Quinnipiac makes summer programs more accessible to all

October 05, 2021

Student participates in biomed camp.

Last summer was sunny for a group of disadvantaged local students, thanks to the work of one university administrator. 

Director of Summer Programs and Planning David Charron applied to the Connecticut Department of Education’s AccelerateCT Summer Enrichment Initiative for three tracks: Media production, medical microbiology and health sciences exploration. The expansion grants were created specifically to increase access to summer programming for low-income and minority students who were disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Each $25,000 grant awarded supported the hire of more Quinnipiac summer staff and student workers. Funds also went toward supplies and the transportation of students by the New Haven School District, Charron explained.

“I’m always on the lookout on how to incorporate diversity into our summer programs,” said Charron. “The importance of a diverse learning community is undeniable, as it creates a more enriching and exciting environment for teachers and students.”

Charron reached out to a long-time learning partner, New Haven Promise, to identify and recruit students who were a good fit for Quinnipiac’s summer offerings. Out of the 21,000 students the New Haven Promise serves, 56 learners were selected.

Grant money was also used to compensate additional New Haven Promise staff brought on to grow the summer programming.

“New Haven Promise staff were tremendously helpful in coordinating transportation, as well as figuring out scheduling issues for students who had jobs, or were about to start working,” said Charron.

Seventy-five students participated in the three programs. High school students primarily attended the media and medical programs while middle school students joined in the health science exploration program.

“They had such a great time. With students coming from the New Haven Promise, and others from surrounding areas, it was really neat to watch,” said Charron. “These two student groups wouldn't necessarily get to interact with each other without this program.”

Immersive programming encouraged innovative student projects which tapped into Quinnipiac’s state-of-the-art facilities and equipment. One group of media students produced a video after two weeks of storyboarding, researching and editing. Featured interviewees included Quinnipiac students and guest faculty, former pro athlete and ESPN commentator Dave Stevens.

Another group utilized the Ed McMahon Communications Center to create a short, animated film.

Ultimately, the success of increasing access to Quinnipiac’s summer programs is a result of the work between the New Haven Promise, Connecticut Department of Education and the New Haven School District, said Charron.

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