High School Students Visit College Campuses and Engage in Community Service
Aug 1, 2018 | Atlanta, GA, Georgia Tech
This summer, high school students from Georgia Tech's Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics, and Computing’s (CEISMC) GoSTEM program participated in Fun Summer of Service (FSOS). The program was designed to provide opportunities for students to both help others and gain community service hours for their college applications. Over time, FSOS has expanded its scope to include college tours.
FSOS is open rising to 10th, 11th, and 12th-grade GoSTEM students who wish to apply. GoSTEM is a collaboration between Georgia Tech and the Gwinnett County School District that aims to strengthen the pipeline of Latino students into post-secondary STEM education.
Many students are the first generation in their families to consider college, so FSOS helps parents and students fill in the missing pieces of the college application process. For example, parents know that college visits are essential, but are often unsure where to begin. Additionally, most GoSTEM students are active in extracurricular activities but may lack the community service experience that colleges expect to see in well-rounded applicants.
The service aspect of FSOS allows students to address issues in their communities that they may not realize exist. This summer, students volunteered at Atlanta Community Food Bank and at local parks in Atlanta.
“This year, students served four different nonprofit organizations over their two project days on the BeltLine,” said Ellen Bruenderman, Program Manager for Park Pride. “This was Atlanta BeltLine Partnership and Park Pride’s second year working with GoSTEM students, and we were once again very impressed with both their character and their work ethic.”
“Once we finished our service, Ellen at Park Pride told us about the way the trail has helped the community – the lights that are being installed, the cameras, and various other things,” said Emily Wright “One student was very curious about how to get a job helping with the Beltline project – specifically an engineering job, laying the wires or helping with irrigation. He had a great conversation with Ellen about the opportunities and outlets he could use once he is in the midst of or finished with his engineering degree.”
“We had just visited Auburn University the day prior where this student was very intrigued by the engineering program,” she continued. “It all came full circle Friday during that conversation—the student saw an opportunity to help his community through work that he is passionate about and found a place to continue the education that will help him get there.”
FSOS college tours provide students with the opportunity to explore universities both in and out of state that they may not have been able to visit otherwise. Students learn about the programs each school has to offer and get a glimpse of college life.
“My favorite part was the opportunity to get to walk around new colleges,” said rising 11th grader Kevin Rocha. “Although there are virtual tours, there’s nothing like getting to experience it in person and really ask yourself if you see you in that college!”
The students also spent a day at Georgia Tech participating in the Leadership Challenge Course. The ropes course helped them develop effective teamwork and communication skills. These qualities will aid the students as they adapt to new college and work environments.
Visiting campuses is important for students and their families when it comes to making a decision about attending college. FSOS allows students to make informed decisions about their futures while also enabling them to encourage others to continue their education as well.
Rosemary Pitrone - CEISMC Communications