Gwen Williams Prize 2015–2016 Recipients

Weber State University Pre-Freshman Program (WSU PREP)

Dr. Fred Y. Chiou, Department of Engineering Technology; Dean David Ferro, College of Engineering, Applied Science & Technology; Dana D. Dellinger, College of Engineering, Applied Science & Technology

The Weber State University Pre-Freshman Program (WSU PREP) is a seven-week, free summer school for junior high students that takes place over three summers. It is a math-intensive program designed to motivate and prepare participants, particularly girls and minorities, to pursue STEM studies and careers. Students are exposed to a rigorous engineering, math and science curriculum, with certified teachers assigned by our district partners (Davis, Ogden and Weber) and college-age students providing tutoring and acting as near-peer mentors. WSU PREP will prepare students for Advanced Placement classes in high school. In time, WSU PREP will result in higher graduation rates of underrepresented students in comparison to existing institutional programs due to students being prepared at the college algebra level or beyond, ready to begin coursework in STEM degrees at WSU. A secondary purpose of the project is to bring students and families to the WSU campus over three summers, encouraging them to feel comfortable and confident on our campus and increase enrollment at WSU of students who are prepared in quantitative literacy.

Seventy-two students participated in the pilot year (2015), 36 girls and 36 boys. Of those 72, 69 completed the full seven weeks. Forty-two students were white/Caucasian, and 30 were other (19 Hispanic, 5 multi-racial, 5 Asian, 1 Native American). Eight university students were employed as program assistants/near-peer mentors. Three certified teachers from the Davis, Ogden and Weber School Districts taught the courses. Twenty-four Career Awareness Speakers from the community presented to the students. Speakers included those from four colleges at WSU, Hill Air Force Base, L-3, City of Provo, Raytheon, ARUP Labs, ATK, University of Utah, etc.