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Mark Wood works with Summer Scholars in 2008

Drury’s Summer Scholars Program Expands In Its Second Year

For Immediate Release: June 19

Contact:
Mark Wood
Associate Professor of Chemistry
Phone: (417) 873-7474
E-Mail: mwood@drury.edu

Or

Bruce Callen
Professor of Physics
Office: Trustee Science Center, Room 212
Phone: (417) 873-7473
Fax: (417) 873-7856
E-mail: bcallen@drury.edu

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., June 19, 2009 —The second year of Drury University’s Summer Scholars program for African-American teenagers will get underway on July 5. Thanks to a $23,390 grant from The Community Foundation of the Ozarks, the program is expanding from one to two weeks and will involve more than 50 male and female students.

The Summer Scholars program was founded in July 2008 by three Drury professors --Drs. Bruce Callen, Peter Meidlinger and Mark Wood-- to give 15 African-American middle school boys a residential college experience. For five days, Drury faculty and students taught the Summer Scholars about poetry, chemistry and local history, and the program culminated with a presentation to their parents, families and friends. Besides the academic immersion, the students were also given a taste of local sports, history and art.

“We had been really concerned about the lack of minorities in college nationwide,” says Dr. Peter Meidlinger, Drury associate professor of English. “Black males are less likely to pursue higher education than any other group. We wanted to give that group an opportunity.”

Beginning Sunday, July 5, Drury will host more than two-dozen ninth and tenth grade boys and girls from Central High School for six days. Then on Sunday, July 12, seventh and eighth grade Pipkin Middle School students will come to the Drury campus for another six-day session. The students will attend classes in language arts, photography, science and theatre; listen to guest speakers; and go to local cultural events.

All of last year’s attendees have been invited back, and the professors plan to invite the summer scholars back each year and follow their school careers. Some of the students who attended in 2008 participated in a bimonthly book club during the school year at Pipkin with the three Drury professors and Professor Charlyn Ingwerson, an instructor in English who led the girls’ book club and who will teach in the program this summer.

Professors Rebecca Miller (Art) and Robert Westenberg (Theater) will also teach in the program this year. In addition, African-American leaders from throughout the community will lead seminars on local history, life and entrepreneurial skills and African-American music. They include Francine and Wesley Pratt, president and vice president of the NAACP; Charlotte Hardin, assistant vice president for Multicultural Programs and Student Diversity at Missouri State University; Denny Whayne, longtime member of the Springfield City Council; and local entrepreneurs Lyle Foster and Steve Williams.

The classes will be separated by gender while evening activities will be co-ed. Boys and girls will stay in separate floors of the residence halls. “We always had the intention of including girls,” says Callen, associate dean of the college. “Last year was a pilot program, and we wanted to start with something we knew we could do well.”

Besides the grant from The Community Foundation of the Ozarks, Springfield Public Schools will provide Cardinals tickets and transportation and will assist with the resident advisors’ salaries. Missouri State’s College of Arts and Letters has donated Tent Theatre tickets to the scholars.

The only cost to the students in the Summer Scholars program is a $25 fee that will be waived for students willing to do work on behalf of the program.

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