By KATHLEEN FABIE
There will be some new faces on the University of Mary Washington campus this summer as UMW hosts its first Summer Enrichment Program for rising high school juniors and seniors from the greater Fredericksburg area.
Developed by Professor Teresa Kennedy, chair of the English, linguistics and communication department, the courses will offer topics in English, mathematics and geography.
Professor Kennedy recently spoke about the program and its benefit to UMW.
“It has been on my to-do list for a while,” Kennedy explained.
“With recent budget cuts in Virginia for summer Governor’s School programs, it seemed like the right time,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy added that since the program will draw “bright students,” it can be a potential recruiting tool for the university.
Kennedy also saw other benefits from the program.
It will “bring life to the university in the summertime,” Kennedy said. She also stated that the Fredericksburg community sometimes thinks of UMW as “that place up on the hill.” She hopes a community program such as this will help “get people to think well of learning at UMW.”
Other universities in Virginia, such as University of Virginia, which have offered similar enrichment programs during the summer, have provided residence in dorms to the high school students who attend the programs. This allows students outside of the immediate college area to attend the classes.
For now, however, Kennedy said that UMW’s program would not be a residential one, adding that it would bring a new layer of logistics and planning to the process.
“We’ll see how it goes,” Kennedy said, adding that if the program became a residential one in the future it would require “someone with experience in residential [aspects]. I could not do that by myself.”
Kennedy said the classes would be small— five or six students in each class. The classes will only be available to rising high school juniors and seniors and there will be no UMW students in the classes.
In addition to the enrichment courses, an SAT workshop will be offered on two Saturdays in August. Professor Kennedy herself will be teaching the Writing Review portion, which she says is intended as a strategy workshop.
“It will be a refresher on test-taking skills and writing a good five-paragraph essay to help boost SAT scores,” Kennedy explained.
Students are being recruited for the program from many surrounding counties. Guidance counselors in area school districts have been contacted and an article announcing the Summer Enrichment Program recently ran in the Free-Lance Star newspaper.
High school counselors in Fredericksburg and surrounding counties have received a brochure that outlines class content for seven different classes and an SAT review workshop, according to Professor Kennedy.
The program brochure details class offerings that include such topics as “Geometrical Art” and “Crafting the Essay.” The brochure also says which professors will be involved in the program.
These include Adjunct Instructor Brady Earnhardt of the English, linguistics, and communications department and Assistant Professors Julius Esunge and Randall Helmstutler, Professor Debra Hydorn and Associate Professor and department chair Keith Mellinger of the mathematics department. Assistant Professor Jackie Gallagher and Associate Professor Donald Rallis will be teaching the geography segments.
Math classes will be held in Trinkle Hall and English classes are to be held in the William Street mansion. Classes will be offered during late June and early July and will last for one or two weeks in length depending on the course chosen, according to the brochure.
When asked about having high school juniors and seniors on the campus this summer, UMW students generally reacted positively. Helen Alston, a sophomore, did not see any impact for UMW students when the program was explained to her.
“UMW is a totally different place in the summer, most kids are not hanging around campus.”
Sophomore Sarah Smethurst had doubts about the Summer Enrichment Program being the best recruiting tool for the University.
“They’ll only want to eat at Seacobeck once,” she said.