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EXCELLENCE & DIVERSIT Y


A challenge course involving high ropes enhances the social and leadership skills of Summer Institute participants.


HMC Strategic Vision in Action — Excellence and Diversity SUMMER INSTITUTE MELLON GRANT BENEFITS INCOMING STUDENTS


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Perhaps nothing on that day in November 2011 could have made Brianna Posadas ’13 happier than the news that Harvey Mudd College’s Summer Institute (SI) Program had won a $600,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Posadas, who participated in the SI Program two years earlier,


had hoped that the means would materialize to permit outreach to more students so they, too, could experience SI. Te program, she said, “helped me through all my years here by introducing me to people I might not have bonded with otherwise.” Te Mellon grant represents an important boost to the


annual SI Program, which is offered free to incoming first-year students and includes room, board, a $1,500 stipend and a second stipend of up to $5,000 to enable participation the following year in summer research or Summer Math. While fully inclusive, SI reaches out, in particular, to women,


first-generation college students, students of color and others typically underrepresented in science, math and engineering. Te program immerses SI scholars in activities that enhance


social and leadership skills. Adventurous fun is an integral part of the mix. For example, there usually is an overnight trip to the San Jacinto Mountains for a “challenge course” involving use of low and high ropes. Academics play a major role as well. New in 2011 was


Writing 1, an introductory course on academic writing. Said Wendy Menefee-Libey, director of learning programs, “One student told me that Writ 1 was like Pilates for the brain.” HMC’s new Office of Institutional Diversity Associate Dean Sumun Pendakur (Page 11) thinks the analogy applies to all of SI because the program stretches and strengthens every facet of the person—mind, body and soul.


SI scholars are inclined to agree. Garrett Menghini ’13 said,


“SI made a tremendous difference for me. It did a really good job of bringing me out of my shell.” Vijay Ramakrishnan ’14, an international student from


Singapore, said the SI program helped him navigate with confidence his transition to college. “It’s not only an academically enriching experience, but it also helps to build a sense of community,” he said. To Carolina Reyes ’14, SI meant personal and group empow-


erment. “I completed the program wanting to make other people feel welcome on campus.”





IT’S NOT ONLY AN ACADEMICALLY ENRICHING EXPERI- ENCE, BUT IT ALSO HELPS TO BUILD A SENSE OF COMMUNIT Y. —VI J AY R AMA K R I S HN A N ’ 14


” 36 Har vey Mudd College FALL/WINTER 2012


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