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June 12, 2013

Rochester College Jr. Scholars program offers a taste of college life

By Mary Beth Almond
C & G Staff Writer

ROCHESTER — High school students will have a chance to see what it’s like to be a Rochester College student for a week this summer, all while earning three hours of college credit.

Now in its third year, the Jr. Scholars program allows students to earn three hours of college credit while experiencing social and academic life for a week at Rochester College.

Held July 28-Aug. 3, the theme for the week will be “The Hood: Who is My Neighbor?” and will focus on teaching students how to interact with people from other countries, cultures, religions and socio-economic circumstances.

“Jr. Scholars is a program that we’re really passionate about, partly because we’re an institution that believes in educating people, but the other big part of it is we believe that people need to learn how to dialogue with people that are different from themselves. That’s not a skill that we’re especially good at in our culture,” said Brian Bowers, who is co-directing this year’s Jr. Scholars program with Rochester College Admissions Recruiter Emily Polet.

Bowers said the program asks the question, who is our neighbor?

“That question could not be more pertinent than it is right now in our society. It used to be that we could kind of seclude ourselves and just interact with people who are pretty similar to us, but those days are gone. We are in a global society where we interact with people from different cultures, where we interact with people from different religions, different backgrounds, different belief sets, and we need to learn how to do that in a way that is helpful rather than hurtful. Jr. Scholars is all about giving students tools for how do we get along with people who are different than ourselves,” he said.

This year’s program will give students the chance to stay in the residence halls; attend classes taught by Rochester College professors; and enjoy local cultural sites — including a dramatic arts trip to see “The Merchant of Venice” in Stratford, Ontario; a service-learning trip to work with an urban farming group in Pontiac; a creative arts trip to the Detroit Institute of Arts to learn how different cultures express themselves through art; and an interfaith field trip to visit a synagogue and a Hindu temple and connect with a Turkish American group.

“Students will come for the week, they’ll participate in the class sessions, they’ll go on the trips, and as soon as the week is over, they’ll be expected to do a little follow-up work — usually in the form of a five-page reflective paper. Once we receive that paper, we will credit them with three transferable college credits. They can certainly use them if they decided to come to Rochester College, but they can take them with them if they go anywhere else, as well,” said Polet.

The Jr. Scholars program — which costs $450 and includes three hours of college credit, room, board and all activities — is open to all high school students.

To learn more, or to register to attend, visit www.rc.edu/thehood.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Mary Beth Almond at malmond@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1060.