For the second year, University of North Georgia's (UNG) Summer Scholar Institute has been awarded $15,000 by the Jackson Electric Membership Corp. (EMC) Foundation.
The institute is an academic enrichment program for students rising to the eighth, ninth and 10th grades in the Gainesville, Hall County and Habersham County school systems. Running from June 27 through July 22 on UNG's Gainesville Campus, the program blends subjects into two main units: one in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and a second that focuses on social studies and language arts.
The program targets promising students from several under-represented populations, like potential first-generation college students, English-language learners, and those from lower economic backgrounds. During the four-week program, the scholars take field trips to places such as the Elachee Nature Science Center, where hands-on instruction helps students grasp difficult academic concepts and connect them to their future lives and careers.
"Most of these students have tremendous challenges to overcome in pursuit of their education, so the fact that they are participating in Summer Scholars means they have a special drive in them," said Dr. Harriet Allison, director of Summer Scholars and the English as a second language (ESL) program at UNG.
The goals of the Summer Scholars Institute are to improve academic skills, increase retention and decrease drop-out rates, provide knowledge for exploring career options, increase college awareness, provide exposure to positive role models, and encourage parental involvement.
"Without the generous support from the Jackson EMC Foundation and the generous contributions from their members, much of what we are trying to accomplish would not get done," Allison said. "Not only do we provide these students with help in subjects that they might struggle with in middle school, but we also try to get them excited about the possibility of higher education, as well as prepare them for working in the real world."