Rise to FAME
UD program helps underrepresented students acclimate to college life
12:24 p.m., Sept. 30, 2013--Preparing for higher education in the 21st century takes more than a desire to attend college. This is particularly true for high school students who want to pursue degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), where course loads are demanding.
To help rising 11th and 12th grade underrepresented students succeed, the 33rd annual FAME/University of Delaware Summer Residential Program this year hosted 24 students from around the country to experience college life. While most students are from the tri-state area, some traveled from as far away as the Virgin Islands, California, North Carolina and, this year, Puerto Rico.
Partnership for change
Throughout the four-week program, participants lived on campus while taking rigorous high school level courses focused on mathematics and science. Rising 11th grade students took Algebra II or pre-calculus, chemistry, English and chemistry technology courses, while rising 12th grade students were exposed to pre-calculus/calculus, physics, English, and engineering design courses.
Students also completed a capstone research project on a problem that could be addressed through science and mathematics and then presented their findings at the end of the program.
“By reinforcing core subjects and covering courses they will take this school year at an accelerated pace, we help students prepare for the rigors of college and provide the fundamental knowledge they need to consider pursuing a STEM degree,” said program director Marianne Johnson.
In addition to classes, participants interacted with current UD students through panel discussions, received assistance in college selection, had access to personal/professional workshops and learned about the varied engineering and science professions available after graduation, Johnson said.
When rising senior Tauheed Baukman from Parkway Center City High School in Philadelphia heard about the program, he said he was attracted to the idea of living on campus while taking classes.
“I was ecstatic because not only would I be attending a program focusing on my major but I would also be staying on campus and getting my first sense of the college experience,” he said. “The most important thing I gained from my time at UD was time management, since I notice I use my time much more effectively now.”
To ensure participants get the most out of the program, applicants are asked to submit a recommendation letter from their teacher and complete a one-page essay, have a minimum grade of B or better in college preparatory classes, and include other academic documents.
Now back in school after attending the program, Johnson said she hopes that this year’s participants will aspire to find a profession in the STEM fields they enjoy. By doing so, “they will become role models for a diverse scientific community,” she said.