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Summer Bridge Programs Help Students Reach Goals

BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS – APRIL 24, 2013 – Summer can be so much more than lazy days on the beach, especially for students who want to get closer to their goals. At The University of Texas at Brownsville, several free or low-cost programs are available to help students make strides toward their individual goals.
Sheila Angeles and Jose Medina
Sheila Angeles and Jose Medina, shown in the Learning Enrichment Lab, attended Summer Bridge last year and are looking forward to helping new students get a good start by being peer advisors during Summer Bridge 2013.
Jose Medina knew he wanted to attend The University of Texas at Brownsville, his first step to reaching his goal of becoming a meteorologist. He took the COMPASS test in spring 2012, hoping to receive his acceptance notice and begin his studies in the fall.
However, he hit a little snag, missing the mathematics minimum score requirement by a hair.
 
Medina received notice that he would still be admitted to UTB, but because of his math score he would have to take Algebra I as a remedial course, meaning he would need to pay full cost for a class and receive no college credit.
 
His counselor at Lopez High School, Luz Zamora, told him about the UTB Summer Bridge program, and he knew right away this would be a worthwhile $50 investment.
 
“In Summer Bridge I brushed up on my algebra and retook the COMPASS and passed it,” Medina said. “I learned so much in the program; it was a very productive six weeks. There was a lot of emphasis on making the change from high school to college, and so when I started classes in August, I felt prepared.”
 
Summer Bridge is designed for students just like Medina, whose COMPASS scores indicate a student to be “almost college-ready” in reading, writing and/or math – but needing a little boost.
With the Summer Bridge, incoming freshman students have an option to circumvent the cost and time of fall-semester remedial classes. Summer Bridge not only assists students in bringing up their COMPASS test scores, but also introduces participants to college-level expectations in the target areas of College Algebra, Composition I or History I.
 
Eighty-eight percent of the students who completed the 2012 Summer Bridge Program satisfied the college-ready standards and took college level courses in the fall 2012 semester. They saved a semester of time and approximately $800.
 
A graduate of Tec Milenio in Matamoros, Sheila Angeles passed her math COMPASS but was under the wire in reading.
 
“The Summer Bridge has made such a difference for me,” Angeles said. “I took reading with Mr. [Stanley] Snelson [Lecturer, Department of Language, Literacy and Intercultural Studies], and he was great and taught us reading comprehension tips and learning strategies. My group also did our ‘mock course’ with Dr. [Manuel] Medrano from the History Department and we experienced exactly the way he conducts his History I class. We had the syllabus, and we got a good idea of just how the class would be, so when I took History I that fall semester, I knew exactly what to expect.”
 
Summer Bridge instructors are not only university professors, but also peer tutors and peer advisors who have “been there, done that.” Angeles and Medina will both be peer advisors in the upcoming Summer Bridge.
 
“I want to help other students get that jump just like I did,” Medina said. “We will be there to help; we will share our experiences and answer questions.”
Angeles said another benefit of Summer Bridge is getting to know other students and developing relationships.
 
“The tutors during the summer were great, and really helped me out a lot,” Angeles said. “Then when classes started in August, I walked into the Learning Enrichment lab, and there were some of the same tutors. So this is where I come to do all my studying – it’s a comfortable place to work and everyone is so positive.”
 
Limor Chavez, Summer Bridge Program Coordinator, said Summer Bridge is a win-win proposition that helps students build their subject competence while learning time management skills and prioritizing tips.
 
“The fee is $50, and that includes all necessary materials,” Chavez said. “We have two sessions daily – one in the morning and one in the afternoon – making it accessible to students who have jobs and other responsibilities. These six weeks are designed to lay the foundation for a successful and meaningful college career.”
 
Summer Bridge takes place from Monday, June 6 to Monday, July 10. For more information, contact Limor Chavez at 956-832-7380 or limor.chavez@utb.edu.
 
Math Boot Camp
 
Math Boot Camp is another bridge program being offered this summer. This camp is designed for students in three categories.
 
One, high school graduates admitted to UTB that would like to test out of pre-calculus. These students could save one or more semesters of math and about $600 in tuition per course.
 
Two, UTB students that failed pre-calculus in the past and would like to test out and not pay for the course again; and three, non-traditional students who have not taken a math course recently and would like to get a two-week refresher course.
 
Boot Camp I begins with a pre-test, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, June 8, and continues through the post-test on Saturday, June 22.
 
Boot Camp II begins with a pre-test from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 3, and continues through the post-test on Saturday, Aug. 17.
 
Both boot camp workshops run Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m.
 
For more information on Math Boot Camp, contact Judy Moreno at 956-882-7004 or judy.moreno@utb.edu, or visit Math Boot Camp.
 
Engineering Summer Bridge
 
Engineering Summer Bridge is another program being offered at UTB this summer, from Monday, July 15 to Monday, August 12.
 
“The engineering summer bridge program prepares students for an engineering career at UTB,” said Dr. Sanjay Kumar, Assistant Professor of Engineering. “Students who successfully complete this program can start taking courses towards their bachelor’s degree in engineering during their first semester in college.”
Engineering Bridge is free of charge for students who have been admitted to UTB as declared engineering majors. The program offers engineering math, history and practice. In math, students will prepare for the pre-calculus credit exam in order to be able to take calculus.
 
Engineering history will comprise learning how historical buildings were constructed by the Aztecs, Egyptians, Greeks and other ancient, advanced civilizations.
In engineering practice, students will “fly” a plane in the wind tunnel and test and fire a rocket engine on a model rocket.
The class covers topics of ENGR 1101 (Introduction to Engineering) with the possibility of achieving credit for the fall.
 
“Our program covers all of this, plus field trips to local industries and places of engineering interest, including the airport and the air museum,” Kumar said.
Registration for Engineering Bridge is at utb.edu/engineering. For more information, contact engineering advising at 956-882-7171 or engineering.advising@utb.edu. or visit Engineering Bridge.
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