West High Students Shadow University of Utah Students in the “Leap to the U” Program

Feb. 27, 2007 — Thirty-four students from West High School will have the opportunity to experience what it’s like to be in college by partnering with University of Utah students for “Shadow Day” on Wednesday, February 28th. The partnership is part of “LEAP to the U” one of the projects of the LEAP or “Learning, Engagement, Achievement, and Progress” (LEAP) Program. According to Carolan Ownby, Director of the LEAP Peer Advisors, “LEAP to the U is designed to encourage potential first generation students to think of college as a realistic possibility in the future.”

LEAP, which began in 1994, is a learning community that enables new students to play an active role in their own education. LEAP students work with outstanding faculty and participate in exciting academic classes and social activities with other freshmen and student mentors. The core program consists of classes taken with the same professor and classmates, allowing students to build community. Students become part of a small supportive group, as well as the larger LEAP community. “Shadow Day” is a project of Service LEAP, one of ten versions of the freshman program. During “Shadow Day” each Service LEAP student will be partnered with one or two West High students for two classes. The first class will be LEAP, and then the students will attend classes across campus, ranging from Human Development to introduction to Computers to Calculus.

In addition to its many two semester programs for first year students, LEAP now offers three multi-year tracks aimed at women, first generation college students, and other underrepresented minorities planning careers in the health professions, law, or engineering. “Students take courses with peers who share career and educational goals, as well as similar backgrounds,” says Carolyn Bliss, LEAP Program Director. She notes that in all versions of LEAP, “Students are actively engaged as individuals and in teams to think analytically, creatively, and practically about issues important to the role of the citizen, nationally and globally.”

During the month of February all 400 LEAP students have been conducting a food drive to benefit the Crossroads Urban Center, the largest food pantry in the state. Glenn Bailey, Director of Crossroads, conducted several workshops for LEAP students in which they examined the cost of “making it in Utah.” Students then collected coins at a basketball game, placed food collection bins throughout the community, spent weekends collecting food at participating supermarkets, and challenged each other to see which LEAP section could bring in the most food and /or cash. Friday, March 2 marks the end of this annual LEAP food drive.

Most LEAPs require no application; students simply register for LEAP when they register for other classes. However, the three multi-year LEAP programs do require students to apply and meet certain criteria. Applications are due in early May for cohorts entering the following fall. For further information about “Shadow Day” at the U contact Carolan Ownby at (801) 581-3447, c.ownby@leap.utah.edu. For information about the overall LEAP program, and the multi-year LEAPs for underrepresented students, contact Carolyn Bliss, LEAP Program Director, (801) 581-3283, bliss-c@ugs.utah.edu.

Media Contacts For This Story

Director LEAP Peer Advisors
Office Phone: 801-581-3447
Email address: c.ownby@leap.utah.edu
director, communication and development, Office for Equity and Diversity
Office Phone: (801) 581-4250
Email address: c.casto@utah.edu
LEAP Program Director
Office Phone: 801-581-3283
Email address: bliss-c@ugs.utah.edu