Students involved in UIC’s CHANCE summer program meet with members of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago where the program was honored.
Cook County officials recently honored the University of Illinois at Chicago’s CHANCE program’s efforts to assist UIC in the recruitment and retention of students from underrepresented groups.
CHANCE, which stands for Counseling Help and Assistance Necessary for a 21st century College Education, was formed in 2004 to help UIC reach students from underrepresented populations and provide them with support through counseling and workshops. The program has graduated 660 students, including 596 bachelor’s degree recipients, 53 master’s degree recipients, and 11 doctoral degree recipients.
The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago honored the program by passing a resolution on Aug. 3 applauding its efforts.
The proclamation, sponsored by Commissioner Kari Steele, also applauded the Chicago Housing Authority, or CHA, and the Ameresco Corporation for joining UIC in 2011 to create the CHANCE for CHAnge Summer Youth STEM camp. The summer program seeks to introduce 25 high school sophomores and juniors to STEM, science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.
‘Over a six-week period these students came to the UIC campus daily and were exposed not only to our college setting and our rigorous curricula but of most importance, a safe-zone environment,’ says Kendal Parker, director of the CHANCE program.
The students involved in the summer program were part of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s One-Summer Chicago Youth Employment Program. The students had the opportunity to live in a dorm for a week and received a monetary stipend.
As part of the summer program, the students toured the Stickney Water Reclamation Plant, considered the largest wastewater treatment facility in the world. The plant serves 2.3 million people in a 260-square-mile area. During the tour, Commissioner Steele and staff encouraged the students to consider STEM careers.
This summer, CHANCE officials also hosted the National Summer Transportation Institute, or NSTI, and the Exelon-ComEd STEM Academy.
Three current UIC students, Taahira Muhammad, Clarke Eaddy and Aimme Muro, who participated in the Exelon-ComEd STEM Academy each received a merit-based scholarship of $16,650 for up to four years from the United Negro College Fund, its newest partner, said Parker.
The group is planning to partner with The Network, a group of black communication professionals at AT&T, to hold a citywide STEM conference in October.