2017 STEM Summer Institute Reflections

By Bailee Self

The CAP & GOWN Project has truly changed my life. Freshman year I had moved from a small county school to Lee High School; it was a big change. Throughout that school year I still had the “middle school mentality,” thinking that bad grades do not matter because college is so far away. I ended up failing my algebra class because I never did the homework. This was honestly sad because I had taken algebra before and I already knew the material! I was only taking the class for—what I thought would be- an easy A. So of course, sophomore year I had to retake the class for a third time in order to get the credit correct on my transcript. I finally learned to do my homework, but I still only did enough to pass.

Half-way through sophomore year, I saw a sign up at school to go tour Auburn on the following Saturday. I decided to go, but only because I had nothing else to do. At Auburn, I learned that they have a summer camp that high school students can go to and spend a week experiencing college life. The only catch is that you have to have a 3.1 GPA to qualify. When I got back to school I asked my counselor what my GPA was and was heartbroken to hear that I only had a 2.5. That really hit me. I finally realized what everyone had told me: high school goes by in an instant and colleges look at ALL your grades. I got myself together and started caring about school. And, I went on every college tour. I brought my grades up and have had all As and Bs ever since.

Before, I was always stressing when it came to finals, because something as simple as a 75 would mean failing the course for me. Now, I can make a 40 and still pass my classes because I am putting the work in when it matters. Without the CAP & GOWN Project I would not be p, I do not even know if I would be graduating with my class in May of 2018. Thank you Mr. Holder, Ms. Carroll, Ms. Heller, Devyn Keith, and all of the other people who have help make this program possible; it means a lot to not only me, but many others. 


By Kennedy Young

During my two weeks at the STEM Summer Institute I learned basic fundamentals on how taking the ACT can be easier for me. On my first day at STEM, I scored a 14 on my ACT pre-test. This was the first time I had ever seen, let alone taken, a full ACT practice test. On the final day of STEM, I raised my score to a 19. I grew by 5 points! I also grew on every subject area of the ACT from the first to the second time I took it.

I was especially proud of my ACT reading score growth. Mr. Holder really taught me how to skim the passages and follow along with my finger or a pencil as I read. Ms. Heller taught me that reading carefully is also very important on the science section. Ms. Franklin and Ms. Shimada taught me to always do the math problems you know you will get right first, then to tackle the word problems. Last but not least, Ms. Carroll and Ms. H taught me that practicing for the English section can improve your chances of scoring high.

Although I am not 100% sure about my career goals, I do know my top three colleges are Spelman College, Sewanee University, and Tulane University. During the second week of STEM, we toured Sewanee University and I learned that it is a great liberal arts school. Their campus is beautiful and I like that it is not too big. If anyone was to go to Sewanee, they should definitely plan to take advantage of the opportunities to get outside and access their acres of land and forest.

If I grew by 5 points on just the practice ACT, imagine what I will make when I take the real ACT on September 9th. I felt very confident as we registered for the test on the last day of STEM. I will be forever thankful for my teachers and for the experience at the 2017 STEM Summer Institute.

Emily Heller