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Monday, November 11, 2019

Campus

High school students given taste of college at Career Exploration Day


"We want them to feel empowered and encouraged to pursue higher education,” said ACES Program Director Sarah Fard. | Raven Wuebker/The Cougar

“We want them to feel empowered and encouraged to pursue higher education,” said ACES Program Director Sarah Fard. | Raven Wuebker/The Cougar

The Advancing Community Engagement and Service Institute partnered with Cougar Tutors on Friday to host the second Career Exploration Day for Sterling Aviation High School. 

The event brought in guest speakers from the medical and aviation fields, as well as a few undergraduate students from Texas Southern University, to connect with high school students over possible career paths and give them a preview of college life.

“I like how I got to feel how it is here and to see other college students, and to gain experience of how it could be when I do go to college,” said Sterling Aviation High School junior Breaona Smith.

ACES Institute teams up with five local schools around Houston using Cougar Tutors, an organization that recruits members to tutor high school students and help them apply to colleges and FAFSA.

“We want to break barriers, so the students know we’re here for them at any point throughout their high school career and eventually make them comfortable in coming to us,” said ACES Program Director Sarah Fard.  

The schools ACES Institute partners with are early college high schools and are required to visit a college every year in order to assist students in adjusting to university life after graduation. 

“I like to utilize the opportunity I get as much as I can, because I know I want to go to college, and I think other students my age should go on trips like this to help them,” Smith said. 

ACES Institute has been around for about three years, and although this is the second Career Exploration Day, they have held events before such as Elementary Day and High School Day. 

“We wanted to show the students all the different fields and different possibilities if they go to college and the experiences they can gain,” said Cougar Tutors President Neha Daga.

Eventually, the ACES Institute plans on holding events for their schools twice a year as the program expands and is able to accommodate more students. 

“It has opened me up to different colleges,” said Sterling Aviation High School junior Keileh King. 

Fard said the schools they team up with are traditionally underserved. These schools handle matters such as poverty, first-generation college students and first-generation Americans.

 “We want them to feel empowered and encouraged to pursue higher education,” Fard said. 

As well as being the Project Director of ACES Institute, Fard advises the Cougar Tutor program, which led into the collaboration for the event to take place.    

 “Our goal is to show them that they are not far from being successful,” Daga said, “and by bringing them to campus (it) shows it’s all possible if they try their best and get their education.” 

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