Elizabeth City State University is continuing to prepare rising freshmen to be successful students.
This summer, rising freshmen attend the Summer Bridge Program in a hybrid format. The programs are running June 14-30 in a virtual format, and Aug. 1-10 residential and face-to-face.
This program prepares them to become successful students in advance of their first fall semester, scheduled to begin Aug. 17.
According to the summer bridge program director, Dr. Eyualem Abebe, eight rising freshmen participate in the virtual three-weeks and residential 10-day programs to prepare for fall 2021 classes. It is the third of a three-year series of academic support programs for high school seniors preparing to attend ECSU as first-year STEM majors.
The program, he said, is part of ECSU’s ongoing commitment to student success and retention.
“It is the first part of a yearlong academic support program that includes tutoring and mentoring rising freshmen,” said Dr. Abebe.
The tutors and mentors include faculty and graduate and undergraduate students. Dr. Abebe says the student mentors have been assigned four-to-five freshmen each. The mentors and participants are financially supported through the program, and throughout the next academic year will give the freshmen not only assistance with their studies, but also the benefit of their experience as ECSU students.
Dr. Abebe says that aside from giving these freshmen an academic advantage, the program also prepares them for life on campus.
“It gives students a chance to get to know one another,” he says.
This training schedule includes discussion on scientific literacy, critical thinking, study skills, and activities that promote cognitive processing of information and problem-solving strategies. The goal is the “strengthening of independent learning,” said Dr. Abebe.
“In addition, participants attend intensive classes of three courses known to challenge first-year STEM majors: biology, chemistry, and mathematics,” said Dr. Abebe. “The benefit of such programs at ECSU are demonstrable through what we see these participants achieve during their first year. For instance, 70 percent of first cohort participants maintained a cumulative GPA of 3.0 at the end of the freshman year, and two of them were among the five students who received the Chancellor’s Award.”
Aside from Dr. Abebe, a number of faculty members participate in the summer program. They are Dr. Tesfaye Serbessa (Associate Professor Chemistry), Dr. Julian Allagan (Associate Professor of Mathematics), and Dr. Feseha Abebe-Akele (Assistant Professor of Biology). Dr. Rebecca Jordan of Michigan State University offers support to the ECSU team, said Dr. Abebe.