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A Tour of the VCU Rice Center

 

Twenty-two incoming freshmen majoring in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) participated in the 2008 Summer Transition Program (STP). The inaugural, four-week, rigorous residential program included academic classes, drop-in tutoring, summer research experience, and field trips. Based upon the students’ evaluations the field trips were the highlight of the program.

                 

The field trips were the opportunity for students to become familiar with the industry and with variety of research and career opportunities they can pursue upon graduation. On July 25 2008, last day of the program, participants received their certificates during the program closing ceremony. After warm words from dean Rosalyn Hobson and hearing from guest speaker Ms. Nekole Varnado, president and CEO of IT Enginuity incorporated and VCU School of Engineering alumna, students traveled to the VCU Rice Center.

 

The VCU Rice Center is an environmental life science research center. It is about 21.3 miles to the south east from VCU Richmond-Virginia, halfway between Richmond and Williamsburg, and it is located on 342 acres along the James River. The Rice Center has a variety of habitats and species that provides a great research and learning opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students as well as K-12 school students (www.vcu.edu/rice).

 

Upon arrival at the Rice Center the students met with Ms. Anne Wright the coordinator in the Life Sciences Outreach Education department. Students toured the welcome and research facility which was under construction. Upon completion the Rice Center building will be the only LEED platinum rated facility in Virginia.

 

The summer began with twenty two students from different backgrounds, places, and ended with a cohort of students who developed close relationships and essentially became a family. Some students commented on their participation by saying that they were blessed to be a part of the program and that “Being able to earn college credits, getting a sample of college life, and meeting new people made the program worthwhile.”

 

Ruba Alkhasawneh

School of Engineering

Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU)

 

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