On July 7, 15 students came to Brunswick, Maine, to become the inaugural Geoffrey Canada Scholars at Bowdoin College. Geoffrey Canada is the founder of the Harlem Children’s Zone in New York City. The Harlem Children’s Zone provides medical, educational, and social services to thousands of children in Harlem. Canada is a graduate of Bowdoin College and holds a master’s degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
The program was designed to transform the Bowdoin experience for students who are the first in their families to go to college, who come from low-income backgrounds, or who are from groups traditionally underrepresented at the college. The scholars begin their college career in early July, diving into an intensive six-week summer program to prepare them to succeed, to become campus leaders and to flourish at Bowdoin.
In the six weeks leading up to orientation for all first-year students, the Geoffrey Canada Scholars take three classes: quantitative reasoning/visual arts, writing and rhetoric, and the science of learning. They meet many staff and faculty at Bowdoin, from librarians to deans. They explore Brunswick and the region. And they get to know one another and the college.
The program is designed to help the students transition to college and to show them how to access resources and find support. The students will be part of the Geoffrey Canada Scholars program throughout their four years at Bowdoin, participating in regular workshops and community-building programs. During their junior and senior years, they will become peer-mentors, providing guidance, advice, and assistance to first-year and sophomore scholars.
A video about the Geoffrey Canada Scholars program may be viewed below.