A summer program designed to help young African American males take what may be their first major steps toward a college education is returning to Purdue University Fort Wayne for the third consecutive year. Participants are scheduled to begin arriving on campus this afternoon.
The three-day, two-night opportunity is called the Purdue University Fort Wayne College Experience. It’s a collaboration between the university’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and the Bloom Project, a nonprofit organization helping young men of color in Indianapolis and Fort Wayne with career and college readiness.
The 2023 experience will host nearly 40 students entering grades 8–12 from five Indiana cities and as far away as Waldorf, Maryland. The program is made possible through a grant from the Foellinger Foundation.
“This opportunity continues to give our Kings a preview of life in the classroom and on campus,” said Arnetta Scruggs, executive director and founder, Bloom Project, Inc. “We know that past participants have developed what they believe will be life-long connections. Because of the experience, we have a King who is currently attending PFW and another who is going to be a freshman there this fall.”
A new aspect of this summer’s PFW College Experience will be the involvement of five program alumni who are set to return on Wednesday to lead sessions focused on college preparation, networking, public speaking, and time management.
The main objective of the full experience is to offer an immersive glimpse of college life including tours, time in the classroom, social activities, and a campus fair. Participants will also stay in Student Housing to help them feel what it is like to be a college student.
This type of hands-on approach to learning has been shown to better engage young minds by making them part of the process.
“PFW is excited to be host these African American young men who are interested in learning about college and our university,” said MarTeze Hammonds, chief diversity officer, Purdue University Fort Wayne. “Building from our past success, I am confident that this year’s students will walk away knowing the impact that attending and graduating from college will have on their lives. I was in their shoes not that long ago — attending life-changing programs similar to what we are offering — and that memory has never left me.”
Multiple sessions during the campus visit provide opportunities for the students to interact with faculty who specialize in STEM and business leadership in Purdue Fort Wayne’s College of Engineering, Technology, and Computer Science, and its Doermer School of Business, respectively.
A college fair will include representatives of several areas of the university including Admissions, Financial Aid, Student Housing, Student Life, the Career Development Center, the Study Abroad Program, the College of Visual and Performing Arts, TRIO Student Support Services, Human Resources, and the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs.
Each experience is intended to help fulfill Project Bloom’s commitment to help young men of color become part of the solution to societal problems through impactful actions, focused instruction, and serving others.
Ultimately, program organizers want participants to envision themselves on a college campus with a strong desire to pursue and achieve a postsecondary education.
Much of the academic immersion during the experience will take place on Tuesday, between 10:05 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. The students will be divided into separate groups for the sessions.
- STEM tracks: 10:05 a.m.–12:05 p.m. and 1:05–3:05 p.m., Engineering, Technology, and Computer Science Building, Room 226
- Business tracks: 10:05 a.m.–12:05 p.m. and 1:05–3:05 p.m., Neff Hall, Room 333
- Campus Fair: 3:15–4:30 p.m., Helmke Library Skybridge
The experience wraps up Wednesday with the program alumni interactions from 9:30 a.m. to noon in Walb Student Union, Rooms 222, 224, and 226. An award ceremony is scheduled to take place between 12:30 and 2:00 p.m. in Neff Hall, Room 101.
Additional newsgathering opportunities may also be arranged upon request. Contact Geoff Thomas at [email protected] or 260-481-4106 to help facilitate.
For more information about the program, contact MarTeze Hammonds at [email protected] or 260-481-0396.