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Maine Community College System--News Release

Six Maine Community College Students to Participate in "Exploring Transfer" Program at Vassar

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

CONTACT: Karen Hamilton
Tel: (207) 767-0116, ext. 4
Dr. Joe Atkins: ph. 207-859-5561

AUGUSTA, Maine—Six Maine Community College students will travel to Poughkeepsie, New York at the end of this week to participate in Vassar College's "Exploring Transfer" program. The five-week program introduces community college students to the possibility of transfer to competitive four-year colleges through intensive interdisciplinary courses team-taught by Vassar and community college faculty. The 2005 session runs from June 18 to July 22nd.

Attending the program from Maine are three students from Kennebec Valley Community College in Fairfield: Daphne Tieman and Ashley Froman, both of Fairfield; and Jessica Parks of Sidney. Also attending are Diana Patterson of Dexter, a student at Eastern Maine Community College in Bangor, and Leon Sockbeson of Pleasant Point, a student at Washington County Community College in Calais; and Leah Smith, a student at Southern Maine Community College.

Each student will receive a full scholarship covering tuition, room and board, books and supplies. To be accepted, the students had to apply and complete an autobiographical essay. The program targets students who are underrepresented in higher education, including single parents and recent immigrants; most are first-generation college students. Students must have a strong academic record to be accepted.

Maine Community College System President John Fitzsimmons said, "This is a great opportunity for our students. Exploring Transfer is clearly an extraordinary program and we're delighted that our community college students can be part of it."

The Vassar-Maine connection is a result of the efforts of Dr. Joseph Atkins, a visiting assistant professor of psychology at Colby College, and a graduate of the ET program. Dr. Atkins has maintained his association with the program, and over the past year, he has worked with MCCS staff to introduce the program to Maine students.

"Being in the ET program made me realize that more was possible than I'd imagined," said Atkins, who transferred from Dutchess Community College to Vassar, where he participated in research projects at Stanford, NASA, and Los Alamos National Laboratory before graduating with honors. He subsequently earned his doctorate in Brain and Cognitive Sciences at the University of Rochester.

Three of the students - Tieman, Patterson and Sockbeson - will take part in the humanities-based Exploring Transfer program. Froman and Parks will participate in ET’s sister program, Exploring Research, which is a science based curriculum and runs concurrently with ET.

Each of the courses carry one unit of Vassar credit and is the equivalent of a 100 level course in the regular academic year. Of the 600-plus students who have participated in ET, roughly 80 percent have gone on to four-year colleges, including many competitive liberal arts colleges.

The Maine students will join approximately 30 others from New York, California, Oklahoma and New Mexico.

In addition to the full scholarships, Vassar will host a visiting team from Maine to see the program in action and discuss its potential for replication in Maine.

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