STEP-UP Achieve Blog: Golden Gopher at Heart
08.06.2012 | Posted by Joel Lampe, STEP-UP Achieve Program Associate
Imagine 100 diverse, energetic and focused Minneapolis high school youth descending on one of the most prestigious universities in the nation. That’s exactly what happened on a sultry morning last week at the University of Minnesota. These amazing young people—our STEP-UP Achieve interns—were participating in the 6th annual U of MN Golden Gopher Day, a great opportunity to connect personally with U of MN students, alums and staff to learn about life at the U and how to prepare for college admission and studies.
As a proud alum of the university—I graduated from the U’s College of Liberal Arts with a degree in psychology—I can attest to the educational quality and richness of experience that the U provides. I also vividly remember my first day of classes. I was filled with excitement but also felt enormously overwhelmed by the prospect of navigating one of the largest campuses in the country.
Golden Gopher Day helps students feel more comfortable with the idea of attending college and provides tools to start preparing now for what comes after high school. The stark reality is that in our increasingly knowledge-based economy, these young people will need some sort of post-secondary education to ensure a successful future.
Whether just a few or many of these STEP-UP Achieve interns go on to attend the U, the Golden Gopher Day experience is invaluable. This year interns began their day with a stellar keynote speech delivered by our own STEP-UP Achieve alum Miles Swammi, who just graduated from the prestigious Carlson School of Management and is now working as a financial analyst at General Mills. Interns then participated in break-out sessions tailored to their specific career interests, took a campus tour, and met with current university students to learn about life at the U.
STEP-UP Achieve interns weren’t the only ones to benefit from this annual summer enrichment event. The U of MN also benefits substantially by connecting with this group of diverse, local, and largely college-bound youth, including many first-generation college students. I sincerely hope some of these students go on to attend my alma mater. I am and always will be a Golden Gopher at heart.