Mercyhurst launches summer program for high schoolers

This is the pilot year for the Mercyhurst Summer Experience.

Throughout the months of June and July, high school students are invited to attend one of several camps on campus.

Each camp is geared towards a particular program offered at Mercyhurst.

“We wanted to gear it to high school students so they could test the waters in different majors,” said Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs Michele Wheaton.

Camps offered include majors like art, anthropology, dance, forensic science, geology, music, theater and creative writing.

The faculty is looking forward to the Summer Experience and many have field trips planned or special activities in store for the students.

Wheaton said the goal is for “students to be exposed to things they might be interested in; it will either spark something or confirm that they don’t like it.”

Ultimately, the Summer Experience can be a tool for high school students to begin thinking about college and majors that interest them.

Not only does the Summer Experience serve as an opportunity for area students, it also is very beneficial to the faculty.

“Summer time here is very quiet,” said Wheaton. “We wanted to find a way to make the campus alive all year long.”

The idea was partially inspired by the Pennsylvania Governor’s School.

Before the funding for the program was cut several years ago, the state would sponsor specialized summer school for students who are accepted into the prestigious program.

While the state staffed the programs, Mercyhurst was always chosen as one of the Arts and Humanities specialized schools.

The faculty enjoys having the students on campus and sought a way to bring back this atmosphere.

Through the camps, the faculty has the opportunity to teach in a very different manner. The nature of the camps and the time frame is more conducive to trips and special activities.

They can experience what it will be like to be in that field of study.

Wheaton thinks this is the most beneficial aspect of the camps. It is difficult to find exactly what career will make you happy in life but doing so is incredibly important.

“When work isn’t work, it’s just fun,” Wheaton said.

She hopes the students will all find a career that they are eager to wake up and go to in the morning.