If the rigors of higher education are challenging for many freshmen, they can prove even more difficult for first-generation college students.
Recently, 20 Lehigh undergraduates spoke to high school students at Democracy Prep Charter School
in Harlem, N.Y., about preparing for a future in a university setting. The trip was coordinated by the Office of Academic Outreach and led by Angela Nicole Scott, director of academic diversity and outreach in the Provost's Office. Scott oversees the coordination and implementation of the Lehigh Encourages Academic Partnerships for Success (LEAPS) Program.
The trip gave the Lehigh students a chance to influence aspiring college students, while allowing them to think about their own personal and professional development.
It also exposed the Lehigh contingent to some prominent sights in Manhattan, including Madison Square Garden and ABC News Studios.
“Our students had a chance to talk—both individually and in groups—with the Democracy Prep students about their personal and collegiate experiences,” said Scott. “The lives of both the Lehigh students and the Democracy Prep students were positively impacted by these conversations.”
Founded in 2006, Democracy Prep Charter Schools is one of the most successful schools in New York
, according to insideschools.org. The Lehigh cohort met with the entire high school student body of approximately 350 students in assemblies separated by class year, and discussed diversity, academics, athletics and professional development during a candid morning of conversation.
The Lehigh students also visited with business professionals at the Madison Avenue offices of Jones Lang LaSalle, a financial and professional services firm specializing in real estate. They were hosted for a lunch meeting by Chris Kraus ’81, the managing director of the firm’s New York offices.
Kraus, who graduated with degrees in finance and marketing and a minor in international relations, is chairman of the board of the Democracy Prep Charter School and serves on the executive committee of the Integrated Real Estate at Lehigh (ire@l) program. Kraus and his business partners discussed the importance of diversity and interdisciplinary perspectives in the real estate industry, emphasizing the importance of a multiple perspectives in the workplace.
“Chris Kraus’s support of diversity enriches educational experiences for Lehigh students, especially those within the LEAPS program,” said Angela Nicole Scott. “He is helping to prepare students to be active, successful participants in a complex, global society.”
After the discussion, Kraus led students on a guided tour of Madison Square Garden, where his firm is project manager of a $1 billion dollar renovation project that will be completed this summer. Students saw a preview of the Garden’s VIP suites for the 2013-14 sports season, and also had the opportunity to stand on the floor as arena staff prepared for a New York Knicks home game later that evening.
The visit to the Garden was followed by a tour of ABC News Studios in Manhattan, where students met with news producers, journalists and on-air contributors and watched a live taping of World News with Diane Sawyer.
“This was by far one of the best days I’ve had as a Lehigh student,” said Rickey Layton ’14, a business information systems major. “I couldn’t have asked for a better first trip to New York.”
The LEAPS program, a student recruitment and retention initiative, promotes the academic and personal success of students from diverse backgrounds through educational programming, mentoring and leadership development.
Photos by Ryan Hulvat
Story by Karl Brisseaux '11
Posted on Friday, May 03, 2013