In the back of a study hall set up in Lambright Intramural Sports Complex, Cooper Hoffpauir leaned back in his chair and made jokes to Nicholas Arbourgh, not escaping the watchful eye of Alana Sims.
Hoffpauir and Arbourgh, freshmen aviation majors, are part of the Summer Scholars program overseen by Andy Cline, director of orientation and special programs.
Cline wanted to bring new life to the program, so he selected Sims, a junior nutrition and dietetics major, and Ben Strecker, a senior general studies major, to lead the program in a new direction.
“I set out this year to change that program entirely,” Cline said. “Working with housing, I was able to secure university apartments for them to live in. I was able to hire two students whose sole purpose is to facilitate those Summer Scholars and Summer Enrichment students by living with them, creating activities for them, incorporating a study hall, but most importantly, instilling a community within those students.”
Summer Scholars are students in between their senior year of high school and freshman year of college. They must have a 23 or higher on their ACT.
Summer Enrichment students are between their junior and senior years of high school. They must have a 3.0 cumulative GPA. At the end of the summer, Summer Enrichment students can decide whether or not to keep the grades on their transcripts. Both Summer Scholars and Summer Enrichment students can take classes with full tuition waivers, leaving them to pay for only room, meals and books.
So far, the students have had study halls every Tuesday and Thursday, grilled for Memorial Day, bowled, eaten random meals together and gone to the zoo in university-provided transportation. Sims and Stecker, Cline’s student assistants, attend all of the programming planned for the students.
“Since this is the first year of the new program, it is really go with the flow,” Sims said. “I think overall it’s been pretty good. Most of the kids seem like they’re glad to have something to do. They don’t really like study hall, but they’re getting used to it.”
Hoffpauir said the Summer Scholars program has given him a great opportunity to meet new people and to become familiar with Tech.
“They recommend going in the summer quarter to get a really big head start in aviation,” he said. “I thought about it and realized it’d give me a big help in the long run, so I decided to do it.”
Arbourgh said he decided to participate in the program for similar reasons. He said he has had a lot of fun participating in the activities Sims and Strecker have planned and he has also gained a lot of experience in aviation.
“I want to graduate in two and a half years,” Arbourgh said. “I’m landing planes, and I’m hoping to fly solo pretty soon.”
Paul Velazquez, a senior chemistry major, participated in the Summer Scholars program in 2009. He said he’s excited to see the changes Cline has initiated.
“When I came, there really wasn’t much for us to do,” he said. “I didn’t know anyone, and there wasn’t any type of program or activity where I had that opportunity.
It’s great that they’re moving in this direction.”
Cline said enrollment is up from 37 to 91 students this year. In the first six-week session he checked in 41 students. He said he and Dr. Les Guice, president-elect, are excited about the increase but they are still working to continue building the program.
“My goal for next year is to have between 150 and 200 students,” Cline said. “I’m confident that with the support of the two candidates who I have selected to carry out the program as well as the admissions office and residential life, that, is a very realistic and attainable goal.”
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