Summer Adventures @WashU: Creating w/ College Prep Scholars

This summer, I had the privilege of working as a Program Assistant for the College Prep Program at WashU.  The College Prep program is an intensive, on-campus learning experience at Washington University for St. Louis area high achieving high school students. College Prep Scholars attend workshops, lectures and campus activities during the summer and academic school year. It is the goal of the program that its graduates feel ready to excel—academically and socially—in college. CPP gives Scholars early access to college-course rigor by enrolling them in summer courses such as Psychology and Design Thinking. They are also posed with the responsibility of living on campus and budgeting meal points in the Summer.

Serving students since 2014, CPP has graduated a total of 3 cohorts so far, and Cohort 4 Seniors will graduate this upcoming spring 2020. CPP Summer Academy assembles two weeks for rising sophomores and 3 weeks for juniors and seniors. Whether it be two or four weeks, these students enter and assimilate into a life-long, professional environment of support; College Prep supports its members beyond graduation. Many of my coworkers and peers were College Prep Scholars and have volunteered to give back to the program that gave so much to them.

Each Program Assistant is given the opportunity to develop a program for Summer Academy. Though I worked with Cohort 4 most of the summer, my PA Program was designed for the rising sophomores of Cohort 6.

Taking place in Week II of Summer Academy, I sat in the Mudd Multipurpose room and waited for the sophomores to arrive. The PA Program was “DIY Self-Reflective Murals”. A total of six workstations were prepped with paint bowls and magazines (and some stations had glue guns). In the middle of the room stood a long table that offered bouquets of fake flowers, an array of canvas paper, scissors, tape, and paint brushes.

During the mural creations, my work/chill music playlist fills the room, mixing with the voices of the creative Scholars. They were laughing and sharing feedback, spiriting conversations of collaboration. One student paints a soccer jersey symbolizing his love of the sport; another creates a series of intricate patterns; another formulates a fashion collage; and there was even a tribute to Lion King.

I encourage anyone to exercise their painting skills for therapeutic “YOU” time. Take time out for yourself and write down which personal, distinctive traits you love most about you. What colors best describe your individuality? Do you believe polka dots or Chevron expresses your work ethic best? What are your long-term goals? Can you think of any motivational quotes that speak to you? I witnessed a student fill his mural with quotes from world leaders, such as President Obama. Here are a few quotes that are bound to spark your own creative mind.

The future rewards those who press on. I don’t have time to feel sorry for myself. I don’t have time to complain. I’m going to press on–Barack Obama

Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today–Malcolm X

You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them–Maya Angelou

You have to stay in school. You have to. You have to go to college. You have to get your degree. Because that’s the one thing people can’t take away from you is your education. And it is worth the investment–Michelle Obama

We think that forgiveness is weakness, but it’s absolutely not; it takes a very strong person to forgive–T. D. Jakes

These quotes are a just a few of many that you can find simply by searching “inspirational quotes” on Pinterest. If you create any murals, comment the effect of your process below.

Until next time:


Have a beautiful day,