Pre-College Summer at UConn students, RAs, faculty, parents, and grandparents couldn't be happier!
"I loved being on the UConn campus. It was the best experience of my life! The academic program was fantastic. My perspective on medicine changed drastically because of the program and especially the Medical Anthropology session. I also had the opportunity to make some really great friends, and the counselors were terrific. They planned lots of social activities. We went downtown for concerts and for the world's best ice cream from the Dairy Bar. We had movie and game nights. And we had time to just hang out on the Storrs campus and in the dorms."
On a Journey to Make a Difference
Name: Fatima Sonday
Academic Area: Medical Anthropology
Sometimes a decision you make in life can have a tremendous impact on your future. For Fatima Sonday, choosing to participate in the University of Connecticut's (UConn) Pre-College Summer Program inspired her to pursue a whole new direction when she heads off to college in 2018.
Fatima, who hopes to go to medical school one day, spent two weeks in the program during the summer of 2016, including a week-long session focused on Medical Anthropology. "I always had an interest in anthropology, but knew little about the subject. So when I saw that the program offered a week-long session in Medical Anthropology, I was instantly intrigued," says Fatima.
During the week, she and her fellow students spent the mornings with Anne Kohler, PhD candidate and Graduate Assistant at UConn, learning how social, political, and economic factors influence health and well-being around the world. The week ended with a class project designed to help students absorb the concepts they had learned. The topic? HIV rates in New Orleans. Anne broke the students into teams, with each team analyzing different factors that may influence the prevalence of the disease throughout the city.
"The project was designed to help students understand the social causes of disease," explains Anne. "For example, did Hurricane Katrina impact HIV rates and if so, how and why? I simply gave them the tools and guidance; they did all of the research and analysis. Since they're all focusing on going to medical school, it's important that they look at medicine holistically. And learning how cultural and social dimensions can have a dramatic impact on why people get sick is an important part of this."
For Fatima, the course had a profound effect on her later on that summer, when she and her mom travelled to South Africa. The highlight, Fatima says, was a tour of the Township of Langa. "The Township has extremely high HIV rates, which our tour guide attributed to its poor living conditions. That made so much sense to me, especially after having taken the Medical Anthropology course," says Fatima, who adds: "My perspective changed drastically because of the UConn summer program, which was fantastic. I kept thinking back to class and what we learned about Medical Anthropology and how factors impact the spread of a disease like HIV. I realized I wanted to research more about HIV and specifically how the living conditions in South Africa are tied to HIV rates."
That's precisely what Fatima did this past year. As part of an independent study project, she researched why certain parts of South Africa have higher HIV rates and how these issues can be prevented from happening. After her research, which included interviews with AIDS experts at the Yale School of Medicine, Fatima put a PowerPoint presentation together for her school.
So, we ask, was the program all work, no play? Absolutely not, Fatima says! ""I loved being on the UConn campus. It was the best experience of my life! The academic program was fantastic. But I also had the opportunity to make some really great friends, and the counselors were terrific. They planned lots of social activities. We went downtown for concerts and for the world's best ice cream from the Dairy Bar. We had movie and game nights. And we had time to just hang out on the Storrs campus and in the dorms."
Name: Chris Mastrangelo, Student
Academic Areas: Creative Writing, Sports Medicine Attended program as a Rising Senior
This was the best experience in my entire life. Being at the greatest college in the country, the University of Connecticut, was amazing to begin with but the people who run this program and the RAs who worked the program are truly what made it such a life changing experience. The RAs were some of the greatest people I've met. They were open to helping each and every kid learn more about the college life and offer advice on what it takes to succeed in college and they really gave you a good understanding of what college was like. Everyone within the program always had the students in mind before anything else. I can't thank them enough for all they helped me with. No one could have represented UConn in any better way than the RAs, Hall directors, and program directors. The professors I had were great. UConn is the best college out there, and going into the program makes you realize how amazing UConn really is. Each day I was grateful to be there and experience what the campus had to offer. I have made friendships that will last a life time and I wish I stayed all 4 weeks. Thank you UConn Pre-College Summer program.
Wishbone Name: Milton
From: Newark, NJ
Academic Area: Dramatic Arts
Wishbone page: https://www.wishbone.org/campaigns/967732/milton
Driving to UCONN was the most nerve racking, intense car drive of all time. I'm usually an outgoing person, but entering such a huge, beautiful campus transformed me into one little shy guy. UCONN staff welcomed me with warm smiles as I checked into my dorms. Strangers around my age welcomed me with sweet "Hellos" and big smiles as well… The RAs were so outgoing and made sure everyone was comfortable and just made the program so organized and safe. The professors in the Drama Program cared a lot about what our passion was and how we can contribute to the arts as a scholar. I remember my classmates and I every morning singing Hamilton songs while walking through Mirror Lake to get to class. These people made me learn new things about myself.
