Converse College and the Legacy Charter School in Greenville, S.C. announce a partnership to increase STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) literacy within Legacy’s Early College High School division. The program will bring Legacy students to the Converse campus for laboratory experiences, mentoring, and career exploration each month during the academic year. During the field trips, Legacy students will interact with Converse faculty and student mentors, and with professionals in STEM fields from across the Upstate.
“Legacy students will have an immersive academic experience working hands-on in Converse biology laboratories. They will be mentored by Converse faculty and interact with Converse students.”
The partnership extends the reach of Converse’s STARS program (Science, Technology and Research Scholars), which encourages interest in scientific research careers by pairing outstanding Upstate-area high school students with Converse faculty for long-term, in-depth science and technology projects.
“Converse and Legacy share a commitment to increasing STEM literacy, and recognize that early scholarly experiences help students discover aptitudes for particular disciplines,” says Dr. Neval Erturk, who chairs the department of biology, chemistry and physics at Converse and will oversee the program. “Legacy students will have an immersive academic experience working hands-on in Converse biology laboratories. They will be mentored by Converse faculty and interact with Converse students. The experience will provide Converse students with valuable mentoring skills and training as they prepare for their own careers after graduation.”
Legacy, a public charter school guided by The System for Teacher and Student Advancement (TAP System), shares Converse’s commitment to small class size and personalized learning experiences. Legacy’s Early College High School currently serves 275 students, with a full enrollment capacity for 440. One hundred percent of Legacy’s graduates have been accepted to college.
“Legacy’s vision is to see every child to and through college. Opportunities for our high school students to see themselves as college students help demystify college for them, many of whom will be first generation college students,” says Legacy science teacher Neena Kumar, who will oversee the program for Legacy students. “I see my role shifting from a classroom teacher to more of a facilitator, pulling students out of their textbook learning and enabling them to make coherent connections between the state standards and the real world.”
“Opportunities for our high school students to see themselves as college students help demystify college for them, many of whom will be first generation college students.”
Monthly field trips to Converse will focus on topics such as nutrients in food, DNA, genetic counseling, antibiotic effects and herbal extracts, leaf pigments, and natural selection. They will also introduce Legacy students to professionals in STEM careers, including a scientist, dietitian, healthcare administrator, veterinarian, forensic specialist, genetic counselor, immunologist, farmer and a naturalist.
Converse and the Legacy School plan to explore additional collaborations that enhance educational opportunities for students at both institutions.
“Converse shares Legacy’s commitment to academic excellence, transforming the lives of our students through education,” said Dr. Jeff Barker, vice president of academic affairs for Converse. “We are excited to work with the Legacy School, providing science experiences for college-bound Legacy students in our state-of-the-art laboratories with our award-winning faculty, and we hope to expand our partnership. The mission of Legacy Charter is inspiring; Converse will work with them to propel their students to the highest levels of achievement in science.”
Front row, left to rigth – Dr. Jeffrey H. Barker, Vice President for Academic Affairs at Converse College; and Mr. Fred Crawford, Legacy Executive Director, sign the new partnership agreement. Back row – Dr. Neval Erturk, chair of the Department of Biology, Chemistry & Physics at Converse College; Mrs. Neena Kumar, Honors Biology Teacher at Legacy Charter School; and Mr. Eduardo Roman, Legacy Early College High School Principal