Students turned an unusual array of objects – a puffy pink pony, a giant nose, one wooden hoop – into charcoal sketches at the University of Mary Washington earlier this week.
“Awesome stuff, guys,” Assistant Professor of Painting and Drawing Ashe Laughlin said of the rising 10th- through 12th-graders’ still-life creations. “Really terrific!”
More than 100 high-schoolers converged on this week’s second annual Summer Enrichment Program (SEP), a six-day slice of college coursework and campus life. Laughlin’s course, “Exploring Art and Practice,” was one of 17 available to sample, with subjects ranging from writing to cybersecurity, business to pop culture, and mapping to physics.
In addition to three academic classes taught by UMW professors, the students, who soon will begin their own college careers, also chose from 30 enrichment sessions, including lessons on food waste, mindfulness, mastering the college admissions maze and more. Field trips took them to Gari Melchers Home and Studio at Belmont, LibertyTown Arts Workshop, Downtown Greens community garden, the Rappahannock River and other nearby locales.
All the while, they lived in Willard Hall and dined at the Cedric Rucker University Center.
“To have a roommate and to be in an actual college dorm is pretty cool,” said Elyse Katolin, a rising 10th-grader from Crofton, Maryland, who chose a course called “Secret Languages.”
She joined campers from as far away as Ohio, California and beyond.
“We thought it might be a good way to test the waters,” said rising 11th-grader Valeria Cintron, who flew in from Puerto Rico and selected an English class called “Write Now? Right Now!”
Samantha Bass, a rising 11th-grader at King George High School, picked a course called “The Realities of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality.” She plans to study psychology at UMW in a couple years. “I hope to go here one day,” she said. “I just wanted a head start.”
SEP is an important opportunity for high-schoolers, said Associate Professor of Communication Elizabeth Johnson-Young, who co-chairs the program with Senior Lecturer of Biology Michael Stebar. “We hope this gets them excited and interested in college and even appreciative of the liberal arts experience!”