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New program aims to help underrepresented high school students gain better access to college experience

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

LAWRENCE — A new program in the University of Kansas School of Business will help introduce underrepresented high school students to academic resources and opportunities at KU.

The Summer Venture in Business program is a three-day, pre-college experience aimed at familiarizing underrepresented students interested in business with collegiate life both in and out of the classroom. It will serve as a pipeline program by introducing participants to business topics and equipping students with the tools to apply to KU and be successful in college.

KU Student Body President Stephonn Alcorn, a senior finance student, and Vice President Gabby Naylor, a senior accounting student, introduced the program in their campaign platform last year. Alcorn said he hopes to expand the pilot program to other schools.

“We wanted to start this program to provide access to higher education to underrepresented students in Kansas who need it the most,” Alcorn said. “These students deserve opportunities parallel to their peers’ to prepare and succeed in higher education. By identifying these students early, the School of Business and university can track their progress and connect them with existing university success programs once they are Jayhawks.”

The inaugural program will be June 4-6, 2017. Business students and faculty, along with corporate representatives, will coordinate program activities.

Lectures will focus on the school’s eight majors: accounting, business administration, business analytics, finance, information systems, management and leadership, marketing, and supply chain management.

“This is an important initiative for the School of Business. While the school does a good job of helping all students succeed once in the door, this program has the potential to help expand and diversify our applicant pool and student body,” said Interim Dean Jim Guthrie. “By offering a glimpse of the world of possibilities available for them at KU, this program has the potential to be transformative for the Kansas kids we will be recruiting.

“I am particularly proud that this is a student-led initiative. The students approached us with great ideas and led a joint effort by faculty, staff and students to further refine and implement these ideas.”

Participants will stay on campus in a residence hall and will receive a scholarship to cover the cost to attend. Tenth-, 11th- and 12th-grade students are eligible to apply to the program.

More information about the program and how to apply can be found on the business school’s website at business.ku.edu/programs/summer-venture-in-business

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