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Teens discover all the possibilities of college

ASU program for Fleischer Scholars eases the pathway to college.
June 21, 2016

ASU's W. P. Carey School hosts Fleischer Scholars — promising high schoolers who need extra help navigating to their futures

Sometimes, leaders are just regular people who step up when they have to, the room full of teenagers learned.

“Once you take that first step, you can build from there,” advised Lissa Leibson, a mentor in the Fleischer Scholars program at Arizona State University.

The teenagers who cheered her speech were attending a weeklong camp sponsored by the W. P. Carey School of Business at ASU.

The high schoolers, who will be seniors in the fall, were selected for the all-expense-paid camp because they demonstrated that they have great potential but might not have the resources to be ready for college. Most of the 21 Fleischer Scholars in the June program would be the first in their families to attend college, and some are from low-income families, according to Danna Remillard, coordinator of admissions and special events at the W. P. Carey School of Business.

“What we look for is students who might not know that college is possible, or have as much access to college prep or college-readiness programs,” Remillard said, adding the average GPA of the group was 3.5. Another cohort of Fleischer Scholars will attend camp in July.

The students find out about majors, how to pay for college, early-admission requirements and anything else they’re curious about.

At a session on leadership, the high schoolers discussed their clubs and organizations, and what it takes to be a leader.

Leibson told the group how leadership can happen when they least expect it. She was secretary of her high school’s service club but was suddenly promoted when the president didn’t show up and she had to jump in and lead a meeting with a group of food-bank administrators.

“I was that person who liked to hide behind a computer. But I realized that if no one started the meeting, these kids wouldn’t get food,” said Leibson, now a junior in the W. P. Carey School of Business majoring in supply-chain management.

“I had never led a meeting in my life. I wondered, ‘Am I allowed to drink water?’ ”

She ended up organizing nine high schools in a citywide food drive in her hometown of Kansas City, Missouri.

The lead mentor in the June session was Samuel De La Ossa, a sophomore majoring in business communications.

Samuel De La Ossa

Samuel De La Ossa, a business communications major at the W. P. Carey School of Business, was the lead mentor for the Fleischer Scholars camp. He was a Fleischer Scholar in 2014. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

De La Ossa was a Fleischer Scholar in 2014, just before his senior year at Marcos de Niza High School in the Tempe Union High School District.

“Did I think with my core GPA of 2.8 that I would get into W. P. Carey? Fleischer gave me the resources and everything I needed to get here,” he told the students.

De La Ossa said the mentorship connection is vital.

“The biggest thing I want them to take away is that they have a friend. This is a Fleischer family,” said De La Ossa, who is still friends with the mentors from his camp two years ago. “It works. We’re able to break through to these juniors and make sure they’re not nervous and give them the resources they need.”

Melanie Diaz (pictured in photo at top), who will be a senior at Sierra Linda High School in the Tolleson Union High School District, would be the first in her family to attend college.

“This camp has really opened my eyes to all the possibilities,” she said. “I didn’t know there were so many degrees you could go for.”

Of the 201 Fleischer Scholars since the first session in 2010, 70 percent have been admitted to ASU, Remillard said.

The program is funded by real-estate investor and entrepreneur Mort Fleischer and his wife, Donna Fleischer, who live in Scottsdale. 

Because of Mort Fleischer’s background of success launching and selling various businesses, the camp promotes entrepreneurship. The teens and mentors form teams to create entrepreneurial projects together.

“We tell them to solve a problem in their world, and they come up with these great ideas,” Remillard said. Previous campers created a smartphone application to find medical advice and an after-school enrichment program.

“They really feel ownership of these projects. They’re in high school, and adults are trusting them to create something.”

Top photo: Melanie Diaz, who will be senior at Sierra Linda High School in Phoenix, talks about her leadership positions during a session of the Fleischer Scholars camp June 16 at Arizona State University. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

Mary Beth Faller

Reporter , ASU Now


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ASU STEM camp inspires future teachers

Science camp at ASU inspires future teachers.
June 21, 2016

High schoolers use hands-on techniques at Hunnicutt Future Educators Academy

Teenagers attending the Hunnicutt Future Educators Academy at Arizona State University this week are learning to think like engineers so that someday they can teach that way.

The camp, for high school students who have an interest in teaching, focuses on science, technology, engineering and math and is sponsored by the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College. The teens live on the ASU Polytechnic Campus for a week as they work on projects together. Hunnicutt will hold another session next week at ASU’s West campus.

“In schools we want STEM in all of our subjects because it makes us critical thinkers,” Hilary Goodine, one of the student teachers, told the campers as they worked on a project. She graduated from the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College in May with a degree in elementary education and begin teaching at the Eduprize School in Queen Creek this fall.

The camp is designed to show how hands-on activities are crucial for STEM learning, said Daniel Cortez, who will be a senior education major and was one of the student teachers at the camp.

During the week, the campers used index cards and tape to design desk-top “skyscrapers” and later in the week will create machines to pop balloons in a Rube Goldberg competition.

Suny Mendez, a camper at the Hunnicutt Future Educators Academy at ASU’s Polytechnic Campus, gets help from Daniel Cortez, a student teacher at the camp and a senior in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College. Photo by Alisha Gudz/ASU

“All of the activities are designed to follow the engineering design process and all the steps,” Cortez said.

“And that’s what a lot of being a teacher is — helping other people solve problems, and using whatever resources you have.”

Just being on the campus is helpful for the teens, many of whom would be the first in their family to attend college. Connie Pangrazi, the assistant dean of academics at the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, said research shows that students who visit campus are more likely to enroll in college

“We give them an opportunity to be here overnight, and we expose them to college life and they say ‘Wow, I can picture myself here.’ ”

The Hunnicutt Future Educators Academy is one way the college is inspiring future teachers at a critical time — 26 percent of public school teachers in Arizona will be eligible to retire by 2018, according to the state Department of Education.

This year’s campers got a nice bonus after they applied. Thanks to a grant from the College Football Playoff Foundation, all fees were waived and the week was free.

Josh Rios of Mesa just graduated from Desert Vista High School and hopes to attend the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College after taking classes at Chandler-Gilbert Community College.

“I’ve thought about being a teacher for the last year, and I wanted to see what this was like,” he said.

“I wanted to see the college atmosphere too. The beds could be more comfortable, but it’s really fun.”

Top photo: Brandon Correa works on a project at the Hunnicutt Future Educators Academy at the Polytechnic campus of Arizona State University. Photo by Alisha Gudz/ASU

Mary Beth Faller

Reporter , ASU Now