R. B. Doering Middle School is the latest school to join the College Matters for U Program. Over 50 5th and 6th graders visited the UMass Center last month for the daylong college and career-readiness program focusing on S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics). Doering is the first school from Agawam Public Schools to participate in the program.
“I can honestly say that this trip has sparked interest and generated a lot of talk,” said Sue Federico, Principal of Doering School. “I know that this trip afforded these students an interesting look at higher education, and will certainly cause them to consider the possibilities.”
“The students were very engaging and asked thoughtful questions during the healthcare sessions,” said Wesley Days, UMCS Assistant Manager of Operations. “They viewed our state-of-the-art simulation labs and robotic mannequins as a Center favorite, leading some to even tell me they are considering a career in the healthcare field. That’s why we do this--to expose them to options.”
In addition to discussing healthcare careers, the students participated in a S.T.E.A.M. and career presentation, explored brain development with graduate students from UMass Amherst Psychological and Brain Sciences Department, and learned about entrepreneurship and financial literacy from Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts (JAWM).
“The activities were very appropriate, engaging and conducted in a way that maintained the students' attention and focus,” said Federico. “I was walking through classrooms shortly after students returned to school, and I can tell you that word quickly spread throughout the building among both students and staff that the trip was ‘fun, interesting, cool, and awesome’."
Since October 2015, the UMass Center has hosted over 1,000 students for the daylong program. The program’s success has been attributed to support from corporate sponsors like First Student and Sodexo, community partners like JAWM and the Art for the Soul Gallery, educational partners including UMass Amherst and STCC, and the thriving collaboration with school administrators and counselors. Five elementary schools are scheduled to participate in the College Matters for U Program in June.