Ask most high school students what they did over summer break, and you will hear common responses like took a vacation, slept a lot, played video games, worked at camp, searched for a job or babysat the neighbors. Four College Tech Prep Engineering Design students at Grant Career Center can tell a little different story.
These students will tell you how they earned eight college credits at Cincinnati State this summer and gained valuable insight into college life.
Dennis Sandker (Bethel-Tate), Jacob McKinney (Georgetown), and Jessica Thacker and Jesse Rust (New Richmond) were selected to participate in an intensive six week term at Cincinnati State studying engineering technologies as a part of the STEM Summer Academy.
The students participated in Cincinnati State's First Year Experience program which provided an overview of the college and an orientation to the demands of college life as well as DC Circuit Analysis and a Home Energy Audit course. The focus of the engineering technologies program was renewable energy.
The students found that the program was a lot of work but it was a valuable learning opportunity. Jessica Thacker summed up the experience as a great experience.
"This program really prepared me for college. The professors were great and all of the staff cared about our outcomes."
One of the best parts included the price tag. Cincinnati State funded the program with a grant so the students had no tuition bills for their first college credits. Cincinnati State also provided free parking and a lunch allowance. The benefits will also help next year when the students enter college full-time. According to Dennis Sandker, "this program helped me get a perspective on how college operates and what the professors require from their students. It was a once in a lifetime experience! I will be better prepared as a college freshman."
The students completed a research project that they presented on graduation day as part of their studies. The Grant Team researched and created a solar powered water heater. Students worked long hours creating a working model of the solar heater and learning teamwork skills.
Jacob McKinney found the group work to be very beneficial.
"Working as a team on this project showed me the importance of learning to work together as project teams like they do in industry. We all had an important role in the successful completion of our project."
According to Tim Nolan, Director of the Greater Cincinnati Tech Prep Consortium and one of the organizers of the STEM Summer Academy, "This was a great opportunity all the way around. The students were very successful in their studies and it helped give them insight into what college might be like - and confidence that they can succeed."