Summer Bridge 2014
This July marked the 10th annual Summer Bridge program held at the University of Redlands. The peer-run program is led by current Redlands upperclassmen for incoming students and simulates a week at the University—living on campus, dining at the Irvine Commons, attending mock classes, and meeting professors.
Ash Calderon ’15 participated in the program during the summer of 2011 as an incoming freshman. The experience left a lasting impact on her, as she has now acted as a Summer Bridge mentor for three years.
“After my first year as a mentee, I continued with the program as a mentor because it is very important for me to help others in my community,” she said. “I want to see these students succeed and help them in any way that I can. I know the struggles they have faced or will come to face, and having a mentor/friend with me along for the ride helped me feel at ease and supported.”
Calderon, a double major in sociology and women’s and gender studies from San Pedro, California, said Summer Bridge has shaped her campus “family” and shown her that “absolutely everyone here at Redlands will help and support me.”
As a mentor, Calderon hopes to channel her pay-it-forward energy into helping other students transition into college life as her own peer mentors did for her. “I want these students to feel confident in themselves as I did four years ago,” she said.
This July, nearly 70 students attended Summer Bridge, doubling the program’s size from the first session in 2004. One student, Jordan Thompson ’18 from San Bernardino, California, chose Redlands because of the short distance from home, the financial aid package he received, and for the small campus community.
A future double major in biology and communicative disorders, Lexi Vasquez ’18 of Highland, California was drawn to the University by the beauty of the campus landscape and the unique Redlands atmosphere. A fellow Bulldog from Highland, Austin Edwards ’18, was enticed by the numerous opportunities to study abroad and the value of a liberal arts education.
Many Summer Bridge students shared fears of not being prepared for the demands of college life or not finding their niche on campus. Calderon shared these same feelings as a freshman, but now she reflects that her time in Summer Bridge prepared her for the challenges of being a college student.
“As a senior who will be graduating in April 2015, I will walk across the graduation stage feeling confident and proud of my accomplishments and it’s because Summer Bridge helped me succeed,” she said.
Posted: August 5, 2014
Written by: Melissa Cornejo