August 12, 2014 at 6:50 AM
CALDWELL, N.J. - Fifty-three high school seniors had the opportunity to experience university life at an intensive science and math summer college program at Caldwell University. The students were selected for the three-week Summer College at Caldwell from a pool of highly-competitive applicants and in part, due to their status as the first generation in their family to attend a college or university.
“The students came to us enthusiastic and open to the opportunities that the program offered,” said Professor Brenda Peterson, program director and assistant director of nursing at Caldwell. “We were excited to see what they would learn and how they would apply their knowledge.”
In the mornings, the students had the chance to learn about college readiness at classes on topics such as SAT preparation and career service.
“It was great first college experience,” said Lourdes Abreu, a student at Passaic County Technical Institute.
Among their many projects, they researched super foods, sustainable farming, water quality and planet environmental health in the labs, outside on campus or on various field trips. Adriana and Lourdes agreed that they “loved” the ecology class.
They utilized some of the most recent technology including 3D design and the university’s Aquos interactive digital boards, watched a real-time surgery via “Live From Surgery” at the interactive theater at the Liberty Science Center, studied the physics of motion in preparation for a field trip to the Jackals baseball game, and visited Duke Farms to learn about sustainable technology.
Dr. George Jenkins, assistant professor of dentistry at Columbia University, was a guest speaker who shared his story of growing up in Newark, New Jersey and how he and his two friends made a friendship pact to beat the odds stacked against them. Dr. Jenkins and his friends formed the now, well-known group “The Three Doctors” who speak publically to young people in similiar circumstances and encourage them to pursue their dreams and goals.
The students showcased their final projects at a celebration on August 1, with an audience of 200 including teachers, principals, area legislators and family members. They “exceeded all expectations” in presenting “a research-driven technologically-based scientific presentation,” said Professor Peterson.
Participants have the opportunity to earn three college credits, if the institution they choose to attend accepts those credits. This was the fourth year Caldwell University offered the program, which was made possible by a U.S. Department of Education grant.