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High-schoolers get a taste of college life

Students look on as a CU Denver physics instructor talks to them about physics and space. Physics was one of six majors students could explore during breakout sessions.
Students look on as a CU Denver physics instructor talks to them about physics and space. Physics was one of six majors students could explore during breakout sessions.
Susan Gonzalez

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Nate Easley speaks to students about scholarship opportunities in 2015.

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    Nate Easley speaks to students about scholarship opportunities in 2015.
  • PHOTO: Susan Gonzalez/Chalkbeat1. Northeast Leadership Week
  • Nate Easley speaks to students about scholarship opportunities in 2015.
  • Susan Gonzalez
  • PHOTO: Susan Gonzalez2. Northeast Denver Leadership Week
  • Denver City Council President Chris Herndon speaks to students at the conclusion of Northeast Denver Leadership Week. This was the fifth year the program took place.
  • Students look on as a CU Denver physics instructor talks to them about physics and space. Physics was one of six majors students could explore during breakout sessions. Susan Gonzalez
  • PHOTO: Susan Gonzalez3. Northeast Leadership Week
  • Students look on as a CU Denver physics instructor talks to them about physics and space. Physics was one of six majors students could explore during breakout sessions.
  • Susan Gonzalez
  • PHOTO: Susan Gonzalez4. Northeast Leadership Week
  • A Denver high schooler asks a question about dark matter during the physics breakout session. About 100 Denver high school students were on campus Friday.
  • Susan Gonzalez
  • PHOTO: Susan Gonzalez5. Northeast Denver Leadership Week
  • Research instructor Craig Lanning discusses the importance of 3D printing. Lanning was the lecturer for the breakout session on bioengineering.
Nate Easley speaks to students about scholarship opportunities in 2015.

PHOTO: Susan Gonzalez/Chalkbeat1. Northeast Leadership Week

Susan Gonzalez

PHOTO: Susan Gonzalez2. Northeast Denver Leadership Week

Students look on as a CU Denver physics instructor talks to them about physics and space. Physics was one of six majors students could explore during breakout sessions. Susan Gonzalez

PHOTO: Susan Gonzalez3. Northeast Leadership Week

Susan Gonzalez

PHOTO: Susan Gonzalez4. Northeast Leadership Week

Susan Gonzalez

PHOTO: Susan Gonzalez5. Northeast Denver Leadership Week

Nate Easley speaks to students about scholarship opportunities in 2015.

PHOTO: Susan Gonzalez/Chalkbeat1. Northeast Leadership Week

Susan Gonzalez

PHOTO: Susan Gonzalez2. Northeast Denver Leadership Week

Students look on as a CU Denver physics instructor talks to them about physics and space. Physics was one of six majors students could explore during breakout sessions. Susan Gonzalez

PHOTO: Susan Gonzalez3. Northeast Leadership Week

Susan Gonzalez

PHOTO: Susan Gonzalez4. Northeast Leadership Week

Susan Gonzalez

PHOTO: Susan Gonzalez5. Northeast Denver Leadership Week

Research instructor Craig Lanning discusses the importance of 3D printing. Lanning was the lecturer for the breakout session on bioengineering.
Money. Grades. Leaving home. These were a few things Denver high school students listed when asked what scares them most about college.

Denver City Council President Chris Herndon hosted 100 students for a week of career and college exploration, concluding Friday at the University of Colorado Denver’s Auraria campus. Founded by Herndon five years ago, Northeast Denver Leadership Week informs students about different careers, college majors and scholarship options.

Nate Easely, executive director of the Denver Scholarship Foundation, spoke to the high schoolers and asked what scares them about college. The answers, Easely said, didn’t surprise him.

“They put out every single thing I could have read about in some wonky research piece about why kids who often are in the bottom quartile of income are afraid to go to college,” Easely said. “‘Am I smart enough? Can I pay for it?'”

Easely said about 80 percent of DSF scholars are first-generation students and have a lot of fears about attending college, which could prevent them from going if they aren’t exposed to higher education early on.

“It’s extremely important that Councilman Herndon is doing this…to give them the opportunity to be exposed to colleges from day one,” he said. “In fact, (being exposed to college in) high school is late.”

In addition to hearing about scholarship options and chatting with Easely about college, the students attended “breakout sessions” at CU Denver. Professors spoke to them about different fields of study and gave them a firsthand look at what happens inside a college classroom.

For Rebekah Amaro, these activities, and the week as a whole, was a rewarding one.

“They kept telling us ‘don’t give up,'” said Amaro, a rising senior at Denver South High School. “This program taught me that we are all capable of thriving (in college).”

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