Lauren Johnson believes life is about opportunity. And when she sees nine incoming freshmen students seizing an opportunity they earned, she knows they are paving their road to success.

The goal of the Summer Bridge Program for business students is to help minority students achieve a smooth transition to college.
Johnson, program manager in the School of Business, is working with the 2009 Summer Bridge Program for business students — a seven-week, rewarding academic opportunity for minority high-school graduates who will enroll in UAB this fall and major in business.

“It’s exciting to already see them growing and developing,” Johnson says. “This is truly an opportunity for them to springboard to success in the School of Business and at UAB.”

The Summer Bridge Program for business students is a cooperative effort between the School of Business, the Minority Business Training & Development Program and the Office for Equity & Diversity. The goal of the program is to help minority students achieve a smooth transition to college. Students selected for the program this year are from Jefferson, Escambia, Coosa and Madison counties.

Eligible students had to be a 2009 high-school graduate with no previous college coursework, and they also had to plan to major in business, be admitted to UAB, have a competitive ACT score and submit a Summer Bridge Program application.

Participants were required to enroll in one English course and one mathematics course this summer.

They received free tuition, textbooks and on-campus living expenses, and they are eligible to receive a $1,500 stipend after completing the program.

Students have been participating in faculty-led tutoring sessions, career counseling, PowerPoint and poster presentation instruction, competitive business training and social activities to promote networking.

Each student also is working with a business faculty member on a business-related project. “This program really is a win-win for the students and the School of Business,” Johnson says.

“This gives students a unique opportunity to become intimately familiar with the School of Business and know where they can go for additional resources.  It enables them to begin building relationships early with faculty, academic advisors and their peers.

“We embrace the opportunity to positively impact lives and to continue to enrich our diverse population; we believe we gain greatly from this project as well,” Johnson says.
Conference added

Summer Bridge, sponsored by the National Science Foundation, traditionally has focused on minority science and engineering students.

This is the first year the program included a focus on the School of Business. This summer’s program will culminate July 17 with the Summer Bridge Program Conference in Heritage Hall July 17 at 9 a.m. University of Alabama System Chancellor Malcolm Portera and UAB President Carol Garrison will give brief remarks, and Trustee Andria Hurst will be the featured speaker. The event is open to the public.