Summer Studies Let Students Shine

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ELIZABETH–Five Benedictine Academy seniors enjoyed exceptional higher education study opportunities this summer.

Emilie Burke chose to participate in four summer programs, all geared to develop her leadership skills, and, her inner self as well. Burke, a Colonia resident who is passionate about government and politics, spent three weeks mid-summer at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. in the “Junior Statesman” summer school’s “Constitutional Law” program. She enjoyed listening to five different speakers, and visited the Pentagon, Capitol Hill, the White House, and several Embassies including Saudi Arabia and Israel.

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Burke, who plans to major in political science in college, also met with U.S. Congressman Leonard Lance (NJ/7th) while at Georgetown. She will intern for Lance three afternoons a week this fall at his Westfield office. Burke also spent a week at Princeton University’s “Leadership & National Security Institute”, offered in August through the Junior State of America program. This program featured speakers, a visit to the United Nations, and simulated six-party roundtable talks where participants, representing various countries, practiced negotiating skills.

In addition, Burke had “an amazing experience” at the NASA Space camp in Huntsville Alabama for one week in June. She chose the “mission specialist” study track, which enabled her to go through a simulated space flight, serving as a “mission control” team member responsible for communications. Burke also spent one week in Indiana in July at Notre Dame University’s “Vision” program.

“It was a religious retreat experience that focused on self-discipline and our relationship with God,” Burke explained. Immersed in the retreat for a week along with students and presenters “from all over the world”, Burke found it “inspiring just to be there”. The summer study experiences gave Burke “a taste of everything. It all confirmed that I want to go into politics for certain,” Burke stated.

Chisom Emeana of Hillside studied pre-calculus while living on campus at NJIT (The New Jersey Institute of Technology) for five weeks, Monday through Thursday this summer. Emeana, who is interested in a career in medicine, received six college credits for her efforts. She earned a full scholarship from NJIT to participate in the summer program.

Studying with students from around New Jersey and the world, Emeana was surprised when she was instructed to work out her pre-calculus computations without the use of a calculator. “I learned that our reliance on calculators slowly diminishes our minds,” she stated. Although more difficult, she was able to accomplish all assigned work.

Emeana also was enrolled in the Trinitas Hospital Nursing Camp in Elizabeth for those interested in becoming a nurse or physician. During one week in August, she and classmate Alicia Onacki of Roselle shadowed nurses and doctors, learned medical terms, and observed lab dissections and surgeries, including a gall bladder removal, a hysterectomy and two knee surgeries.

“Although summer is a time to relax, more than half my summer was dedicated to studies,” Emeana said. “I gained a lot in math and was able to see how the world of medicine would be on a larger scale…what’s behind it,” she added. “It confirmed that I will pursue a career in medicine.”

Geraline Arroyo of Union spent a week at Georgetown University enrolled in an “Intro to Basic Medicine” course. She described it as a “hands-on” experience featuring lectures and labs. Arroyo learned about blood pressure, diabetes the cardio-vascular system, and, also worked with cadavers. “It was a good thing,” she said, “so you know how ready you are to deal with things like that.”

Arroyo mixed in with high school students from all over the country and world (e.g. Paris, Jamaica, Spain and Lebanon). “I met a lot of people,” she noted. She also learned “how difficult becoming a doctor can be.” Arroyo, who wants to be a veterinarian, called the course “challenging- a condensed version of medical school”. “They exposed us to everything,” she pointed out, “and there were a lot of professors and doctors on staff. It was a great educational experience…I really enjoyed it,” Arroyo noted.

Chelsea Odofu of Newark spent a month in Ireland while enrolled in a New York University (NYU) Film program. Odofu earned nine college credits for taking one class on film and another on arts and culture. While being instructed in various film-making techniques by NYU professors teaching the course, she made two three-minute long narrative films. In addition, she toured Dublin, the Aran Islands, Belfast and Galway as part of the “Arts and Cultures” course.

Odofu felt the experience helped prepare her for college. “It was lots of hard work, and lots of homework”, she said. She was in class nearly twelve hours a day, Monday through Saturday. However, although very intense, she “met so many different people it made the experience better.” Odofu hopes to attend New York University to major in film.

Chisom Emeana of Hillside (left) and Alicia Onacki (right) of Roselle, seniors at Benedictine Academy in Elizabeth, spent one week in Trinitas Hospital’s Nursing Camp during the summer. Designed for those interested in becoming a nurse or physician, the BA students shadowed nurses and doctors, learned medical terms, and observed lab dissections and surgeries, including a gall bladder removal, a hysterectomy and two knee surgeries. Emeana also studied pre-calculus at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) for five weeks over the summer, earning six college credits for her efforts.

Benedictine Academy senior Emilie Burke (foreground) of Colonia chose to participate in a three week mid-summer course at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. While enrolled in the “Junior Statesman” summer school’s “Constitutional Law” program, Burke enjoyed listening to five different speakers, engaging in debates, and visiting the Pentagon, Capitol Hill, the White House, and several Embassies including Saudi Arabia and Israel. Burke, who is passionate about government and politics, is pictured questioning a State Department official during a visit to that site.

While at the NASA Space Camp in Huntsville Alabama for one week in June, Benedictine Academy senior Emilie Burke chose the “mission specialist” study track. Burke, (pictured right with a fellow camper), experienced a simulated space flight, serving as a “mission control” team member responsible for communications. It was “an amazing experience”, she related.

Senior Chelsea Odofu of Newark will return to Benedictine Academy in Elizabeth this fall with exciting memories of the month she spent in Ireland studying film, and, Irish arts and culture as well. Pictured (center) going over her film narrative with other students in the program, Odofu earned nine college credits while enrolled in the New York University (NYU) Film program. She made two three-minute long narrative films, and, toured Dublin, the Aran Islands, Belfast and Galway as part of the “Arts and Cultures” course. Odofu hopes to attend New York University after graduation to major in film.

Geraline Arroyo of Union took a “hands-on” Intro to Basic Medicine course at Georgetown University during the summer of 2010. The Benedictine Academy senior’s experience included lectures and labs which helped her learn about blood pressure, diabetes and the cardio-vascular system. Arroyo is pictured practicing a suturing technique during the course. She hopes to study veterinary medicine after high school.

All photos courtesy of Benedictine Academy


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