Center for Access & Attainment > College Access > Programs > College-Connect-2020

College Connect 2020 - Pandemic Edition

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Since the COVID-19 pandemic changed how we live, work and learn, our College Connect planning team was given a choice of cancelling the College Connect program or redesigning it for online delivery. We had not done a virtual program in the past, so it would be a steep learning curve. With the support of our partners, our Peer Guides and extensive learning, we were able to re-tool our summer program to create meaningful, engaging experiences while respecting social distancing directives. It was an exciting experience to host our College Connect program online this summer. Here are some photos and words from our students:


The summer 2020 program ran from June 29 through July 31. We had over 100 students complete one of six online classes. Students joined us on Zoom for weekly "Adulting 101" sessions led by our Peer Guides, which gave them valuable information on the college experience. We collaborated with relevant DePaul offices on college prep topics such as the college admission process (Undergraduate Admission), how to pay for college (Financial Aid and Financial Fitness), career planning and resume building (Student Employment and DePaul Career Center), college writing and editing support (DePaul Writing Center), advice on managing stress (Health and Wellness), diversity and inclusion on college campuses (Office of Multicultural Student Success), getting involved in student clubs and activities (Student Involvement), living on campus (Housing Department) and more. We also hosted fun online activities such as relaxing meditation sessions, group drawing tutorials on Zoom, raffles and trivia.

Our students were engaged and eager to learn, despite the pandemic restrictions. Students produced incredible work during the five weeks of the program. Here are videos compiling their success from each class:

Here's more details about each course our students took online this summer:

Instructor: Sandra Guy Kolina

Students will learn basic rules of newswriting, along with how to critically analyze the latest issues in journalism, ethics, and social media reporting. Students will engage with outside speakers from a variety of media, visit local newsrooms, interview people in their communities, and write their own news stories on topics important to them. In addition, students will discover their journalistic voice while working ethically in pursuit of truth, accuracy, fairness, and diversity.

Instructor: Brian Barker

Exploration of distinct characteristics of the hospitality industry, organizational structures, and principles of service excellence will be delivered in this course. Using Chicago-as-classroom, topics and assignments will engage minority–owned and managed hospitality businesses. Students will engage with hospitality professionals ranging from independent community restaurants to well established hotels with minorities serving in key leadership positions. Using pragmatic hands-on learning tactics, leadership theories, customer service principles, and job skills development will be central to the curriculum, as will a focus on community and connections to Chicago.

Instructor: Kaitlin Creadon

Focusing on the art of photography, students will showcase different lifestyles, human interest stories, and social impact stories. Students will learn new photography skills and use various techniques to create a series of images to tell a story. Class will focus on photography and storytelling both as art forms and influential communication methods. Students will create a portfolio of still images on a Chicago-focused topic that holds importance to them and a short-form essay explaining their work.

Instructor: Sal Barry

The internet is the preeminent medium for sports fans to get the sports news they want, when they want it. So today’s sportswriter needs to be well-versed in a variety of multimedia and interactive tools to report and enhance their stories. This class will introduce students to the field of sports reporting, provide an understanding of the technical and digital skills needed to thrive in this field, and give them a foundation of journalistic ethics necessary to get their start as multimedia sports reporters.

Instructor: Jacqueline Brennan

The art of animation was developed a little over a century ago and it combines narrative powers or visual art such as painting and photography, and theater, and the newly developed language of the motion picture. Its power lies in its ability to transcend a world as it exists and create a world as we imagine it can be. In this course, students will explore the world of visual communication through the study of animation in terms of analysis, production, and the ability to represent the social and cultural changes they would like to see in their futures. Class time will be divided between exploring topics in animation— representation, propaganda, self-expression, political allegory, career paths— and learning hands on digital animation techniques with the goal of creating projects which foster self-expression and create a platform for social change.

Instructor: Jerica Arents

In this course, we will develop the critical thinking skills necessary to engage with and more fully understand the ways small groups of youth activ-ists have historically acted on behalf of the com-mon good, both locally and globally. We will build a framework to critically analyze relevant case studies of youth-led social movements, including the U.S. Civil Rights Movement, the Otpor! move-ment in Serbia, and movements for immigrant and racial justice. A handful of practical skills necessary for budding activists will be explored. Finally, as an integral part of the course, students will also have a hands-on experience completing a project that embodies activist involvement, outlining a campaign that would transform a social issue impacting youth in Chicago.