Any student is going to find the first semester or so of college overwhelming, but for first generation college students who don’t have their family members' experiences to go by, it can be especially stressful. But that’s where the Success First Summer Bridge Program can step in and provide some much needed support for these students trying to create a better life for themselves.
This year, nearly 130 students participated in the Success First Summer Bridge Program, broken out into three cohorts:
- The first 80 students took either Math 096 or Math 126, and EPY 101 (an educational psychology course that introduces college life skills)
- A group of 20 students took a Stretch Math course of Math 092 and Math 096, along with Biology 188, a lab course preparing students for Biology 190
- The final group of 26 students, called Math Wizards, worked with MyMathLab Foundations to obtain better scores on the ACCUPLACER exam; they also took workshops similar to those in EPY 101
This is the first year for the Stretch and Math Wizards groups. As a result of including these extra students, Jennifer Zarco, Student Outreach Coordinator, feels that they have “finally found the magic formula of math and college success.”
For participants of the Program, Zarco hopes they will “walk away with the skills necessary to be successful, advocate for themselves, and seek the campus resources that will help them to be successful.” A lot of these skills come from having a success coach, who acts as a mentor for the students as they progress through Summer Bridge and their first year of college.
This year’s keynote speaker for the closing ceremony, which was held on Thursday, August 10, was Jane Nichols, PhD, who has more than 30 years of experience in higher education. She was the Vice President of Academic Affairs for TMCC from 2013–2015 and served the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) in several capacities, including Chancellor and Vice Chancellor of Academic and Student Affairs. Dr. Nichols had some wise words for this year’s class and compared the Program to Google Maps.
“Success First is like a Google Map that you’ll always have with you," she said. "You can’t get from point A to point B if you don’t know the way."
She also believes the students need a car to get where they’re going, one made up of discipline, grit, and determination.
“You can succeed if you believe you can succeed,” she added before closing out her inspirational speech.
The Success First Summer Bridge is a dynamic, ever-changing program. The staff in charge takes suggestions at the end of each summer from the faculty and students who participated, and implement many of those suggestions to create a unique program each summer.
TMCC is grateful for the generous support of donors, who make this Program possible. Supporters of the 2017 program include NV Energy, Wells Fargo Foundation, Susanne and Gloria Young Foundation, U.S. Bank and a grant from INBRE (IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence) through the Department of Health and Human Services.