Monet (left) and Nakaiya (right)

Neighborhood Learning Alliance is providing scholarships to 60 students in one of three 8-week College in High School classes offered by Carlow University this summer, mid-June to mid-August. The scholarship covers class tuition, class textbook, transportation for eligible students, and cost of tutoring. Students were given the opportunity to choose between a variety of science and health classes and, if the student passes the class with a C or better and chooses to attend Carlow for undergraduate studies, they receive an additional scholarship of $2,000 per year.

I had the opportunity to speak with a couple of our students during a class breaks about their experiences so far. Monet, who will be attending Carlow University this year, and Nakaiya, who will be a high school junior this fall.

Me:
What made you decide to join the Carlow summer college course program this year?

Nakaiya:
At first I wasn’t going to do it. I was scared I wasn’t going to be able to pass. But then Mr. Steve talked to me about it, then I talked to my mom about it more and thought being able to get 3 credits would be really nice. I want to own my own business, and I think that the Critical Thinking class will help me with that so I decided I would do it. And half of my friends were going to be in the program too, so I’d still get to see them while having the college experience.

Monet:
Well, I did it last year and I just wanted to do it again. I was always the kid who was the overachiever and felt like everything was too easy so I wanted a challenge. I took Human Resource Management last year out of curiosity. It was a total challenge, and I love challenges. I’m coming to Carlow my freshman year of college this year, so I figured I might as well get the free credits, and the scholarship is a huge bonus. This year is awesome because we have three classes available, which means we have like 60 kids, where last year we only had 22 students. Now I can make even more connections with the other kids coming here as well. It’s a bigger challenge, a bigger environment, and it’s cool to feel like a team leader around here. I like helping the younger kids and telling them ‘go to college, it’s awesome’ because sometimes they’re scared to go to college and terrified of how hard the classes will be. Yes, it is hard, but it is worth it and possible.

Have you been surprised by the level of difficulty or your performance in the class?

Nakaiya:
For me it’s been surprising. I thought it was going to be way harder, but it’s not that bad.

Monet:
The class itself is like using everyday problems which I relate a ton to. The sizes and steps of problems can be hard but if you break it down it makes sense. It’s solving problems, critically.

So Monet, you said you’re coming to Carlow in the fall. Do you know what you want to major in?

Monet:
So I’m majoring in Business Communications in Art. My future goal is to travel around the world and teach other kids about art and then help homeless students around the world to get into school and help them cope with being homeless through art.

Nakaiya, what grade are you going into? Do you know where you want to go to college?

Nakaiya:
I’m going to be a junior in high school this year. I’m not sure where I want to go to college yet. I did want to go to Pitt because my mom went there, but I don’t really want to go to college in Pittsburgh because I feel like I’ve been here too long. I really want to go to college in New York, and I’ve always wanted to go to California so I’d like to go there too. But with the Pittsburgh Promise you have to stay in Pennsylvania, so I might end up going somewhere here and then later I’ll go somewhere else.

Any idea what major you want to get into in college?

Nakaiya:
I want to do business, but I do also like detective stuff. I love watching Law & Order. I might want to do forensic science or detective work. But my biggest thing is to own my own business. I could be a private investigator, that would be awesome.

Monet:
From my experience last year I’m just happy there are more opportunities [like this] for us students.  This year there are more students to network and learn with.