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Summer Scholars alumnus Dequienton Grant

Drury Receives Grant to Expand the Summer Scholars Program

For Immediate Release: March 11

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., March 11, 2009 — The Community Foundation of the Ozarks today gave Drury University $23,390 to expand the Summer Scholars program for African-American students in Springfield.

The Summer Scholars program was founded in July 2008 by three Drury professors to give 15 male African-American middle school students a residential college experience. For four 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.

This July, the Summer Scholars program is expanding to approximately 60 teenage boys and girls. Beginning Sunday, July 5, Drury will host around 30 ninth grade boys and girls for four days.

Then on Sunday, July 12, seventh and eighth grade boys and girls will come to the Drury campus for another four-day session. All of the students are attending or have attended Central High School or Pipkin Middle School.

The grant from the Community Foundation of the Ozarks will be used for travel expenses, food, Drury student workers and to pay for speakers.

“The Summer Scholars program ties us into our community by creating relationships with families living in the neighborhood around Drury and strengthens our existing partnerships with Springfield Public Schools and the NAACP,” says Dr. Peter Meidlinger, Drury associate professor of English. “We believe this program can play a critical role in helping talented African American youth see possibilities for their future. Our Drury students will also benefit by serving as mentors and role models for the scholars.

The idea for the Summer Scholars program began in the spring of 2008 when three Drury professors --Drs. Bruce Callen, Peter Meidlinger and Mark Wood-- were searching for a way to reach out to the community, especially the neighborhood surrounding Drury. All three professors live within the Midtown neighborhood, walking distance from the university, Pipkin Middle School and Central High School.

The professors had two ideas:

  1. To help minority students understand what college has to offer and
  2. To be a good neighbor to the youth in Drury's neighborhood.

“We wanted them to see Drury as a friend and ally. We have a responsibility to be connected and make our community a better place,” Callen, associate dean of the college, says.

The students chosen for the inaugural program were already working together to improve their standardized test scores. They were presented with the idea and jumped at the chance to spend several days at Drury. For this summer's class, the Drury professors are working with school officials from Pipkin and Central to identify worthy candidates for the Summer Scholars program.

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