Transformative Summer Experiences

High School, News

This past summer, several of our rising seniors had the opportunity to learn, grow, and push past their comfort zones by participating in summer programs and internships. Ranging from scientific research and forensics to college-based programs at Villanova and Yale, these experiences served as transformational learning opportunities that helped our students further refine their interests and prepare for the future.

Mebelyn Urena participated in the Monell Science Apprenticeship Program, which has been recognized as one of the 25 Best Pre-College Summer Science Programs for High School Students by Best College Reviews. She was paired with Robert Pellegrino, a Postdoctoral Fellow at Monell, to complete a research project on the olfactory perception of mice and humans. Reflecting on her experience, Mebelyn shared: “I learned a lot about a career in research, which I am really interested in now. The only type of career that came to mind when I thought about science was a medical doctor, not a researcher.” She learned how to collect data from research participants, use coding to create graphs from the data, compare that data with a study done on mice, and then draw conclusions from the comparison. To top it all off, she had the opportunity to present her research findings to over 200 people!

Elena Feliciano, Desiree Franco, and Kevin Saez participated in Villanova’s Civitas through Caritas program, where they had the opportunity to learn and grow through philosophy and theology classes, group discussions, homework, and hearing from guest speakers. “The classes were very student driven, and discussions opened everyone up to new perspectives. We also got to meet guest speakers in various positions at the university and learned more about the college process, the college experience, their personal experiences and how they ended up at Villanova,” Desiree shared. In addition to receiving support with the college application process, they also got to stay in the dorms for three weeks, check out the campus, and get a taste of college life.

Janet Alvarado-Santos spent seven weeks with the Forensic Sciences Mentoring Program, where she learned about the forensic science disciplines of toxicology, biology, and chemistry. According to the Forensic Sciences Mentoring Program website, students in the program “learn through interactive, hands-on experiences using the same state-of-the-art instrumentation and techniques used in the world’s top forensic laboratories.” Using those tools, she worked with a team to examine a sexual assault case. They examined and tested real samples from the victim and witnesses who were near the victim, drew conclusions about what had occurred, and presented their findings in a trial setting.

Luisanny Torres-Sanchez, along with students from over 150 countries, stayed on Yale’s historic campus for two weeks as part of the Yale Young Global Scholars program. According to their website, this program “is an academic enrichment program for outstanding high school students from around the world. Our curriculum is highly collaborative, exposing participants to innovative topics while facilitating student discussions shaped by international perspectives.” Luisanny shared how she experienced the full extent of that curriculum: “I got to participate in seminars, lectures, a symposium, and a capstone project, all focusing on ways to improve the world socially, politically, and economically through a humanitarian perspective. In the symposium the students were split into different groups and we got a chance to explore political, geographical, social, and economic aspects that make a country, and problems that real-world countries face.”

At Esperanza Academy, students connect with opportunities like these through our College and Career Office, their teachers, and their own research. Our College and Career counselors are invested in providing support throughout the process as students complete applications and prepare for the summer, as well as for life after graduation. We are excited to see our students expand their horizons and see the endless possibilities open to them as they plan for their futures!

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