Nearly 40 middle and high school students visited the Haslam College of Business this summer to gain exposure to college life. Haslam’s Office of Diversity and Community Relations partnered with Goodwill’s GoodGuides and the Knoxville Area Urban League’s Project Ready to connect with area youth.
Jay Butler, education and youth coordinator for the Knoxville Area Urban League, said that its summer institute seeks to provide rising sixth- through ninth-grade students with academic enrichment, career exploration and service learning. “We chose to partner with Haslam to give participants a clear understanding of the connections between careers and the training needed in order to be qualified,” Butler said.
Adrienne Isenhower, program manager for GoodGuides, said the insight into college life and the application process provided during the students’ visit was invaluable. Through the experience, youth “began realizing how important their performance in high school can be to attend their university of choice,” she said.
Both Butler and Isenhower cited the campus tours and panel discussions led by current students as highlights of the visit.
The panel discussion centered on college transition, time management and campus living. Panelists included Haslam students Sharmain Ross, Alexandria Hughes, Anna Gardner, Tony Shields and Brianna Harris.
“I think that it is extremely important that young people are exposed to college and that they have the opportunity to engage in conversation from actual college students,” Harris said. “Something that I really enjoyed about this program was how comfortable the students seemed to have felt asking us questions.”
Alex Hughes said that the best question she received was whether college was difficult. “It reminded me of the tough reality: yes, college is a challenge,” she said. “However, I was sure to remind the students that anything worth having is worth working hard to achieve.”
Project Ready is the signature program of the National Urban League. It provides academic and social support for African American and other urban youth as they prepare for post-secondary success. For more information, visit: http://www.thekaul.org/
The GoodGuides is a mentoring program by Goodwill Industries assisting youth in overcoming disadvantages to increase school completion and build careers. For more information visit: http://www.gwiktn.org/
The Office of Diversity and Community Relations is dedicated to creating an inclusive environment for people of all racial, ethnic, cultural, socioeconomic and international backgrounds at the Haslam College of Business. For more information visit:http://diversity.bus.utk.edu/