music stage with confetti

Student Spotlight: Recognizing Summer Achievement

In the 2023 summer, we welcomed hundreds of pre-college students from across the U.S. and around the world to our pre-college programs. Through both in-person and virtual experiences, students pursued academic interests and prepared for future college success. We are excited to highlight some of their accomplishments.

Student Excellence Awards

The Student Excellence Award is presented each summer to a small group of students in recognition of their commitment to our core program values of academic success, community, and college readiness. Students are chosen based on their excellence in course work, engagement in program activities, and dedication to building community with peers, staff, and faculty. 

This year's recipients of the Student Excellence Award were:

  • Yingjiang Su 
  • Margot Epstein
  • Katy Arriaza-Gamino

College Readiness Badges

Our online College Readiness course is an extension of our daily learning. It is designed for personal enrichment; for students to reflect on their own abilities as well as to share insights and ideas with peers. To complete the course's learning pathway, students participate in six modules focused on leadership, critical thinking, wellness, service, self-advocacy, and diversity. In addition to readings and discussions with peers, students complete six separate mini-projects. Once all six modules are completed students are recognized with our digital learning badge. This certification highlights the student's commitment to their college readiness and academic journey. 

We are very proud of this impressive group of pre-college students who completed the College Readiness Course in addition to their program course work and other summer obligations:

  • Arya Zubelik
  • Becca George
  • Hortencia Barbosa Leote
  • Jackie Chen
  • Eliot Taber
  • Helen Zhang
  • Sophia Su
  • Vincent Lim
  • Miel Hagler-Shorr
  • Devyn Wilson
  • Anne Colina-Valeri

Photo Contest

As our five-week program attendees explore the WashU campus and St. Louis community, we invite them to capture special moments and submit them to our annual Photo Contest. This summer's submissions ranged from penguins at the St. Louis Zoo, outdoor on-campus sculptures, and dinners with friends on the Delmar Loop. The winning photo, included below, was submitted by Jessica Vidal taken during one of our Saturday outings to St. Louis PrideFest.

Reflection Essay Contest

All pre-college students are invited to participate in our annual Reflection Essay Contest. To participate in the contest, students submit an essay reflecting on their program experience and it's impact on their college preparedness. The winners of this year's contest were Dima Layth and Siboney Oviedo- Gray. Portions of their winning submissions are included below.

"I hope that someday, my friends and I will rush into a college class with the same eagerness and anticipation as the first day of this program. Not driven by fear but by an unyielding enthusiasm to learn: a passion propelling us in our futures."

-Dima Layth

"Professors taught me to expand my mind outside of the academic boundaries I set for myself. Overall, this program helped me learn more about myself and the college application process by providing passionate individuals who already went through this uncertainty and now share how they overcame it." 

-Siboney Oviedo-Gray