“You need to go for it,” college adviser Mary Rente told the students. “Stay in school, do your best and, most importantly, make sure you are always learning something.”
Students enrolled in the Summer Institute are also participants in UCF’s Student Outreach Programs, which run during the academic year. The programs are designed to motivate and prepare underrepresented students in sixth through 12th grade to pursue and complete a college education.
Each year, high school students in these programs may apply for admission to the Summer Institute, which provides a week’s stay on the campus, including meals, room and transportation — all for $15, said LaTasha Holcomb, a coordinator with the Office of Student Outreach Programs.
This year’s institute includes tours of the campus, visits to various colleges, field trips and interactions with counselors who are UCF students from underrepresented groups.
At the College of Health and Public Affairs, the students heard from Rente, Associate Dean Mel Rogers, and criminal justice Associate Professor Lee Ross, who shared the story of his own professional development. All three are members of underrepresented groups themselves.
When Rogers asked the students to identify the area of study that interests them, most every student had a clear idea, some down the exact major and minor they would choose.
“I was really impressed with the motivation these students have about attending college,” said Rogers. “I think COHPA could be a good fit for a number of them.”