Wichita, Kan. – Twenty-four Wichita area high school students got a taste of college life – and two hours of college credit – by successfully completing the 2009 Newman University Hispanic Scholar Program. The students, who performed individualized projects in the biological, health or physical sciences, were selected for the program as part of an ongoing effort by Newman to keep Hispanic students in high school and encourage them to pursue higher education. The students were recognized at a Dec. 2 banquet and awards ceremony on the Newman campus.
The Hispanic Scholar Program was created in 2001 to address concerns about the high dropout rate among Hispanic high school students. The program is offered primarily to Wichita and Sedgwick County Hispanic high school sophomores, juniors and seniors, and is designed to strengthen students’ pre-college science, mathematics, and English skills by making learning a fun and familiar experience.
Surendra Singh, Ph.D., professor of biology at Newman University and Hispanic Scholar Program founder and director, congratulated the participants and stressed the importance of helping Hispanic students finish high school and consider entering college.
“This group is at high risk for dropping out, which forecloses a lifetime of opportunities and, consequently makes it far more likely that their own children may be placed at risk,” he said. “This program strongly supports the Newman University goal to build a stronger and prosperous community by investing in people and enriching their quality of life.”
Singh also expressed thanks to the K.T. Wiedemann Foundation and CEO Douglas Pringle for co-sponsoring the program with Newman. The university waives the tuition of $1,280 for each student and provides facilities and instructional materials.
The program uses an inquiry-based, interdisciplinary approach to learning that integrates different academic disciplines. Each student conducts a literature search, performs laboratory and field experiments, collects data, analyzes results, draws conclusions and writes a paper in a scientific format. Students are encouraged to present their papers at the annual Kansas Junior Academy of Science meeting. Students receive a certificate of completion, two hours of college credit and a stipend of $100.
Students who participated in the 2009 program are listed below by high school:
Wichita East High School
Wichita Heights High School
Wichita North High School
Wichita Northeast Magnet High School
Wichita South High School
Derby High School
Wichita area high school students who successfully completed the Newman University Hispanic Scholar Program are, l-r, front row: Sara Balthazar; Olivia Orozco; Jasmine Piata; Diana Correa; Edna Rios, Saira Hernandez; second row: Sandra Cabrera; Abrina Forshey; Pilar Orozco; Carolyn Lopez; Elisa Berumen; Valeria Rosales; Serena Cisneroz; Kori Godinez; Samantha Lopez; Halle Suderman, Janelle Petrisor; back row: Daniel Leal; Jose Esquivel; Sanjuna Martinez; Ricardo Berumen; Phillip Solis; Adrianna Schaefer, Laura Pinilla.