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American Indian high school students visit UW-Superior campus

Posted on Apr 17, 2012
American Indian high school students had a chance to visit the University of Wisconsin-Superior as part of the "College Student for a Day Program" -- KUWS

By Lucy Roberts
(Reprinted in the Duluth News Tribune)

American Indian high school students had a chance to visit the University of Wisconsin-Superior as part of the "College Student for a Day Program" last week.

Haley Ackley is a junior at Superior Senior High School. She's been in the college program for two years now. It allows her to explore the UWS campus and learn more about her plans to become an elementary school teacher. She loves working with kids.

"They're so innocent, and they believe you, everything you say. And they love you no matter what," Ackley said. "That's what I like about them."

The program was started about 12 years ago when Multicultural Student Services Specialist Ivy Vainio thought it'd be a good idea to bring American Indian students from area high schools to shadow college students as they went about their day. Since then, the program has grown to not only include American Indian students but black, Asian American, and Hispanic-Latino American students as well.

Vainio says the program has been successful.

"It gives the high school students more than a typical campus visit tour that most students get when they come to a campus. This is more personalized," Vainio said. "We try to match our students, the high school students, up with our college students that have the same interests and the same career interests, and so to connect them more to each other and create that relationship."

Vainio said she's learned from experience with the area's diverse groups that there is a low percentage of students of color going on to college. She says the program can make a difference in students' lives.

"It's so encouraging to see our students of color on our campus being mentors and encouraging the youth and hoping that, by their interaction and their influence on these students that they could be the reason why these students choose to come to college."

UWS sophomore Hanna Durfee was paired up with Ackley to show her around campus. Durfee learned a few things herself.

"You get to connect with high school students, and in the process even getting even more connected with your community, and learn a bunch of things that I can do, too," Durfee said. "We were in Student Services and I learned that there's 24/7 tutoring. What? Nobody knew."

Ackley said students should take part in the program if they have the chance. "Like I said, I would rather do this than go to school, but not only that. Just because it's a different way, a funner way, to learn about the college."

News Contact: Al Miller | 715-394-8260 | amiller{atuws}
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