Connection 2007: Stepping Up to the Call

by Christy Gazanian '07

On Saturday, January 20, hundreds of high school students and potential college students had the opportunity to connect with the APU campus by attending the fourth annual Connection Preview Day. The day-long event, hosted by APU’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions and supported by the Office of Multi-Ethnic Programs, introduces students who come from diverse backgrounds to APU while encouraging them to pursue college as a viable option.

Visitors mingled near Cougar Walk while others ate at the tables waiting for the program to begin at 1 p.m. in Upper Turner Campus Center. In attendance were Blair High School students, Lauren Rogers and Cynthia Eldridge, who expressed great interest in college life at APU. Rogers hopes to become a special education specialist, and Eldridge, who is applying to APU for fall 2007, is interested in studying psychology. “The environment [at APU] is a good environment. It's mellow, and everyone seems happy and friendly,” she said.

At the beginning of the program, attendees were challenged with the day's theme from Ephesians 4:1 “I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.”

Joy Hoffman, director of multi-ethnic programs, explained that Connection Preview Day strives to bring students on campus to talk about college; it is not directly about getting them to APU. Hoffman expressed that the day “is based on the struggles and challenges that the current ethnic students at APU have faced.”

Jessica Barron ’05, diversity outreach and recruitment counselor who organized the event, shared that the idea for Connection Preview Day originated from conversations that took place when she was an undergraduate student at APU. Now, several years later, those conversations continue on a larger scale through the preview day panel of current APU students as they share their successes and challenges with a room of parents and students.

Multi-Ethnic Leader Leslie Hernandez ’09 spoke about the college experience and her time here at APU, saying that college is about “being able to believe in a dream. . . Dream that you can, and take the steps forward to get there.” Hernandez expressed that she was given the opportunity to succeed through a number of different means, including the ability to apply for a Multi-Ethnic Leadership Scholarship. Through this renewable scholarship, the university pays for a portion of tuition and Hernandez committed to joining a team of multi-ethnic leaders whose purpose is to bring awareness to the issue of diversity on campus.

Along with the current APU student panel, the day also included a special parent session, seminars for the visiting students, and a talent show.