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  August 26, 2002

High School Students Sample
Campus Life in Summer Program
By Sherry Fisher

Megumi Doi, a high school sophomore from Tokyo, walked down a corridor of the art building looking for the best place to showcase her large work done in charcoal.

Nearby, in a packed classroom, other students seated around tables or standing at easels added finishing touches to their final projects.

Image: Linsey Cozewith and Erin Anfinson
Linsey Cozewith from New Jersey, seated, discusses artwork with Erin Anfinson, a master's degree candidate in fine arts during Summer Discovery, a four-week enrichment program at UConn for high school students.

Photo by Sherry Fisher

These students were among 100 high school students from around the world who got a taste of college life during a four-week enrichment program at Storrs.

Erin Anfinson, a master's degree candidate in fine arts at UConn who taught the painting and drawing class, moved from student to student and chatted with each. "I didn't expect so many students to take the course," said Anfinson, who was delighted with the class.

Participants in Summer Discovery at UConn lived in the residence halls, took college courses, played sports, and spent weekends exploring Connecticut and the New England area.

The courses were taught by UConn instructors, graduate students and other professionals. Both students and staff resided in Northwest complex.

Sponsored by Musiker Discovery Programs in New York, Summer Discovery is also offered at UCLA, the Universities of California-Santa Barbara, Vermont, and Michigan, Georgetown University, and Cambridge University in England. The program at UConn was organized by the College of Continuing Studies.

When UConn was invited to host Summer Discovery, Jeet Joshee, assistant dean of continuing studies, was delighted. "Having prospective college students here, especially a good mix of students, is great exposure for the University," he said. "It's an opportunity to attract quality students."

Students could choose from two curriculum options: one college credit and one enrichment course; or two enrichment courses. Teachers were encouraged to have students write papers, take tests, and "do anything they would normally do during a regular semester of school," said Rachel Kohn, assistant director of Summer Discovery at UConn. Courses in film, studio photography, mass communication, general psychology, business, law, and internationa l relations were among the program's offerings.

Many of the students said the experience would make the transition from high school to college easier.

"I've been able to meet people from around the world and understand what it's like having a roommate," said Sharilyn Wiskup, a junior from Tampa, Fla.

Sophomore Linsey Cozewith from Watchung, N.J., said her time at UConn helped her know what she was looking for in a college.

The general psychology course taught by Lara Mayeux was the first psychology class many of the high school students had taken. The video clips, case studies and small group activities she prepared for the class prompted lively discussions.

Lauren Kassing, a senior from Fort Lauderdale, said she enjoyed Mayeux's teaching style. "You can ask any question and get an answer," she said.

"Ms. Mayeux was a really good teacher," said Mikaela Davis, a sophomore from Barbados. "It's the kind of class you want to go to."

The feeling was mutual.

"It was the best teaching experience I've ever had," said Mayeux, a Ph.D. candidate in developmental psychology, who seized the opportunity to work with adolescents. "I really wanted to interact with this age group. I was amazed at how honest and forthright they were in their opinions or asking questions."

Joshee said he hopes the University will host the Summer Discovery program again. "This may be the first look at a college campus for these students," he said. "We'll show them what a great place it is."

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