African American middle school students to visit UI April 19

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Monday, April 15, 2013

Close to 100 junior high students involved with the African American Awareness Program in the Cedar Rapids Community School District will visit the University of Iowa campus on Friday, April 19.

Students from McKinley Middle School in Cedar Rapids enjoy visiting the UI campus. Photo courtesy of the College of Education.

The visit includes a panel discussion to help students learn more about college life and how to prepare for their own academic futures, as well as a book discussion.

The UI College of Education Diversity Committee, the Belin- Blank Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development, and the Center for Diversity and Enrichment in the UI Chief Diversity Office host the visit.

“This visit is a chance for these students to envision higher education and an opportunity for College of Education students, faculty, and staff to sharpen their cultural competencies towards increasing the quality of our services and academic experiences,” says John Achrazoglou, the College of Education’s director of technology and an event organizer.

Students have been reading The Skin I’m In by Sharon G. Flake. They will discuss their ideas about the book with College of Education faculty, staff, and students as a capstone to their day on campus.

Clar Baldus, an administrator at the Belin-Blank Center and event organizer, says this is the 7th year the middle school students have traveled to the UI for a book discussion.

“It is always a great opportunity for our university community to experience the insight and energy of these students and certainly livens up the campus when they are here,” Baldus says.

The students will arrive at Jones Common in the UI Lindquist Center at 9 a.m. with a welcome and presentations from College of Education faculty and staff from 9:15 to 10:15 a.m. This will be followed by panel discussions from Center for Diversity and Enrichment and Admissions staff and College of Education students. The students will then walk to Burge for lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m., and the book discussion will take place in small groups from 12:45 to 1:55 p.m. at the Blank Honors Center.

The African American Awareness Program is for African American students who meet grade point average and attendance goals. The program focuses on setting goals, discussing history, and cultural awareness.