news releases

2006.06.13 > For Immediate Release
contact: Teresa Gleason - University Affairs
phone: 402.554.2762 - email: tmgleason@mail.unomaha.edu

High School Students Take on Summer Scholar Role at UNO

Omaha - Northwest High School's Christopher Knight wants to be an engineer. South High School's Patricia Mayorga is thinking about life as an optometrist.  Benson High School's Yeng Cha looks forward to the challenges of a pharmacy career.

The three, along with 34 other high school seniors from the Omaha metropolitan area, are getting an idea of what it will take to achieve their goals through a unique five-week program that kicked off June 4 at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO).

The Summer Scholars Program at UNO was established in 1989 as a way to unite high school students from various backgrounds and encourage them to pursue higher education, said James Freeman, director of the UNO Office of Multicultural Affairs.  The scholarship covers the cost of three credit hours of college tuition plus student fees, books and a parking permit.  Additionally, it pays for a one-week residential experience at Scott Residence Hall near the University of Nebraska Peter Kiewit Institute.

The 2006 participants represent Bellevue East, Benson, Bryan, Burke, Gross, North, Northwest, Papillion-LaVista and South high schools.  They are highly motivated scholastic achievers with a collective cumulative grade point average of 3.73 and are in the top 16 percent of their class, Freeman said.

During the five weeks, the students enroll in college courses.  Fifteen are enrolled in an English course on autobiographical reading and writing, twelve are in American History to 1865, eight are in a political science class on American national government, and two are taking Introduction to Ethics, a philosophy course.  In conjunction with the course content, the Summer Scholars learn about managing college academic course work, time management, the college admissions process, preparation for the ACT and SAT, and college scholarships and the financial aid process.

They also interact with university faculty and staff, explore career options and participate in a service-learning component.  Service-learning is designed to help the students gain real world knowledge in their chosen career of interest as they provide community service for a collaborating agency, Freeman said.  The program's collaborating agencies this summer are CBS Home Real Estate, DEEB Realty, Emergency Pregnancy Services, Habitat Home Shop, the Hope Center, the Omaha Boys and Girls Club, the Omaha World-Herald, Owens & Associates, the University of Nebraska Peter Kiewit Institute, the Urban League of Nebraska, the Veterans Administration Hospital and the Visiting Nurses Association.

"Creating opportunities for the Summer Scholars to develop networking skills and mentoring relationships in their careers of interest builds a foundation for their future success," said Maria Garza, the program coordinator.  "What they experience today is a direct reflection of who they will be tomorrow."

The program will conclude with a recognition banquet July 6.

Students who will be high school juniors this fall and are interested in participating in the 2007 Summer Scholars program at UNO should contact their high school counselor or the UNO Office of Multicultural Affairs at 402.554.2248.

For more information, call 402.554.2762 or 402.554.3502.

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