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2023 Summer programs from students’ perspectives

With+so+many+summer+programs%2C+there+is+a+variety+for+any+student+to+choose+one.+The+most+active+program+at+Segerstrom+is+the+Simon+Scholars.
Image Courtesy of Celeste Carmona
With so many summer programs, there is a variety for any student to choose one. The most active program at Segerstrom is the Simon Scholars.

In the summer of 2023, over one hundred and fifteen Segerstrom students dedicated themselves to a summer program. There were around twenty-seven separate programs for any student to enjoy. These experiences ranged from healthcare and leadership to law and finances.

These programs are a great experience and help strengthen most college transcripts. They primarily focus on expanding an interest in a specified talent or profession. This summer, there was heightened activity in Simon Scholars, CTE Courses, and UCI programs.

  • Simon Scholars Summer Symposium (27 Students)

The Simon Scholars has always been a prominent program across campus. It focuses on sophomores who are faced with hardships and provides college assistance up until graduation. Although it is an exclusive program, it has rewarding benefits. Simon Scholars get guidance before and during college applications, up to a $16,000 scholarship, and a new personal MacBook Air.

“It was fun, it was a good time. This year, [Simon Scholars] tried to push us to be more outgoing and try new things,” Simon Scholar Brandy Figueroa (12) replied.  “They had different activities that tried to push us but also [tried] to teach us about college and financial aid. They were letting us know about scholarship opportunities.”

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  • Career Techincal Education – Medical Core (16 Students)

CTE courses have been at the forefront of student interest. There were many students this summer who were active in CTE Medical Core. Medical Core is a course that teaches many aspects of the healthcare field, from vital signs to CPR.

“I honestly really enjoyed Medical Core, as it was challenging but enjoyable at the same time,” Medical Core student Mia Luna (12) commented. “We got to learn about different things. When we did the labs, [we] got to work [with the] class as a whole, and [we even] take the vitals of other classmates.”

  • University of California, Irvine – LIFEvest Financial Literacy Program (13 Students)

The UCI Paul Merage School of Business annually hosts the LIFEvest program. They work to help economically disadvantaged students by educating them about financial literacy. The program is one week long and an excellent resource for financial aid applications and future endeavors.

“In my opinion, the UCI summer program was most importantly a learning experience, [b]oth for financial matters and working in an unfamiliar environment with unfamiliar people.” UCI LIFEvest participant Mayah Reyes (9) replied. “I learned to talk to all different kinds of people in a professional environment [and I] gained new knowledge about finance.”

There are additionally smaller programs that cater to other interests. Although they are not as active as the previously mentioned programs, they are all different options that students should take advantage of.

  • Project Self-Law Firm Internship (9 Students)

The Project SELF is a program run by Project Youth Orange County. The requirement is only for passing juniors. It is an eight-week paid internship, with select law firms across Orange County. Students get to learn and assist in law firms at their own pace. The extra benefit of the internship is that it allows the interns eligible for various scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $5,000.

“I found it really interesting; having [a] place to work and being a part of something bigger was very inspiring,” responded Project SELF intern Jocelyn Alvarez (12). “ [I] learned what an office setting is like. I learned to collaborate with others and the possibilities a higher education can provide.”

  • NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Spaceship (4 Students)

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) holds several programs throughout the year. Fortunately, California hosts the highest rate of aerospace engineering laboratories in the nation. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory program allowed several Segerstrom students to be able to work with NASA engineers and programmers. Their work was held in high regard during the internship and by SAUSD. They were also provided with $4,000 at the end of the internship.

“JPL opened my eyes to all the fields of engineering. Being able to work with engineers, and to be treated with the same respect [as them] was really eye-opening,” JPL intern Jordan Bergmann (12) stated. “It was great to have my own project that I could work on. It helped me identify goals I want to have in college and my [future] career.”

  • Environmental Justice Organization Association (4 Students)

One program that focuses on conservationism and works all across Orange County is the Environmental Justice Organization Association (EJOA). It acts both as a youth advocacy group and a leadership group, although it does contain several weeks of classes, they do many outreach programs regarding environmental issues in the community. These include any possible threats to public health, including water contamination, soil contamination, green energy, and climate change. In addition to Simon Scholars, Figueroa manages to balance her time in the EJOA.

“It was nerve-wracking when there were people that you looked up to as well as people who you were doing what you wanted to do,” Figueroa added. “It was good, it doesn’t feel that bad [w]hen it’s something you care about and something that you can be active in… I got a job canvassing because of them.”

These programs provide a small glimpse into what courses students at Segerstrom can take over the summer. They have shown determination and curiosity as they have gone out of their way to apply for and pursue these opportunities. While there are more programs to come, the Higher Education Center recommends students apply to these unique experiences, just as these mentioned students have done.

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