Wishbone Name: Tiana
From: New York, NY
Academic Area: Electrical Engineering with Chemistry
Wishbone page: https://www.wishbone.org/campaigns/382330/tiana
I am glad to say that I had the best experience at the University of Connecticut! It was more fun than I ever expected. The RA's made it feel like I was an actual college student: attending classes on my own, attending breakfast, lunch and dinner on my own, being able to do things around the campus like going to the gym, taking military training, and being able to attend workshops to learn more about the college process, and challenging certain things that I would've never imagined I could challenge. My professors took the time to make sure that I understood my classwork/homework, and was able to show me machines that the college students who took certain majors were given access to. I have never been so happy and excited about life as I am now.
Name: Sophia Costa
Academic Areas: Biomedical Engineering, Forensic Science, ChemistryAttended program as a Rising Senior
I loved the program. I felt it allowed me the opportunity to be immersed in a college campus with college students. I was allowed to take science classes, which I love, with students who have the same passion as me. I got to talk to college professors about college and express some concerns. Pre-college summer allowed me a chance to experience a little about what college had to offer. The RAs were so caring and very helpful when it came to basic college questions. I wouldn't have wanted to spend my last summer before college anywhere else.
Serving as an RA for the Pre-College Summer Program was and continues to be one of the highlights in my undergraduate career. Working with high school students who exhibit inquiry and demonstrate professionalism at such an early age is truly refreshing to see. By being not only a guide but also a friend to these students, I was able to form relationships beyond the superficial encounters. I still speak with many of the participants in last year’s program. It was an experience that I consider one of the greats, which is why I am returning as an RA for Pre-College Summer 2015.”
From the moment that I learned of this program, my husband and I knew that we wanted our granddaughter to attend. The staff was attentive and informative on the whole college experience. She met wonderful peers and has remained in touch with many of them. It was most definitely a worthwhile week for Allie.
Name: Alex Scott, Student
I really enjoyed my stay for a week on the UConn campus. I feel like I have definitely benefited from this experience by getting a better sense of what college life would be like.
The Pre-College Summer at UConn was successful because it allowed us, the students, to choose what course of study we wanted to take. I feel by taking the Statistics class, I have learned a lot more about the subject, have a much clearer understanding of career choices, and now I am even more interested in further learning about statistics.
All the activities after the classes were amazing as well. The schedule for the week allowed us to really get a closer look at what college would be like, especially if we chose to attend UConn. Walking around the UConn campus and going into town to local places allowed me to get a good sense of the community. The RA's (Residential Assistants) especially helped us feel more comfortable, always willing to answer any of our questions. They really encouraged us to see the sights and sounds of the campus, and without them I feel as if I would not have had the same experience.
To other students who are thinking about signing up for the Pre-college Summer at UConn next year, it was a great learning experience that I will always remember, and I am sure it will be the same for you.
Name: Jason Courtmanche: Professor
I was a high school teacher for many years, and now at UConn I teach teachers. For me, it was fun to work with high school students again. I was also happy to see that several high school teachers who studied with me at UConn directed their students to my course. I think my students in the Pre-College Summer at UConn classes enjoyed working with me in part because I have spent so much of my career bridging the gap between high school and college. I’m eager to see if some of these students come to UConn and register for a class with me.
I benefitted from the Pre-College Summer at UConn Program because I never really knew I had an interest in Sociology. I was always so focused on law and politics and that was the career path that had always been set for me. Coming to UConn and studying Sociology for a week made me realize I have other interests and career options besides law and politics. It made me realize that starting off college undecided is not a bad idea and I do not have to be so stuck on one path or major.
I believe the program was so successful because the small classroom size and opportunity to really talk and connect with the professor is not something you usually find at a big school. Being able to have this personal attention allowed us to go really in depth on our subjects and made me realize a love I had for sociology that I never would have known about.
I would encourage other students to join this program for a few reasons. First, like I have mentioned, they may find out they love a subject and want to further study a subject that they never would have thought of pursuing before. Second, the people I met. The RA's (Residential Assistants) were really great and I am happy I got to spend a week getting to know such an interesting diverse group of UConn students. Lastly, I did learn about college more than just what collegeboard.org or a schools website will tell me. I got advice, tips, and pointers from current UConn students who helped me realize that UConn is the right school for me.
Name: Makaila Cerrone, Student
The Pre-College Summer was one of the best weeks of my life. I learned so much and met the most amazing people, many of which I talk to every day now, and have made my life happier and more fulfilled. I would recommend the Pre-College summer at UConn to anyone. You won't regret it.
Name: Allie Marie Geilich, Student
My daughter spent a week this summer at UConn’s Pre-College Summer. Her academic focus was creative writing, and her writing skills improved greatly within just one week. The resident assistants and faculty were welcoming and supportive throughout the entire experience. The professors were professional, knowledgeable, and approachable. At the end of the week, she was not ready to leave! I highly rec-ommend this program from academic and experiential standpoints.
Name: Susan Murray, Mother
I've applied to UConn for the Fall 2016 semester and it was in large part to the wonderful experience I had at the UConn Pre-College Summer experience! I made wonderful friends, gained much insight and wisdom from my creative writing instructor, Jason Courtemanche, enjoyed the walks to the dining hall, late night cards and cookies and of course, painting the infamous rock! Let's not forget the dairy bar, too! I hope to be able to continue my Husky Pride at UConn beginning in 2016 and will be forever grateful for my time at the Pre-College Summer experience. Thank you again!
Name: Alexis Angelini, Student