Two Summer Programs Bring Opportunities to Local, Underserved Student Populations

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Two academic programs, STEAM Team and Summer Ventures, will bring young up-and-comers to campus this summer. Both residential programs are offered onsite at UNCW free of cost to participants and recruit students from across the area, many from traditionally underserved populations.

“Programs like Summer Ventures reinforce the idea that STEM is the new social equalizer,” said Youth Programs Director Sue Kezios. “Being selected for programs like these, where all costs are covered, makes it possible for any qualified student to attend regardless of their socioeconomic status. This means some of the best and brightest students are coming from rural communities that struggle financially.”

Summer Ventures is a state-funded program for academically talented North Carolina students who aspire to careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The program is available to high school juniors and seniors interested in conducting research alongside university faculty for four weeks in the summer.

The program previously operated on campus from 1985-2011. After learning more about the program and its merits last year, Chancellor Jose V. Sartarelli decided to bring it back to UNCW during the summer of 2018. Applicants from 29 different North Carolina counties will participate in Summer Ventures at UNCW this year; more than half of the students attending represent an underserved, diverse demographic.

STEAM Team Summer Camp, a new program developed by the College of Arts and Sciences in collaboration with the Cameron School of Business, the College of Health and Human Services and the Watson College of Education, recruited students from New Hanover, Pender and Brunswick counties for a residential camp June 15-23. The camp for ninth- and tenth-graders from underserved populations will introduce students to various areas of the sciences, technology, engineering, arts and math. The goal of the program is to show participants all of the occupational possibilities available in STEAM fields.

“This camp will give students an opportunity to spend the week on a university campus participating in a variety of applied learning activities,” said Aswani Volety, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “We hope to inspire these students and show them what higher education makes possible.”

Both of these enrichment programs reflect the university’s commitment to community engagement and to attracting high-quality, diverse students, objectives outlined in UNCW’s Strategic Plan.

-- Christina Schechtman