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CMU's EHS dean to visit White House

Dale-Elizabeth Pehrsson to be recognized for the university's efforts to expand access to college for low-income and underrepresented students

Contact: CMU News

This Thursday, Dale-Elizabeth Pehrsson, dean of the College of Education and Human Services, will represent Central Michigan University at the White House to acknowledge campuswide efforts to extend college opportunities for all students.

Pehrsson will participate in the second College Opportunity Day of Action, hosted by the President, Vice President and First Lady. In January, the President and First Lady joined more than 140 college presidents and other education leaders to announce commitments to expand college access.

Thursday’s event will build on the commitments announced in January, with more than 300 higher education leaders launching initiatives in new areas.

The White House announced the summit will focus on building networks of colleges around promoting completion, investing in high school counselors, creating K-16 partnerships around college readiness and increasing the number of college graduates in STEM fields.

CMU’s invitation to participate stemmed largely from the creation of Camp Central for College Candidates, a universitywide collaboration that included GearUp, the Governor John Engler Center for Charter Schools, and the Science/Mathematics/Technology Center.

“It’s an absolute dream come true,” Pehrsson said. “I’m so proud to be able to represent our great university and share our vision for CMU’s Camp Central for College Candidates.”

In July, 50 seventh grade students had the chance to experience life on CMU’s campus while diving into science, technology, engineering and math activities. CMU’s first-ever Camp Central is helping to plant the seeds for both college studies and careers in the STEM disciplines.

“The transition from sixth to seventh grade is a critical time for students in terms of their hopes and dreams for the future, especially as it’s related to careers and college,” said Pehrsson. “Camp Central has reached out to communities and invited students to campus. We want to help these seventh graders experience a preview of life as college students at CMU or somewhere else.”

CMU staff, faculty and teacher education students helped deliver the STEM learning with a decidedly fun focus. The campers participated in hands-on classes that explored music engineering technology, windmills, sink and float experiments, and more.

“We were deliberate in our choice of STEM as a focus to the program,” Pehrsson said. “For the students attending Camp Central, their future careers may depend on knowledge of the STEM fields.”

Pehrsson said the future goals of Camp Central include extending opportunities to 100 students in 2015 and 150 students in summer 2016.

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