It will be a cold Saturday, but high school students from North Carolina and Virginia will still come to campus to get a preview of college life and to explore their academic passions as a part of Splash UNC.
The program was designed as a resource for potential future students to learn more about campus life, the college application process, financial aid and scholarships.
Splash UNC is an educational enrichment program that allows high school students to take six classes at the University for a day without having the pressure of being graded. Current UNC students teach courses on a wide range of topics.
The student instructors can focus their courses on any topic. Some courses being offered this Saturday include TikTok 101, Intro to Emergency Medicine and more.
Hannah Wilson, a history student and Splash UNC deputy director, said if a student feels that they are passionate about a certain topic and can talk about it for 45 minutes, then Splash is open to having them teach a class.
Junior Emma Pickard attended a Splash UNC event when she was in high school and thought it would be fun to return as a teacher. She will be teaching a class on the connections between Shakespeare and American politics. Pickard said she wrote a paper about the subject last year and believes the connection between Shakespeare and American politics will make Shakespeare more easily understood and interesting for younger students.
“I hope students learn that Shakespeare isn’t scary and is very accessible, not just for the more elite learners,” Pickard said. “It can be fun and help us understand our world today.”
Dhanesh Budhram will be teaching a course called "How Monkeys, Bears and Squirrels Contributed to Developing Hinduism in the Caribbean." He is an aspiring Hindu priest with family roots from Guyana, which some classify as part of the Caribbean region.
“I wanted to do something to share my religion and heritage with the community,” Budhram said. “I decided to do this as a way of showcasing what I know and to also learn more about my heritage and similar ones.”
Budhram hopes students leave his class with a better understanding of Hinduism practiced outside of India and also the Indian Diaspora as a whole.
Splash is open to all high school students who are interested in attending, but Wilson said they are hoping to reach out to more first-generation students.
“We want to use this as a way for first-generation students to see themselves on a college campus and in college classes,” Wilson said. “We’re just trying to move toward a program of more diversity and inclusion.”
This semester, to add to its mission of inclusivity, Wilson said Splash has embarked on a new initiative that provides transportation for students from five Sampson County high schools. Wilson said she hopes this will help eliminate the barrier for low-income students to attend Splash academic programs.
“We want to help students pursue higher education and believe it is something that is attainable by encouraging them to seek out educational opportunities that you don't have to do, but you want to do,” Wilson said.
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