Core Teams

Friends’ Central’s Distinguished Lecture Series and Core Team curriculum seeks to inspire the next generation of writers, educators, scientists, researchers, policy makers, and thinkers by bringing renowned scholars to campus for courses and a public lecture.


A Core Team of Friends' Central students prepares for the lectures in advance and participates in special classes and workshops throughout the year, both on campus and at the lecturer's home institution as part of the Distinguished Visiting Humanist and Scientist Programs. Core teams represent the very best of scholarship and inquiry. There are no prerequisites, no grades, no credit, yet each fall, students in grades 9-12 join the humanities and or science core teams because they are interested and want to learn more. Our teachers create a curriculum based on the work of the visiting scholars and core teams meet weekly to prepare for their visits. The core teams are open to any interested student, faculty, or staff member, and each week, you will find about 100 Upper School students meeting with either the Humanities or Science Core team in discussing readings, lectures, or other sources to further their understanding of the scholars’ work.

Sparking intellectual passion and a spirit of inquiry are central to our mission and vision. Bringing scholars who are at the very top of their fields to Friends’ Central to work with our students is a natural extension of the scholarship they engage with every day with our own talented and passionate faculty. Our distinguished visitors come from major universities, research centers, and artistic hubs. In the last few years, Friends’ Central’s Distinguished Visiting Scientist program has hosted marine scientist and author Edie Widder from the Ocean Research & Conservation Association; J. Marshall Shepherd, international weather and climate expert and professor at the University of Georgia; Helen White, geochemist and associate professor at Haverford College; and Rebecca Saxe, cognitive neuroscientist and MIT professor. In that same time frame, the Humanities Core Team has welcomed Jon Grinspan ’02, Curator of Political History at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History; Daniel Immerwahr ’98, author and professor at Northwestern University; and novelist and Haverford College professor Asali Solomon. The Justice Core Team has hosted filmmaker and activist André Robert Lee; Dr. Steve Larson, physician and co-founder of Puentes de Salud, and Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, a pediatrician whose research exposed the Flint water crisis. Each visitor has enriched our students’ experience and, through their public lectures, shared Friends’ Central’s intellectual fire with the public.

Visit our Distinguished Lecture Series page for more details.