Eighteen high school students have started weekly classes as part of the 2015 Newman Hispanic Scholars Program (NHSP). Four additional students are involved in the 2015 Native American Scholar Program (NNASP).
The programs focus on helping at-risk student populations that nationally experience higher secondary education dropout rates, compared to other racial or ethnic groups. The NHSP and NNASP sessions are designed to help motivate students and prepare them for a successful path toward higher education and rewarding careers.
“The Newman University mission of producing graduates who will transform society is grounded in our commitment to provide educational experiences and create career opportunities for all students, with special regard for those who are disadvantaged,” said Newman Associate Professor of Biology Stacy Jones, Ph.D.
Jones is in her first year as director of the programs.
“They are designed to reveal for students the value and wonders of science in both the classroom and daily life,” she added. “The hands-on investigative experiences and the outside activities are designed to encourage students to explore their interests and investigate the possibilities of a career in the science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) fields.”
According to Jones, the NHSP and NNASP participants can experience outstanding benefits. She believes the programs’ greatest value is giving high school students “the chance to explore possible opportunities that an education in the areas of science and math can open up to them.”
In addition, students who complete the coursework earn one hour of college credit and receive a tuition waiver, valued at $757.
Jones has high expectations for students in the program.
“I want students to learn about career options that they may not have known existed before their participation in the program,” she said, “My other goal is to make math and science interesting and fun through “hands-on” activities and demonstrations. We expose the students to a variety of careers that need a science and math background, and show them the reason it is important to take science and math courses in high school and college.”
The NHSP and NNASP are designed to:
- strengthen pre-college science education and address the needs of students during the critical years when concepts and attitudes are developed.
- make science a fun and exciting opportunity through an investigative laboratory approach.
- increase the understanding of the relevance of science to students and increase their interest and confidence in learning science through student-centered instructions.
- help students graduate from high school by fostering independent scholarship, originality and competence in science.
- broaden participants’ scientific interests and inform them of the need and opportunities for students in science and health professions.
Four Wichita public high schools – North, Northwest, South and Southeast – are represented by the participants this semester. Of the 22 students in the programs, four are seniors, nine are juniors and nine are sophomores.
To be considered for the programs each candidate filled out an application to Newman, submited an essay explaining why they were a good fit for the program, and provided high school transcripts.
This is the 13th year for the Hispanic program. Newman has offered the Native American Scholar Program since 2005.