PUPP enjoyed a wonderfully successful 2014, marked by the graduation of our 11 th cohort of PUPP Scholars in June. At graduation, we celebrated the accomplishments of the 21 members of our class of 2014. Princeton’s 20 th president, Christopher Eisgruber ’83, took up the torch from Shirley Tilghman and served as our featured speaker at the ceremony.
Our class of 2014 did extremely well in their college admissions process and began studying this fall at some of our nation’s top universities and small liberal arts colleges, including Princeton, Amherst, Pomona, Colgate, Muhlenberg, Dickinson, Rutgers and The College of New Jersey. The graduation program with a listing of college commitments is enclosed. One measure of our long-term success is the college attainment record of our alumni, including a listing of “degrees earned” each year on the back of the graduation insert. Among PUPP Scholars from our class of 2004 – 2010, over 70% have earned a Bachelor’s degree – some 60 percentage points higher than the 4-6 year averages for their low-income peers! Over 90% of our “college-aged” alumni are persisting toward degree completion. Plus, this year we added a nice collection of graduate and professional degrees including one each in dentistry, law, medicine and optometry!
In an expansion of our overall work, we are providing greater support to our alumni as they enter college and make their way through their undergraduate careers. And, the PUPP team provides support to alumni who may have gotten “off track” on their journey to a post-secondary degree. This fall, we welcomed our second PUPP Alumni Fellow, Adela Ramirez, from the PUPP Class of 2009. Adela, a first generation college student from Trenton, earned her bachelor’s from Wesleyan University in 2013. She will succeed Jacqueline Hernandez (Trenton ’08, Rutgers ’12) whose PUPP Alumni Fellowship wraps up at the end of January 2015. Central to Adela’s work is monitoring the success of our alumni in college and coordinating our Alumni Council with the aid of PUPP Associate Director Torey Wilson. Adela also works closely with our counselor, QuinnShauna Felder-Snipes, to manage the college admissions advising process for our current scholars.
You may not know that PUPP also provides important resources, professional development and support to our partner schools, community-based organizations and other colleges and universities. For example, every student enrolled in an AP course in Trenton, including those not in PUPP, receives a Princeton Review test prep book via a “pass through” donation that we receive each year from Random House. Each summer, PUPP hosts an intimate “selective college fair” featuring nearly 40 top colleges and universities. We invite the LEDA Scholars program, the Rutgers Futures Scholars Program and other regional, community-based college access programs to attend. Members of the PUPP leadership team often serve as guest speakers at annual college information sessions at our partner schools and we provide direct professional development to help others best serve low-income/first generation students. We even helped mentor the leaders of two new college preparation initiatives – one at Washington University in St. Louis and another at Northwestern University.
PUPP Summer Institute 2014
The fourteenth PUPP summer institute was held from June 21 – August 8, 2014:
- Our annual Opening Ceremony was held on June 21, 2014, in the University Chapel, complete with our traditional organ prelude and remarks from Brandi Jones, Associate Dean of the School of Engineering;
- We held our annual 2-day leadership retreat at the Princeton Blairstown Center which helps set the tone for the summer and challenges scholars to reach outside their comfort zones;
- Our thematic focus was on Nigeria, with an author study of Chimimanda Ngozie Adichie, with all scholars reading her award-winning 2014 novel Americanah and her collection of short stories, The Thing Around Your Neck;
- We screened a film adaptation of Adichie’s novel Half of a Yellow Sun and were treated to an authentic Nigerian luncheon prepared by three PUPP Scholar families (see the enclosed article for more details); and
- For the first time, we had a PUPP Alumni Teaching Assistant in each TA team – PUPP alumna Sade Williams (Ewing HS ‘10/Middlebury College ’14) worked with our rising seniors; Danielle Roomes (Ewing HS ‘12; George Washington University ’16) worked with our rising juniors; and Jochebed Muflam (Princeton HS ’13; Princeton University ’17) worked with our rising sophomores.
In November, we took 40 of our juniors and seniors on our annual, three-day fall college tour. For the first time, we took advantage of Frontier Airlines’ Trenton hub and flew 44 scholars down to Charlotte, NC to start the tour. The journey was once again sponsored by Citi and a special “24th birthday fundraiser” coordinated by Michael Clegg from the PUPP Class of 2008. Tour highlights:
- College visits: Davidson, Wake Forest, Duke, Richmond, Georgetown, Johns Hopkins, Gettysburg and Dickinson
- Along the way, we connected with PUPP alumni who are current undergraduates at Davidson, Duke, Richmond, Georgetown, Hopkins and Dickinson!
- As a special treat, we stopped at Toby’s Dinner Theater outside of Baltimore for their production of the Broadway musical Memphis!
If you have questions or comments about PUPP, or want to learn more about what we are doing, please take a look at our website – http://pupp.princeton.edu – and click on the PowerPoint presentation highlighted on the “News” section of homepage. As always, feel free to reach out to me directly at email@example.com . Thank you again for your support of our work and of our outstanding group of high school scholars.
Jason R. Klugman, Ph.D.