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August 22, 2019

Project Access Students Complete 2019 Summer Bridge Program

Van Havercome and Ghazala AfzalEight incoming students who are part of this year's Project Access, a program that provides supplemental reading, writing and critical thinking training for select St. Francis College first-year students, completed one of two optional summer bridge seminars designed to transition them academically from high school to college.

The Project Access Writing Intensive Summer Program, which ran from July 8th to 25th and again from August 5th to 22nd, included three hours of daily classroom instruction led by adjunct English professors Van Havercome (in July) and Ghazala Afzal (in August; pictured on the right, next to Havercome). Students completed assignments to strengthen skills related to complex reading comprehension and analytical writing.

"I liked it [the summer seminar] because I've learned so many things, how to write so many things. I learned how to write proper

Samantha Petite

sentences without mistakes," said Samantha Petite, an incoming Project Access student originally from Haiti who now lives in Canarsie, Brooklyn. Petite is a non-native English speaker (pictured at right).

Since starting the program in 2003, St. Francis has identified a group of incoming first-year students each year to take part in Project Access, based on their scores on college placement exams. The program's cornerstone is a special required for-credit reading and writing course in the fall.

Project Access students receive additional mentoring, tutoring and other academic support over their first two semesters.

"We encourage our Project Access students to take the summer seminar we offer, but it's not mandatory," explained Justine Butler, St. Francis College's Director of Academic Enhancement and head of Project Access. "Students who participate get jump start on the acquiring the skills they need to succeed at St. Francis, and also become acquainted with the resources and tools available to help them along their academic journey."

The students who take part in the summer seminar are generally better prepared for the school year, noted Prof. Havercome. "That [preparation] builds a sense of confidence. You'll see how there's this cohort of friends that they have coming into the semester. It's amazing to see how that helps them evolve as thinkers, as students, as everyday people."

Butler anticipates about 36 incoming first-year students will be part of this year's Project Access class. Some of those students will receive scholarships upon completion of their first year to help fund their remaining years.

Project Access is administered by St. Francis College's Academic Enhancement Center (AEC), a student-centered collaborative learning community offering tutoring, workshops and other support services to the entire SFC student body. Students pay nothing extra to participate in Project Access. It is funded by a grant from National Grid Foundation.

About St. Francis College's Project Access

St. Francis College, in accordance with its history and its mission recognizes potential as much as accomplishment. The goal of Project Access is to help students realize their potential by further developing competencies in reading, writing, and critical thinking in order to thrive in the college community. The program goal is to provide greater outreach and support for students who have a history of underperforming in academic situations. We seek to carry out the college's desire to answer the call of St. Francis of Assisi by helping our students achieve academic excellence, learn to engage with the college community and the world around them, to experience a sense of fellowship with their classmates, and to develop themselves holistically.

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