Newman University introduced Jet Camp in 2019 — a new weeklong summer program that allows first-time students to prepare for college and receive additional opportunities throughout their college experience.
Melody Head, administrator of Runway Learning Center and director of career services, served as camp director. Head said she used the ideas from student support services and requested a grant from the Kansas Health Foundation to fund Jet Camp. In addition, the Salvation Army donated backpacks with supplies for the participating students.
“The camp was created to provide an opportunity for students who might be a little tentative about going to college,” Head explained. “The camp will benefit the students who attend; however, it will also benefit the university by improving retention for our first-time students.”
The students spent the week in Carrocci Hall and had the chance to get familiar with the campus. Workshops were taught by Ami Alvidrez, student advisor; Debra Haslam, coordinator of early intervention and tutoring services; and Audrey Hane, professor of communication.
Fun activities were incorporated during the camp as well, including a tour of Genesis Health Club and a trip to an escape room.
Chraun Welch and Nicole Gochanour were among the 20 incoming students who participated in Jet camp. Welch said he signed up “to see what the college lifestyle will be like” prior to move-in day. Gochanour added that the opportunity to experience campus life and earn two college credits was appealing as well.
Each student was matched with a mentor who will continue to support them throughout their time at Newman.
According to Head, “The mentor program consists of alumni, staff and/or volunteers who will share their professional and personal experience with first-year students providing guidance and insight to the incoming students. Mentors and mentees are encouraged to connect on a regular basis via phone call, in person or email conversations.”
This also helps the mentors stay in touch with the university and its programs.
Welch and Gochanour agreed that the experience was very beneficial. Welch stated the most helpful thing was meeting the professors. For Gouchanour, the most helpful aspect was “to have a little bit of a jump start on where classes are and (how to use) Jetstream and canvas.”