The Brilliant Club DC

  • DC



United States

About Us

The Brilliant Club-DC is a network of like-minded PhD students, universities, public schools, and community partners that have come together for a single purpose: to increase access to higher education for our underserved communities. To achieve our goals, we connect highly motivated students from underserved public schools to the academic expertise of PhD students. Through our university-style tutorials, our PhD mentors teach students to think like cutting edge researchers, while our university partnerships and workshops help students navigate the college admissions process.

A Little History:

The Brilliant Club was founded in 2011 in London, UK, by two teachers who left their jobs in inner-city classrooms to build a non-profit organization that mobilizes the PhD community to address educational disadvantage and widen access to selective universities. Since its inception, the Brilliant Club has grown substantially, working with over 150 schools in London and across England, and placed over 250 PhD students and Post-doctoral researchers to work with over 5000 school pupils.

Moving Across the Atlantic:

Dr. Tania Nguyen was one of The Brilliant Club’s first mentors. Struck by the impact and rapid growth of the UK program, Tania brought the initiative to American soil when she moved her research career from Oxford University to Washington, DC. She launched the Brilliant Club-DC in January 2015 in partnership with a dozen students from Eastern Senior High School and their community partner, Companies for Causes.

The pilot program saw a dozen 11th grade students participate in a commencement ceremony at Georgetown University and successfully complete six weeks of academically rigorous tutorials. Three talented PhD mentors shared their areas of expertise, which ranged from American politics to environmental sensing in bacteria.

After a successful pilot round, the Brilliant Club is looking to expand in DC public schools. We aim to start tutorials at the high school and middle school level across the district, so that every willing student can access the expertise of a PhD mentor.

Get Involved as a PhD Mentor:

To incentivize good teaching practices and greater engagement with the program, we provide our PhD tutors with stipends. Contingent on our fundraising campaign, we aim to provide our tutors with up to $500 stipends for 4 in-school tutorials and 2 university workshops.

In partnership with Companies for Causes, our non-profit fiscal sponsor, we hope you will join the Brilliant Club in pursuing our mission of fostering cultures of excellence in our public schools and widening access to higher education in our underserved communities.

If you have any questions about our program or how to get involved, please contact Dr. Tania Nguyen at