AEP, COSAM celebrate close of first virtual STEM Summer Bridge Program

By Cassie Montgomery

Published: Aug 6, 2020 12:15:00 PM

Program participants joined faculty, staff, administrators and alumni via Zoom to celebrate the close of the 2020 STEM Summer Bridge Program. Program participants joined faculty, staff, administrators and alumni via Zoom to celebrate the close of the 2020 STEM Summer Bridge Program.

Incoming freshmen engineering, science and math students recently joined faculty, staff, administrators and alumni to celebrate the closing ceremony of the 2020 STEM Summer Bridge Program. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the four-week program was held entirely online for the first time and featured a blended group of students entering the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering and the College of Sciences and Mathematics (COSAM) in the fall. 

The ceremony, hosted by the Engineering Academic Excellence Program (AEP) and the COSAM Office of Inclusion, Equity and Diversity (OIED) via Zoom, featured reflections from several students on their first introductions to student life at Auburn University.

“The program was very interactive and informative,” said Jailyn Clayton, incoming freshman. “We gained advice on academics, mental wellness, social skills, an outlook on campus life and expectations, ways to succeed and even potentially made lifelong friends. I can now say that I feel more prepared for school than I ever was before.”

Transitioning the STEM Summer Bridge Program to be held entirely online was a challenge that the program staff took to heart.

“Shifting the program from a 4-week residential experience to a virtual experience for our 42 participating students was a draining yet rewarding experience. We strived to create a space where the students could build a community and embrace the Auburn culture via Zoom,” said Eric Hall, AEP program coordinator. “I was surprised with the level of engagement and commitment on the virtual format. The students brought high energy each and every day with our campus partners, shared ideas in breakout rooms and established peer groups with our graduate interns.”

The annual STEM Summer Bridge Program aims to create a welcoming and engaging environment for students to build community, introduce students to the university’s resources to assist with their transition and success on the collegiate level, and share the Auburn experience and culture.

“Comparing it to the traditional format, this year the students were more communicative among each other a lot quicker, they felt more comfortable being themselves when participating in group activities, and last but not least, they were still able to form authentic long-term relationships,” said Julian Oliver, OIED program coordinator. “All in all, STEM Summer Bridge 2020 was a success.”

 

Media Contact: Cassie Montgomery, cmontgomery@auburn.edu, 334.844.3668

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