Immersive Learning for Clemson Students

Coursework & Instruction

YLI Staff are educators for undergraduate and graduate coursework including the following programs: Youth Development Leadership, Nonprofit Leadership and Public Administration. In addition to leading in the classroom, YLI collaborates across colleges and departments. During the fall 2018 semester, a Senior Capstone course in the Clemson Department of Communication partnered with YLI to gain real-word experience. Assistant Professor Stephanie M. Pangborn, Ph.D. led a group of over 20 students in a “deep-dive” of select YLI’s programs, focusing on marginalized youth. The capstone course simulated a communications agency. After learning about YLI programs, the undergraduate students conducted research, utilizing academic journals and modern media. Based on their findings, they worked in teams to create dynamic strategies and tactics to enrich YLI programs, forge new partnerships and share successes with the outside world. These fresh ideas were packaged and prepped for a pitch to a “client.” The course culminated in a presentation from the students to the YLI Executive Director, Stephen Lance.

In Spring semester 2019, the students will put their plan into action and turn ideas into reality, leaving their mark on YLI programs.


Undergraduate Recruitment

As Clemson University climbs the U.S. News & World Report rankings, YLI programs serve as a pipeline to recruit top talent to undergraduate programs. The YLI C-CATS (Clemson’s Challenge for Academically Talented Students) program utilizes relationships with guidance counselors to nominate and recruit 9th and 10th grade students to experience Clemson for a weekend. 350 students in the top 10% of their 9th and 10th grade class visit Clemson each spring through C-CATS, with over 3000 over the course of the program.


Redefining SC Charter Schools

YLI’s charter schools were purpose-built using two unique innovative models for education. At both schools, South Carolina students learn soft skills, human resilience, and are better equipped to be successful college students. 336 middle school students attend one of two award-winning YLI public charter schools with a unique student-centered curriculum.

Youth Leadership Academy provides a combination of classroom and outdoor learning experiences to engage students, promote wellness and physical fitness, inspire creativity, foster critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and cultivate citizenship and leadership skills through rigorous and relevant content and projects in a natural setting. YLA recently received an Excellent Rating, the highest grade on the SC public school report card. The most recent testing data shows Youth Leadership Academy students scoring 20% above state wide schools on average on both SCPass and SC Ready scores.

At Tall Pines STEM Academy, science, technology, engineering, and math are intertwined in the school’s culture, preparing the middle school students to become the next generation of ethical leaders. Through meaningful field excursions, students are able to relate what they’re learning to real-world situations and see firsthand career opportunities that utilize subject-specific content standards. Authentic experiences outside the classroom promote critical thinking and problem solving as well as collaboration and teamwork.



698 Concord Church Road, Pickens, SC 29671




Charter Schools


(864) 898-4511