To many high school freshmen, college is a far off thought, something to worry about down the road as graduation draws near. But having a college plan in mind at an early age is a huge advantage to actually getting into a four-year school, and one that 95 freshmen at Mission Viejo High School helped put in motion Nov 8 with a visit to UCI. Part of the campus’s Global Connect program, the students took part in campus tours, Q&A panels with current students and a sit-down with UCI’s admissions office where they got the ins and outs on getting into a UC. The visit is one of three Global Connect will host throughout the year for its participating high schools.

“One of Global Connect’s goals is to prepare students for higher education while providing college mentors who serve as academic interns in the high schools. One practical way we do this is by bringing students to the university, acquainting them to college life, and guiding them to take the right steps now in order to be competitive in the future,” says Jessica Chan, Global Connect’s new director and a 2007-09 program alumnus. Chan took over the program this year following the retirement of Ellen Schlosser who remains an active participant as the Global Connect curriculum development advisor. “Global Connect made such a tremendous impact in my life as an undergraduate; I hope to be able to facilitate the same for those involved in the program.”  

Global Connect is a high school curriculum program developed by UCI faculty and students who team-teach issue-focused lesson plans alongside high school educators in the Newport-Mesa and Saddleback Valley school districts. Topics include climate change, terrorism, mass media and technology in a global society – areas not covered under current state education standards but topics in which UCI researchers excel. The real-time course content reflects the continually changing world landscape while bringing new and updated university research directly to high school teachers. The year-long curriculum is a University of California regent-approved "a-g" elective.   Launched in 2001, the program has reached more than 8,000 OC high school students. More than 400 UCI undergraduate and graduate interns have helped develop and teach course content, and two-thirds of the undergraduates have gone on to attend graduate school or become educators. Six former interns have received Fulbright scholarships.  

-Heather Ashbach, Social Sciences Communications

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