|Funding Source||Policy Research Internship Award|
|Community Partner||Anchorage School District|
|Last Updated||2010-04-08 15:58:02|
|Keywords||secondary students, experiential leadership|
In the Fall Semester of 2009, the Anchorage School District and UAA piloted "UAA Transitions" program in which UAA students are trained in experiential leadership facilitation skills. UAA Transitions is built on the concept that youth will often be more motivated and learn more from their peers (or "near peers") than they will from adults. UAA students engaged in a semester long series of activities designed to help familiarize secondary students with college while fostering leadership and mentorship skills in the UAA students. At the close of the semester 2 focus groups were conducted with 11 high school students from Bartlett High School and 7 UAA peer mentors to study student perspectives on the program's process and outcomes. The focus groups were recorded, transcribed and subjected to content analysis using Atlas Ti qualitative data analysis software. A short questionnaire was used to gather demographic data. It is difficult to determine if peer led facilitation had an impact on secondary students' attitudes about college. This is because none of the secondary students discussed this directly, although several of them did comment on the benefits of coming to UAA and seeing the campus. There were many self-identified benefits that the UAA students and the high school students commented on such as improved academic performance, social communication, confidence, and having fun. This information was then used to adapt the program to better meet the needs of ASD and UAA students for the second pilot which is currently underway Spring 2010.
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