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ACCESS Gives 18 Incoming Freshmen an Early Experience of College Life

The 18 incoming Loyola Marymount University freshmen in this year’s ACCESS group have launched their college careers.

ACCESS reportsThey analyzed the mathematics and physics of flinging a water balloon 30 yards into a bucket using a sling shot. The task may seem lighthearted, but the goal was to understand the science behind a simple activity. The program – A Community Committed to Excellence in Scientific Scholarship – brings science and mathematics students to campus three weeks before the start of school to help them adjust to the demands of an LMU education. Through scientific work, off-campus excursions and community-building in the dorms, the ACCESS group has developed a foundation that will help them succeed over the course of their education.

“As a result of intense scientific engagement, the spirit of collaboration and access to information and campus resources, these extremely dedicated and talented students will be better equipped to become the next generation of leaders in the scientific community,” said Edward Mosteig, director of ACCESS and associate professor of mathematics.

The ACCESS program is in its second year. The 18 students in the first group have all returned for their sophomore years at LMU with impressive academic achievements, said Rae Linda Brown, LMU’s vice president for undergraduate education.

ACCESS groupThe group held a banquet Aug. 19 to celebrate with their families and demonstrate what they learned by studying sling shots. Much of the evening was taken up with reports on their work of the previous three weeks: measurements of height, length and distance; analyses of variables; and calculations of parabolas. But the greater significance of the experience was not overlooked.

“You can say to yourselves, ‘I can do this,’ ” keynote speaker Brown told the ACCESS students. “You have started a process of discovery, and though you may make mistakes, you will learn from them and always say to yourselves, ‘I can do this.’ ”

Brown drew on her own experiences in offering advice to the ACCESS students. “Many of you will be the first or the only in your classes – the first in your family to graduate college or the only person of color in a class – but don’t be afraid of that and don’t let it define you,” said Brown, who was the second African-American woman to earn a doctorate in music history at Yale University.

The ACCESS program is underwritten by a donation from LMU alumnus Thomas Hynes ‘59 and his wife, Marlene. For more information, visit here.

Posted Aug. 25, 2010