OMED’s Challenge Program Welcomes One of Its Largest Cohorts to Georgia Tech This Summer

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OMED’s Challenge Program Welcomes One of Its Largest Cohorts to Georgia Tech This Summer

Black Student Experience Task Force Recommends Expanding Challenge to 175 Incoming Freshmen Enrollees Per Program Over the Next Three Years

August 11, 2017
• Atlanta, GA

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While touring the Southwire headquarters, Challenge participants created a vase of flowers out of wires and cables. Southwire is one of the corporate partners and sponsors who supported the Challenge program.

According to the Institute of Education Sciences, students who participate in summer “bridge” programs to ease the transition from high school to college are significantly more likely to graduate — and graduate with superior academic performance — than non-program participants.1

For nearly four decades, OMED: Educational Services has offered Challenge, a summer academic preparation program, to help prepare incoming freshmen for a successful college career — academically, professionally, and socially.

This summer, the Challenge program welcomed one of its largest cohorts representing 23 different majors to Georgia Tech. Fifty-four percent were women — the highest percentage since the program’s inception — and 68 percent were black.

“The Institute’s Black Student Experience Task Force recently recommended expanding Challenge to 175 underrepresented minority and women students per program over the next three years,” said Archie Ervin, vice president for Institute Diversity. “The growth of this year’s cohort is a strategic response to those recommendations.” Among the 137 black students who were considered eligible for Challenge, 41 percent participated in the program. 

“To successfully and sustainably grow Challenge, OMED enhanced the program’s academic focus and structure to attract more high-performing students, and increased corporate and institutional funding and alumni sponsorship to provide fee waivers,” explained Sybrina Atwaters, assistant director of outreach initiatives for OMED and director of the program. “It was remarkable to see the caliber of this year’s cohort who voluntarily chose to participate in this intensive program before fall semester.”

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