The College Attempt

Armed with schematics and Legos, teenagers on their summer getaway worked in teams to build a robot. While in a biomechanics laboratory on UNLV’s school, more learned the intricacies of motion capture animation.

For three days last week, 38 high-achieving students from across Las Vegas who recently completed the eighth grade attended the DAWSON-UNLV Honors College Bound Program, a partnership of the non-profit Alexander Dawson Foundation and UNLV.

The students got hands-on experience from UNLV professors and Honors University student while working on modern equipment in robotics, drones, water quality, biomechanics, graphic design, library science and anthropology.

The experience consisted of the chance to stay in campus dorms for two nights.

The collaboration was formed by UNLV assistant vice provost for undergraduate education Chris Heavey and and Dawson College Bound director Chris Estrella, who got his master’s in education from UNLV. The 2 men interacted to design an experience that provided a taste of college life to high-achieving students, some of whom may have never ever stepped on a college school prior to.

Estrella explained the concept: “We wished to produce a program to prepare some of our best and brightest in Southern Nevada for college and offer them something that they’ve never ever experienced prior to, while at the same time showing them a few of the best that UNLV has to offer.”

And for the children who may end up being the first in their families to attend college?

“The experience eliminates that unidentified element of ‘how am I getting to college, how am I going to manage it,’ by remaining on school and communicating with school. It ends up being a lot more genuine for them.”

Heavey said the students received the opportunity to concentrate on various fields that will certainly make them curious about task chances they might not have thought about, such as robotics or drones.

“High tech tasks are going to be the most significant opportunity for these students by the time they graduate,” Heavey stated. “This has to do with getting the kids excited about the future, and it’s the perfect time as they prepare to build their academic record to go to college.”

The Dawson College Bound Program is a long-term initiative that provides scholastic enrichment and mentorship to high-achieving, varied, Southern Nevada youth, with an objective of bridging their paths from middle school to selective high schools and colleges. The program is funded by the Alexander Dawson Foundation and coordinates with the Clark County School District Partnership Workplace. This is the very first year Dawson partnered with UNLV on the program.

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