As a neighbor and community partner of the Geneva City School District, the Colleges continue to seek multi-faceted ways to contribute to the success and well-being of young people living in Geneva.
One such program, the two-week HWS Summer Academy, will embark on its 10th year of offering Geneva High School students of color the chance to take part in college-level courses. Founded by Professor of Chemistry Walter Bowyer and funded in part by The Wyckoff Family Foundation, the Summer Academy begins Monday, June 30.
Bowyer has been working with Geneva 2020 Summer of Service intern Ryan Mullaney ’16 to ensure the success of this year’s program. According to Mullaney, the Academy matches the ideals of the Geneva 2020 initiative by committing HWS faculty and students to a personal approach to educational outreach. Those involved in the Academy will have the opportunity to directly interact with and help young people living in the same community.
“Even one hour spent interacting with the students affects someone’s capacity for humanity in their work,” he says. “It’s so different to actually get in touch with someone and be considerate to their needs—that personal connection should be a driving force in academia.”
As an extension of Geneva 2020, a goal of the Summer Academy is to attempt to combat and alleviate educational inequities. The program adds another lens to the community outreach on the part of the Colleges.
“We’re thinking about social justice, and we have these very talented students who maybe haven’t had the same advantages as others,” Bowyer says. “They have the abilities but not yet the exposure to college. And if we’re neighbors to Geneva High School, we’ve got a responsibility in that.”
Several faculty members will lead courses for the students. Courses offered range from Professor of Dance Donna Davenport’s class on “Dance for Social Justice” to a brand-new course on architectural training led by Assistant Professor of Architectural Studies Gabriella D’Angelo as well as a study of literature and theater by Associate Professor of English Laurence Erussard. The program is also set to include workshops led by Admissions on the college application process as well as a seminar on community engaged leadership by Coordinator of Leadership Programs Kaylyn O’Brien and Aminata Dansoko ’15 of the HWS Centennial Center for Leadership.
“Our idea is to make sure that all of these students know how to apply to and choose colleges,” Bowyer says. “The first goal is for all of them to go to college and be excited about their personal growth and learning for learning’s sake.”
While these course offerings will be highly informative, they will also serve to give insights about the liberal arts. With classes to suit a variety of interests, the Summer Academy will encourage an intensive and critical analysis of issues relevant to young people.
“Local Geneva High School students have been curious about the campus, and now they are recognizing this is somewhere they do belong,” add Bowyer.