UNC Greensboro recently held its fifth annual CHANCE (Campamento Hispano Abriendo Nuestro Camino a la Educación) summer program. The college-immersion experience encourages Latinx students to pursue higher education by demonstrating that it is accessible to them.
Many campers choose to pursue their college education at UNCG because of their positive experience during the CHANCE program. Since the launch of CHANCE in 2017, more than 50 former CHANCE campers have enrolled at UNCG.
Fifteen UNCG students served as mentors to this year’s campers, and more than 45 faculty, staff, and administrators from across campus engaged with campers and families throughout the program.
Campers were able to build connections with UNCG faculty, students, and staff to develop a peer/professional network centered around higher education readiness and leadership development. This year, a new parent track was also offered which included a performance by Ballet Folklórico Mexican Tradition of Julio Ruiz, a UNCG parent panel, and sessions on the U.S. education system and financial aid.
“Even during COVID-19 times, families from all over the state attended CHANCE, including some that drove over three hours to participate in the in-person event,” said Margarita Kerkado, CHANCE Director and assistant director of the Office of Undergraduate Admissions Latino Education Affairs. “They loved our beautiful campus and the experiences that we planned for them. Just by seeing how they identified with everything that we offered to them at the event, I knew they felt a sense of community and belonging and that was what we hoped for.”
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, this year’s program was held as a four-day hybrid program for Latinx students currently in 11th grade. Forty-eight students from 21 different North Carolina counties participated in the three virtual days.
Throughout the program, students attended virtual classes taught by UNCG faculty, participated in cultural activities, and learned about financial aid, among other aspects of college life. In-person campers were welcomed by Associate Vice Provost for Student Success and Dean of Undergraduate Studies Dr. Andrew Hamilton, and then enjoyed performances by student groups including Corazón Folklórico. Campers also had the opportunity to visit several departments across campus. The day concluded with a session on how to manage stress, a leadership development workshop, and pan dulce to take home.
“Our current student mentors are the heart of this program,” said Dr. Julia Mendez Smith, a CHANCE committee member and professor of psychology at UNCG. “Their dedication and passion for helping Latinx students by investing their time in the future of these campers is remarkable to me. I love spending time with our mentors and watching their leadership skills in action.”
To learn more about CHANCE, visit admissions.uncg.edu/visit/events/chance/.
For information on financial aid, visit spartancentral.uncg.edu/financial-aid.
For information on student success, visit success.uncg.edu.
To learn more about the Office of Undergraduate Admissions Latino Education Affairs, contact Margarita Kerkado.
Story by Marisa Gonzalez, University Teaching and Learning Commons, and Liliana Guevara-Guerrero, UNCG Student
Photography by Jiyoung Park, University Communications