DUNWOODY, Ga—The "Cradle To College" (C2C) program at Georgia State University’s Perimeter College is growing.
The community engagement program, which brings elementary and middle school students to a Perimeter College campus for mini-classes and activities, has added new dates and new schools to its successful mix. It’s also enfolded an existing Dunwoody Campus STEM elementary school program under its umbrella. Currently, Clarkston, Dunwoody and Newton campuses are C2C hosts.
Newcomers to the C2C program this spring will be students from Sandy Springs Charter Middle School in Dunwoody and Jolly Elementary School in Clarkston. They will join students from Indian Creek Elementary in Clarkston and Dunwoody Springs Elementary, as well as Newton County middle school students. Campus program leads are Dr. Melody Kelley, Shellie Welch, Dr. Sahithya Reddivari, Dr. Crystal Garrett and Trina Saffold.
Added to the C2C program this year are the long-standing engagement programs initiated by Dunwoody STEM faculty Dr. Marjorie Lewkowicz, Dr. Brooke Skelton and Dr. Jay Dunn and the Dunwoody Space Club. The professors have fostered a long-term partnership with Vanderlyn Elementary, Dunwoody Elementary, Austin Elementary and Hightower Elementary schools by coordinating STEM nights and STEM Career Days over the years, where their math and science students visited the elementary schools, leading fun STEM activities. This spring, the Dunwoody faculty are adding more DeKalb elementary schools for STEM engagement.
On Friday, November 17, Newton Campus hosts its third ‘STEM Day’ for dozens of Newton County middle school students after two successful fall and spring events coordinated by Trina Saffold, Newton Earth and Life Sciences lab coordinator.
Since 2018, hundreds of elementary and middle school students have participated in C2C programs. And like the STEM programs started years earlier by Dunwoody faculty, Perimeter students also continue that engagement, visiting local elementary schools and talking to the students about their own experiences in college. Recently, a group of students, faculty and staff visited Dunwoody Springs Elementary to talk about the college experience. (They will visit Vanderlyn Elementary this Friday, Nov.10.)
“We want all young people to see college as a viable option, and we believe that early exposure is a vital part of the pipeline,” said Dr. Deborah Manson, who became C2C program coordinator in January.
“Cradle to College was the vision of Dr. Karen Wheel-Carter, and I am so grateful to her for sharing that vision with me and trusting me with the program.”
Besides Wheel-Carter, Manson is assisted by Dr. Paulos Yohannes, Dr. John Redmond and Dr. Mary Helen O'Connor, who are senior advisors for the program.
Ivy Goggins, Dunwoody Springs Elementary School principal, sees the value of the program.
“My hope is that with programs like "Cradle 2 College," we will be able to help kids to better understand what college all is about,” said Goggins, who commented during the spring 2023 event on Dunwoody Campus.
“You never know as an elementary educator the impact of these experiences in planting a seed of hope or dream of what they can become,” she said.
Besides the Nov. 10 Vanderlyn Elementary visit and the Nov. 17 Newton Campus event, the C2C program schedule includes:
- Newton Campus—multiple Newton County middle schools, Feb. 2, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
- Clarkston Campus—Jolly Elementary, March 7, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
- Dunwoody Campus—Dunwoody Springs Elementary, March 21, 9 a..m-1 p.m.
- Clarkston Campus—Indian Creek Elementary, March 27, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
- Dunwoody Campus--Sandy Springs Charter Middle, April 12 and 19, 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.