Many universities are quiet places in the summer, but not the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee.
Hundreds of elementary, junior high and high school students come to campus during the summer months to take part in the university’s extensive array of pre-college programs and camps.
The goal of the programs is to provide students with academic support services and hands-on experiences that give them “wonderful, unique experiences that enhance their vision of their future,” says April Holland, executive director of UWM’s TRIO and Pre-College programs. The office offers pre-college programs year-round, but summertime gives younger students a chance to spend several weeks at a time on campus.
The programs include a variety of summer camps and enrichment programs especially focused on students who might not have seen college as part of their future, says Holland.
It’s an opportunity to let youngsters, particularly in the African American, Hispanic, Hmong and American Indian communities, see what college is all about, explore majors and careers, and learn the skills they need to succeed, she adds.
The Upward Bound Math and Science program for students in grades 9-12, for example, helps students realize their potential to excel in mathematics and science. It also gives them opportunities to explore majors and future careers in the STEM fields – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
Another program, Future Success, helps students prepare for high school success and college admission. The students do work in mathematics, science and English, and work to improve test-taking and mathematics skills. Students get a chance to work with faculty members in areas like physics, biology, engineering, nursing and other areas to learn more about careers in these areas.
The summer exploration camps offer junior high students a chance to do handson science experiments, investigate mathematics and work in teams to research, write and construct their own talk show.
In addition to the educational opportunities that are part of the TRIO and Pre- College program, individual schools and departments offer specific programs for future students. The School of Education, for example, offers a two-week Urban Teacher World program that gives ninth and tenth graders a chance to build their skills and learn more about careers in education. The School of Architecture and Urban Planning offers a weeklong architecture summer camp for high school students who think they may be interested in a career in architecture.
And, the TRIO and Pre-College program works closely with UWM’s College for Kids and College for Teens programs, says Holland. College for Kids, now in its 31st year, offers youngsters an opportunity to try everything from designing computer games to helping out at an archaeology field school.
Holland, who recently returned to UWM after 10 years, says she enjoys meeting up with graduates of the pre-college programs who are now in college themselves or in successful careers.
“I run into them in Starbucks or on campus all the time,” she says. Recently, for example, she had lunch with Audia Dobson Young, who was in a 1999 pre-college program, went to Marquette majoring in computer technology and now works at GE Medical.
All of the TRIO and Pre- College programs offer financial aid to students who need it, as do most of the other UWM programs and camps. Students and parents who are interested in next summer’s courses or in upcoming fall classes can contact Holland’s office at email@example.com. For a listing of fall classes, go to www.triopc.uwm.edu.