Educational Outreach Programs Keep Campus Busy During Summer Months

Hundreds of hours of planning goes into programs that provide life-changing experiences for high school and junior college students

a student at a desk

A student takes notes during the Early Academic Outreach Program Senior Summit in mid-July. Photo by Frances M. Calvin

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (  —  When people meet Alicia Velazquez and learn that her job entails working with incoming high school students at the University of California, Riverside, there is often an automatic assumption that her summer months are spent in leisurely relaxation.

But nothing could be further from the truth.

“People usually assume that we get a couple of months off in the summer,” the director of the Office of TRiO Programs at UCR said. “But summer is really busy for us.”

The same can be said for a number of Student Affairs organizations who host on-campus programs during the summer months. These state- and federally-funded partnership programs with high schools and community colleges work to improve the academic achievement of students in communities throughout California and support the University of California’s public service mission, which dates back to its origins as a land grant institution.

Among the programs that Velazquez oversees as TRiO director are the Educational Talent Search (ETS) and the Upward Bound programs, both of which host popular summer programs. The ETS staff of two full-time employees and three student assistants worked from March until July to prepare for their three-day ETS Summer Residency Program, while the Upward Bound team of four full-time employees and seven students began working in February to prepare for their six-week Summer Program.

Frances Calvin, the director of the Early Academic Outreach Program (EAOP), also credited her staff for their efforts in making their summer events and activities a reality.

“There are five EAOP staff members serving over 2,000 students in 24 high schools in Riverside and San Bernardino counties, along with several community based partnerships,” she said. “Event planning is year-around and the hours are countless. The program would not be as successful if it were not for the committed staff.”

To see an example of the benefits of the programs, one need look no further than Monica Searcy, a sophomore at Moreno Valley College who recently completed the Puente Leadership Conference. The 10-day summer residential program is part of the statewide Puente Leadership Program and hosted by the UC Riverside Transfer Resource Center. It taught leadership and community involvement skills to 60 junior college students who participate in the statewide Puente Project.

“Ten days seemed like an eternity to be away from my home, but I think it was the best 10 days of my life. I learned how to be a leader and how to get involved with my community,” she said, adding that she also learned a lot about herself. “Not only that I can survive 10 days without my family, but that in such a short time I could make friends that will last a lifetime.”

“I am so thankful to UCR for hosting the conference and thankful for all the hard work the people there put in to make this such an awesome experience,” she added. “This conference is a true blessing and I hope it can be around for years to come.”

And that, Velazquez said, is one of the best rewards for conference organizers.

“It is a great feeling to know that your efforts might have impacted the lives of young people,” she said. “The programs help break students out of their shell and also provide them with information that may change their lives. They leave UCR with a sense of confidence and a renewed commitment to ensuring that they do well in school so that they can go to a college of their choice. The reward really comes when we see the students and their families’ faces.”

Calvin echoed that sentiment.

“Our rewards include observing our students developing increased confidence over the years, understanding the odds that they overcame,” she said. “We recognize that we are a vehicle in the journey to make someone’s dreams a reality.”

List of Summer Programs

A chronological list of the summer programs hosted at UCR during 2012. (Note that some programs may have already taken place.)

Early Academic Outreach Program (EAOP)- Summer Academy

June 25 – July 28
In a partnership with Summer Sessions/Summer Academy, approximately 30 high school seniors take their first step toward earning a college degree by enrolling one 4-unit university level course. Participants receive a letter grade on an official UC transcript. Course selections include Art, Anthropology, Creative Writing, English, Entomology, Ethnic Studies, History, Linguistics, Math, Music, Physics, Political Science, Psychology, and Sociology. Classes are offered at various times to fit students’ schedule.

Upward Bound Summer Program

June 25 – August 3
One of the most intensive summer programs, the UBSP features 58 Upward Bound participants from Banning, Beaumont, Moreno Valley, Perris and Rubidoux High Schools in a six week program. The first four weeks are non-residential and students come to campus via bus at 8:30 a.m. each day with  classes starting at 9 a.m. On July 22, the students will move into the A&I Residence Halls for the final two weeks of the program. The curriculum involves math, English, film and visual culture, academic enrichment, physics, Italian, line dancing, Ballet Folklorico and  financial literacy. Seniors also take senior seminar and SAT Prep courses. Field trips to museums or the beach as well as college campus visits take place most Fridays.

Puente Summer Residential Program

June 28 – July 8
The UCR Puente Leadership Conference brings 60 participants from the California community college Puente Project to participate in a week-long residential program. Activities promoted leadership and community involvement and taught participants how to run a successful campaign, discuss issues affecting students in higher education, and exchange ideas with fellow students from throughout the state.

Educational Talent Search (ETS) Summer Residential Program

July 8 – July 11
The program brought 45 ETS students from Arroyo Valley HS, Pacific HS, San Bernardino HS and San Gorgonio HS to UCR a three-day residency program. Participants stayed in the A & I Residence Hall and took English and math classes. Other highlights included presentations from the UCR WELL and Academic Resource Center, a Zumba workout class, and a talk by Debbie Franklin, mayor pro tem of the city of Banning, who grew up in San Bernardino and came from a similar economic background as the participants.

Early Academic Outreach Program (EAOP) – Senior Summit

July 11 – July 13
One hundred (100) EAOP seniors participated in this intense residential program which improves competitive admission for college by assisting students with the fundamentals required to complete an effective college/university application. During the workshops and seminars, students received expert guidance and advice from college admissions counselors, research colleges that best suit their needs, learned how to complete a dynamic application, develop a valuable personal statement, and how to locate and apply for financial aid.

Gear Up Summer Residential Program

July 15 – July 19
The Gear Up program is a federally funded program that helps students enter and succeed in college and postsecondary education. It works with students beginning in the seventh grade and serves the same cohort until they graduate from high school. During the summer residential program, about 100 participants from the Pomona Unified School District will be staying on campus.

Early Academic Outreach Program (EAOP)- Science Lab Exploration Day

July 20
Twenty-five (25) EAOP sophomores will have the opportunity to tour UCR’s Neil A. Campbell Laboratory, the campus’ innovative learning library that gives freshman an opportunity to experience experimental research techniques. Students learn about laboratory safety and receive instruction. In addition, students will attend panel by UCR students.

Early Academic Outreach Program (EAOP)- iCollege

July 23 – July 27
Eighty (80) EAOP sophomores will participate in this non-residential program which provides them with the foundation and information they need to be admitted to a four-year university. Students will take a full-length PSAT and will get information regarding financial aid, scholarships, A-G requirements, the four systems of higher education, and career choices.

Smart Start Transfer Academy

July 26 – August 5, 2012
A total of 40 students from Mt. San Jacinto College participate in an 11-day intensive summer residential program that provides them with three transferable units. Courses are taught by MSJC instructors.

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