Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar recently guided 54 motivated rising high school juniors and seniors through a crash course in the academic rigor that will be expected of them at a top university.
Over three weeks, the Summer College Preview Program (SCPP) prepped students for the college admissions process, strengthened their standardized test-taking abilities, exposed them to collegiate-level courses and presented a window of what life is for a student at Carnegie Mellon.
Students are exposed to university-level math – including differential calculus – academic writing, and an array of personal and professional developmental workshops to improve their competitiveness on college applications.
"We are extremely proud of the students who participated in SCPP,” said Damian Dourado, manager of pre-college programs at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar.
“While their peers are on their summer holidays, these 54 students were on campus, working hard and demonstrating their true passion – learning. They were here every day from the morning to the evening, and they have experienced what will be expected of them in university in a way that is both hands-on and informative," he added.
Israa Salama, a rising senior at Cambridge International School for Girls, said she participated to improve her English skills and learn more about the university’s biological sciences program.
“The professors are very detail-oriented. They make sure you really understand the material. It's been great to get a view of what college is going to be like. I enrolled in the Biological Sciences project because I want to become a scientist and researcher," Israa said.
Initiated in Qatar six years ago, SCPP is modelled after a decade-old program at Carnegie Mellon University's campus in Pittsburgh known as Summer Academy for Math and Science (SAMS). The SAMS program aims to infuse interest in STEM majors [Science, Technology, Math and Engineering] amongst high school students in the United States. President Barack Obama recently took great interest in the program on a campaign stop in Pennsylvania.
Each participant selected a project aligned with one of Carnegie Mellon Qatar’s majors – biological sciences, business administration, computational biology, computer science and information systems.
In the biological sciences project, students were introduced to the field of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine (TERM), including an overview of the current design strategies, theories and potentials of the field.
Students who enrolled in the business administration project worked together to apply concepts and techniques learned in the operation of a business, which enabled them to experience the responsibilities and challenges that real life business executives encounter. Another project introduced students to the field of computer science through the theory of design and programming. Program participants learned how humans interact with various devices by developing computer programs that are at once usable yet sophisticated. They were further introduced to the basics of systems design and even developed a prototype using a programming language during their short introduction.
Those who elected to participate in the information systems project learned how information is represented, processed, presented and shared in today’s highly connected world. Students were introduced to the development of web animations, applications, games and simulations – learning the core design principles of modern information systems.
Historically, about 30 percent of SCCP participants have joined Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar.
“At Carnegie Mellon, we understand how important it is that new undergraduates are well prepared for higher education, especially those seeking admission to top universities in the United States and the United Kingdom. I am there delighted that this program benefits not only students, but also universities in Qatar and beyond,” said Ilker Baybars, dean of Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar.
Summer College Preview Program is one of several programs the university offers to excite students about learning and introduce them to the programs available at Carnegie Mellon Qatar.