Inaugural College Prep scholars to spend final summer on campus

Provost Holden Thorp to teach class on teamwork using science, music

College Prep students
Cardejah Warner, a student at Soldan International Studies High School, introduces herself to her College Prep cohort May 14. (Photo: Sid Hastings / Washington University)

The inaugural cohort of Washington University in St. Louis’ College Prep Program will spend its final summer on campus learning from a leading scientist and lifelong musician: Provost Holden Thorp.

Thorp has created a college-credit course that explores teamwork in science and music. The students — 25 rising high school seniors — will study key, but relatively unknown, contributors in both fields such as DNA researcher Rosalind Franklin and the Funk Brothers, the sessions musicians who created the Motown sound.

“I want to show students there are a lot of important things to achieve in the world as part of a team,” said Thorp, a chemist, guitarist and pianist. “There is a myth of the lone genius in the lab or studio. This class will show that those myths are almost always incorrect. You can’t really achieve anything in those fields by yourself.”

The College Prep Program, a three-year, immersive college experience program for talented, low-income students, is an important component in Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton’s work to support young people in the St. Louis region. It was launched in 2014 with 25 rising sophomores from across the metropolitan area. For the past two summers, the scholars have lived and worked on campus, participating in science labs, writing workshops and, last year, a design-thinking seminar with Heather Corcoran, director of the College of Art & Graduate School of Art at the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts.

But College Prep provides more than unique academic opportunities, said Leah Merrifield, associate vice chancellor for community engagement and St. Louis college readiness initiatives.

“It’s really about giving students the skills and the confidence to succeed at a top college,” Merrifield said. “After spending time in the classroom with a director at the Sam Fox School and the provost of one of the nation’s leading universities, these students will arrive at college better prepared to access the resources they need, whether it be from a teaching assistant or a dean.”

This week, the third — and largest — cohort of the College Prep Program arrived on the Danforth Campus. The 50 rising sophomores, representing 26 high schools from across the region and nominated by a teacher or member of the St. Louis community, will live on campus for two weeks. The second cohort of 43 students also arrives this week and, like the inaugural cohort, will stay on campus for three weeks.

Thorp has met many of those students and he is impressed.

“It’s always a risk when you ask kids if they want to go to school in the summer, but it was obvious after the first summer, this program would work,” Thorp said. “These students have come together to build a strong, supportive community. They know what is possible and they are ready to achieve it.”

Introducing the new College Prep scholars

Members of the Washington University in St. Louis 2016 College Prep Scholars cohort gathered for their organizational meeting in College Hall on the South 40 Campus in St. Louis Saturday, May 14, 2016. Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton and Jordan Peters, an Assistant Director of Admissions, delivered remarks. Photo by Sid Hastings / WUSTL Photos
Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton (center) greets the members of the 2016 College Prep scholars cohort as they gathered for their first organizational meeting May 14. (Photo: Sid Hastings / Washington University)

The 2016 College Prep Program scholars are:

William Austin, Central Visual and Performing Arts High School
Cara Bibbs, Maplewood Richmond Heights High School
Aleila Cage, McCluer High School
Taylor Cain, Northwest Academy of Law
Kayvion Calvert, Normandy High School
Brianna Chandler, Nerinx Hall
Kierra Cunningham, McCluer High School
Jasmine Destiny, Ritenour High School
Deija Duncan, Hazelwood East High School
Gbemisola Fadeyi, Hazelwood East High School
Karen Hernandez, Central Visual and Performing Arts High School
Kaja Horton, Lutheran North High School
Rhea Hughes, Hazelwood East High School
Tai Huynh, Ritenour High School
Mario Jauregui, Pattonville High School
Makayla Jones, University City High School
Tionna Larue, Jennings High School
Morgan Lawton, Lafayette High School
Michael Love, Christian Brothers College High School
Edi Mahmutovic, Mehlville High School
Laura Marks, Collegiate School of Medicine & Bioscience
Sierra Mason, Lift for Life Academy
Gage Menk, Pattonville High School
Oduku Metu, Pattonville High School
Jordyn Moore, Central Visual and Performing Arts High School
Jasmine Pearson, Riverview Gardens High School
Amanda Pender-Schraut, Collegiate School of Medicine & Bioscience
Andrew Pender-Schraut, Collegiate School of Medicine & Bioscience
Jemel’a Phillips, East St. Louis Senior High School
Ashley Rice, Northwest Academy of Law
Rebecca Rico, University City High School
Sofia Robayo Camargo, McCluer High School
Jaylen Roberts, McCluer High School
Karen Rosales, Pattonville High School
Emily Stephan, Ft. Zumwalt East High School
Toni Stevenson, Northwest Academy of Law
Andrea Sutton, Louisiana R-2 High School
Kaylin Thompson, Hazelwood East High School
Cindy Ton, Metro Academic & Classical High School
Sam Vaclavik, Pattonville High School
Thang Vay, Bayless High School
Maxwell Vivian, McCluer High School
Jeremy Walker, Riverview Gardens High School
Cardejah Warner, Soldan International Studies High School
Michelle Watts, Louisiana R-2 High School
Zoe Webster, Incarnate Word Academy
Kayla Williams, Crossroads College Prep
Tylea Wilson, Lift for Life Academy
Kara Wilson, McCluer High School
Peter Zhang, University City High School

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