Latino High School Students Get a Taste of College Life at USF Sarasota-Manatee

RocketKids Article

About 60 Latino high school students enrolled in a college preparation program organized by UnidosNow, a local community organization, are spending almost two weeks of their summer at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee learning what it might be like to attend USF, the region’s only preeminent global research university. The students are part of UnidosNow’s Future Leadership Academy, described on the group’s website as “a rigorous year-round program focused on addressing the disparity in college enrollment of low-income, first-generation Latinx high school students and their families in Sarasota and Manatee counties.” Sarasota-Manatee campus leaders, including Regional Chancellor Karen Holbrook and Brett Kemker, regional vice chancellor academic affairs and student success; Darren Gambrell, director of student success; and Clara Buie, USF’s assistant vice president for student success in Tampa, gave the students an enthusiastic welcome, before other members of the faculty and staff led students on tours of the campus. Kemker noted that about 20% of the students at USF Sarasota-Manatee are of Hispanic/Latino origin, and many are the first in their families to attend college. “We provide the best support to each and every student,” Kemker told the students. “Take the tour and feel the vibe. This can be your home.” Holbrook touted for the students the myriad academic options available to them on all three USF campuses, including more than 40 majors in various fields at Sarasota-Manatee, and the benefits of attending college close to their homes. “And if you don’t want to be at home, we have this beautiful new residence hall,” Holbrook said while pointing out the window to the new Student Center and Atala Residence Hall that will open in August. Students saw the outside of the building and just about everything else that is part of campus life for students, including the Bloomberg Lab, the Bullpen, the café and the renovated and expanded fitness center. They also heard from Brandon McLeod, the campus director for USF World, who described the various opportunities for USF students to study abroad in dozens of countries on six continents. The students will spend almost two weeks at the Sarasota-Manatee campus learning about various facets of a campus life at USF and participating in other programs and training that are part of the Future Leadership Academy.

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