Falcon family welcomes incoming freshmen early

Summer bridge programs focus on student success

Falcon family welcomes incoming freshmen early

By Amy West

Incoming students consistently remark on the welcoming atmosphere at BGSU and say feeling at home on campus is one of the reasons they chose to become part of the Falcon family. Getting students involved early in their academics is critical to their success. Several programs on campus have established summer bridge initiatives to accomplish this goal.

Incoming freshmen scholars from Science and Math Education in ACTION, the Academic Investment in Math and Science (AIMS) program, and the President’s Leadership Academy (PLA) arrive on campus in July to participate in four weeks of intense programming.

“During the Summer Bridge Program, a solid foundation is laid for the next four years of college and lifelong friendships are formed.  I have been with the ACTION program since the beginning of 2009, and each summer just gets better!”Scholars entering these programs live in the residence halls, use a University meal plan and enroll in classes to become familiar with the support systems available. Programming includes workshops, classes, community service, weekend excursions, cultural events and speakers. 

Nearly 100 students participate each summer and each of the three programs offers a unique experience incorporating their missions into the curriculum. 

Science and Math Education in ACTION is a Choose Ohio First grant program providing scholarships and a unique opportunity for top students from throughout Ohio. ACTION scholars are considering careers as science and/or mathematics teachers. The program is designed to produce exceptional science and math teachers and builds on the nationally recognized BGSU education program.

“When choosing a University, I was looking for a school with a strong education program and one that felt like home,” said Sarah Spayd, a math education and ACTION scholar.

“After visiting campus, I knew it was the place for me. Everyone I met had a smile on their face and wanted to help me. After just one visit, I felt so comfortable on campus that I could definitely picture myself in brown and orange.”

“ACTION scholars come to campus as recent high school graduates; and four weeks later, they have been transformed into college students equipped for the start of the school year,” said Wendy Standinger, ACTION program manager. “During the Summer Bridge Program, a solid foundation is laid for the next four years of college and lifelong friendships are formed.  I have been with the ACTION program since the beginning of 2009, and each summer just gets better!”

Students in the ACTION summer bridge program are engaged in hands-on class sessions with BGSU faculty members covering topics related to science, math and education. Evenings and weekends are filled with team building activities and events. For example, scholars spend a class session on statistics related to baseball and then the group attends a Mud Hens baseball game as a follow up to the lesson.

The AIMS program is designed to increase the number of women and students of color who graduate from BGSU with majors in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and hope to pursue a career in research and/or teaching.

The AIMS Summer Bridge Program is similar to the ACTION program in that students participate in a variety of college-level classes meant to introduce them to and prepare them for a high level of success in rigorous college-level coursework in STEM subjects. 

They participate in a variety of activities outside the classroom including visiting museums, engaging in physical challenges, such as high ropes and adventure courses, and strengthening social bonds through service activities and events such as cookouts and baseball games. 

The Sidney A. Ribeau President's Leadership Academy (PLA) is a four-year leadership development program listed as a national best practice by the National Clearinghouse for Leadership Programs.

Former BGSU President Sidney A. Ribeau (1995-2008) had a vision for the University—to prepare BGSU students to lead with integrity and make meaningful contributions to society during their student years, and in their professions and communities as alumni. 

Students in the leadership track read and discuss selected leadership books and take three academic preparation courses, including written communication, oral communication and a library course. 

The PLA scholars hear from BGSU leadership, fellow students and local community members throughout the month. At the end of the four weeks, they understand basic leadership concepts and their personal leadership style.

Scholars in the Summer Bridge Programs are fortunate to return to campus on the first day of classes with confidence. These students become a valuable resource to other incoming students as they begin their transition to college life. 

Alumni from ACTION, AIMS and the PLA often cite the Summer Bridge Program as the most impactful experience of their academic career.  

Learn more about ACTIONAIMS and the President’s Leadership Academy.