I recently had the incredible opportunity to work for Loyola Marymount University’s (LMU) pre-college Summer Programs office. Available to rising high school sophomores, juniors and seniors, Summer Programs offers students the opportunity to take two-week summer enrichment courses at LMU and experience a small taste of what life as a Lion is all about. During the academic year, I work as an assistant to the program director, helping with preparations for the program and in the summer I live with the students in the residence hall as their college-age liaison and resident advisor.
Being in charge of more than 50 high schoolers may sound scary; it definitely is daunting. I remember being in high school and I was not an easy character to work with. The start of the program is always filled with ice-breakers, with resident advisors like myself trying to support these strangers and help them form a bond as quickly as possible. College is about friendship, so this is one of the first lessons we aim to share with the pre-college students. This can be difficult at first. We have students coming from all over the globe, with a diverse set of interests and passions. Throughout the two weeks that the students are on LMU’s campus, they begin to grow and learn, both through their academic experiences in the classroom and with their fellow students in the residence hall.
“At LMU, we aim to educate the whole person,” explained Ashley Wilson, the Summer Programs program director. “So the goal of the program is to provide high school students not only with a chance to pursue their academic passions, but also to give them time to adjust to the challenges of living away from home, expand their preconceived notions of what college life is about and learn to manage a busy calendar of academic, co-curricular and social experiences.”
This summer, the program expanded the number of academic courses offered for high school students. Besides the exploratory classes in Environmental Science, Screenwriting and Political Science that we launched in 2016, this year we added courses in Entrepreneurship, English and Theatre Arts. Both the returning faculty and the new members of our team have had an incredible influence on the students. The faculty do a great job of giving the students a glimpse into what a college-level class would be like, so the students leave the courses excited to learn more in their particular area of interest.
Easily the best part of the program is watching the students begin to come out of their shells during their time here on the bluff. We had so many students who were initially afraid of just coming out of their rooms that, by the end of the program, were crying about leaving campus. Students who did not know each other just two weeks prior were trying to savor all the moments they could with their newfound friends. Being a part of that kind of transformation is truly incredible and seeing the impact that current LMU students can have on Future Lions is my favorite part of working for the University as a part of this program office.
Next summer, there are already plans to add more courses in different areas of study, including a brand new Global Sports and Entertainment Business Academy. I have been very fortunate to be a part of this amazing program as it started and cannot wait to see where it goes.
For more information about LMU Summer Programs, please visit our website.