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Group picture of Enterprise Charter School children

Eighth-grade students from Enterprise Charter’s Junior Frontiers of the Mohawk Valley program pose together on the steps of the Center for the Arts on UB's North Campus. Photo: Nancy J. Parisi

Published April 16, 2019

Local eighth-grade students learn about the importance of college

Enterprise Charter School students tour the UB campus

Twenty-seven students from Enterprise Charter’s Junior Frontiers of the Mohawk Valley program visited the UB North Campus to learn about diversity, intercultural experiences and the importance of going to college. Part of the tour was organized and sponsored by multiple faculty in the Graduate School of Education.

“I spend a lot of time in the community working with students thinking about going to college,” said Nathan Daun-Barnett, associate professor from the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy. “I love the fact that all of you are visiting.” Daun-Barnett gave a tour of the UB Intercultural and Diversity Center, where he discussed the center’s role in diversity and intercultural experiences on campus.

Levi Vasquez, an eighth-grader from Enterprise Charter School in downtown Buffalo, sat with the rest of his classmates in the center. This was the first time Vasquez visited UB, and he was surprised at what he saw when he got here.

“I like how spacious UB is, as it reminds me of a little town,” Vasquez said. “I would love to take many more visits in the future. I think education is important, and who you surround yourself with is also important.”

For the eighth-graders, it was the latest experience for the students enrolled in the school’s Junior Frontiers program, the largest civic youth organization based in Central New York that expanded to Buffalo two years ago. The organization provides opportunities for underrepresented students to explore higher education.

“My students need to know that if I am teaching them or talking to them about something, that it will not just be a lecture,” said Bonnie Cox, Junior Frontiers instructor and liaison. “It will follow with application, where I will provide opportunities for them to demonstrate what they learned in a real-life arena.”

Junior Frontiers students have toured historic black colleges, visited the house where Martin Luther King Jr. grew up, and explored the Slave Haven Underground Museum in Memphis, Tenn. Locally, they toured the Nash House, the site of the Underground Railroad and the Colored Musicians Club in Buffalo.

The tour continued as UB admissions counselors answered questions about getting accepted to UB and life at the university. Richard Lamb and Elisabeth Etopio, associate professors from the Department of Learning and Instruction, led the students on a tour of Alumni Arena and the Center for the Arts, and provided commentary on the history of UB. The day concluded with offers to the students and teachers to come back and explore the campus as often as they like.

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