UM Summer Programs for High School Students Move Online
Academic, leadership and networking opportunities available through revamped offerings.
OXFORD, Miss. – Summer vacation and activities will look different this year for high school students around the country.
Despite the postponement of traditional summer camps and programs, the University of Mississippi is providing opportunities and scholarships for rising 11th and 12th graders that will allow them to try out college classes while still making friends and connections that prepare them for life after high school.
The UM Summer College for High School Students, known as SCHS, the Lott Leadership Institute and the ARISE research programs all have been converted to an online format for summer that allows high school students a chance to earn college credits while they are at home.
Students also will learn from state and campus leaders, all while being a part of special online communities and mentorships that will prepare them for their upcoming college experiences.
"The university has so many great resources that help high school students transition into college and allow them to focus on their strengths and investigate possible career paths," said Wendy Pfrenger, assistant director of pre-college programs.
"Through a variety of online and virtual capabilities, we still want to make these resources available to students who are trying to make good use of their time this summer."
Rising high school juniors and seniors can enroll in two college courses through SCHS during either the June or July summer sessions.
"Along with classes, each student will be a part of an online cohort that is guided by actual UM undergraduate and graduate students," Pfrenger said. "We are building in a level of enrichment and support tailored to the online environment, including tutoring, interactive counselor-led communities and informative virtual events that will connect students to resources and special programs of interest."
Kendrick Wallace, of Madison, is a graduate student in the university's higher education and student personnel program who is serving as a senior counselor for this year's online version of SCHS.
"We want to build a virtual community in a creative and engaging way so that students feel like they have a home at Ole Miss and that they know faculty, staff and other incoming students personally," Wallace said.
"We want them to have the best start possible to their college career."
SCHS participants can choose from a wide variety of academic tracks, including: Building a Just Society, which includes classes in sociology, gender studies, history and African American studies; Business; Chinese Language; Computer Science; Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement, which includes classes in criminal justice, political science, intelligence and security studies, and political science; Engineering; Integrated Marketing and Communications; Music, Pre-health Professions, which includes classes in biology, chemistry, mathematics and psychology; Pre-law; and Pre-pharmacy.
Several electives – such as HST 131: Intro to U.S. History Since 1877, JOUR 362: Video Storytelling, MATH 125: Basic Mathematics for Science and Engineering and POL 101: Introduction to American Politics – are available to let SCHS participants broaden their horizons and explore other fields.
LaReeca Rucker, UM instructional assistant professor of journalism, will teach JOUR 361: Black Mirror, The Twilight Zone and Media as part of the SCHS July session. This popular course examines the British science fiction anthology series that explores the potential consequences of social media and future technology.
"Some might say we are currently living in a 'Black Mirror' moment," Rucker said. "Recognizing the show's potential as a discussion starter about modern and future media, students will watch specific episodes of 'Black Mirror' and think critically about the program.
"We'll speculate about what the future holds, good and bad, with media and technology. And we'll discuss what we can learn about journalism and a free society from science fiction visions of dystopias."
Rucker said the new online format for this condensed course will include weekly online forums and Zoom meetings with nationally-recognized speakers, who will share thoughts on media and technology. The class will also complete projects to be featured on the School of Journalism and New Media's Black Mirror website overseen by Rucker.
Students interested in leadership and advocacy can take part in the Lott Leadership Institute for High School Students in either the first or second summer session.
Making sure students can participate in discussions and share ideas about this time in history is a goal of this year's Lott Leadership program, Pfrenger said.
"We will tap into the wealth of relationships and community support that UM's Lott Leadership Institute has through online forums and video conferencing that will give students access to top decisionmakers in our state in order to hear how they are responding to the current health crisis."
Another learning experience offered this summer in an online format is the ARISE program, which allows high school students to participate in science, technology, engineering and mathematics research experiences with Ole Miss students and faculty.
The ARISE program gives high school students an opportunity to practice scientific research that can help them purse their own studies in STEM fields and opens the doors to future careers, Pfrenger said.
Qualified high school students who are accepted into any of these virtual summer college programs may receive a full scholarship for the two UM courses they will enroll in for the summer. Students will be responsible for a $50 application fee and $75 program fee. Course and book fees also may be applicable.
For more information on these programs, visit http://outreach.olemiss.edu/pre_college/.
By Pam Starling