Academic STARS start college success early with summer program
DetailsCreated on Monday, 24 June 2013 06:58 Written by Jackie DeMate Hits: 615
It’s a busy summer for Academic STARS students as they prepare for the fall semester in a five-week summer program that’s held on Kent’s campus. Academic S.T.A.R.S. (Student Achieving and Reaching for Success) is a transition program for incoming Kent State freshmen who are African-American, Latino American, and Native American.
The students live in dorms, take courses while they’re on campus during the summer. Along with College Writing and Interpreting the Black Experience, students also take an emotional intelligence workshop that has been newly introduced this summer.
Oscar Ramos, the Assistant Director of A.A.L.A.N.A. (African American Latino American Native American) Initiatives is the instructor for the course on emotional intelligence.
“The basic idea behind emotional intelligence is if students have strong skills they’re more likely to succeed as a college student and later on in their career,” said Ramos. “The way to think about it is the same way one might think about “I.Q,” the intelligence quotient. What we’re measuring is “E.Q,” the emotional quotient.”
The emotional intelligence workshop looks at leadership skills, self-management, and interpersonal skills. Within these three categories are various other sets of emotional skills such as time-management, stress-management and commitment ethic that the students learn about and are assessed on over the course of the workshop.
According to Shana Lee, director of the Student Multicultural Center and the Academic STARS program, the program itself started in 1990 as an endeavor to assist the university in retaining its African American students. The program was initially developed to assist students from the Akron and Cleveland areas, but was expanded in 1995 to include students from all over the country.
“This year we sent out over 2700 invitations for students to learn about the program and see if it’s something they might be interested in, and then we end up interviewing sixty students for twenty-five slots,” Lee said about how the students are admitted to the program.
The Academic STARS program is one of the longest running retention programs that Kent State has for its AALANA students. There is a 90 percent retention rate from freshman to sophomore year. While the Academic STARS program sets students up for academic success it also has been widely successful for students on a personal level as well.
“I feel like the experience is so life-changing,” said Campbell Garth, an incoming educational interpreting major from Pittsburgh, PA. “I’m making friends for a life time, I’m learning about myself, and these are experiences I couldn’t get anywhere else. I am so thankful for this program.”