As part of Elmhurst College’s commitment to strengthening math and science skills among high school students and encouraging their interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers, the Elmhurst College Summer Academy in Mathematics and Science gets under way on July 25.
The Academy will welcome 24 high school students from a dozen high schools, including Glenbard East and Glenbard South, Waukegan, Addison Trail, St. Anne-Momence, Naperville South, York, Oak Park-River Forest, Larkin, CICS North Town Academy and Chicago-Pritzker College Prep. A student from the St. Croix Educational Complex High School, in the U.S. Virgin Islands, also will participate in the Academy this year.
Established in 1995 by Elmhurst College Mathematics Professor Evans Afenya, the Academy aims to strengthen students’ mathematical background so that they can perform well in math and science courses; to introduce students to the role technology plays in mathematics and science; to increase awareness of math and science among the students’ parents; and to stimulate students’ interest in mathematics and science so that they will enroll in college preparatory mathematics and science classes in high school, then pursue studies and careers in STEM fields.
The Academy, which runs through August 3, also gives students the chance to see what college life is like: They live in the residence halls, take classes with college professors and work closely with faculty mentors, and develop friendships and peer support relationships with their fellow students.
The Academy is open to all high school students but focuses on attracting students from groups that historically have been underrepresented in the mathematical and physical sciences.
Over the years, Academy participants have gone on to enroll at Elmhurst College and other institutions of higher learning across the United States. A number of Elmhurst College alumni who attended the Academy as high school students are now pursuing STEM-related careers, including Dr. Ragasri Kumar, a neurologist with the Gundersen Health System; Dr. Stephen Rudawski, a specialist in osteopathic manipulative therapy; and Kareem Tunstall, a teacher at Pershing Elementary School in Chicago.
Professor Afenya will run the 2014 Academy with assistance from Professor of Biology Paul Arriola, chair of the Department of Biology. A number of Elmhurst College administrators, faculty and staff also will participate in the Academy, including Alzada Tipton, senior vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty; Ricardo Aguilera, admission counselor; associate librarians Elaine Fetyko-Page and Donna Goodwyn; Katherine S. Moore, assistant professor of psychology; Kathy Sexton-Radek, professor of psychology; Catherine Gaze, assistant professor of psychology; Ruth Pusich, director of financial aid; John Jeffrey, professor of computer science and information systems; Linda Krause, associate professor of computer science and information systems; Jim Dauer, professor of computer science and information systems; Jon Johnson, professor of mathematics; Allen Rogers, professor of mathematics; Erica Ashauer, assistant director of the Patterson Center for the Health Professions; and Jim Kulich, vice president and chief information officer.
The Academy receives financial support from the Kelly Foundation and the Tensor-SUMMA Grants Program in association with Elmhurst College.