Program Offers College Experience to Middle Schoolers

This summer Truman will partner with a program designed to set children as young as middle school on the path to obtaining a college education.

The University’s Truman Institute and the Office of Advancement are working with the Kauffman Scholars, Inc., to provide a three-day college experience for up to 45 middle school students this August. The students are part of the Kauffman Scholars program, which prepares urban students from an early age to succeed in and graduate from college.

The program’s goal is to increase the number of college graduates from the Kansas City metropolitan area. It is expected to serve around 2,300 students over 19 years and is supported by a $70 million grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

“We are positively ecstatic about having the Kauffman Scholars on our campus,” said Gina Morin, vice president for enrollment management at Truman. “The nurturing of academic excellence provided to the Kauffman Scholars throughout their time in the program is very consistent with Truman’s mission. We are eager to help these young people learn to identify a college that is right for them and, of course, we hope they will find Truman an attractive environment at which they may someday continue their studies.”

During their stay on campus Aug. 3-5, the Kauffman Scholars will rotate through three workshops of rocketry, ballooning and writing. These workshops introduce interesting and important scientific, mathematical or computational skills and ideas.

Jason Miller, professor of mathematics and director of Truman’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Talent Expansion Programs Office, will coordinate the program at Truman, drawing upon the already well-established experiences of the University’s previous summer enrichment programs.

“Truman’s undergraduate science and mathematics programs are among the best in the nation, and we faculty are always looking for new ways to spread our enthusiasm for the opportunities available to those with training in STEM areas,” Miller said. “Working with the Kauffman Scholars program is an exciting opportunity for us.”

Currently, Kauffman Scholars range from seventh grade through college. They enter a “stair step” program of learning and mentoring as early as their middle school years. Each student has an academic coach and a life coach mentoring them as they receive rigorous instruction in math, science, language arts and life skills. Throughout their middle school and high school years, students are exposed to a range of special academies and workshops to further develop their skills, culminating in support at the college level.