Center for Access & Attainment > College Access > Programs > Past College Connect

College Connect 2018

College Connect students busy working in their classes over the summer 2018This past July, 92 students from 43 Chicago high schools participated in the College Connect summer program.  They had a great time; the photos speak for themselves. Students painted on big canvases, learned to identify cybersecurity threats, drew self-portraits, designed websites, read poetry, wrote essays on social justice and went on field trips, all the while using Chicago as their classroom. Everyone participated in weekly college prep workshops, worked one-on-one with DePaul's writing tutors, made lasting connections with their DePaul student mentors, and met new friends from all over the city. Take a look at this year's photos to get a glimpse of the College Connect program and our awesome students!
Each student completed one of the following courses in 2018:
Subject: English literature

This course will focus on the ways in which marginalized groups and individuals use literature and art to express their identity and struggles and to have a voice and elicit change in society. Among other works, we will focus particularly on African-American and Latino-American literature with a focus on Chicago writers. Readings will also include non-fiction work dealing with rights of workers and the poor. Field trips will be to historic and contemporary locations of struggle and change in Chicago, as well as museums potentially including the Willie Dixon Blues Foundation, the Chicago History Museum, the Pilsen neighborhood, the DuSable Museum, and the Haymarket Riots memorial - places which exhibit and celebrate art and literature of the marginalized.
Subject: Computer science

An experiential learning class where students will apply the classroom knowledge to solve practical cybersecurity problems in systems, software, networks, and web applications. Through practical laboratory exercises, students will experience the elements and issues with cybersecurity of popular systems in action, letting them acquire a hands-on experience. For the final project, students will work to solve a real-world cybersecurity problem with the goal of creating more secure systems and thorough understanding emerging threats.
Subject: Social justice

In this course, students will develop the critical thinking skills necessary to engage with and more fully understand the ways small groups of youth activists have historically acted on behalf of the common good, both locally and globally.  Students will build a framework to critically analyze relevant case studies of youth-led social movements, including the U.S. Civil Rights Movement, the Otpor! movement in Serbia, and movements for immigrant and racial justice. A handful of practical skills necessary for budding activists will be explored. Students will gain hands-on experience completing a project that embodies activist involvement, outlining a campaign that would transform a social issue impacting youth in Chicago.
Subject: Web development

This course, through laboratory work, lectures, and hands-on group projects, will introduce students to website design using WordPress. Students will learn fundamental principles of how WordPress and other Content Management Systems (CMSs) work, how to manage unstructured digital media, how to simplify publication of Web content, and locate and link content at any level of an organization. Discussions will focus on website design and development tasks, key users, their roles and responsibilities, collaborative workflow, and versioning. Students will become familiar with WordPress CMSs and implement a system using WordPress open source software and Cloud9 development environment.
Subject: Political science / law

The word Sankofa, from the Twi language of Ghana, is the foundation of self actualization which can be seen as the most basic form of political interest. This course will examine the Black Chicago political experience with a goal of gaining a deeper understanding of the reasons why the Black community may hold particular political viewpoints and how they developed over time. We will explore the origins of the American political system, the evolution of American Civil Rights movement, and how the Reconstruction Era gave rise to the “The Great Black Migration” from the South and paved the way for the emerging Black Chicago political perspectives.
Subject: Art and Activism

Art has always been a tool used by people to confront injustice and propagate social change. This course will explore the ways in which both artists and non-artists use visual representation to reveal issues and engage people in political and social discourse. We will explore how image has been used in advertisement, billboards, the internet, and media outlets to sustain injustices and inequalities. Conversely, we will consider how artists incorporate modes of activism to question, protest, and engage those systems. Students will learn essential techniques in drawing, painting, and print-making to be able to recognize how they are commonly used and to create their own messaging. By coupling these techniques with writing and a critical examination of social ills students are guided to creative solutions. We will focus on portraiture and storytelling as two especially influential methods.  When combined, they convey powerful individual expressions that respond to the social and political landscape.
If you'd like information about next year's College Connect program, contact Kate Agarwal at  or (773) 325-8375. The College Connect application for summer 2019 will open in February.