Miami gives Cincinnati students a taste of the college experience


Provided by Rodney Coates

Visiting Cincinnati Public Schools students conduct an experiment with Alka Seltzer and salt.

By Taj Simmons

After being pushed back two years from its original date due to COVID-19, Miami University this week welcomed around 100 students, teachers, and coordinators from Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) for the first-ever Cincinnati Summer Experience.

The purpose of the program was to encourage CPS pupils from fifth grade to high school to start thinking about higher education, said Rodney Coates, a Miami professor of critical race and ethnic studies.

“Many kids don’t see Miami, it’s not on their radar, particularly kids from places like urban Cincinnati, and urban children of color,” Coates said. “And they don’t think about careers in STEM, in medicine, in engineering or in technology, math and so forth.”

Activities included a greeting session from Miami University President Gregory Crawford, tours of various departments and lecture halls on campus, eating meals at dining halls, bunking overnight in a residence hall, playing team-bonding games on Cook Field, and attending lectures over three days.

“This is about bringing them to campus and literally trying to blow their minds with some of our best minds in the fields that Miami has to offer,” Coates said. Organizers hope this experience will motivate students to begin preparing themselves in middle school and high school for admission to college, even if it is not Miami.

Coates said that 31 Miami employees volunteered for the program. The program did not have enough time for all Miami employees who volunteered to assist, he said.

Kendall Hauer volunteered by giving students a tour of Shideler Hall’s Karl E. Limper Geology Museum, of which he is director.

“There are just so many brilliant minds out there that are underserved,” Hauer said. “Whatever we can do to reach out and just help inspire kids as they come through the school, that helps everybody.”

Cincinnati Public Schools pupils take a break during their visit to Miami University this week. Photo by Taj Simmons

Students on the program seemed impressed by Miami’s facilities.

“You’re telling me that you live at school and you just walk to classes?” Camden, a sixth-grader said. “That sounds so cool!”

Coates said he hopes the experience will leave a lasting impression on the students.

“I want them to be excited about the future,” Coates said. “That’s what I want, [for them] to leave here with excitement.”