More than 20 middle and high school-aged young women from Syracuse area schools visited the Hobart and William Smith campus on Monday to get a taste of college life, through Syracuse University’s Science and Technology Entry Program (STEP).
STEP participants attend schools within the urban Syracuse area, four of the five suburban communities, charter schools, and area private and parochial schools. The program aims to help prepare students in grades 7-12 for the rigorous demands of an academic future in math and science.
Amber Green, a senior at Corcoran High School and a member of STEP since 7th grade, said that STEP has been helpful-and not just in preparing for college but in other opportunities such as the trip to Hobart and William Smith and meeting William Smith Dean Cerri Banks.
STEP uses a holistic approach to learning by placing special emphasis on real life applications in core academic subjects through hands-on activities. Workshops and cultural awareness programs both on campus and in the community are included as enrichment activities. Students have the opportunity to enroll in a Kaplan PSAT/SAT course, a research scholars program, a mentoring program, and a professional development series that teaches students interviewing and networking skills.
The key component of the program is the Saturday Learning Academy, which focuses on advising, counseling, after-school and Saturday tutorials, field trips, college tours, and various clubs such as chess, music sound production, and leadership through culture.
But this week, STEP participants got a unique chance to visit the HWS campus when classes were in full swing.
After a morning tour of campus and an information session, the group met at Dean Banks’s house for lunch and conversation with students, faculty and staff.
After lunch, Susan Pliner, associate dean for Teaching, Learning, and Assessment, spoke about the programs offered by the Center for Teaching and Learning, such as the Writing Colleagues and Teaching Fellows programs.
Assistant Professor of Psychology Jon Iuzzini discussed the importance of interdisciplinary study, honors work and involvement, on campus and off.
To give the STEP participants an “insider’s view” of HWS, Banks introduced them to “William Smith student leaders who are connected on campus, making the most of college, and give a good idea of what you can accomplish at HWS.”
William Smith students like Akilah Browne ’11 and Morgan Hopkins ’10 chatted with students and offered advice, telling them to “get involved with as many different activities as possible” and “be open to new experiences.”
Browne and Hopkins, co-captains of the Hip-NotiQs step team, then showcased some of their moves.
Leonese Nelson, director of STEP, said that the day spent at HWS was “a fascinating and wonderful opportunity for the students to interact and ask questions.”
STEP students agreed. Arlaina Harris, a senior at Nottingham High School and a member of STEP since 7th grade, said that although she hadn’t known much about HWS before she came, “I glad I came. I’m definitely going to apply.”
This is not the Colleges’ first interaction with STEP, however. This summer, Christie Eldredge ’10 and Sheila Myers, the Finger Lakes Institute education outreach coordinator, organized a week-long program for STEP students focusing on scientific inquiry in the Finger Lakes Region.
“It’s a great opportunity for some really promising prospective students to meet with some of our impressive William Smith leaders. I’m happy to see us doing more and more of these events on campus,” said Iuzzini.