniors read and study the assigned Victorian novel of that year’s Dickens Universe conference. The immersive LitLab experience affords students the opportunity to work with university faculty and students, and to extend their learning beyond the classroom as they take field trips, learn from guest speakers, participate in advanced literary intensives, and take part in visual and performing arts adaptations.

You can learn more about USC NAI and LitLab by visiting litlab.ucsc.edu.

Students rehearsing for their 2018 production, "Little Dorrit"
Students rehearsing for their 2018 production, "Little Dorrit"

See Also