The College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources welcomed 100 high school students to the Summer Academies program. The three-day camps provided rising juniors and seniors a fun and educational experience at the University of Missouri.
This summer CAFNR added two academies to the program, which allowed for a larger group of students to participate. The academies were the Forestry, Culinary Sciences, Stats and Sports, Sciences of Life, Stem by Stem, Trap Academy; and Ag Ed Academy. In years past, a Weather Academy was offered. Each academy accepts 20-25 students, and it allows them to experience the life of a college student for a few days. Financial support for the Academies was provided by the College. Several outside organizations, and faculty and staff donated money for partial and full scholarships for the students as well.
CeCe Leslie, director of student recruitment, coordinates the academies. She finds that these academies are of interest to the students because it gives them a “flavor” of college life, and also allows them to learn about something they’re interested in. “The academies try to offer students a wide range of information during their stay, including team building, leadership, and career and college exploration,” Leslie said.
Bringing Students Together
Although each academy revolves around a different targeted interest, there are several activities that allow everyone to come together. Venture Out is a team building program with low ropes challenges. The Rec Center night allows the students to play sports and familiarize themselves with the popular campus facility. And Strengths Quest allows for them to work with the Career Services department, which helps them assess their strengths, interests and how they can funnel them into an exciting career choice.
Each academy also offers fun activities of their own. The Stats and Sports academy had the opportunity to visit the Cardinals stadium, and shared data with their scouts. Other students were able to participate in an etiquette dinner provided by the Hospitality Management program, and others toured the Nuclear Reactor on campus. Each academy offered an exciting and unique experience for the students who were a part of it.
Students also attend a closing ceremony. Counselors present them with certificates, and let them know how happy the CAFNR department was to have them this summer.
“It takes a lot of dedicated personnel to pull this off each year,” Leslie said. Current CAFNR students and faculty help run this program every year. At least two faculty members help run each academy, and student counselors help assist them with activities. Student counselors go through a training program prior to the students’ arrival to ensure that they provide the best experience possible for the participants.
“It was a lot of fun. I got to meet a lot of high school students that were interested in CAFNR, and got to show them different parts of the college that they weren’t familiar with,” said Drake Meyer, a sophomore in agribusiness management and counselor. He said he and the other counselors loved getting to interact with the students.
Overall, it was a very successful year for the Summer Academies program, Leslie said. She and her staff are working hard to get the information out even earlier for next year. The Student Recruitment Committee has recently met, and they are finalizing what academies will be offered to students.