Rising ECSU freshmen attend a virtual Summer Bridge Program session in advance of the Aug. 11 2020 fall semester start date. The program was led by Dr. Eyualem Abebe.
Elizabeth City State University is preparing rising freshmen to be successful students.
Like many summer programs, the Summer Bridge Program was impacted due to COVID-19. This summer, rising freshmen attended a Virtual Summer Bridge Program, preparing them to become successful students in advance of their first fall semester, scheduled to begin Aug. 11.
According to the summer bridge program director, Dr. Eyualem Abebe, 15 rising freshmen participated in the virtual four-week program to prepare for fall 2020 classes. It was the second of a three-year series of academic support programs for high school seniors preparing to attend ECSU as first-year STEM majors, he said.
The program 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 are paid 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.
The four-week 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 attended 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 last year’s 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 participated in the summer program. They are Dr. Tesfaye Serbessa, Dr. Julian Allagan, and Jade LaDow. Dr. Rebecca Jordan of Michigan State University offers support to the ECSU team, said Dr. Abebe.